One of the hardest challenges in America today is finding fulfillment in relationships that last. While Hollywood so often portrays romantic images of perfect love, reality for many has become decades of singleness and rollercoaster relationships. I had the chance to speak with actress and fashion model Clea Saldania-Rountree for an exclusive, heart-to-heart talk on cinema love vs. true love and how to find happiness in tough times.
Clea, today many people are suffering from loneliness and depression, it’s taking longer on average to get married and people just seem miserable these days. Is America in a social and cultural crisis?
I feel in a way we are in a crisis. As generations evolved in the last century with the women’s movement and there was less pressure of settling down at an early age, people became too relaxed in courting and commitment. Loneliness and depression have always been around. To me it’s getting worse because of the mentality of today and social media; people are connecting more but it can be depressing for people who have no one and see people in relationships and showing off their happy life.
In the past, romantic relationships were all about helping each other. The idea is that two people who love each other can do great things together. As the economy has worsened, it seems like people’s attitudes towards relationships has become shallow and materialistic.
I think this is sad and accurate. Back in the day of my grandparents, you fell in love, got married, struggled together to make ends meet and supported each other through thick and thin and no matter what, love conquered all.
Before it seemed like being reasonably attractive or having a good heart was enough to snag a relationship. Now relationships are ultra-competitive and rather than being with someone to help them achieve a dream or purpose, people want someone to be rich right from the start just to get the time of day. Do you think this is backward?
In a way, it is backwards. It seems both men and women want someone rich. The men today want a woman to be like them, having a job and money coming in. It’s not like the old days where only the men should provide and the women stayed home. That’s fine to some people, however there are some women out there that still like that aspect and if they go looking for that, they are called gold diggers.
Do you think Hollywood gives the wrong example about how relationships should be?
I do, Hollywood does give the wrong impression … from the time we are toddlers watching Disney movies with a prince and the happily ever after to love stories like “The Notebook” people think that’s how life is and it should be, but it’s false. Ever since I was a little girl, my mother kept telling me don’t live on that perception. Life and relationships are hard, it’s like a job … never take anything for granted. These movies are fake and it’s just a fairy tale. What’s ironic is most girls like to watch love stories, I on the other hand hate it.
You mentioned relationships are like a job, i.e. you have to work to make it work. Do you think that people breakup too easily these days?
Yes, there’s no more ’till death do us part’ anymore. People are lazy and don’t want to try hard anymore. They think they’ll find someone else that’s better without any problems. “I’ll just get divorced, who cares. Oh, let’s try living together first, and if it doesn’t work out? Just move out!”
Do you think that one reason more people are having low success in relationships is they might be too judgmental of people who actually genuinely care for them? Is it possible to “miss The One” when it comes to dating?
People should come down from their totem pole and realize they’re not that perfect. Everyone I know has an unrealistic list of expectations. They always think that there’s more fish in the sea. Sooner or later, years pass by and they start to think, “Oh god, did I just pass up my soulmate?” Yes, you did … and it’s too late!
As a woman, do you think sometimes women expect too much from men and put unrealistic pressures on them?
Not really, I feel sorry for women today. The men are different today and not old-fashioned. In the last few decades I don’t know if parents are raising their sons correctly. Traditional men always pick up the tab, keep in constant communication, open car doors, walk to the door to pick you up instead of sending a text saying you’re outside with the car motor running. Most of all, traditional men respect women when they don’t have sex with them right away.
There are also women with loose morals that make it hard for the sweet woman that simply want a gentlemen. Loose women give it up easily, making it very convenient for men to always expect that from other women who would like to hold on to their virtue. Sex is like a kiss today, men seem to expect it on the first or second date, and if you don’t give in they go looking for someone that’s willing. That makes it hard for the woman with good morals who’s willing to wait for the right man, a monogamous relationship and maybe waiting for marriage. This holds true for men too. If a guy doesn’t have sex right away, these women will think he’s boring, not experienced or maybe that he’s not that interested in them.
Is there anything you’d like to say to readers about relationships and life?
Life is short. Don’t wait around. Follow your heart, appreciate what you have. You don’t want to live with regrets. If something or someone special comes along, don’t pass it up. Also, even though I’ve talked about working at a relationship, I don’t condone being in an abusive one, verbally or physically or staying with a philanderer.