If you’re honest with yourself, when you first began tuning into The Bachelor and/or The Bachelorette, it was probably less for the fairytale and more for the trainwreck of it all. And sure, we still get those hot mess moments — Juan Pablo Galavis’s entire season, really — but there’s also been much success that might have put some overly-romanticized thoughts into our heads. But is the show hurting our own love lives?

That’s the question that the folks over at Shape Magazine posed recently, citing an Albion College study. The researchers took a deeper look into women who watch relationships like Sean Lowe and Catherine Giudici’s develop on-screen and start to believe that what they’re seeing is totally attainable. And apparently, the Lowes’ “grown sexy” romance can cause us ladies to be less committed in our relationships — who knew?

“What’s disturbing is that the sample had an average age of 47, and subjects were all married,” the study’s Jeremy Osborn, Ph.D says. In other words, these gals should know better!

Now, if you’re still just cuing up your DVR each week to enjoy the drama or the escape from the real world, you’re in the clear. However, dedicated viewers that take it all at face value can start to believe that this is what real relationships look like, Dr. Osborn says.

Meanwhile, Robin Nabi, Ph.D., a professor of communications at UC Santa Barbara, points out that “if you’re seeing a lot of unrealistic depictions of falling in love at first sight, then you might, over time, think that’s something that actually happens.” One result of this might be the tendency to write off potential matches if you don’t feel those sparks in the first meeting.

So how can we avoid getting caught up in the whirlwind of Andi Dorfman’s country-hopping, adrenaline pumping journey? Dr. Osborn suggests a continuous reminder that real life is not a sizzle reel. “Good TV isn’t watching people sit around in their sweatpants reading the newspaper or eating Cheetos,” he says. “The show puts people in situations that ramp up the experience of euphoria.” That, and don’t hem and haw over any secret issues you might have with your dude, open up a dialogue! Just don’t tell him that you want him to be more like J.P. Rosenbaum, he won’t like that…

Are you guilty of taking the show a little too seriously? Tell us in the comments below.

Source: Shape Magazine