Portland Relationship Counselor: What We Can Learn about Love from Reality Shows

February 12, 2013 by

It may surprise a lot of you out there to hear that this Portland relationship counselor thinks that there’s a lot to learn about love from reality TV dating shows.

Now, I’m not trying to say that we should emulate these shows in our own search for a happy, long-term relationship – all you need to do is glance at the supermarket tabloids and you’ll quickly see that almost none of these manufactured TV relationships really last. But it is interesting to look at what draws us to these shows, how they differ from the way things work in the real world, and even how there are some similarities.

Portland Relationship Counselor: Yearning for More

One interesting thing about reality dating shows is that many of them involve what is essentially a courtship process. People are put in situations where they need to woo the other person with their charms by treating them like they are special and important.

This is in contrast to the way most relationships between young people work today, where they get together in groups with other friends and people often seem to hook up almost by accident. It’s easy and convenient, so they fall into what amounts to a relationship. The problem is that people don’t necessarily get to know each other in a romantic, one-on-one way until they’re already deeply involved. This can cause friction and even marriage problems down the line if they end up staying together.

Perhaps to a certain extent, our obsession with shows like The Bachelor stems from a desire to be treated like we’re special and we matter to the person we like. Dating someone shouldn’t be about having a person to hook up with when your plans fall through or you’re finished hanging out with your friends, but a process where you show your partner how important they are. That being said, the courtship process in reality TV is a false one because it’s based on surface interactions and stimuli.

Portland Relationship Counselor: Dating Shows Are a Funhouse Mirror

As much as dating shows differ from real life, they’re also a way to hold a mirror up to how things really are – albeit sometimes a funhouse mirror where everything’s distorted for dramatic effect!

We get to watch as people treat each other superficially and obsess over looks and surface behaviors, just as many of us do. We shake our heads as they hook up too early and don’t work on getting to know each other, even while we fall into the same traps that cause marriage problems. To keep your relationships from becoming like reality TV dating shows, talk to the Portland relationship counselor.