Is Love Really Blind?

By Giovanna Brasolin

On February 11, the Netflix reality show, Love Is Blind, returned with its second season. The season features the same experiment that tries to answer the questions: “Is love blind? And if so, can that love end in marriage?” 

Just like season one, participants who were looking for their life partners had the chance to create an emotional connection with a few participants without seeing them until being proposed to. Most of these participants have expressed their dissatisfaction with the current American dating world and its focus on appearance.

According to Katie Cooper, assistant teaching professor of sociology at The University of Tampa, the concept of the show is interesting because it’s a twist on US reality dating shows. However, she adds that there are some similarities to historical traditions of arranged marriages and matchmaking. 

“Although I hear some people doubt dating apps and express that people just want to use them for casual hookups, which is certainly the case sometimes, meeting a partner online has become one of the most common sources of new marriages,” said Cooper. “In some ways, dating apps are similar to this show, except you do see a photograph of the person as you initiate talking to them.”

The reality show has two other editions, including Love Is Blind Brazil, which aired on Netflix in October 2021. Some major differences from the Brazilian version to the American one were the maturity levels, their straight-to-the-point attitudes, and how comfortable the couples were to consummate their relationships on their honeymoon. 

The Brazilian sexist culture was also present, especially when it came to the male participants talking about women to other men. Despite those cultural differences, the experiment went on similarly.

According to Deletha Hardin, associate professor of psychology at UT, romantic or passionate love as we normally think of it does not sustain a long-term relationship, let alone marriage. However, companionate love does. She adds that love can be visually impaired, but even blind men tend to prefer hourglass-shaped women even though they have never seen that shape.

“The research says that physical attractiveness is more important for men in choosing a partner than it is for women,” said Hardin. “And while women in American culture will put things like a sense of humor or a man’s earning potential at the top of the list, physical attraction is not unimportant for them. It’s just further down the list. So, looks do matter.”

Some students like Jalyssa Nazario, junior history major, have noticed heightened feelings in the participants of the show. 

“Sometimes it kinda feels like when you are texting someone and then they get defensive out of nowhere and you don’t understand why,” said Nazario. “I think a lot of that was happening because they couldn’t see each other and they didn’t know each other.”

In terms of marriages, both editions were similar. However, the discrepancy is that all four couples that got married in the American version are still together versus one of the three couples that got married in the Brazilian version. 

According to Hardin, this might have been due to the collectivist nature found in Brazil where individuals need family and friends’ approval of their spouse. 

“American culture is all about picking a partner that is good for you, the individual. Other cultures don’t operate that way. So, we’re very much about finding a partner that helps us be a better culture, helps achieve our dreams, helps us achieve our goals,” said Hardin. 

Even though what keeps a marriage together is different for each couple, it has a tendency to be related to feeling comfortable with your spouse. 

According to Cooper, the most important part of a relationship is communication and being able to communicate openly about each partner’s needs. 

Nazario believes that a relationship needs to be based on trust, and Hardin believes that the more you are able to share your innermost self with a partner without representing yourself in a better light, the better. 

Netflix has announced that Love Is Blind has been renewed for the third, fourth, and fifth seasons. Those who liked the second season of the reality show will be able to check in with the participants when Love Is Blind: After the Altar comes out later this year. 

For fans, the wait for season three is almost over as the reality show’s upcoming season is currently being filmed in Dallas, Texas, and is set to come out later this year with 10 episodes. 

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