Fairy-Tale Love vs. Real Relationships: The Role of TV in Shaping Our Expectations

September 4, 2023

Have you always dreamed of meeting your Prince Charming or Cinderella? In today’s society, television has become a powerful tool that influences and shapes our perceptions of love and relationships. Some representations can be positive, while others can be damaging to our understanding of love.


Romantic love is frequently depicted as the ultimate goal of life. Characters on television shows often focus on finding a romantic partner above all else, perceiving their relationships as the primary source of happiness and fulfilment. This creates unrealistic expectations among viewers and encourage the idea that finding love is the only path in achieving happiness. Here are some negative effects of how modern television shapes our perception of love.


Instant Gratification

Today, many television shows promote the concept of seeking instant satisfaction in relationships. Characters in these shows often expect immediate and intense bonds with their romantic partners, placing their own desires and needs over their partner’s. As a result, this creates a misleading perception that love is solely about excitement, neglecting the importance of mutual compromise and effort required for a healthy relationship.


Fairy-Tale Romance

Modern shows frequently portray fairy-tale love stories where couples effortlessly overcome any obstacles and challenges. This portrayal will create the impression that love should always be picture-perfect, without any disagreements where the audience will develop an unattainable expectation of perfection in relationships and conflicts are seen as indicators of relationship failure.


Unhealthy Relationship

The romanticization of toxic relationships has become common in television shows. Being jealous, possessive, and controlling are seen as normal. These shows depict these behaviours as signs of passion and intensity, which can cause viewers to believe that they should act this way in a relationship. This perpetuates harmful patterns that can be detrimental to both individuals in the relationship, fostering an environment of harm rather than a healthy connection.


Harmful Stereotypes

Despite the progress in promoting diversity and representation in the media, there is still a lack of portrayal about various forms of love and relationships. This will restrict viewers’ perceptions of what love should look like and who deserves to experience it. This can cause harmful stereotypes and contributes to the marginalisation of underrepresented communities.



Instead of looking for the perfect someone, let’s focus on finding a partner that has the same goals and values as you. Love is about accepting each other’s flaws.You can still enjoy watching romance movies but it’s crucial to keep in mind the difference between reality and fantasy, and strive for a balanced understanding of love in building a meaningful and fulfilling relationship.

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