Why Realism Is More Important Than Romanticism

If you watch enough rom-coms, you can get confused about how real relationships are supposed to be. Thanks to Hollywood, we’re often deluded into thinking that we’ll always get the guy in the end and there’s likely to be some magical kiss in the rain… then the credits roll.

But while romanticizing love is totally fine, there’s also a point at which you have to draw the line and come back to the reality. The real world may not be as fantastic as some Nora Ephron movie, but in some ways, it can be better. Don’t believe me? Here are seven reasons why realism is more important than romanticism.

  1. It makes us rational. Romanticism can take us down a dangerous path if we don’t remind ourselves where fantasy stops and the real world begins. If we allow Hollywood to dictate to us what’s considered rational behavior in relationships, we’d probably be in jail.
  2. It doesn’t warp our expectations. Just because you want someone, doesn’t mean you get to have them. That’s actually not how life works. The fact is with reality on our side, we’re forced to see that there are other people out there, and maybe the one we didn’t even consider is the one for us… and maybe he won’t look like Benedict Cumberbatch after all.
  3. It keeps us emotionally available. If you’re consistently tied to a world that doesn’t exist, then you’re also consistently off limits emotionally. You may not even realize you’re cutting yourself off from potential partners, because you just simply refuse to see clearly. Realism keeps you open to love, instead of open to an idea of love.
  4. It actually offers us a future. There is no real future in romanticism. It’s contingent upon something that doesn’t even touch the ground. Realism, even though flawed, is at least based on the here and now, so the only way to go is forward.
  5. It’s something you can touch. When you’re too wrapped up in how things should be instead of how things are, you’re reaching for something that you can’t touch. It’s a struggle. It’s exhausting. With realism, you can put your hands on it and actually feel it.
  6. It’s a lot safer. While being lost in a world of utter romance, where every bed is covered in red rose petals, may seem like a safe place to be, it really isn’t. It plays with your mind and traps you into thoughts that, honestly, have no logical purpose outside of providing an escape. Realism not only keeps you on the ground, but it keeps you safe because sometimes fantasy can back fire… then you end up jail. Maybe.
  7. It keeps us from missing out on real life. If you’re constantly thinking you’re in a Jane Austen novel and Mr. Darcy might be around every corner, then you’re totally missing out. When you come back to reality, you’ll realize that there’s as much romance here in the real world, only it’s a bit different. Just because it’s different doesn’t make it bad.
Amanda Chatel is a sexual health, mental health, and wellness journalist with more than a decade of experience. Her work has been featured in Shape, Glamour, SELF, Harper's Bazaar, The Atlantic, Forbes, Elle, Mic, Men's Health and Bustle, where she was a lifestyle writer for seven years. In 2019, The League included Amanda in their "15 Inspirational Feminists Every Single Person Should Follow on Twitter" list.

Amanda has a bachelor's degree in English and master's degree in Creative Writing from the University of New Hampshire. She divides her time between NYC, Paris, and Barcelona.

You can follow her on Instagram @la_chatel or on Twitter @angrychatel.