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Is the Media We Consume Ruining Our Relationships?

The average person spends 7.5 hours consuming media daily. It would be naive to believe that the staggering amount of media we take in has no impact on our daily lives. One aspect of life where the implications of overconsumption seems most prevalent is in relationships and love. When we consume fictional or edited media, we begin to be engulfed in unrealistic expectations for what love should look like. Whether it be the music we listen to whose lyrics feature explicit fantasies, or the films we watch that portray romanticized versions of toxic love, the media we engage with has serious implications for modern relationships.

The ever-growing popularity of online dating apps, fictional romance novels and romance tv shows leaves the audience wondering if there is always something better. When we question or compare our real-life relationships to fictional characters or portrayals of love, we are inadvertently hindering our chances of being happy. Oftentimes people will say, “I wish I was dating in the old days. It was so much simpler and wholesome.” One of the key reasons we feel this way is because our predecessors did not have the freedom to fantasize about “what ifs.”

One of the reasons the elusive perfect man is hindering romance is because of the media. When we consume media that tells us there is always someone better suited to our needs, we will never be able to settle or find someone that reaches a fictional expectation. When individuals over-watch romance-focused television shows or movies, they become overwhelmingly bombarded by misconceptions and stereotypes regarding relationships. They form unrealistic standards about love and compare their own experiences to a fictional “perfect” version of love. Furthermore, with the use of social media, the notion of perfect love has become even more prevalent. When people post on social media, they post what they want you to see. Likewise, when people follow famous couples' journeys, they are only getting half the story. While the couple appears perfect and like soulmates, in reality, they are going through the normal relationship hurdles just like everyone else.

It is only natural given the amount of media we consume to fall into unrealistic expectations, but to put our best effort towards forming a healthy relationship, we must understand the difference between fiction and real life. To combat unrealistic expectations, pyschreg.org suggests:

● When engaging in activities or hanging out with others, avoid having your phone nearby.
● Sometimes social media can lead to jealousy and trust issues. The best thing to do can be to just take a break and allow for time to reconnect.
● Keep in mind that what we see online isn’t always accurate. Relationships are more complex than just a few posts or photos on social media.

Given the overwhelming amount of media we take in, it is only natural to feel pressure from ourselves and society to find the best romantic partner possible. However, it is our job not to let fictional expectations rule our everyday lives. What Pyschreg suggests is not only applicable to one’s quest for love. Social media and the media we consume influence almost every aspect of our lives. With the help of the recommendations listed above and our self-awareness, it is possible to find a balance between indulging in media and finding love.

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I'm a sophomore double majoring in Marketing and International Affairs at Florida State University. I love vegan food, traveling, and listening to music!
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