Reel Love Has Little in Common with Real Love

Film reel

If you base your love-o-meter on the cues given in Hollywood films, you may consider yourself in love when someone fills a room with roses for you, sweeps you up in a limousine, or flies you to Paris for dinner. But in real life, knowing when new love ends and true love begins can be less obvious. In a recent article, Sheryl Paul, an acclaimed author and licensed therapist, explains that love is not a feeling—it’s a verb. The love myths espoused by novelists and filmmakers lead too many people to have unrealistic expectations of relationships. Although it is reasonable to want the rush of excitement that comes from that picnic under the moonlight or a candlelit bath that stirs butterflies in your stomach, it is a stretch to expect that love will always manifest in such ways.

“Love is action. Love is commitment,” Paul says, adding that if real love truly does lie beneath the novelty of a budding romance, it will appear through actions. When partners are tired and they still choose to spend time with each other, they are demonstrating love. When you can commit to being there for your partner, even at times that you don’t feel very loving, that is when love is active. “Love is making your partner a sandwich even when you don’t ‘feel’ like it,” Paul says. It’s not always the elaborate displays of love that assure us that we are with Mr. or Mrs. Right. It is more often the little things that clinch the deal.

Love is knowing. Just like you know you love your parents, siblings, and best friends. Even though you don’t always feel overwhelmed with emotion for them, you know deep down that you love them very much. In our instant-gratification society, our “me” society, too many people give up on good, strong relationships because they expect the Hollywood ending. Sadly, they often miss out on the big picture—the real, loving relationship that might exist if only they could see past the sham shimmering lights and red-carpet ridiculousness of our cultural perception of love.

Paul, Sheryl. Love is a verb. (n.d.): n. pag. The Huffington Post. 15 Oct. 2012. Web. 17 Oct. 2012.

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The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • art


    October 26th, 2012 at 11:11 AM

    I like that statement that love is not a feeling but instead a verb.
    Very true and accurate, yet something many people miss along the way.
    People seem to think that love is about all of the stuff, like the flowers and the gifts and really the little things along the way that in the end don’t add up to too much.
    In reality, love is about all of those small little things that we seldom pay that much attention to, like the things that someone does for us when no one is looking and the many things that he or she does to make life just a little easier for you.
    Those are the actions that show real love, not ordering a bouquet to say I love you.
    Everyday actions are the things that say I Love You the loudest.

  • Tyla


    October 26th, 2012 at 2:28 PM

    Reason #356 for breaking up: we are never gonna have our Cinderella moment, so we break up with Mr He’s almost perfect but still doesn’t measure up to Prince Charming.
    These are the girls who really need to grow up.

  • A.Symonds


    October 26th, 2012 at 11:27 PM

    The things that we see on screen have nothing to do with real love.The background music,the perfect moments and all the jazz along with it are done in an ideal setting after many retakes.Young people tend to retain that notion as the one of love and when they come back to reality they expect the same!

    This is a dangerous trend and I really hope they are able to see beyond what the director wants.That real people are not perfect and hey, neither are you! You have got to look for commitment and a feeling of wanting to stay with that special someone no matter how bad your mood or how tired you are.Thats is true love,that is what makes life beautiful,not just the aesthetically pleasing elements we see on screen.

  • Sig


    October 27th, 2012 at 6:44 AM

    And if you base the longevity of marriage on that of Hollywood standards, be prepared to have a wonderful marriage for approximately 72 days and then you have it annulled ;)
    Come on, it gets far better than that when you invest the right amount of time and effort into finding the right person. Hollywood is all smoke and mirrors and I prefer my relatiosnships to have a bit more of a solid foundation than that.

  • Nerida


    October 27th, 2012 at 9:31 AM

    There are few worthwhile movies and in the romance genre there are hardly any.It takes more than the great first impression and the bed of roses in life for love to flourish.Commitment is not easy and walking into the sunset is not easy.

    We need to realize and understand that the portrayal is not appropriate and that real life is a totally different ball game.Because if we don’t do that it could well lead to problems in our real world love life!There have been numerous instances of that happening to couples and we need to be aware.



    October 27th, 2012 at 11:36 AM

    I remember reading an article in which a study found that lust lasts for two years in a relationship. If you see the attraction has not faded and the two of you are still going strong I guess it makes sense to say it is not just the lust but indeed love brewing.What do ya’ guys say?

