couple watching a soap opera on TV
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What have soap operas taught you about love?

If you love drama, chances are that soap operas quench your thirst for drama perfectly. Have they taught you anything though?  

I know I am probably going to sound extremely old but I grew up watching Tausi. Tausi was the first soap opera that I watched and fell in love with. I even remember the song: “Tausi ndege wangu, ndege umekwisha mali…” and then came The Bold and The Beautiful, Storm Over Paradise, El Cuerpo del Deseo. And of course today we have Mali and Pete and Selina.

The thing about telenovelas is that you never run out of it. A soap opera is a serial drama on radio or television that tends to talk about the lives of different characters.

Soap operas and portrayal of love & relationships

But here’s the thing with soap operas: as much as they are good for the visual appeal, real life is not as rosy as they make it seem. It is almost like the porn industry, things are not actually what they seem.

The script is often; a boy loves a girl from a rich family, they love each other but the girl's family is not in support of the relationship. They prefer a certain girl from a rich family. The two lovebirds have to fight for their love. It gets really messy in the middle. 

Sometimes, it is the other way round, a boy from a rich family loves a girl from a poor family. 

Soaps make life fun. It’s an alternative universe where everything is perfect and the good guys win, and the bad guys always lose in the end. They take the viewers from the real world to a world of illusion. The thoughts about the non-existent world make them more entertaining.

It is the desire of everyone to find someone who truly loves them. I know a lot of people who get excited watching soap operas because the actors and actresses always find their true love and it all ends up happily ever after.

One starts to think they can live the soap opera lifestyle in real life. ‘Oh my gosh...I just want a wedding like that of Camilla,’ they would say. 

The truth is, relationships require work and sacrifice, just like everything else in life.

Here’s the problem

The problem with these fantasies is they do not usually present the reality of things in life. That is why when you watch and believe everything you may end up getting very disappointed.

Where did you meet someone with the patience of some of the characters? 

The perfectly scripted actors on TV are not just out here waiting for you to fall in love. There is no one who is perfect and it can be frustrating to know that the more you go out searching for ‘The One,' the harder it is to find them because no one can actually measure up to the impossibly high standards set on TV.

Our perception of an ideal partner is determined by what we watch on television.

So, what now?

What has worked for me is to simply lower expectations towards your partner(s). Appreciate the love he/she offers and let the fantasy sustain the relationship. There is nothing wrong with having fantasies as long as you are in control.

But work with the reality of your situation and not try to live your life as dictated by a soap opera. Besides, more often than not, the perfect love story is the one you script and live, yourself.

Over to you, what have soap operas taught you about love?

Did you learn something new?

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