I recently spoke to Yahoo News regarding the reality TV craze of Love Is Blind. Here's the extended interview you didn't get to see.
Is love really blind? What were your thoughts on this season?
This season showed many issues and dynamics that can occur in relationships that we all experience and reality television can be used to either mindlessly "tune out" from one's life or to actually "tune in" and become aware of how we relate in our own lives. There are always I few things I strongly push in understanding these shows. In reality television shows, often the casting is geared toward trying to pull for those dynamics as the audience generally is more engaged with high intensity interactions. In addition, even if the taping of the shows are done in a fair way, the editing team may be completely separate and showing us only the parts of the recordings that support the storyline they are interested in portraying. It is always important to keep that in mind when watching these shows and to remember that any one of us could appear to be a 'certain type of person' if our lives were filled and boiled down into an hour show. I saw this because I saw many people online making snap judgements about these people's overall character, saying Lydia was a 'stalker' and JP is an 'abuser,' etc. We have to remember these are people not characters and in their lives, there is likely far more to them than the pieces of film we saw. I always try to remember that when watching these shows. Here's a few specifics I took away:
It's important to remember it is an experiment. They note this multiple times throughout the show and the cast members also state this. Can it work? Sure it can - but on a mass scale? My answer as a psychologist to that is likely no. We have to remember that the people who even apply to be on the show are likely 'romantics' in their personality style - they believe from the start this could work and that's powerful! I am not that way and would not ever consider applying to a show like this. So the pool of candidates here is biased since they have a "placebo effect" of believing it could work to begin with. Having said this, there are some wonderful aspects to the show. In the real world, we start often with the physical chemistry that pulls us together (passionate fatuous love), and then we move to developing a deeper bond on our values (romantic love) and eventually we commit to a long-term bond with this person (companionate love). On this show, the script is flipped to first focusing on teh deep bond and romance, then adding in and determining fi there is passion to back the values bond, and then finally whether the commitment is going to be made. It is a TON of pressure on these young people to make over a very short period of time. Most couples average over 2 years before they consider marriage and these folks are making lifelong decisions in 4 weeks. It's admirable they would even consider that possible and for many couples, they are still together! And, given that so many people watch the show, I think it speaks to the 'romantic' that lies in each of us that the fairytale is possible and we could be loved for who we are. In a true healthy relationship, that is what holds people together and true love is blind, but it is also okay for love to have physical chemistry and a passion on the outside too!
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