Love In Lines, Relationships

[Love In Lines] Unrealistic Expectations – Vanessa Tai

Admit it. As much as you claim to be an independent, go-getting woman of the world, there are times where you secretly wish someone will swoop into your life, fall madly in love with you and magically make all your problems disappear … or is that just me?

Maybe it’s a result of watching one too many romantic comedies, but I occasionally daydream about having A Rom-Com Love Story. You know the kind where you meet a stranger on a train and you end up talking for hours (“Before Sunrise”) or where you are the neurotic workaholic who somehow falls into a relationship with the goofy, laidback dude (“Miss Congeniality”, “The Proposal”, “Admission”). Yes, I love my romantic comedies, but does that mean I bring with me a set of unrealistic expectations when approaching love and relationships?

Kissing in the rain ... a must-have scene in every rom-com worth its salt

Kissing in the rain … a must-have scene in every romantic comedy.

In the recent movie Don Jon – written and directed by and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt – the main character, Jon is a womaniser who gets pretty much any woman he wants, including the smokin’ hot Barbara (played by Scarlett Johansson). However, no matter which woman he has sex with, he finds he still prefers the satisfaction he gets from porn. About a month into their relationship, all hell breaks loose when Barbara stumbles onto his porn collection. As they argue, Jon accuses her of having her own addiction – to romantic Hollywood movies. She becomes indignant, and claims those movies were nothing like porn. But is she right?

Just as Jon is no longer able to fully enjoy sex with a real woman, Barbara also harbours unreasonable expectations of the man in her life. For example, in one scene, she is appalled when she discovers Jon does his own housecleaning and insists he hires her housekeeper instead. In her words, “You’re a grown man! You shouldn’t be cleaning your own floors!”

Other scenes in the movie also shows how Barbara not-so-subtly tries to mold Jon into the man she thinks she deserves to be with. So while Jon is wrong in lying about his porn obsession, the eventual breakdown of their relationship can’t be pinned entirely on him. Barbara’s obsession with creating the perfect guy (the rom-com guy), has led to her being overly demanding and controlling.

While I’m not in a relationship, this movie was a reminder not to be so nit-picky when it comes to the men I date. As much as fantasies are fun to indulge in, ultimately it’s still way more satisfying to make the best out of what you have and embrace everything about your partner, both the good and the not-so-pretty bits. Life may not be a Hollywood production, but as Joseph Gordon-Levitt said in an interview for Don Jon, real life has so much more nuances that cannot be captured on celluloid film. And that, makes your love story so much more beautiful than any romantic comedy.

What do you think? Share with me your thoughts/experiences/suggestions in the Comments section below!

Love In Lines is a special under the Relationship section of Material World. The four founders each takes a week in a month to talk about dealing with love from different perspectives. Founder Vanessa Tai talks about navigating the often-confusing world of singledom. Stay tuned for more!

About The Author: Vanessa Tai is a founder of Material World who has previously worked on magazines Simply Her and Cosmopolitan Singapore. Now a freelance writer and a full-time contributor to this website, the 26-year-old dreams of attending every single major music festival before she turns 30. Her all-time favourite rom-com is “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”. Follow her on Twitter @VannTaiTweets.

[If You Like This Post, You Might Also Like]

1. [Love In Lines] Deadline For Love
2. [Love In Lines] Where Are All The Great Guys?
3. [Love In Lines] 5 Things Single People Hate