Before we were all binge watching Tiger King on Netflix, there was another hit series that captivated our attention and had us asking one question: is love really blind? The surprise hit reality dating show, Love Is Blind put that exact theory to the test thanks to the help of thirty millennials. The premise seems simple enough. Boy meets girl. Boy falls in love with girl. Boy sees girl for the first time face to face.
Yep, you read that order right. Men and women date in separate rooms called pods. There, they form an emotional connection without ever having laid eyes on each other. It’s not until they actually get engaged to be married within weeks that the walls are taken town (both literally and figuratively) and they get to meet each other and live happily ever after. Or do they?
To Have And Renew
Without spoiling the show, some actually make it down the aisle and are living in wedded bliss long after the show has wrapped. The show became an instant hit with viewers and even a social media sensation. Looking to capitalize on the success of the inaugural season, Netflix announced the show has been renewed for two more seasons slated for a 2021 or 2022 release. Even more people are looking to apply to be on the show for their shot at love after the success of the first season. So, just what has audiences captured by this social experiment style dating series? It might boil down to something unexpected – science.
Throughout the entire Netflix series, hosts Nick and Vanessa Lachey guide contestants through what is to come. Each time, the question is posed to the contestants if love is truly blind. So, it would be hard to get through the entire eleven episodes of the series not asking ourselves the same question. Nick Lachey even says that the entire premise for the show is based on the fact “psychologists believe that emotional connection is the key to long-term marital success and not physical attraction.”
Science Behind the Saying
Scientists have shown that there’s some truth to the old adage claiming that love is blind. To fully grasp the idea, we have to start from the beginning. Take a moment to think back at an old love. The initial meeting, the attraction, the conversations – all of it building and leading up to what would blossom into a beautiful relationship. Those initial days, weeks and months of getting to know someone started with a simple conversation based on just trying to learn the basics of what made this other person tick. What they did for a living, how they grew up, what their hopes and dreams for the future were. All of those initial questions led to building trust, which in turn, led to letting your guard down. It’s in that moment right there that science steps in.
According to BBC News, it appears that “once we get close to a person, the brain decides the need to assess their character and personality is reduced.” In layman’s terms, our brain makes the choice to not delve deeper into those red flags once we get beyond surface level with someone. Here the whole time, I thought it was the heart that was playing tricks. Thanks for clearing that up science.
If that weren’t enough to have you questioning some of your past relationships, a study done at University College London (UCL) – found that overlapping activity through different parts of the brain “inhibit not only negative emotions but also affects the network involved in making social judgments about that person.” Social judgments are the most sensitive when it comes to love.
That’s what makes a show like Love is Blind even more fascinating to watch. It’s removing all of those social judgments – no phones, internet, or connection to the outside world – while couples are in those initial stages of getting to know each other. This removes the issues most people face within relationships when it comes to today’s digital society.
Let’s Get Physical
Besides our brains, there’s another aspect that is brought into consideration – the physical element. A Chapman University study held over three-years, found attraction based on looks, physical gratification, and happiness in relationships are all connected and key to long-term relationship success. When that element is removed at the beginning, it makes me wonder if the couples that did find enough of a connection to get engaged, will really find their happily-ever after
All those red flags went ignored because the mind plays a trick on us by convincing us the other person can do no wrong. It made us forget all signs pointing to anything other than bliss. Add in the physical aspect after not seeing someone face-to-face for days or weeks, and you have a hit show on your hands called Love is Blind. While the notion of love or falling in love is considered something positive, it’s actually a bumpy and somewhat negative road to get there.
As science points out, though, the reason is because it’s engrained in us to naturally seek the sense of “reward” we feel from love. Not the actual facts. While we wait to see if seasons 2 and 3 can repeat the excitement of the first season of the show, for now, we can blissfully binge this guilty pleasure with a little more knowledge in our back pockets.