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Rom Coms Gave Me Unrealistic Expectations for College

Most people can relate to indulging in watching a cheesy romantic comedy every once in a while, and maybe even getting a little too into it.

When I was in middle school, I obsessed over every Nicholas Sparks movie.

I loved the idea of love and these movies painted love, romance and dating as something intricate and necessary to live a happy fulfilled life.

In many of these cheesy romantic comedies, the ending usually included a happily ever after. 

The thing is, these movies don’t just portray love to be this amazing, necessary part of life.

These movies also make dating look easy.

Romantic comedies will show the protagonist decide that they are finally ready to date and meet new people, and the next time they go out with friends they happen to meet the love of their life.

Or two people perfect for each other will bump into one another and from one clumsy mistake, they begin a relationship. 

Now, obviously, real life is more complicated than a movie or storybook ending. 

But seeing a feel-good movie that shows dating and love to be something that almost always works out, while some upbeat pop song plays in the background, can create some unrealistic expectations for dating. 

As if a relationship is simple enough that chemistry is enough to make it work out.

However, dating, and especially dating in college, has shown me that everything I’ve seen in romantic comedies is far from the reality of dating in college. 

Let’s talk about “the meet cute”

In the movies, it seems that there are so many cute, simple ways for people to meet their perfect match randomly.

In real life, this is not always the case.

Technology has made it awkward for us to feel comfortable approaching people in life and to strike up a conversation if we are interested in them.

In movies, there are so many places on campus where it feels natural to just start talking up a random person you have an interest in.

However, in reality, the most common places on campus are places people rarely want disturbances, like at the gym or library.

That  doesn’t leave many places on campus for that perfect meet cute scene we all secretly hope for. 

As unrealistic as the expectations that cheesy romantic comedies instill in us, this does not mean these movies are all terrible.

They can act as a great escape from the reality of all the stress that comes from not just dating in college, but from also just being a college student and trying to balance school with every other aspect of your life. 

I talked to UF junior Kaylie Tighe about her thoughts on rom coms. 

“I admittedly do like cheesy romantic movies because I think they're funny and lighthearted,” Tighe said. “Often times, the love interests meet each other in an unconventional or funny way which I think is entertaining.” 

I think when we watch these movies it is easy to get lost in the romance and ease of it all.

However, it is important to watch these movies and remember that that is all they are — movies.

Dating is not the key to happiness 

A cheesy rom com can make us long for something similar and a relationship that will fulfill our lives.

However, this idea of the need to date someone to feel complete to is not true.

While having somebody and being in love is an amazing thing that can bring you happiness, it’s not the only way to get your happily ever after.

When the movie is over, we don’t get to see what happens after the credits roll.

In real life, however, people are complex.

College is a great time to explore who you are as an individual and make memories with your friends and not stress if you still haven’t met somebody great yet.

In college, my dating experience has been far from what romantic comedies made me expect.

Coming into college, I was excited about many potentially cute ways I would meet someone I clicked with.

Unfortunately, the bars at midtown are not really the ideal backdrop for these rom-com moments.

From a guy answering my text five months later because he was “bad at answering his phone,” to all the terrible tinder pickup lines I have been subject to, dating in college is far from what I expected it to be.

Romantic comedies may be to blame for these high expectations, but that won’t stop me from watching them.

But it’s OK, because I have gained so many funny stories and learned so much about myself and what I will realistically want out of a relationship one day.