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The award winning student newspaper of Lake Oswego High School

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The award winning student newspaper of Lake Oswego High School

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The Problem with Romanticizing Romance

Ansley’s Afterthoughts

The desire for a lover has been present all throughout history. Historical cave paintings depict two figures morphed together as they were one, Renaissance painters and sculptors, like Michelangelo, carve intricate designs of two lovers connecting through a kiss or a warm embrace, and Hollywood directors put on unrealistic scenarios of the nerdy girl with huge glasses and the popular football boy together to live happily ever after. For as long as love and media have existed, the other side of love has never been the center of focus even though it is arguably more impactful. The romanticization of, well, romance created beauty which is much more desirable and profitable compared to the ugly. However, it is much more common in our everyday lives to experience the flip side of the coin: heartbreak. Whether it is a breakup, rejection, argument, or the other endless causes of heartbreak. Realistically, how many times have you seen a movie where the main lead cheats on their partner at the end, even though they were “destined” to be together, or when the second lead turns out to be the one that wins the prince?

 Fairytale romance has also continuously pushed the idea that a relationship is all you need to be happy, even if it’s not one that’s particularly healthy or needed. The growing issue in romance is that we often delude ourselves into the wrong relationships, holding onto the hope that we could find a way to continue with this wrong, and not suffer the glaringly obvious consequences just so that we can have the grand title of “relationship”. It is much easier to pretend like everything is fine rather than confront the issue head on. Confronting the issue is never how it’s done in fairytales, so why would we do it ourselves? In today’s day and age, I’ve found that the media has put a relentless focus on romantic gestures, physical appearance and constant happiness, which often overshadows the true complexity of a healthy relationship. These standards have led to the idea that heartbreak is tragic and irreversible rather than a natural part of a relationship cycle. That’s not to say no one is allowed to be sad over heartbreak, but it’s important to recognize that heartbreak is inevitable. 

Recognizing that relationships don’t always match the scripted perfection on TV screens promotes healthy relationships with ourselves, our expectations and help form authentic connections with the people we love in our lives. With countless factors involved in creating the “perfect romance,” people often find it impossible to find satisfaction with themselves, relationships and media. Without relationships and love, there is no happiness, and without happiness there is no meaning in life, right? The media has painted love and romance to be something that Gen Z needs to survive, but at the same time has made it a requirement to have a fairytale romance for it to be “real love.” When people put in all of their energy into preparing for a relationship, the reality that sets in is that not all relationships will be what you see in movies or books. This is not to say that the media is the poison for humanity, but it is important to consider that the media silently prepares unsuspecting victims to face the reality that the energy being put into preparation for a relationship may not always be replenished in the actual relationship.

Fairytale romance is called fairytale romance for a reason, and it’s practically impossible to achieve the beauty standard of romance. In the end, it’s no one’s fault for this “failed” relationship. If the standard was fairytale, then we’ve all failed in our relationships at one point, but that is not the standard. We tend to make the unachievable the standard, and with this ideology, we’re all failures in our romantic journeys. While they hurt, take advantage of the “failed” relationships, remember the successful moments, and use them to train yourself to separate from the toxic standard of fairy tale romance. The healing process of a  broken relationship is usually long, grueling and painful, but oftentimes rewarding in a way that helps you feel full of life once again. Strangely enough with this romantic “advice” I’ve given to you readers, my entire life, I’ve lived it as if it was some sort of fairy tale. I’m still continuing to learn how to live my life as more of a realistic fiction rather than a fairy tale. In fact, it is far from a whimsical tale, but the problem with leading superficial lives is that it leaves no room for us to realize our mistakes. We can never get rid of heartbreak fully, but at least there are things we can do to lessen its effect. To lessen the effects of heartbreak, don’t pursue a picture perfect fairy tale. Recognize that the pressures from the media have turned us all into perfectionists, even if we might not know it. Stop romanticizing the romance. Instead, romanticize the fact that not everything works out in the end and that mistakes in romance lead to self discovery and rehabilitation. Mistakes are going to happen, we are going to want the picture perfect, and that’s something that is embedded in human nature. We as humans love it when things are perfect. The problem is that the need for this is continuing to grow more than ever. If things don’t work out, it is not a reflection of your misjudgment, or the other party’s misjudgment. Before a relationship, take a deep breath, enjoy the moment, and remind yourself that while the pursuit for the picture perfect in a flawed, media obsessed world is a beautifully inevitable trait of romance, there are more things that we can learn about ourselves than we expect from failures.

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