two silhouette of a man and woman on a pink background

My Fictional Boyfriends Ruined Romance For Me

By Timia Cobb
Web Content Assistant Manager

I was never a social kid. I had attachment issues and easily became my mother’s permanent shadow. By the time I entered fifth grade I was destined to be lonely. With my lack of friends, I somehow found myself at my community library and everything went downhill from there.

In books, I had an adventure, teen angst and most importantly, love. Sadly, I didn’t know how unrealistic the love I read about in countless books was. I didn’t know that I was setting myself up to have standards so undeniably insane due to every main character I fell in love with making me believe that men like them existed, and it was OK to want every feature I saw in them, in my future partners.

Let’s start by saying that I’m aware that a sexy Italian mob boss isn’t going to start stalking me because I’m the most beautiful woman he has ever seen. I’m old enough to know not to romanticize mob crime and that stalking isn’t sexy but what about the tamer book plots. Are women really insane for wanting an attractive guy, who has his life together bombard into their life and sweep them off their feet?

I’m not shocked that multiple women thirst over movies like “365 Days” because it gave them something real men never can or limitedly do these days, it gave women passion and romance that was reckless to the point that it became attractive. Yes, women can be strong and independent but can’t they also want to be loved so deeply that it makes everything seem as if it’s moving in slow motion, that nothing matters anymore.

Regular, real-life men don’t awaken the same emotions that unrealistic love and fictional boyfriends do. So, sometimes when you’re consistently in the talking-stage it seems as though all those fictional men are exactly that, fictional.

I was exposed to the epic love affairs from books, movies and TV at a young age. I wanted the compassionate and bad-ass boyfriend that was Finn Nelson from “My Mad Fat Diary,” I wanted someone who was as protective and fixated with me as Edward was with Bella in “Twilight,” Someone who believed in me as much Four believed in Tris in “Divergent.”

My views on love were skewed from the start, no one prepared me for the hard truth that these guys were either non-existent or already happily taken. My difficult look at love made me believe every love a person has should be cherished, even if it is difficult or bad for you at times.

This view made it certain that my fictional boyfriends for sure ruined romance for me. My standards were too high and when I found someone I believed to have met those standards. I would make up this image of them that was similar to all the love stories I’ve either read or saw. I would want them to be like all my fictional boyfriends I had hoarded over the years, making the relationship ruined from the start.

A lot of millennials grew up with apps such as ao3 or Wattpad. By the age of 13, we were already fantasizing about guys who would love us and treat us right. We were given these images of love and now the years have gone by and all we have is a disappointment from never being loved like the many main characters in the books we read when we were young.

Despite all of this, there’s one good silver lining, we can write our own story. We decide who we love and who impacts our lives. No one has to settle in reality because realistic love stories do exist, we just have to stop comparing them to fiction. Fiction is fiction, so sadly no one is going to slay a dragon for you and rescue you. However, that doesn’t mean someone won’t come along that makes your day brighter and that’ll complete you in the way you only thought a fictional boyfriend could.

All romance isn’t dead but maybe give the romance books a break, the escapism they give you isn’t doing you any good.

Featured Image by Timia Cobb

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