Practical advice from an actual couples therapist. Spoiler alert: it will take self-awareness, honesty, transparency, and setting realistic expectations.
Humans are social animals. We thrive on close bonds and connecting with others, especially in romance. However, it can be hard to find people for these lifetime bonds. Modern dating is no one's favorite- swiping left and right, getting breadcrumbed, getting ghosted, text conversations that lead nowhere- so it makes sense why people would be willing to date, and even get married, on a tv show. The best part of being a contestant is that the show weeds out anyone not looking for a lifetime partner. You don't need to worry that the person you're talking to is playing games; you know their goal is to find someone to marry, just like you.
You still need to set realistic expectations, though. Looking only at seasons 1 and 2 (since it's too soon to tell what will become of our favorite season 3 couples), we know that less than half of the contestants got engaged, and only four of those couples said yes on-screen. This means that only 6% of contestants will get married on average.
Of the four contestants who got married, only two are still married, so 50% of the marriages on Love is Blind ended in divorce. Interestingly, this is similar to the divorce rate in the United States, which, according to the CDC, is around 45%. All this to say, there's about a 50/50 chance that you'd get divorced even if you were one of the lucky few to get married.
Dating in the real world is hard, too, and no couple is immune to divorce. Besides, where you meet your spouse doesn't predict if you'll have a good marriage.
What does predict a good marriage is a strong foundation, shared values and goals, and a willingness to get through tough times.
If you want to be on the next season of Love is Blind or are looking for love in general, these tips will help you find the right match.
1. Get to know yourself first
Go to therapy and figure out the important stuff.
Things you should know going into any dating situation include:
What are your core values?
What are your non-negotiables in a partner or your life?
What's your attachment style? How your previous relationships have shaped you?
Do you know the recurring problems you face with your partners and what you do to contribute to them?
Do you want kids? If you do, how many, and how soon?
Do you want your partner to be of the same religion as you?
You'll need to know these answers because being honest about what you want and need, and being transparent about what matters to you, will help you find the right person.
2. Ask the right questions
Just as important as knowing yourself is knowing the other person, which means you need to ask the right questions. Many contestants have been doing this, but you'll want to cover the essential topics: money, family, religion, and values.
Some examples of what you should ask before tying the knot:
Do you want children? How many? How soon?
Would you feel strongly about one partner staying home with the kids? Or would you be okay if both parents worked?
Are you someone who saves a lot of money? Do you save for retirement? Or do you tend to spend your money more freely?
How would you want to handle finances with your spouse? Do you feel strongly about having a joint bank account vs. separate bank accounts?
Are you religious? Is it essential that your spouse has the same religion?
Do you want to move? Are you set on staying in our current city?
How would we navigate holidays with our families?
What values are most important to you?
3. Don’t get married on the show
The executive producer will hate me for this recommendation, but don't do it! There's no need to rush into a wedding just because you're given time, some money, and a film crew. Most people don't date and get married within such a small timeframe, and that's because getting to know someone takes time. There's no way around it. You don't know if the relationship will work in the real world when you’re both living your everyday lives again.
This doesn't mean your relationship can't work, but you should expect things to feel different (and more serious) once the show is wrapped up. Being filmed makes people behave differently, even slightly, so you'll want to get to know your partner off-screen. Plan to keep dating after the show ends and see if you have a long-term connection.
4. Find out how they handle conflict
Because of the short timeframe from meeting to marriage, you won't go through enough rupture-and-repair cycles to know what type of relational pattern you two have. And knowing this pattern and how you handle conflict is essential.
Can you fight and be distant, then repair and come back together? Try to get a sense of what your fights might look like by asking them how they typically handle conflict.
Some things you might want to know:
Is it hard for you to share complaints or make requests of your partner?
Are you quick to anger during fights? Or do you withdraw and shut down?
Can you describe what fights were like with your last partner?
When you were younger, what were conflicts like with your parents?
How will we get through our first big fight? Are we willing to go to couples therapy?
5. Be prepared for some tough times if you stay together
You haven't known each other for very long and have only experienced the relationship's honeymoon phase. But relationships go through many stages, and after the so-called euphoric stage (and then the early attachment stage) is the crisis stage. By this stage, you won't have the same rush of dopamine triggering your brain's reward center, making you feel high on love, or have oxytocin (aptly named the "love hormone") and vasopressin flooding your body, making you feel attached and connected.
During the crisis stage, you'll face hard times in your relationship. You may feel disconnected from your partner. Some couples can get through this stage and reestablish their closeness, while others can't (or simply don't). The show's romantic premise won't guarantee a fairytale marriage; you'll still have to navigate challenging times together.
6. Being on the show could help you find a spouse, but it might not be another contestant
Most contestants have not found their spouses on the show, but many are engaged now. The exposure to millions of viewers will make it easier for someone who would be a great fit to find you. You'll have more people reaching out because they want to date you, and they'll know you're serious about getting married, so there will be less game-playing.
On the flip side, however, anyone you date post-show will have watched you date other people, and they'll know much more about you than you know about them. There will be an imbalance of knowledge about each other that you’ll need to address.
REMEMBER: Love is fun and easy; marriage is meaningful and takes work
Finding a spouse on Love is Blind is like finding a spouse in real life. You need to know yourself, know the other person, be prepared for challenges in your marriage, and know how to address problems when they arise.
Falling in love is euphoric and fun, whereas staying in love takes more meaningful work and emotional investment. So enjoy that initial rush of pleasure-inducing hormones, then roll up your sleeves and commit to working on making the marriage thrive.