Is It Normal To Always Fall In Love With The Toxic Male Lead?

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Is It Normal To Always Fall In Love With The Toxic Male Lead?

There's nothing like the blissful escape of living in a fantasy, and when we obsess over a fictional television show and its characters, it oftentimes provides the excitement and the comfort some of us need when, say, we aren’t satisfied with our personal or professional lives. But when it comes to our love lives, can our on-screen fixations reveal something about our desires, and if so, what does it mean when we ship some of the most toxic couples on TV?

I spoke to relationship therapist Dr. Amita Ghosh about why women are drawn toward malignant TV couples, like You's Joe Goldberg and Love Quinn, for example, and she tells me there's not one, simple answer but that sometimes, "we like to experience life vicariously through other people,” which, yes. Definitely.

Situations in TV shows that would appear unhealthy or outlandish in ordinary life are more fun to watch than the nightly news, where actual disturbing or dangerous things are happening. When we latch onto the danger and excitement of an ill-fated ship, it's all about safely fantasizing. These unstable and wild relationships are "happening in a safe environment — it’s not happening to you," Dr. Ghosh says. "You’re still going through the motions along with the characters on the show, so it’s a way to kind of bring that excitement or adventure into our lives without putting ourselves in danger.”

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