Is it Dumb to Wish for the Kind of True Love as in the Movies?

Dr. Wendy Walsh Dr. Wendy Walsh • 11/23/12

Reader Question:

Is it dumb to wish for the kind of true love as in the movies?

-Randy (Wisconsin)

Dr. Wendy Walsh’s Answer:

Movie love is so tidy, isn’t it? Boy meets girl. Boy loses girl. Boy gets girl again. Bring up thundering music, zoom in on passionate kiss, fade to happily ever after.

Randy, is this really what you want? A simple plot formula designed to inspire hope and stir up a quiet desperate loneliness in the audience.

Movie love is about as close to real love as movie theater popcorn butter is to the butter. One comes out of a can, the other out of an animal’s breast. Movie love is a mind trick done with smoke and mirrors: fleeting glances, dramatic music and erotic love scenes where no one loses an erection or gets a bladder infection.

But your real question, Randy, is, are you dumb? Of course you are not dumb! Are we all dumb to crave salt, sugar and fat? No way. Our anthropological ancestors grew an insatiable craving for these trace nutrients and every fast food restaurant has capitalized on that craving today.

Likewise, our small band of wondering hunter/gatherers developed a serious craving for love and connection with any foreign genes they encountered – a way to enlarge the gene pool. And now Hollywood has capitalized on that craving for you.

Real love, my dear Randy, is a choice, an intellectual commitment to exchange care with another person, even when that other person looks not one bit like a rom-com heroine. And the ability to have that is what make us human, not manufactured.


No counseling or psychotherapy advice: The Site does not provide psychotherapy advice. The Site is intended only for use by consumers in search of general information of interest pertaining to problems people may face as individuals and in relationships and related topics. Content is not intended to replace or serve as substitute for professional consultation or service. Contained observations and opinions should not be misconstrued as specific counseling advice.