I’ve been with my boyfriend for four years today. Four years may be a long time for you or you may have already been married for ten. If you are part of the latter group then you may or may not relate (you’ve been warned). Four years is a long time for me and I feel like I’ve learned a thing or two about dating that would be helpful to share. For example, he may have seemed thrilled to watch your reality shows at the beginning but now you know his eyes were bleeding and now you are stuck watching it alone…

Among other important lessons like that, what I have noticed the most is…wait for it…romantic comedies are a lie; to be less harsh we could say an exaggeration. I know you know that already, but sometimes it is easy to forget, and sometimes your expectations get out of control due to popular culture. What I’m saying is if you think your partner will declare his undying love for you daily, with flowers and cards, you may be in for a disappointment. Thesis: romantic comedies offer unrealistic expectations of love.

I have a friend who told me girls should not let there boyfriends get comfortable (she’s single) because the relationship will suffer. She goes on to tell me the story of a friend who’s husband surprises her with not only dinner but a new outfit fairly frequently. She is looking for a guy like that because “they do exist.” This husband would be what Gigi would call the exception to the rule; most men will not surprise you with new outfits to go for dinner and you shouldn’t expect them to because men (and women) do get comfortable in relationships–it’s really not a bad thing. Unlike the accuracy with the rule, He’s Just Not That Into You (a fabulous movie) still lets you assume that even if the guy doesn’t like you at the beginning, he most definitely will by the end.

My three other all time favourite romantic comedies are Crazy, Stupid, Love, Friends with Benefits, and She’s the Man. It should be pointed out that these movies give the expectation that your prince charming will look like some combination of Ryan Gosling, Justin Timberlake, and/or Channing Tatum (my boyfriend comes pretty close…). Love expectations should not be based on looks, even though popular culture tells us otherwise.

Another unrealistic expectation that is worth talking about is how easy these movies make love and relationships look. The “fall madly in love” part, most often, isn’t that easy, smooth, or romantic. Life has challenges which can get in the way of a fairy tale love. As a side note, and to boost optimism here, it is worth the challenges, if it were as easy as the movies make it seem, love wouldn’t be as rewarding and there would be nothing to gossip about with our girlfriends. To give some preachy advise, don’t let popular culture (aka too many rom coms) skew your perception of real life relationships and push your expectation so high that no man will ever be good enough.

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