Forget the lovelorn musings of Danielle Steel and Nicholas Sparks novels. It turns out authors like J.R.R. Tolkien and J.K. Rowling are the real romantic inspiration. In a recent study by researchers at the University of Oklahoma, it was found that sci-fi and fantasy readers make the best romantic partners. And, no, this isn’t just because they know the best possible date night takes place at Harry Potter World.
This literary genre speaks to deep-seeded values and qualities in its readers, values and qualities that also aid in being a good mate. For the study, readers of all kinds were gathered, and asked to participate in a survey. The survey consisted of a variety of phrases that signified unhealthy beliefs about relationships, such as: “When couples disagree, it seems like the relationship is falling apart” or “People who have a close relationship can sense each other’s needs as if they could read each other’s minds.” Responses to these phrases were cross-referenced with the literary genres participants identified with, producing surprising results.
Despite their frequent immersion in fantasy worlds, sci-fi and fantasy readers were seen to have more realistic expectations of relationships. This could partially be due to the fact that familiarity with fantasy topics instills a deeper understanding of what is real, but it could also be attributed to a quality of open-mindedness. It is also believed that the hero’s journey, which so many SFF novels embody, teaches readers that struggles can be necessary and people can change.
Psychological evaluations aside, however, aren’t there more qualities of SFF readers that we see as being valuable in relationships? We think so.
In alignment with their fictional heroes, SFF readers are looking to try new things, embark on new adventures, and take those they love along with them. In other words, they’re looking to create their own real-life hero’s journey. You’ll likely never be bored in a relationship with this kind of person. They’ll always keep the spark alive with new ideas for date night, special little surprises, and exciting detours. No matter what curveballs life throws their way, you’ll always be their sidekick and they, in turn, will always be yours.
Fantasy worlds are filled with all kinds of unique creatures, superhumans, superheroes, and species. As a result, fans of these fantasy worlds will tend to embrace people of all kinds with open arms. This means that they don’t hold their partners to certain standards or expect monotony. They embrace your quirks, flaws, and standout qualities wholeheartedly, never aiming to judge you for your decisions, dreams, or circumstances. Additionally, they won’t want to change you or shape you into someone else, and will always be there to bolster your confidence.
There’s something to be said for individuals who cry over the loss of fictional house elves. SFF readers are some of the most emotional people you’ll meet – and not in a bad way. They cry, they laugh, and they empathize with their protagonist’s experiences. Due to the tendency for SFF novels to turn into sagas, these readers invest vast amounts of precious time into these fictional universes and all the characters that inhabit them. Not only does this point to a sense of loyalty, but it also highlights a compassionate and caring attitude. They’re likely to be good listeners and even better confidants who will always express concern over your feelings.
Very few SFF fans suddenly lose interest in the stories that provoked their fascination with fiction. They purchase the entire book series, re-read it, wait in line for the movie, and shell out for all the sequels. In a nutshell: likely no fear of commitment here. They stick to what they love, and it never gets old for them. When transferred to a significant other, this makes for a long-lasting relationship complete with trust and dedication to one another.
Find Your Sci-Fi Lovin’ SO
You may now be considering ditching your Tinder profile and heading over to the Sci-Fi section of your local library instead, picturing your hands meet over the last copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Though certainly a meet-cute story that Douglas Adams would approve of, these qualities obviously don’t apply to all SFF readers.
Nonetheless, in the previously mentioned study, SFF readers expressed less maladaptive attitudes toward relationships than readers of classics and romance novels. While there’s always been a strongly held belief that fiction readers, in general, make good partners, it appears there are still some variable differences.
So, if you’re lonely and looking for love, you may want to consider trading in the bar scene for your local comic book store instead.
About the author: Ellie Batchiyska is a writer for The Pinball Company, a leading online arcade game retailer offering countless machines based on renowned sci-fi/fantasy movie franchises.