What Do Relationship Experts Think About 'Love Is Blind'?
Reality TV is usually considered a guilty pleasure—programs you switch on at the end of a long day for mindless entertainment and secondhand drama. However, reality shows provide a surprising amount of insight into the direction of humanity. Watching real people communicate, create relationships and resolve issues tells us a lot about our own communication and relationship habits as a society.
Netflix's social experiment, "Love Is Blind," consists of six couples who date, fall in love and become engaged in "pods"—rooms where they can't see their partner. After becoming engaged, they finally get to meet their new fiancé/fiancée face-to-face. They then move into an apartment, meet their significant other's parents, and, four short weeks later, walk down the aisle.
Season two, which landed on Netflix in February 2022, has been a pretty wild ride for viewers, with some relationships ending in marriage and others ending in tears. We spoke to a few relationship experts to get their take on these fascinating relationships.
Nick and Danielle
This duo fell in love quickly in the pods and were the first couple to get engaged. But just as quickly as their love blossomed, cracks began to show. Danielle became jealous and insecure, often claiming Nick was being inattentive.
"Danielle and Nick are, at best, shaky," said Sandra Myers, a matchmaker and president of Select Date Society based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Nick, Myers suggested, is too swept up in his attraction for her to follow his gut instincts. "This is a case of two good people that make for a bad situation," she said.
Veronica I. Puryear, a Seattle-based relationship coach at Indelicate Coaching, has a different view.
"They both desperately need empathy, for someone to say, 'I see you and it makes so much sense that you are feeling anxious!'" she said. "Instead, they punish each other for their reactions, which makes them both feel even less safe."
While Myers thought Danielle wasn't ready for a relationship, Puryear disagreed.
"I believe that healing happens in relationships, so I don't agree that they must fix themselves first," she said. "They could use the support of a somatic intimacy coach to help them understand why they get so upset so quickly, what is happening in their body when they are activated, how to communicate their needs, how to self-soothe and how to build resilience for when things don't go their way."
As far as London-based psychotherapist Tasha Bailey is concerned, this couple simply got together too fast.
"We miss out on vital steps of communication and understanding of the other person, and it can leave us feeling vulnerable and mistrustful," she said. "Trust is a key ingredient in relationships, and this is something that does not come instantly but needs to be built over time. This is demonstrated in Danielle's fears and insecurities about the relationship."
Natalie and Shayne
Natalie and Shayne hit it off in the pods and, even though Shayne was additionally building a connection with Shaina, he eventually proposed to Natalie. On the whole, their relationship seems pretty stable—but they do, of course, have a few wobbles. For one thing, Natalie is focused on building up her financial stability, while Shayne has shown himself to be a bit more free-spirited and casual with money. But this doesn't have to be a deal-breaker.
"I would love to see Natalie tell Shayne how important it is for her to have financial security and for him to put in the work to improve his own financial literacy," Puryear said. "My concern is that on the bigger issues—like Shayne refusing to believe in the concept of a 401(k)—Natalie will have to take on a lot of extra labor to take care of them and this could be a huge stressor for her."
She added, "Money is sticky and I am willing to bet he has some hang-ups and fears that need teasing out."
Despite their issues, this couple seems to have what it takes to build a real, long-lasting relationship. As Bailey said, "I have hope that Shayne and Natalie will work out. Their playfulness suggests how safe and aligned they feel with each other."
Sal and Mal
Salvador and Mallory had a rocky start. Since meeting face-to-face, they've had a few difficult conversations. Jealousy was a common thread for both of them.
"The couple I feel has the best shot would be Sal and Mallory," Myers said. "Mallory was not genuinely happy with Sal initially after the reveal, but she seems to find his heart to be genuine and to see his ability to be a great husband."
Puryear, on the other hand, wasn't convinced by their communication abilities.
"With Sal and Mallory, there doesn't seem to be much communication about moments of disconnect," she said. "They take their space or perform a sweet gesture, but it's unclear whether they really understand each other before reconnecting."
Iyanna and Jarrette
For Iyanna and Jarrette, one of the biggest issues is their disparate lifestyles. Iyanna likes to stay in—she's looking for a husband who is mature and stable. Jarrette, on the other hand, seems to find it hard to give up his bachelor lifestyle of partying multiple times a week.
"Iyanna feels uncomfortable because she doesn't know if he would be willing to stay home with her when she needs him," Puryear said. "Going out several days a week is also an expensive habit and it can be scary to bring up money with a partner. This is about security and knowing he will always be there for her and choose their relationship over Taco Tuesday."
Puryear suggested the couple get to the bottom of why they value different lifestyles. Is Jarrette a fan of going out because he likes being social? Or is it about something else?
"They need to get vulnerable about what they really need and then compromise from there to avoid building resentment," Puryear said.
Shake and Deepthi
One of the most fascinating couples is Shake and Deepthi. After bonding in the pods over their similar Indian upbringings, the pair met in person. Deepthi quickly became Shake's best friend—however, he began to tell others he wasn't finding her sexually attractive. As Shake told Deepthi in the pods, he has a history of dating women based on looks rather than compatibility. While it's clear he wants the relationship to work, is it possible for him to become attracted to Deepthi over time?
According to Myers, chances are things will only get worse.
"I have seen situations where women grow more sexually attracted to their partners as they get to know them better, but men rarely follow suit," she said.
Bailey said, "It appears to have many layers, such as his fear of intimacy and deep connection, which he talks about in the show." But, she went on, there might be even more going on below the surface: "There could also be some level of internalized racism, as he desexualizes Deepthi as the first Brown woman he has dated by comparing her to an auntie."
What's next for these couples?
One thing that "Love Is Blind" shows us is love is always a choice. As each of these couples has shown, after the initial attraction and bonding, relationships take work and compromise—a perfectly matched couple isn't one that never fights, it's one that knows how to fight productively.