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Everything I Know About Dating I Learned From Soap Operas

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Soap Opera Love

I think when my mom and grandma let me watch General Hospital as a toddler, they meant it as a form of baby sitting. They had no idea I’d go on to use it as my perpetual guide to life. Oops.

Lies always come out – usually at the 55 minute mark on Friday afternoon.

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In real life, secrets can destroy us. Even if we’re never found out – even if it’s a secret that ultimately only hurts us – knowing the secret we are keeping and its potential fall out can isolate us, keep us in a constant state of misery, and ruin multiple relationships many times over. Not so on soaps! On daytime, people often think they’re doing someone else a favor by going it alone, or protecting them from unpleasant truths, but it always blows up in their faces. Always. Usually with a domino effect. Lessons to live by.

Discretion is awesome.

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Related, of course. But it always boggles my mind when soap characters have these BIG secrets and they openly discuss them in the middle of a crowded bar. On General Hospital, Brittany has a big secret about the baby she is carrying – which of course she will discuss out loud in her place of business – where the alleged (not really) baby daddy happens to work as well. Not so smart. This is a no-brainer in soap world and in our world – If you have something private or sensitive going on, be careful that it lands in the right ears–and no one else’s. That also calls for leaving your phone behind in a café. You never know who will pick it up – and in soaps, it’s always the wrong person!

Take a second to breathe.

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So many of the biggest soap dramas could be avoided if our beloved heroines just took a second to sit down and do a bit of meditative yoga. Teenage lovers Molly and TJ on General Hospital broke up like sixteen times this summer, all because they weren’t upfront about their insecurity and jealousy issues. Totally relatable. We’ve all been there – who hasn’t completely gone insane – or, err, sent a dozen furious texts in the middle of the night — when someone we cared about hurt our feelings? Just like on soaps, it can be super tempting to let our passions take over and do things we can’t take back. Take a second to press that “pause” button, and we just may avoid the entire crisis.

Random hookups can totally lead to true love.

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Soap characters have an infinite ability to find love. They also never give up, never have fear of intimacy, and never have a dry spell. Look at our beloved Erica Kane, she was married like a dozen times, and always was passionate and excited each wedding day. Soap opera characters will always find love again, and they will always – no matter how badly they are hurt – be willing to risk absolutely everything to keep that love. It’s maybe a teensy bit psychotic, but I think it’s fabulous.

Personal boundaries just don’t exist.

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On soap operas, it’s totally OK to barge into people’s homes uninvited. Sonny on General Hospital is the godfather of the mob, and yet never locks his door! It’s also perfectly acceptable to kidnap your beloved and lock them in a room until they admit they love you. Extra credit if you are Starr Manning and trying to reunite your parents (back when we still called her Starr, before she changed her name, hair, and moved to another soap opera…whatever.) Remember when Bo kidnapped Hope from her wedding to another dude? TOTALLY romantic. Not at all creepy. In real life, if we don’t like what our loved ones tell us, there comes a time when we need to accept their wishes and not keep pushing until they give us what we want. Otherwise, it’s time for a restraining order.

Go ahead, make the same mistake with the same guy over and over…and over.

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Oh, Frisco and Felicia. Sonny and Carly. Sonny and Brenda. Sonny and Connie. Sonny and…you get my point. On soap operas, it’s to be assumed that so-called super couples, even if they try to kill each other…even if one is presumed dead…even if they just got out of an explosive court battle…will get back together. It may be explosive “angry sex” or another walk down the aisle, but the same bad relationships will occur again and again and again. In the real world, it’s ideal to change our behavior, or at least kick someone to the curb and try for an upgrade. In soaps, it’s all about the open door policy.

Trust no one.

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Since couples are never really broken up, but never beyond killing/betraying the one they love, soaps sort of operate on a trust no one but leave your heart open to everyone scenario. This is very confusing for the non-fan but works something like this – Sonny was mad at Carly (his 3X ex-wife) for indirectly causing the accidental shooting of his current-pseudo-girlfriend and baby momma, Olivia. Sonny threatens to have Carly killed. (He’s a mobster, remember?). Carly cries and reminds him of all their good times. He huffs off. A week later, they hug and make up. She probably won’t forget that whole almost-murder thing, but they’ll probably have sex again around November sweeps. It’s the way the soap cookie crumbles. Suspicions and underlying mistrust are the building blocks of just about all soap relationships — though there’s no shortage of passion, there’s a huge deficit of faith…which makes it even MORE fascinating how they continue to throw themselves inside burning buildings for each other!

You can never be dressed too fabulously.

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Maybe in dating, but maybe in every other aspect of life as well. Turn on any daytime serial, any day. You’ll notice starlets having morning coffee in dresses you’d secure for your next prime cocktail party. And I love it – the best way to have a dramatic, colorful life? Dress the part.

Yeah, love is strange. Especially on soaps. And, err…in real life as well.

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