How television can affect our relationships

How television can affect our relationships

One in five have identified the ‘third person’ in their relationship — as their TV, according to new research.

A survey of 2,000 people found over 20 per cent of couples regularly row over their viewing habits, with “too much choice” being the number one cause.

Simon Till, spokesman for EE TV, which commissioned the study, said: ”With so much great TV available via live channels, catch up and on-demand, it’s no surprise that some couples can’t agree on what to watch and when.

A disgruntled 75 per cent of those in relationships said they often sit through shows they don’t like just to please their other half.

Football was the most argued about TV event, followed by Formula One and the X Factor. Further reasons which caused consternation are: partner falls asleep while viewing, asking questions all the way through, and ‘we never watch what I want’.

The other major difficulty with television and relationships according to research is that viewing can impact on expectations in marriage or families.

TV shows often depict an unrealistic view of relationships based on passion, adventure and unrealistic situations. We know that often TV relationships are romanticised and idealised but we prefer the idea of passion and romance to real life.

“Television can become an influence on our expectations” says study author Jeremy Osborn PhD, a communications professor at Albion College.

”The fantasy and escapism of our favourite shows are huge parts of the attraction but are we subconsciously buying into the depictions of love marriage, family and friendship that we see on the screen?”

Are women expecting their men to have a touch of the “Poldark” mowing the lawn or men wanting their wives to emulate Nigella in the kitchen?

We have all heard of the situations where followers of soap operas have confused them with reality such as the “Free The Weatherfield One campaign” from the Coronation Street plot, but when the continuing drama characters replace real life it can seriously affect other relationships.

Some questions raised in the survey are:

  • Do you ever feel that you have to keep up with the fictional characters in your favourite soap?
  • Do perfect couples portrayed on TV make you feel that your marriage is lacking?
  • Do romances and love stories make you feel as though something is missing in your own life?

Most people are aware that films are fictional yet they still have an influence on our moods. It is important to accept that most of the screen romances rarely go beyond the initial emotion and the “happy ever after” is assumed.

Fictional romances rarely show the tolerance compromise and hard work that keeps a couple together. And the mawkish family dramas so popular in America, gloss over the agonising adolescence phase of “why did you have me” and “everyone else is allowed to”.

Let’s enjoy the television in the room but not let it be another irritant in our lives that spoils real family life.

What do you think about the controlling influences the televisual media has on our day to day living?