No acceptable level of violenceAnyone who follows the Grown Zone knows that true-crime reality TV is a major part of our media diet. This is because it so graphically illustrates the risks one takes when prematurely surrendering access to body, money, home and heart. Series such as Snapped (on the Oxygen network), Who The Bleep Did I Marry (Investigation Discovery) and Fatal Attraction (TV One) show how common it is for people to pay for poor relationship choices with their money, emotional health, physical safety and, too often, their very lives.

That’s why the relationship education we provide in the Grown Zone is about far more than mending broken hearts, improving sex lives and helping the lonely find true love; it’s a matter of life (and certainly the quality of it) and death. However, you won’t get the important lessons of these shows unless you learn to see past the often misleading narration to evaluate the decisions made by their subjects, using the healthy relationship principles we teach in the Grown Zone as a guide. To show what we mean, here’s how to watch Fatal Attraction as if your life depended on it (because if you don’t get the lessons, it very well may).

The story: It was true love from the very start. She was bright and beautiful, with a promising career; he was tall, dark and handsome, and good with children. They were a perfect match, made for each other. They had the kind of relationship that everyone dreams of.

The reality: Based on good sex, good looks, good religion, good money and other common relationship attractors, the partners in the relationship immediately and prematurely give easy access to body, money, heart and home, even though they are practically strangers, mere acquaintances who don’t know the truth about each other beyond their initial attraction.

As you follow the story, note how quickly (often within days, and even hours) access to body, money, home and heart are surrendered, and nearly always before any of the things you should know before allowing such access are discovered and verified. This poor decision-making leads to:

The story: The God-fearing single mother/hard-working family man/honor student with a bright future suffers a mysterious, usually brutal and violent death, for no apparent reason.

The reality: Here’s where the secrets are revealed—painstakingly of course, in order to exaggerate the suspense and mystery of the story: The church-going single mother is still having sex with her ex, a possessive and violent drug dealer and hardened criminal who has murdered before. The hard-working family man is actually a serial partner/domestic abuser with frightening control issues. (He’s also been molesting his step-daughter). The honor student with a promising future is an emotionally unstable and insanely possessive person with low self-esteem and a history of serial infidelity and deliberately provoking jealous anger in her lovers in order to feel sexy and desirable.

The story: What a sad tragedy for the victim! How could a love so right turn out so wrong? How could anyone have expected things to turned out so horribly?

The reality: Actually, all of these deadly and volatile “secrets” could have been discovered by the now-deceased victims well before putting themselves and their loved ones at risk, had they only taken the time to learn who their love interest was before rushing to expose themselves in the name of “love” (or as often, merely hot sex, or just someone with a steady income and a place to live). To quote a chapter of our book Loving In The Grown Zone: Hot new romance? Only fools rush in. Also, the “true love” described at the beginning of the story nearly always turns out to be one of the artificial substitutes we identify in our post, “11 Things Called Love That Are Anything But.”

Hindsight is 20-20, they say. We say: So is foresight, if you are operating with the boundaries and standards of a Grown agenda.  You may have made many of the mistakes you see in these reality-crime dramas yourself in the past. (We know for a fact that we have). Fortunately, you’ve lived to not only get the lessons, but to protect yourself by always making your next decision better.

To avoid putting yourself in danger, you need more than just sex education, pre-marital counseling from your minister, dating web sites and apps, magazine articles about understanding the opposite sex, and even what many matchmakers offer. You need a solid and ongoing commitment to personal growth and relationship education, so you can explore and challenge the beliefs that lead to unhealthy emotions, and naive and dangerous relationship decisions. To do otherwise is to literally gamble with your life.

Also, whenever you choose to watch Fatal Attraction or any of the many other love-turns-to-murder series, treat them not just as entertaining drama, but as truly educational cautionary tales. Keep a copy of Loving In The Grown Zone close at hand as a reality check against the self-destructive choices made by the subjects of these true-life tragedies.

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