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Why Rom-Coms Show Timeless Truths About Love

Can movies about love teach us important things about real relationships, even if they seem perfect and unrealistic?

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Happy rom com couple

Rom-coms often portray couples as perfect soulmates, effortlessly compatible. But in real life, relationships need work. How do these movies connect to what Gottman’s research tells us about relationships?

Rom-coms Spark Our Imagination

Rom-coms sometimes showcase impossibly “perfect” lovers, and we get the idea that these made-up stories represent real feelings in relationships before we think about if they’re grounded in reality. By watching these movies, our imagination helps us figure out the meaning of love, even if the stories aren’t real.

The 1999 comedy “Notting Hill” humorously depicts the complex dynamics between an “average man” and a famous actress. Its witty scenes capture the complicated emotions involved in overcoming societal barriers and developing trust. It’s far-fetched, but the themes of open communication, building love maps, and friendship can translate to real life as well.

Movies Use Metaphors to Show Lasting Love

Simple advice like “choose each other every day” is important but can sound overused. Movies use stories to create lasting metaphors. “The Notebook” (2004) shows a love that lasts a lifetime, making us remember how deep love can be.

Movies Bring Meaning Back to Worn-Out Words

Sometimes, common phrases lose their meaning because we use them too much. Saying “you complete me” might not feel special anymore. Movies like “(500) Days of Summer” (2009) bring these phrases back to life by changing the focus from finding a perfect match to facing life’s challenges together.

We Can Find Wonder in Everyday Moments

Daily routines can sometimes feel boring, but rom-coms help us rediscover excitement in everyday moments. The 1995 movie “Before Sunrise” shows that even simple interactions can be extraordinary, reminding us that beauty is in everyday experiences.

The Path to True Love in Real Life is Attainable

No Hollywood movie perfectly outlines the path to true love. But imagining extraordinary things can help us see where our real lives might need improvement. 

Plus, when you need a little more help, tools from Gottman’s research can provide practical steps to improve our relationships, bridging the gap between ideals and reality.

How well do you know your partner?

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The Gottman Institute’s Editorial Team is composed of staff members who contribute to the Institute’s overall message. It is our mission to reach out to individuals, couples, and families in order to help create and maintain greater love and health in relationships.

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