  • Harrison


    October 28th, 2012 at 5:02 AM

    I try to talk to my girls about this all the time, the fact that what they see in the movies isn’t really the way that most relationships go. But these are things they don’t want to hear. They want that Prince Charming and the fairy tale because htis is what they have been made to believe that happy endings are all about. Their mom and I have a very sound maarriage but to them that seems a little too boring. They are looking for the excitement and the adventure that movies tell them is out there and I think that they feel like our relationship is pretty boring in comparison. How do I make them see that solid and calm does not have to mean boring or unfulfilling?

  • Milica


    October 28th, 2012 at 5:21 AM

    Its not always fantasy on screen.Some things are depicted honestly and I think it also depends on the viewer’s ideas.

    You could go watch movies and think that is all there is.Or you could watch movies,know what is fantasy and what isn’t and take your own decisions.Now that is what a sensible viewer would do rather than take everything shown on the screen as love or even completely disregard it.

  • reid


    October 28th, 2012 at 12:22 PM

    let us give the filmmakers some thought here too – they cannot show all the boring everyday stuff in the movies-who is gonna watch it then?! and also, there’s only two hours or lesser they have.what do you expect them to show you? the same boring things that you face in your life or something attractive and gorgeous that will probably not exist in reality and is not the true expression of love?!

  • Casey


    October 28th, 2012 at 11:25 PM

    I’m in love when I’m in love. Watching Hollywood movies of tv shows isn’t going to change my perception. But I don’t think same is the case with many people and they need to wake up!

  • jeff


    October 29th, 2012 at 4:10 AM

    There are men who get caught up in all of this too
    We see those women who would seemingly do anythign for their man
    And we sit around wondering when will it be our turn to find a woman like that
    And what we fail to remember is that this is fiction
    It is a movie
    And amny times the things that we see on the screen don’t translate to real life
    So don’t let this mis match of non reality interfere with finding a woman that is right for you

  • Devorah Steinberg

    Devorah Steinberg

    October 29th, 2012 at 8:44 AM

    Many couples struggle past the first blush of romance and excitement, feeling there is something wrong or missing in their relationship when they have settled into real life, real partnership and less tingle. Keeping together for the long haul takes more work than most realized when they first made the commitment, and couples therapy has helped so many couples discover what the “glue” really is in their partnership and how to appreciate who the other is, and what they have created together.

  • nell


    October 29th, 2012 at 11:02 AM

    While I certainly am not so naive that I would model my own love life after those in the movies I have to say that it is a temptation to want to have that perect ideal love affair that we are so accustomed to seeing on the big screen.

    Who doesn’t want someone to sweep you off your feet everynow and then? I think that you would be lying to say that this feeling has never happened to you.

    Movies are great and maybe we could all take a little relationship advice form them, but that does not mean that we do this to escape the real world but maybe just as a way to infuse a little fun back into our lives.

  • michael


    October 29th, 2012 at 1:54 PM

    what we see in d movies was made for entertainment.I see it as something that people go out to watch because those things do not happen in the real life.except a few select movies, everything else falls into this category. and only a fool would think that is the truth and especially so for the expression and definition of love!

  • George T

    George T

    October 29th, 2012 at 11:44 PM

    I have been in several relationships over the years and new love and real love is completely different.There is excitement in new love no matter who your partner is.But finding whether that is true love takes time.Having the same feelings for your partner even in difficult times and brig there for them at every stage are some of the cues that the love is real.

    Now what Hollywood shows is just glamor and all the bling.That is not what love is.That is what the movies are.And movies are not a true reflection of life.You would be hired to death if they made movies more like the real lives of common people.

  • lisa


    October 30th, 2012 at 4:38 AM

    I cannot believe how very stupid some people can be when it comes to love… they will say an outright no to true love without any bells and whistles and always chase the showy and not-so-true love..

    I have personally seen this being done by some people and it just makes me sick to my stomach to see such a thing.there is no honesty or truth in most relationships anymore…all that is present is the showy part.and I just hate this because it then becomes difficult for you even if you are not like that because almost everybody else is…!

  • Kathleen


    October 30th, 2012 at 3:29 PM

    I get it. . . this is a pipe dream
    But it’s what I still hold out hope for
    Why can’t I find that perfect maN?
    I am not saying he has to be perfect but is it too much to ask to find one who is perfect for me?

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