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Actors Can't Live Up to Their Romantic Movie Personas

Americans say they believe in “true love.” In a recent survey, 61 percent of women and 72 percent of men believe in love at first sight. Another poll asked, “Do you believe in the idea of soul mates, that is two people who are destined to be together?” 74 percent of men and 71 percent of women answered “yes.” This often creates extremely unrealistic expectations in marriage about how a spouse will meet our needs.

Research has also shown that our expectations for love and romance are heavily influenced by the movies and shows we watch. But the actors in these “true love/soulmate” movies can’t live up to the reality they create on the screen. Researcher Arthur Brooks says:

Hollywood doesn’t have your love interests at heart. When you indulge in a romantic comedy, consider its source. … “A-list” screen stars have a divorce rate of 52 percent within the first 16 years of their first or subsequent marriages, more than 10 points higher than the rate after the same length of time among Americans who wed in the 1970s; more than 20 points higher than Americans who wed for the first time in the 1960s. Not even the creators of the movie can achieve the standard they are promoting. Enjoy the occasional rom-com as entertainment if you must, but do so in the way you do science fiction, because it is about as realistic.

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