Idealistic, Realistic & Unrealistic Relationships

When I begin teaching my unit on dating, I always begin by looking at idealistic, realistic and unrealistic relationships! This activity is used as a springboard into other dating and relationship topics and always generates some interesting discussion! It’s low prep and you can pick and choose from the below examples or do them all! Either way you’re sure to get some lively student responses!


  • It’s important that students know the terms so I begin by asking students to define and explain what idealistic, realistic and unrealistic mean. I especially like to hear what they have to say about the differences between idealistic and unrealistic!
  • Then it’s time for the examples to begin…


  • Screen & Projector


  • Show students the first example, “Story of Teenage Love”, which is more of a story about a dating relationship that is set to music. This video is fun to listen to and I remind my students to make sure they are following what is happening in the relationship.
  • Following the video, I ask students to turn to their shoulder neighbor and discuss if the relationship in the video was idealistic, realistic or unrealistic and be able to justify why. If they believe it’s a combo, again they must justify why.
  • After students discuss it, we discuss it as a class with each group contributing to the discussion.
  • The second time, I show a commercial which portrays a relationship. I remind them to look past the product being advertised and focus on the couple. The commercial is for Wrigley’s Extra Gum and is titled “The Story of Sarah & Juan“. We repeat the entire discussion process just like we did following the first example.
  • The third example, I show is a movie trailer from “Reviving Ophelia“. Again, repeat the entire discussion process.
  • Another activity that I do with this topic is to pass out cards with steps or events that take place in a relationship.
    • The first time I randomly pass out the cards and we look at the order of the events. This is also a great way to discuss whether the order is idealistic, realistic or unrealistic. This version is definitely unrealistic because it’s all over the place and very non-sensical in it’s sequence.
    • The second time I ask them to order the cards in the order that most parents would like their teen’s relationships to progress. This represents the idealistic relationship because everything happens in perfect sequential order. While some relationships do follow this order or at least parts of it, students are quick to tell me that it doesn’t always happen that way which is a great lead in to the final line up.
    • The third time, students show and tell the more realistic order of many teen relationships and get very lively and animated as they tell it how it really is. For example, they don’t hesitate to share that many teens have sex on the first date and/or get pregnant with their first child and the relationship ends with no love, engagement or marriage in sight!

Regardless of how you use the above activities, it’s important that students be realistic in their dating relationships and expectations!


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

4 comments for “Idealistic, Realistic & Unrealistic Relationships

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.