the romanticising of romance and illness

Gerry and Hillary of P.S: I Love You; Augustus and Hazel of The Fault in Our Stars; Jamie and Shane of A Walk to Remember. Beautiful, tear-jerking romance novels and films that I admit I enjoyed. However, I realise one thing – the love portrayed in such stories are extremely romanticised. Even in songs such as The Way She Feels by Between The Trees portray love to be something that can save you or magically cure all your hurts.

Looking through the Internet, it seems that youths have a warped perception of love and relationships. For instance, a good relationship to them is one that encounters no pitfalls. A good relationship has no arguments (or arguments that are resolved with a romantic gesture). When this doesn’t happen, the couple falls apart, leaving both parties hurt and damaged. What irks me the most, however, is the portrayal of love which miraculously saves you.

People end up waiting for someone to come along and rescue them, be it from family issues, depression, etc. The sense of responsibility over one’s own issues is gone, and is shoved to whoever says “I love you” or “I’m here for you”. What’s even worse is the romanticing of illness.

Youths are presented with more and more love stories that end with one individual saving his/her partner:

He leans down to comfort her
She is weeping and he
Wraps his arms around
And around and around and…
She opened her eyes
And found relief in his life
And put down her knives

-Between The Trees


Yes, having someone there with you could make things better, but nobody can save you. You have to save yourself because nobody else can do it for you, even if they wanted to. The illusion of being rescued will not last. That said, you cannot save someone else. You can assist the person and prevent suicides and self-harm, but you can never magically fix the person.

Your partner is not a project. While recovery should not be neglected in a relationship, it shouldn’t be the end goal of the relationship either. The end goal is, well, a strong relationship and a life together.

I have to add that I quite appreciate the love portrayed between Noah and Allie (The Notebook):

So, it’s not gonna be easy. It’s gonna be really hard. We’re gonna have to work at this every day, but I want to do that because I want you. I want all of you, forever, you and me, every day.

p.s: I’d like to know others’ views on the matter.



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