n 2020, Netflix released a one-of-a-kind dating reality series that had millions of users from all over the world glued to their screens, watching the experiment on which the show was premised play-out. Within weeks of its premiere, “Love is Blind” shot to the streaming platform’s number one trending programs, attracting 1.5 million viewers for its initial episodes, and maintaining the high viewership to attract 2.5 million viewers for its reunion episode. Since Netflix doesn’t offer a comment section, the show’s viewers took to other social media networks to discuss their thoughts on whether (or not) love is blind. The different views that the discussion attracted lead to the question, is “Love is Blind” too good to be true? Keep watching to find out what psychology and biology say about the show.
“Love is Blind” has a unique format. Fifteen men and women are selected and isolated from the rest of the world, kept in a secret location with all the amenities except their phones, computers, and any other device they could use to communicate with any other people besides each other, or use to learn anything about each other. The men and the women stay in the same chambers separate from the other gender, and only interact through pods that allow them to hear each other but not see each other. Every couple gets a few minutes in a pod before switching to speak to other people.
Once two people get to know each other and believe they are falling or have fallen in love with each other, they become engaged, and are only then allowed to see each other for the first time. The engaged couple then proceeds to a resort for a few days, before going home to meet each other’s families and friends and plan their wedding. The second most important day in the show, second to the day a couple says its first words to each other, is the wedding day. The show’s producers ensure that the participants understand the weight that their choice at the altar carries for their future, and with this understanding in mind, couples are asked to decide whether love is blind at the prompting of their wedding officiant in front of their families, friends, and guests in the full glare of the cameras.
The Science of Love
Nick Lachey hosts the reality series alongside his wife Vanessa. At the start of each season, Nick repeats the same phrase about a belief held by psychologists that the key to longevity and success in marriage is a strong emotional connection, not physical attraction. While many discredit the statement as an attempt at sensationalism, to get the show’s audience to believe in the premise of “Love is Blind,” his claims are backed by science.
In 2013, the American Journal of Sociology published a study evaluating the relationship between communication and connection among 900 couples in heterosexual relationships. The couples featured in the study were part of a speed-dating program, and the study found that it took a couple an average of four minutes to establish a strong and meaningful relationship. Furthermore, communication was a more significant indicator of a couple’s level of connection, compared to their physical appearance. The study’s findings provide a psychological foundation for the approach that “Love is Blind” employs to help participants find love.
The environment the show creates for participants speeds up the process of falling in love; this phenomenon is founded in biology. Falling in love and experiencing new things both activate the same part of the brain that releases dopamine. Attempting to find love in a novel environment under the watch of the entire world floods the brain with twice the dopamine, triggering the brain to fall in love faster. Biology may confirm that “Love is Blind” contestants are kept in an environment that makes them fall in love faster, but this raises a crucial question, “Could the dopamine rush be misleading the show’s participants into believing that they are truly in love?” We think not. The following couples prove that the participants fell genuinely in love, and the dopamine rush just escalated the process of falling in love.
Lauren and Cameron
It’s impossible to talk about the successful couples from “Love is Blind” without mentioning Cameron Hamilton and Lauren Speed-Hamilton, who participated in the pilot season of the show. They met for the first time in 2018 in the pods, after struggling to find love. Lauren chose to participate in the show to find a partner who wasn’t attracted to her for her looks, while Cameron wanted to find true love after picking the wrong people by focusing on their looks rather than personalities. Since Lauren and Cameron are both introverts, the pods allowed them to get to know each other without the inhibitions and pressure of dating in the real world. After five dates in the pods, Lauren and Cameron were ready to spend the rest of their lives together.
When the two became engaged, well-wishing fans wished them prosperity while skeptics followed keenly, looking for any indication that their relationship was either staged or superficial. The couple proved them wrong by maintaining the strong emotional connection they had built in the pods, long after leaving the facility. They met and established relationships with each other’s family and friends, and talked about their future. When Lauren walked down the aisle towards an emotional Cameron 40 days after their first conversation in the pods, there was no doubt in the minds of everyone watching that they would say “I Do.”
Today, five years later, Lauren and Cameron are still going on strongly. While they appear to be as in love as they were at the beginning of their relationship, they don’t approach love and marriage with rose-colored glasses. They are open about the hard work and sacrifice it takes to build and maintain a happy and fulfilling marriage. The couple is planning to expand its family soon, and is actively trying for a baby.
Amber and Barnett
Lauren and Cameron may be the couple that has made most skeptics believe that love is blind, but the show has produced several other happy couples – Amber and Barnett immediately come to mind. Unlike Lauren and Cameron, who instantly knew they were meant to be, Amber Pike and Matt Barnett walked a longer route to find each other. Matt was getting to know more than one woman, and was torn between Amber and Jessica. When they got together eventually, their different approaches to financial management threatened to split them up. Fortunately, they worked through their differences, said “I Do” at the altar, and have been married for five years.
Alexa and Brennon
The second and third seasons of “Love is Blind” brought new participants for viewers to love and get behind. Several couples stood out, reminding fans of the great love story between Lauren and Cameron. Unfortunately, only one of the three couples has stayed together until now. Alexa Alfia and Brennon Lemieux are the picture of devotion and shared values, although ironically, they come from different religious and cultural backgrounds. They demonstrated a rare and soft connection, never raised their voices at each other, and offered mature advice to other couples who became engaged in the show’s second season. They joined the successful couples who came before them in confirming that love is blind, by saying “I Do” 40 days after their first meeting and have remained devoted to each other in the two years since they filmed the season.
Love Is Blind’s Alexa and Brennon – Are they still together now? https://t.co/4RQuCIHMpU pic.twitter.com/B7chBClmq7
— Digital Spy (@digitalspy) October 27, 2022
Clearly, “Love is Blind” has produced couples who have defied all odds, and silenced critics by falling in love with their partner’s personality and values, forging a strong emotional connection, and putting in the effort to stay together and make their respective marriages work. Although the start of their respective relationships was unconventional, the couples the go through the stages of a regular relationship, such as meeting each other’s friends and families, planning a wedding, discussing their living arrangements, finances, and children, and living together. Their success alone is proof that the show is not too good to be true.
However, the show has produced several failed relationships that disintegrated before the couples made it back from the resort, even at the altar when one potential partner said “I Don’t,” or ended in divorce after successful weddings. The high number of failed relationships and broken marriages would prove that the show is too good to be true if they didn’t reflect a similar state of marriage and relationships in the real world. In the United States, where the show is set and draws participants from, an estimated 41% of first-time married couples end up divorcing. Therefore, the few failed relationships alongside the successful ones prove that “Love is Blind” is not too good to be true. Ultimately, as in all relationships, only time will tell how long Lauren and Cameron, Amber and Matt, Brennon and Alexa, and the couples who said “I Do” in the recently concluded Season 4 actually stay married.