4 Rom-Com Relationships That Are the Actual Worst
Rom-coms are having a moment RN. Between Netflix’s Summer of Love (seriously, who isn’t crushing on Noah Centineo — or Lana Condor, for that matter?), the sequel to Mamma Mia, and the remake of Overboard, our hearts are bursting from all the love and romance. But even though rom-com couples are portrayed as #relationshipgoals, many on-screen romances are actually riddled with toxic dynamics and unhealthy behaviors. Christie Tcharkhoutian, professional matchmaker for Los Angeles-based Three Day Rule, revealed to us why four of our fave fictional couples should be written off as inspo for you and your S.O.
Juliet and Mark in Love Actually
Problematic Message: Love is the most exciting when it’s forbidden.
Even if you haven’t seen the movie, you’ve definitely seen the GIFs: Andrew Lincoln, playing Mark, professing his love for Keira Knightley’s character through handwritten signs, one of which reads the famous line, “To me, you are perfect.” Yes, it’s ultra-romantic — until you look a little closer. “Although we all love an honest display of love, making a play and expressing your love for your best friend’s wife is not a good start for a relationship, on or off screen,” Tcharkhoutian says. And the most harmful part of these fictional narratives is that they only show a fraction, if any, of the fallout. “This is a toxic dynamic that devalues the dignity of marriage and romanticizes the idea of being in love with someone who is ‘off-limits,’ without portraying the harsh realities of this kind of basis for a relationship,” Tcharkhoutian explains. (Photo via Universal Studios Home Entertainment)
Andie and Ben in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
Problematic Message: A relationship that began with ulterior motives can become healthy and functional.
There’s no denying that Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey are a dreamy pair, but in this movie, their relationship is a nightmare. Their quick rise to love is certainly entertaining, but the foundation of their relationship makes it impossible to exist outside of fiction. The two meet as means to prove themselves at their respective jobs, and in true rom-com fashion, their supposedly real feelings take off from there. Tcharkhoutian cautions against this behavior in real life. “This can set up a relationship to be something in which a person is objectified as a vehicle to help you meet your needs, instead of a mutual union and partnership with pure and honest motives of loving each other through thick and thin,” she says. (Photo via Paramount Home Entertainment)
Lucy and Jack in While You Were Sleeping
Problematic Message: Falling in love with the idea of someone can result in a happy ending.
No one can resist a Sandra Bullock rom-com, so it’s no surprise this movie is still revered as a classic of the genre. It has all the necessary components: an unrealistic plot (she saves a man’s life, is confused for his fiancée by his family, and then falls in love with his brother while he’s in a coma — like, come on!), a handsome boy-next-door lead and, of course, love. However, much like the relationship in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, the foundation is faulty. Falling in love with the idea of someone, as Sandra Bullock’s character does, doesn’t equate to falling in love with the actual person, Tcharkhoutian clarifies, and to start a relationship with this basis in real life is ill-advised. (Photo via Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment)
Amanda and Graham in The Holiday
Problematic Message: True love lies in the next adventure, which is far from your hometown and your past relationship.
Who hasn’t dreamt of traveling to a foreign country; staying in a cozy, remote cottage; and falling in love with someone even half as good-looking as Jude Law? Well, there’s a reason it’s a mere fantasy. Tcharkhoutian describes the phenomenon in this movie as escapism — the idea that you need to escape from your day-to-day life to find true happiness or, in this case, true love. Although it’s fun to dream, if taken too far, this mentality can lead to irrational expectations. “This escapism mentality can create a false belief that international [relationships] are sustainable in the long-term,” Tcharkhoutian remarks. “True healthy relationships survive and thrive in the everyday, mundane routine, not in the exciting international adventure that depends on thrill and distance.” (Photo via Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
What other fictional couples should be on this list? Let us know @BritandCo.