8 Things That Are Romantic On TV & In Movies, But Red Flags IRL

The CW

As a person who loves rom-coms and has seen more than her fair share of them, let me say this: Even the best on-screen love stories need to be taken with a grain of salt. There are plenty of things that happen in romantic movies and lovey-dovey TV shows that just don't happen in the real world — ever. There are also quite a few things that are only romantic on TV and in movies, because they'd feel creepy, problematic, or just plain weird if they happened to you in real life.

I'm definitely not the only person who's noticed these things. In a recent Reddit AskWomen thread, people shared the on-screen tropes that often come across as seemingly sweet and adorable... but are secretly kind of sinister.

Before we dive in, I must warn you: You might never be able to watch some of your favorite TV shows or movies the same way again. Read along and find out once and for all why you've wasted so much time trying to change that douche who was never that into you, or why that annoying guy you rejected at the bar last night would not leave you alone.

Following The Person You're Trying To Be With Until They Agree To Be With You
Stalking under the guise of making a "grand gesture."
I've seen this is so many shows and movies. Woman breaks up with man after he's wronged her, or simply because she doesn't feel interested, and says she doesn't want to see or speak to him.
Man hears "make a grand gesture" instead of the actual words that came out of her mouth. So he shows up, uninvited, to her workplace or home, to proclaim [his] "love" or how sorry he is.
If that doesn't work....HE JUST KEEPS SHOWIN UP till woman is swooning and in love again.


You remember The Notebook, right? Noah tries so hard to wear Allie down and win over her affections, he even dangles from the top of a Ferris wheel by just one arm and threatens to let go unless she agrees to go out with him. Meanwhile, she's literally on a date with another dude. If this happened IRL, you'd probably call the police, not fall in love with the guy.

Refusing To Take "No" For An Answer From A Woman Who's Not Into You
A woman saying "NO" to a potential male love interest is used as a plot device for a man to keep trying until she gives in. They kiss at the end so she obviously loves the thrill of the chase so all women should too.


Similarly, in Hitch, Hitch and Sara would have never wound up together if Hitch didn’t take no for an answer, right? And he was, like, a love doctor! But in the real world the guy who’s not taking "no" for an answer isn’t a fictionalized character played by Will Smith. It’s an actual person who you’re actually not interested in going out with.

Lying… Even If It Was To Protect You
"I lied to protect you"
Go sit on a thistle.


In Crazy Rich Asians, Nick never tells Rachel about his family's massive fortune until it's almost too late. Lies — even lies by omission — are a sign that trust is missing from the relationship.

Changing The Person You're Into
This guy is an *sshole but if I love him enough (become a doormat and put up with his bullsh*t) he'll turn into a good guy. See: damn near every K-Drama ever. Particularly Boys Over Flowers and Playful Kiss.


Gossip Girl's Chuck changed for Blair. Friends' Chandler changed for Monica. But, contrary to what TV and movies would like us to believe, we actually cannot change people we're into. I repeat. We cannot change people we're into.

Any Kind Of Love Triangle
Love triangles of any sort. In the real world, a love triangle ends with everyone having hurt feelings and feeling emotionally grubby.


Love triangles make for super juicy on-screen moments, as seen in Twilight, The Vampire Diaries, True Blood, and basically every other non-vampire movie, too. You and your friends can sit around and discuss who you’re rooting for and you can’t help but binge-watch the entire season just to see who ends up with who. But in the real world, love triangles only leave room for broken hearts. Plus, would you really want to be with anyone who was so unsure about you that they needed to keep a second person around?

Cheating On Your Current Partner With Your One True Love
Cheating, because our main character is The One and apparently that makes cheating on your current SO okay. (Source: tons of Nicholas Sparks movies)


This happens all of the time in movies and, most of the time, we’re so into the main characters that we don’t think about how the person being cheated on feels. In the real world, that person has real feelings. If you’re in love with someone else you should take a page from Jim Halpert’s book and break things off with the person you’re currently with before going for it. (Remember, guys? Jim dumped Karen before going for Pam).

Possessiveness Is Hot
Possessiveness. Think Fifty Shades of Grey. It’s so hot and romantic when a man wants a woman “all to himself” and will make plans and be jealous and controlling. Because those negatives are shown as “he cares” and “he must really love me”. In reality, it is pretty gross and unhealthy, as well as unsafe if those ideas are what young girls grow up seeing as love on TV.


Yes, 50 Shades of Grey was hot. But being controlled by someone is not at all hot in real life (except for in the bedroom, if that's what you're into). In fact, it’s toxic. Relationships should be about equal partnerships, not uneven power dynamics.

Giving A Woman A Kiss Because You're Over Arguing
Men kissing women to shut them up when they are arguing!!!!!!


That makes for a super romantic scene on the screen, but IRL that just means you have a partner who’s not willing to listen to you when you’re upset. (This was essentially Chuck and Blair's entire relationship on Gossip Girl.)

It's OK if some of your favorite movies or TV shows falls into these tropes. The key is to watch them with a critical eye and avoid mimicking them in real life.