Your Say

How the Media Influences Our Perspectives of Dating and Relationships


By Christopher Foo Wui Chyi

A lot of people long for love. Some have been in many relationships; some have been in none. Some do not mind being alone with nobody to commit themselves to, whereas some loathe the prospect of being alone. On the other hand, there are those who do not mind ‘trying out’ relationships with different people, hoping to eventually find someone who would truly be the apple of their eyes. Everybody’s perspectives of dating and relationships are different. Nonetheless, where do people get ideas of what a ‘perfect’ relationship should be? It’s definitely the media. The media, particularly movies, gives us false impressions of relationships by always portraying their brand of utopian relationships.

First and foremost, for those who are single, the media pressures them not to let finding love take its own course. Instead, the media pressures them to find ‘the one’. There is no shortage of movies that depict how two people fall in love, start dating, fall out, break up and then are reconciled once again. People today are very much influenced by the plot in such movies. Consequently, some of those who are not in relationships and feel lonely start to believe that their lives would become more interesting, colourful and most importantly happier if they are in a relationship. As a result, they resort to finding themselves someone to date and have a relationship with. Such desperation that is exacerbated by the pressures that come with romantic films causes many problems.

For instance, some people’s feelings are easily affected, and they might catch feelings for another person and hastily start dating, but then the feelings might disappear not long after. When that happens, there are only a few solutions for those who find themselves in that situation. Firstly, they can choose to put a stop to the relationship. Doing this is problematic as it might cause severe hurt towards the other party, whose feelings might be genuine and unchanged. Secondly, because they are afraid of loneliness, they could force themselves to stay in the relationship, pretending that all is well. Why? Because movies have painted being in a relationship as the best means to be happy and proud, and they refuse to let go of such ‘happiness’. Such pressure from the media does no good for people’s hopes to develop meaningful relationships when they’re truly ready.

Moreover, the media has caused many people in relationships to have unrealistic expectations of their partner. Although movies do capture the excitement of new relationships, they wrongly suggest that trust and commitment comes into force right after two people meet and start dating. For instance, movies tend to suggest that two people who are in the perfect relationship have full and immediate understanding of each other. They paint a picture where two people who are dating can read the minds of each other, such as knowing when he or she is angry, when he or she is sad, what he or she expects and so on. With that unrealistic influence, many people become unhappy with their relationships because a strong relationship actually takes months and even years to develop. Also, the media badly distorts how problems in a relationship are solved. In reality, when people in a relationship have an argument, both parties have to talk it out. Bringing home a bouquet of flowers does not solve a problem. It only temporarily dispels it, making the topic of argument become something that is waiting to recur.

In conclusion, it is imperative to note that watching these movies is a choice, and discerning the realism of the relationships portrayed falls solely in society’s hands. However, the media—particularly movies—should portray relationships more realistically as they really have a huge impact on society, especially when it comes to romance, dating and relationships.