7 Romance Movies That Show the Reality of Dating, Not the Fairytale

Once upon a time, there was a movie that portrayed a couple as unrealistically as possible. They never fought, nothing bad ever happened, and they lived happily ever after. The end.

But like, in what world, and how do we all find that? The truth is, dating is hard! In real life, there is no such thing as the perfect relationship with a perfect person. So we found some romance movies that cut the fairytale crap and help us deal with the reality of dating, which isn’t always as magical as we’d like it to be.

1. How to Be Single

What makes this movie great is that it doesn’t romanticize dating. It follows the story of a bunch of young adults exploring the dating scene in New York City. That’s a pretty cliché rom-com description, but this movie is realistic because it shows just how difficult dating and actually finding love can be. Lauren Wingo, a recent graduate of Marymount University, watched this movie after going through a tough breakup with her long-term boyfriend.

“It’s messy, heart-wrenching and painful, yet so full of hope,” she says. “It truly displays the mindset of continuing to take steps forward knowing that you will find what is yours amidst any heartbreak that comes your way.” 

Dating definitely can be complicated, and movies like How to Be Single resonate with us because the story reflects that.

2. Celeste and Jesse Forever

We all have that one ex who seems to still have a hold on us. We still think about them, stalk them on Instagram, and maybe even reach out to them (or at least seriously consider it). Celeste and Jesse Forever deals with very real situation of what to do about that ex you still care about. Sure, we probably weren’t married to that ex, like Celeste and Jesse were. But at any rate, it’s nice that this movie takes on navigating a relationship with your ex post-breakup.

3. Stuck in Love

Similar to How to Be Single, Stuck in Love follows the stories (and love lives) of multiple people. In this movie, though, they are all in the same family, trying to deal with love in its many forms at different stages of life. Makena Gera, a sophomore at Marist College, says this movie isn’t perfectly true-to-life, but she recommends it anyway because “the relationships aren't as romanticized as many romantic comedies or dramas tend to be,” she says. Plus, Lilly Collins, Logan Lerman, Kristen Bell and Nat Wolff are in it, so we’re already into it!

Related: 3 Reasons Why You Might Not Actually Want a Relationship

4. Sleeping with Other People

After 12 years, a man and a woman who once had a one-night-stand come back into each other’s lives. The catch is that, despite their feelings toward each other, they’re trying to just be friends. Lauren MacDonald, a senior at University of California, Santa Barbara, says part of what makes this movie realistic, is that it shows how romance can be born out of a friendship. Plus, it shows realistic unrequited love.

“I thought it pretty accurately depicts what it's like to be in love with someone who does not love you back, but continues to string you along,” she says.

It’s sad, but unfortunately quite a few people deal with this at some point in their dating lives.

5. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

In this film, starring Elizabeth Taylor, unhappily married couple George and Martha end up dealing with issues in their relationship in front of a young married couple Martha invited over to their house for drinks. One of the biggest issues George and Martha are dealing with is infertility, which has rendered them childless. Infertility is an issue that not many films bring up, which contributes to George and Martha’s realistic relationship in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?   

6.  Blue is the Warmest Color

This movie tells the story of a 15-year-old high school student who is coming into her sexual identity after meeting a mysterious blue-haired girl, whom she eventually falls for. The beauty of this movie is that doesn’t focus on the drama of a relationship, so much as it shows the details of Adèle and Emma’s relationship, making it easier to relate to.

7. He’s Just Not That Into You

Once again, we encounter a movie that follows the stories of several people in relationships and looking for them. These types of movies tend to be more realistic because they provide such a wide range of situations, from a rocky marriage to difficulty dating to a serious couple disagreeing on whether or not to get married. Jackie Buchheit, a senior at the University of Missouri-Columbia finds this movie to be realistic for just that reason.

“(The movie) shows the ups and downs that a relationship can have, like cheating, lying and mixed signals,” she says.

Annoyingly, all of that is realistic. All. Of. It. But the good news is that true love does exist (@Chrissy Teigen and John Legend), and though, dating is a lot sometimes, it is ultimately worth it. And Prince Harry is marrying a normal girl just like Prince William did. So there’s hope for all of us, right?