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Get Real: Reality TV shows skew real romance

“Reality” TV has increased dramatically in popularity over the past five years. Shows  range from little brats crying over a tiara to an inside look at celebrities lives. Let’s face it: we’re simply addicted to this contorted version of reality.

However, in the past year and a half, I’ve noticed an increase in romance-based shows. What once started as just “The Bachelor” has spiraled into “Millionaire Matchmaker,” “The Perfect Match,” “Dating Naked” and many more.

The idea behind this is simple: Romance always makes for great television.

Millions of women (and men) flock to his or her living rooms to watch this week’s romance and troubles play out on their screens.

But how healthy is this?

Older generations know that “reality” as portrayed on TV, truly isn’t reality at all. All the young bloods out there believe it’s real.

The types of relationships displayed on these shows are generally unrealistic, harmful and, nine out of 10 times, completely staged.

We, as a society, have tried to idealize and romanticize complete and utter lies. The scariest part is we accept and choose to believe these lies as truth.

No longer is getting to know someone and taking things slow a viable option for the dating world. Reality shows have taught us that love is instant, stupidly passionate, incredibly dramatic and that it can be broken down into a few mathematical equations.

It has taught us that we are not capable of finding love on our own. That we need someone to point at another person and say, “This is who you’re supposed to be with.”

These shows devalue what love actually is and what it’s supposed to mean. It’s taken a concept that has been around since the dawn of time and is an integral part of our cultures and turned it into a game.

We have become a society of lonely people who believe they can’t be whole without another person. That there’s a void nothing else can fill except the “love” of another person.

It’s simply not true.

We need to turn off the TV, find ourselves and redefine our screwed up and twisted definition of what “love” actually is.

We need to learn the importance of self-love.

Many of the lonely singles on these shows will talk about how they need to find someone to find and love themselves.

While I do believe it is possible to love another when you’re not exactly happy where you’re at, I don’t believe in being with someone when you don’t even know who you are.

Think about it. Do you honestly know your likes, dislikes, hobbies or passions? If someone were to ask the dreaded, “So tell me about yourself,” would you be able to answer?

If you don’t even know who you are, how are you supposed to get to know someone else? How are you supposed to create the bonds needed at a practical level to have a meaningful and sustaining relationship?

You can’t.

Reality television doesn’t focus or even go to a deeper level. They focus solely on the superficial and the aesthetic.

I honestly can’t tell you how many times I heard, “He’s hot, I want to date him,” or any other variation come out of the mouths of not only those on the shows but my peers around me. We need to stop caring about the superficial so much.

What happened to the days when we fell in love with someone because of the passion in their eyes when they talked about something or the way they treated us with kindness and respect? Have we really lost the essence of ourselves?

All reality television has done is skew our perception of true reality and create a society in which values have no meaning. We’re taught to believe that we can’t be a whole person without another person.

This needs to stop. The only way we can do that is if we stop believing the lies that we tell ourselves.

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