Do Shows and Movies Like The Bachelor and The Notebook Hurt Your Relationship?
Oh, science. Why must you betray us? We spend our weekends watching reruns of The Hills and our Monday night schedules remain clear for The Bachelor. But according to a new study, the expectations set by these reality TV staples may damage viewers’ actual relationships.
Published in the journal Mass Communication and Society, the study surveyed 392 married people on their commitment to their spouse, happiness in the relationship, and how believable they found romantic relationships on TV. Survey takers were also asked how often they watched shows such as The Bachelor and Days of Our Lives and movies like The Notebook and Pretty Woman.
Participants who agreed with such as "Television presents romantic relationships as they really are in life” and "Television helps me understand what I can expect from my romantic relationships" were more likely to stray from their partner or have a stronger desire to be single. Overall, they were also less satisfied in their relationships.
The paper’s author, Jeremy Osborn, of Albion College in Michigan, thinks these shows could contribute to the country’s high divorce rate, saying in a statement, "We live in a society that perpetually immerses itself in media images from both TV and the Web, but most people have no sense of the ways those images are impacting them. The rate of marriage failure in the US is not dropping, and it is important for people to have a sense of what factors are leading to the failure of so many relationships."
We’re hoping Osborn will do another study about the impressive ability of women who watch The Hills and The Bachelor to spot shady, untrustworthy guys.