Reality dating shows have become a staple in television entertainment over the past few years. With dramatic storylines, romantic getaways, and attractive contestants, they are an enticing escape for the ego to get lost in unrealistic and self-serving desires. However, there's more to these shows than just entertainment value.
The Harmful Effects of Watching Reality Dating Shows:
Promotes Unrealistic Standards
The shallow view of attraction we are presented with in many popular shows today is a dangerous trap that can lead to unhealthy dating habits and expectations. It reduces love to a formulaic checklist and fosters an environment of conditional acceptance, modeling for viewers that if someone does not fit the narrow definition of "attractive" or "desirable," they are not worthy of love.
When we lack emotional intelligence and awareness, we are operating from our ego and tend to seek out the approval of others, gravitating to the standards of an unrealistic, drama-inducing mainstream society. In relationships, this can lead to unhealthy habits such as playing the field or seeking out physical attributes over genuine connection and emotion, ultimately leading to heartbreak and disappointment.
Most importantly, reality dating shows subconsciously communicate that love is conditional, and when someone falls out of those conditions, they are no longer worthy of our love, and we move on to someone new.
Contestants on these shows are encouraged to pursue multiple romantic interests, creating an environment of rivalry and competition. This type of dynamic can lead to feelings of mistrust, insecurity, and jealousy among those involved. Not only does this approach to relationships set a harmful precedent, but it also suggests that love is something that can be won through competition. The idea that love is a game to be won encourages selfishness and dishonesty in relationships. This can lead to an even more damaging environment where couples focus only on their desires rather than what is best for the relationship.
Fosters a Fast-Paced Environment
Dating shows often present a skewed view of how quickly love can blossom, with contestants being pushed to find a connection and declare their feelings in a matter of weeks. When we are eager to find someone to "complete us," we unknowingly display a lack of self-love and acceptance. This behavior of longing, seeking love outside of ourselves, is a sure sign of relationship disaster because we can't give what we don't have.
Building a relationship of trust and commitment takes time and effort. It requires meaningful conversations, the willingness to accept each other's flaws and mistakes, and an understanding that relationships are never static. Relationships require continual effort from both parties to ensure they grow and evolve positively. Both partners need to be honest with themselves and the other person, as well as each other's expectations. This means communicating openly and understanding that it is important to be able to accept changes in the relationship over time.
These shows are designed to entertain, and so they foster an environment of drama and tension by exaggerating minor problems and making them seem like major issues. Unfortunately, when unaware, it is easy for viewers to take the behavior they see on screen and apply it to their own relationships, often becoming frustrated over insignificant matters. As a result, these shows rarely provide insight into how to effectively handle challenging situations that arise in a relationship.
So, if you're looking for a healthy relationship, you'll be better served by avoiding drama (both on and off the screen) and focusing on healing and loving yourself before looking for that special someone to "complete you." This will lead to a more fulfilling and meaningful love life in the long run.