We are the first generation that grew up with TV available whenever we wanted it. Yes, our parents may have had TVs, but when they were kids, they simply had Saturday morning cartoons to look forward to. We have the magic of Netflix now, and of course, we are obsessed with it.
This unique obsession has given us a problem that no other generation has had to face on this level. No, it's not that we are a new kind of lazy or that binge-watching is slowly turning our brains to mush. The problem is, we fall fast and hard for the couples of our favorite shows.
You'd be lying if you said you didn't fall in love with Carrie and Sebastian's relationship within the first couple episodes. We don't have to wait a whole week anymore to see Chuck and Blair make it through that fight or not. All we have to do is click the “watch next episode” box and find out within the next 15 minutes. This gives us the ability to fall madly in love with couples on a TV show within a couple hours of binge-watching.
There is only a slight problem with this. People end up liking fictional relationships more than their own relationships. Here are four reasons we fall in love with TV show couples more than our own relationships:
1. We can watch the relationship unfold in a matter of hours.
Real relationships take time. They form over the course of hours spent together over multiple dates, then months, then years. Time is dedicated specifically to the other person. While this time is well spent and often goes by so fast that hours can feel like only minutes, it still takes up time.
If we binge-watched for long enough, we could see the entirety of Ross and Rachel's relationship in a matter of hours. The relationships we watch take up less of our time, but we still get all of the emotions. We still feel every breakup and makeup like it's our own, but we don't have to commit a significant amount of our own energy toward it.
2. We are on the outside of these relationships.
Watching from the outside allows us to pick apart the pieces we like and not dwell on the pieces we don't. We fall so in love with their relationship on the outside that we sometimes forget it hasn't always been smooth sailing.
Chuck and Blair really had a very toxic relationship, but we love them anyway and root for their success as a couple. In our own relationships, we have to deal with all of it. We can decide to only highlight our partner's good qualities. We get all of that person, good and bad.
3. We get to see both sides of the story.
My favorite love stories are the ones when I can see both parties' perspectives. We get to hear both sides of the breakup. We get to feel the emotions of each character involved. We get to see the hurt Elena and Damon both experienced when they separated. We empathized with both sides and knew what each character had done to make the relationship work.
We see both of their sacrifices. But in reality, we only know our side. We often have no idea what someone has done for us or what was given up to be with us. We don't know about someone else's pain in the breakup. We only know ours.
4. We know both backstories.
We know all about Bones' past relationships and why her heart is so guarded. We know all about Seeley Booth's relationship with his ex-wife and son. We know all about each of them and can see where their pieces fit together.
In our own relationships, all we know is our backstory. We can't see all of the pieces, so we don't know where they fit. We don't know which scars our partner can heal and which ones will just become deeper until we rest it and show them.
Fictional couples are great, and I believe they can teach us lessons about life and love. I have a list on my phone of the fictional couples who all possess qualities I want in a relationship. But at the end of the day, we have to remember they are just fictional characters.
Their interactions are based in fantasy. Someone literally sat down and wrote out every single line and every single one of their actions. Even though I'm invested in every single couple I've watched on Netflix on different levels and have fallen in love with qualities in everyone, I know none of that can really compare to how love is in real life.