How Hollywood Gets Love Wrong

How Hollywood Gets Love Wrong

How Hollywood Gets Love Wrong by Dr. Randi Gunther

You’ve probably watched quite a number of these predictable storylines:

Boy meets girl. Boy sweeps girl off her (sometimes initially reluctant) feet. The two encounter a few snafus before falling madly in love and walking off into the sunset, living happily ever after.

Or this one:

A man and woman are brought together under trying circumstances – war, maybe illness. The two surmount enormous obstacles that threaten to keep them apart. By the end of the film, the two walk off into the sunset, living happily ever after.

Though abbreviated, these two scenarios illustrate how films have taught us to believe that “happily ever after” is an endpoint, rather than a beginning.

They portray romantic love as a kind of super glue that, once in place, guarantees perpetual happiness.

Yet in my forty years of counseling couples, I have faced many intimate partners as they were trying to hold on to loving feelings that seemed to be slipping away.

What happened to their happily ever after?

Why Movies Set Us Up For False Expectations

The unchanging, everlasting idea of love we’ve learned from movies, novels, and poetry is the opposite of what makes true love last.

In fact, it’s precisely this kind of expectation that results in so much of the relationship dissatisfaction couples are experiencing today.

“Romantic” love implies that two people will forever adore one another and that the connection they feel will always be as intense and passionate as it is when they first fell in love.

It implies that once your search is over and you’ve found “the one,” you’ve figured everything out.

But for this to be true, it would require that the people in the relationship never change or grow. Both would stay stuck at whatever level of personal development they were at when they met.

There would be nothing new or exciting to report. Their love would be frozen in time.

As it’s becoming clear, this is the stuff of fiction.

People change. Feelings change. Dreams change. Life itself, changes. Unpredictable circumstances bring unforeseen experiences.

And believing otherwise is what creates problems for us later.

The Real Root Of the Problem

When we have an idealized view of romantic love, we aren’t prepared for the inevitable challenges and changes life brings – from the mundane like moving to a new home to the major events such as illness, raising children, and issues with your extended families.

And when these things do happen, we panic and resist. We crave what we once had. We become disillusioned with our partners. We blame them and think they’ve changed, or we blame ourselves. We rethink whether we’re in the right relationship at all.

But the reality is that we simply hadn’t set things up correctly from the start, and we’re not doing the things that recapture the magic and sense of discovery that existed at the beginning of the relationship.

Initial lust may fade, but euphoric, celebratory can be a constant.

When you enter into a relationship knowing that it’s natural for romantic love to change, you can use this phase of the relationship to set yourself up for lasting love.

What’s more, you can continue to enjoy the thrills of romantic love in your entire relationship. Why?

Because when you and your partner understand how romantic love truly unfolds and find ways to strengthen your connection through all the phases of your relationship, phenomenal intimacy is possible.

Transforming Romantic Love Into Long-Term Intimacy

When couples achieve true intimacy, they know how to bring back their initial romantic feelings, but embedded within the depth of the heart-sharing history they have created over time.

They’re able to take all the discovery, spontaneity, and limitless potential of their courtship days… and inject it into their relationship so that they maintain the excitement while growing together as a couple and evolving as individuals. The result is sweeter and deeper than what they felt like a new couple.

Written by Randi Gunther Ph.D.
Originally appeared in Heroic Love

Printed with permission from the author

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How Hollywood Gets Love Wrong
How Hollywood Gets Love Wrong

Dr. Randi Gunther

In her 40-year-career as a clinical psychologist and marriage counselor, She Had Spent Over 100,000 face-to-face hours with singles and couples helping them to sort out their desires and conflicts about intimate relationships. She Had explored all the reasons why their relationships so often start out euphoric only to crumble and how they can turn those disappointments into future successes. She truly believe that the greatest obstacles standing between you and the love you want is often right before your eyes but you are unable to envision the journey. Her specialty is to help you look at yourself and your relationships with heroic honesty and the willingness to look deeply at yourself and what you bring to a relationship so that you can finally create the kind of transformation that will change you forever. You'll finally understand why you've struggled in love, and what skills you'll need to create the kind of relationship you've always wanted - one in which you fall deeper in love while simultaneously scaling the heights of your individual potential. It's how her husband and She have made their marriage their bedrock for over 60 years. Subscribe to her free advice newsletter at where she'll tell you everything she has learned about finding and keeping a truly heroic relationship.View Author posts