Planning to go for a romantic comedy with your boyfriend this weekend? Well, scrap all your plans, for according to a study, 'rom-coms' can ruin love lives.
The study has found that romantic comedies such as Bridget Jones's Diary and Notting Hill give people unrealistic - and potentially unhealthy - expectations about real-life relationships.
AdvertisementUnlikely happy endings, improbable plots and faux philosophy are to blame, they say.
According to experts, the influence of films is instilling a warped sense of the "perfect" relationship within society and providing unrealistic expectations about romance.
They are also oversimplifying the process of falling in love and wrongly giving the impression that it could and should be achieved without any effort, it is claimed.
To reach the conclusion, the team at Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh studied 40 top box office films released between 1995 and 2005.
They then asked hundreds of people to fill out a questionnaire to describe their beliefs and expectations when it came to relationships.
The psychologists found that fans of films such as 'You've Got Mail', 'The Wedding Planner' and 'While You Were Sleeping', often fail to communicate with their partners effectively, with many holding the view that if someone is meant to be with you, then they should know what you want without you needing to tell them.
"Marriage counsellors often see couples who believe that sex should always be perfect, and if someone is meant to be with you then they will know what you want without you needing to communicate it," the Telegraph quoted Dr Bjarne Holmes, a psychologist who led the research, as saying.
"We now have some emerging evidence that suggests popular media play a role in perpetuating these ideas in people's minds. The problem is that while most of us know that the idea of a perfect relationship is unrealistic, some of us are still more influenced by media portrayals than we realise," he added.
The expert added: "We all want to be successful in our relationships. We want to be the special one and meet the special one. Unfortunately people tend to believe the Hollywood idea of a perfect relationship.
"That is just unrealistic. People feel if their relationship is not like a Hollywood film then it is not any good."