Are you on either Team Jacob or Team Edward, and have the T-shirt to prove it? Have you read the entire 50 Shades of Grey trilogy and are unafraid to take out the books on public transit? Are you a sucker for romantic television shows and movies? New research shows that people who are more heavily invested in fictional romances are less likely to be committed to their own relationship.
Interestingly though, despite the lack of commitment, people are also just as likely to be satisfied in love as their peers are.
Jeremy L. Osborn, from Albion College, conducted a study on 392 married individuals. They were surveyed about their television viewing habits and belief in television portrayals in romance, as well as their own satisfaction, expectations and commitment levels in their own relationships. The questionnaires asked participants to demonstrate their level of agreement with statements like "Television presents relationships as they really are in life" and "Television helps me understand what I can expect from relationships."
Examples in the study came mainly from scripted primetime television, but also included unscripted shows like The Hills, soap operas like General Hospital, and romantic movies like The Notebook.
The study found that people who believed more strongly in television romances were less likely to be committed to their current significant other. They also were more likely to seek alternatives which could mean being in relationships with other people or being single.
People who believed more strongly in TV romances than their peers also assigned higher "costs" to their current or expected relationships. Costs could include their partner's unloved qualities, as well as loss of personal freedom and time. But because relationships were viewed as more costly, Osborn said, it also explained why they were just as satisfied in relationships as their peers were.
Though their relationships are seen as more costly than their peers do, they also expected more costs, which is why there is no gap in satisfaction levels between the two groups.