Is Love Really Blind?

People LOVE reality dating shows. From the Bachelor and all its related shows to Love Island, the binge-watching possibilities are endless. There’s just something cathartic about watching attractive individuals commit the same dating faux pas that we’re all guilty of. In February of 2020, Netflix capitalized on this craze and came out with their own twist on reality dating: Love Is Blind. 

Contestants are participating in a social experiment of sorts to see if love really is blind. The men and women spend hours “dating” each other and asking crucial questions about their partners’ life story and deepest fears, but they never actually see the people they’re developing connections with. They spend their time in adjacent “pods” where they can hear the other person, but not see them. Things get real for many of the couples very fast and they get engaged in less than 2 weeks. Once they’re engaged they finally get to see their fiancee; they then jump into the real world of meeting the parents and living together, culminating in a wedding after just 38 days of knowing each other.

The show attempts to turn 21st century dating on its head: the dating scene today is saturated with apps and programs meant to help you find “the one,” but most of them emphasize looks and physical appearance more than personality, compatibility, or genuine connection. Netflix’s show forces contestants to build emotional connections before physical ones, and in doing so, it forces viewers to reconsider what we value in a partner.

So is love really blind? The show sends mixed messages about the answer to that question, but I’d say not really. Some of the couples that go through the experiment, say “I do,” and others surprisingly, and some not so surprisingly, cannot follow through. It seems to suggest that love may be blind, but the world isn’t. Many couples made genuine connections in the “pods,” but that just couldn’t translate to the real world because of the issues they face, such as age and lifestyle differences, judgement from others, or just not being able to turn an emotional connection into a physical one. 

The show is an extreme situation of course, because the couples only know each other for 38 days before getting married, but it does present interesting conclusions. What matters to each person in their relationship is personal, and there isn’t one type of right relationship or way to go about love. It’s a much needed and refreshing reminder in this time of social media, where anytime you open Instagram or Snapchat you can compare yourself to others and their relationships. We may not all be able to take part in a blind love experiment to find our soulmate, but you can try to take a step back from all the pressures of modern dating and evoke some of the show’s focus on building real emotional connections, rather than just swiping right.