When the first season of the Netflix original “Love is Blind” released, I definitely binged it. I was immediately fascinated by the concept, and thought the focus on emotional and mental connection offered something other reality dating shows didn’t (looking at you, “Love Island”).
Season 2 brought even more drama than the first, with more love triangles and unexpected pairings. While the model of the show is still fascinating, there are crucial questions commonly lacking from the conversations between Love is Blind couples, particularly in “the pods.”
Given the contestants have a limited time frame, these are the top four questions they should have been asking each other to really find the right match.
1. “What’s your relationship like with your family, specifically your parents?”
Understanding your potential partner’s family of origin is crucial when imagining a future with them. Their answers can tell you a great deal, including whether they have a realistic picture of the lessons they’ve received from their family, both positive and negative. None of us remain unaffected by our families – so much of the formation of our personalities, habits, and mindsets revolve around how we were raised.
The Love is Blind couples tend to focus heavily on the things they have in common in the present, rather than digging into the formative experiences they had within their families. Other crucial conversations can come up from this question alone: if the person comes from a family where the parents divorced, have they reached a mature understanding as to why? Have they developed an understanding of what makes a healthy relationship?
While common interests are important, shared mindsets are even more essential.
While common interests are important – being able to share hobbies and lifestyle similarities with your partner strengthens your connection and can mitigate conflict – it’s worth arguing that shared mindsets are even more important. A potential partner could have received a great deal of influence from one parent and not the other, or felt disconnected from their parents in general. Perhaps they have a conflict-avoidant family, or a family where anger was expressed readily and unhealthily. No matter their individual backgrounds, it’s important for partners to work to discover whether or not they share mindsets about how to best help each other thrive in a relationship – and the journey of how they got to those mindsets in the first place.
2. “What does your perfect future look like?”
As is common with most dating shows, participants often have an unrealistic or overly romanticized version of what a relationship or marriage will look like. The Love is Blind couples have a different level of pressure, knowing that engagement and marriage are looming and they have a very limited amount of time to decide if they want to move forward in the process with anyone. When they meet their partners face-to-face, go on vacation together, and move into a shared apartment, the show centers around the connections and conflicts that inevitably arise. At the center of several conflicts is this unrealistic idealism, and a lack of ability to change their current lifestyles to fit a relationship.
Love is Blind couples, and couples in real life, can detect whether or not a partner is ready for the long haul by asking them what they imagine their future looking like. Many people want a spouse and family, but aren’t prepared to make the personal sacrifices that are necessary to fit other people into their life. A prime example of this from season 2 was Jarrette’s late-night, partying lifestyle – leaving his fiancé Iyanna at home alone several nights a week. Jarrette began to learn that his lifestyle wasn’t going to serve their marriage well, but it’s important to address these particulars before getting that close to the altar.
If a person imagines a spouse and potential family in their future, listen to whether or not they’re accompanying those dreams with their personal aspirations to become someone who can actually love a spouse and family well. If they’re realistic, they’ll know that a spouse and family affect everything – from social life, to career path, to time and money spent on things like hobbies or travel. While these changes can be for the better if it’s the right fit, it’s important for partners to scope out whether or not someone is actually ready and willing to take those changes and adjust accordingly for the sake of the relationship. If their dreams for a future are solely about their own goals, it’s a good indicator that this person isn’t ready for a long-term relationship.
3. “What are your favorite and least favorite memories from childhood?”
Similar to the first question, asking a potential partner to expand on their childhood, both the positives and negatives, opens the floor for discussions about any unresolved trauma. Childhood trauma is more common than we’d like to believe, and it doesn’t just come from family – it can come from school, relatives, or life events like moving or a death. If someone has pursued healing from trauma, they can relay that information in a way that’s realistic and compassionate towards their own story. If trauma is unresolved, a partner may express hesitancy, confusion, or even verdicts around their memories – you can sense that perhaps trauma is still heavily influencing their life, physical and mental health, and decisions. Both being consumed by trauma and sweeping it under the rug are signs that more healing is needed.
If, however, a partner can look at their childhood and memories with realism, compassion, and an openness to continuing the journey of learning and healing from their experiences, it’s a sign that they’re consistently pursuing a healed perspective of their trauma.
Our positive childhood memories indicate the types of memories we want to create with our future family.
On the flip side, positive memories from childhood tell you a great deal about what’s important to someone – is it quality time with loved ones, traditions around holidays, playing sports, developing friendships? The positive memories we hold from our childhood indicate the types of memories we want to create with our own potential families in the future; knowing your partner’s priorities in this way is helpful when deciding whether or not you’d like to create those memories with them.
4. “Do you have any religious or ethical values that are non-negotiable?”
Watching Shaina and Kyle on this season of Love is Blind was an easy call for viewers – both people were convicted in their religious views and were not willing to be open to change. While Kyle expressed a little more flexibility, it was clear that his atheism was closely held, as were Shaina’s Christian beliefs. While there’s nothing wrong with an interfaith relationship, both partners need to understand that it takes work, openness, and respect for the other’s beliefs in order for the relationship to thrive.
Shaina responding with “I’ll pray for you” to Kyle’s atheist beliefs wasn’t respectful of his views. Instead, asking how he reached where he was and why he saw it as important would have been far more supportive and indicative of a partnership that could thrive. On the same token, Kyle could have been more willing to attend church with Shaina to show his support for how her faith influences her life.
Whether or not you or your partner are religious, everyone has values by which they seek to operate. It’s crucial to understand a partner’s religious and ethical values and practices to see if they’re compatible with yours. If they’re not, and neither of you are willing to budge on your conviction, it’s a sign that the relationship will probably eventually be sabotaged by conflicting beliefs. If your religious and ethical values are different, and both of you are willing to communicate about differences and respect and support each other’s perspectives, then a deeper understanding can be reached. Spending time and energy trying to change the other person is usually fruitless – instead, seeking common ground and being open to change can bring about a much more peaceful relationship.
In Shaina’s defense, it’s also not wrong to want a partner who shares the same religious beliefs as you. What is wrong, however, is to try to bend someone into the mold that you want.
While Love is Blind is fascinating to watch, its concept lends itself to couples building an emotional connection – something that can’t truly be done without honesty and a willingness to ask the difficult questions. Perhaps if Love is Blind couples increased their honesty, particularly in the pods, we’d see more Lauren and Camerons and not so many Jessica and Marks (or is it Shaina and Kyle?).
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