As a Certified Relationship Coach, I easily get caught up in reality TV when the focus is on love, dating, and marriage. Lessons learned from dating shows are actually helpful to those who care about love and how they show up in their relationship. You can often learn what not to do. I watch, learn and take note of how people turn into couples and how they experience dating and ultimately determine who they will be as a partner. It’s interesting TV and demonstrates a lot of the conflicts that really take place in love relationships. In this article, the focus is on 5 lessons learned from dating shows.
5 Lessons Learned From Reality Dating Shows
In This Article:
- Lesson 1: Don’t Settle for Less Than What You Deserve
- Lesson 2: Understand What You’re Getting Into
- Lesson 3: Some Things Will Have to Change
- Lesson 4: Some Things Should Stay the Same
- Lesson 5: Take Ownership of Your Behavior
Lesson 1: Don’t Settle for Less Than What You Deserve
My sisters, mom, and I get together every Sunday, via Zoom, to discuss our reality tv shows, Ready to Love and Married at First Sight. We’ve had in-depth conversations about the couples and even heated disagreements about the individuals on the show. But one thing I find is that the lessons learned from dating shows have caused us to really think about our own relationships. This first lesson is about recognizing who you are and what you need. On the Ready to Love reality show on the OWN network, it feels more like a competition and wanting to be chosen than it does a show about looking for a partner you can spend your life with. Of course, it feels good to be chosen, I get that, but that doesn’t always equate to that person being the right fit or person for you. You have a standard for what you’re seeking and you should never settle for less than what you deserve. Determine what is most important to you in a potential mate and don’t ever stray too far away from that. You should get what you want in a partner. Things like your spirituality, your values, and what you want for your future are the non-negotiables. A person who isn’t equally yoked in those key areas is likely not the person for you, and that’s okay. People will always reveal who they are in their behavior, and it is a must that you believe that behavior. If they stand you up, don’t return your calls, dismiss you, or are not there for you when you need them, recognize that this behavior doesn’t honor you and move on. Paying attention to the signs now will save you from heartache down the line.
Lesson 2: Understand What You’re Getting Into
Another one of the lessons learned from dating shows is knowing what you’re getting into. Relationships are no punk! You have to be all in or basically, you’re out. One of the other relationship-focused reality shows I watch is Married at First Sight. There is so much to take away from this one. I can’t quite tell if the individuals on this reality show always understand what is required to make a relationship work. I sometimes find myself yelling at the screen because I want people to stop taking marriage so lightly. It is a serious commitment and only those who are serious should apply. Prior to saying I do, I advise that couples study other marriages that are near and dear to them. As you observe those marriages, really think about what works for those couples and what doesn’t work. For those couples who you feel have a healthy partnership, think about the commitment they have made to one another and the sacrifice they each are making to keep their marriage healthy. Next, observe those not-so-healthy couples. Think about what sacrifices they aren’t making for one another and why their marriage may not be thriving the way that it should. Now ask yourself if you’re ready for what you’ve observed. Can you make the type of commitment that is required? If you can’t it’s okay, it may not be the right time for you and you could be ready later. There is a preparation that must happen before couples walk down the aisle. Being married sounds good and that is a goal for many singles, but do the self-work first so that once you get married, you can stay married.
Lesson 3: Some Things Will Have to Change
Another one of the lessons learned from dating shows is that you will have to make some adjustments as you plan to make a life together with someone else. What I have learned in my coaching practice is it is sometimes hard for singles to transition successfully into a committed partnership. They are so used to managing life on their own terms that it can be difficult to include a partner in some of those decisions. This is part of the preparation mentioned earlier. There are adjustments that may have to be made for the sake of your relationship. You’re likely going to have to check in with your partner. And it’s not about seeking permission for what you want to do, it’s about courtesy. In a relationship you have someone who cares about what happens to you, it’s good for them to be included in your plans or even kept updated on what your plans might be. Of course, this varies by couple, but the biggest shock to the relationship system is when one partner doesn’t quite get this concept. Some feel like they are losing a sense of their freedom, but it’s not that. It’s that you’re sharing your life with a person you love, and the keyword here is sharing.
Lesson 4: Some Things Should Stay Same
Yes, I know I mentioned some things will have to change, but also some things should stay the same. It’s okay, two things can be true at the same time. Lessons learned from dating shows have highlighted that you should always be true to yourself. You can be quirky, nerdy, sassy, blunt, a go-getter, and a motivator. The things you value and love about yourself shouldn’t have to change. The person you decide to love and who chooses to love you should be accepting and love all those things about you too. There are life experiences that have made you who you are and that has to be okay with your partner. Of course, if there are behaviors that aren’t so great that you recognize won’t serve your relationship well, those are the ones you work on. But bring you to the relationship and the person destined for you will welcome all of you into their life.
Lesson 5: Take Ownership of Your Behavior
The final of the lessons learned from dating shows is ownership. So many people shift blame and allow their frustration to be displayed in hurtful and harmful ways. Grown-ups take ownership. Each person in a dating relationship is responsible for their own behavior as well as their half of the relationship. I always challenge couples by asking each partner to share how well they are taking care of their half of the relationship. Their responses are often tied to what the other partner is or isn’t doing. I find this to be one of the most difficult concepts for couples to grasp. You have to do the right thing even if it feels like your partner isn’t. You are always in charge of yourself; how you react and how you respond. For your own sense of peace take ownership of your behavior and apologize when your partner is hurting. Whether it was intentional or not, own it. In many of the relationship reality tv shows, I see a lot of hurt feelings and people intentionally setting out to hurt the other. I get it, no one wants to be embarrassed or have their feelings hurt, especially on national TV. But how you show up will always be a representation of who you are. So always aim to be the best version of yourself by taking ownership, learning from your mistakes, and apologizing when you’re wrong. Believe me, if you do, you will have little regret and be able to move on with pride if the relationship goes in the other direction.
Relationships are grown folks’ business and shouldn’t be entered into lightly. Dating shows have surely been good for the drama, but they also reveal how much more there is to learn about relationships. Again, those lessons learned from reality TV are: don’t settle for less than you deserve, understand what you’re getting into, know that some things will have to change while some will stay the same, and be willing to take ownership of your behavior.
BMWK, what are some lessons you learned from dating shows?