~ JULY 2022 ~
Most would believe that the last thing you want to see is the budding of a romance when you’ve just experienced the crash and burn of your own. I argue that it’s the exact thing you need.
As someone who has tumbled through her fair share of heartbreak and separations, I know my number-one comfort during this utter loneliness is indulging in the cheesiness and dramatics of dating shows!
While in the throes of a bitter breakup and surrounded by used tissues and discarded food wrappers, the echoes of the clichés in every dating show called for me. I figured, what’s the worst that can happen — feeling worse than I already do? Impossible. It was during my two-day binge of “Love Is Blind” that I realized watching other people form relationships during the downfall of my own actually made me feel better.
“Love Is Blind” ironically gave me a sense of hope: If these strangers can fall in love without ever seeing faces, then there’s a chance something of that manner can play out for me too.
Even when the pairings didn’t work out and burst into chaotic flames, I still felt better watching the show because of the couples’ romantic drama that gave me a break from my own. It also made me feel better about my romantic disappointments, knowing I’m not the only one experiencing them.
After my “Love Is Blind” marathon, I found myself entirely absorbed in the dating-show genre to help cope. I would enjoy laughing at the foolishness of the “players” in “FBoy Island” and root for the girls who would put them in their place, knowing I’ve been there too. I got into a rhythm of choosing which pair was my favorite and which ones I couldn’t stand, comparing a lot of their circumstances with my own.
Dating shows with funny or cringeworthy moments helped me learn to also laugh at the relationship I was attempting to move on from, since I noticed how many of these moments felt similar to things I had gone through. “Sexy Beasts” was a great laugh for me to have during my heartbreak.
Watching comical conversations unfold between two people while wearing ridiculous costumes made my dating life feel simple and boring — something I needed to feel at that moment.
Other dating shows made me feel better and more endearing about the idea of relationships and pursuing them. “Love on the Spectrum” made me feel hopeful about the idea of love again. Watching people search for their person in such innocent ways without loopholes or games gave me a warm feeling about the concept of dating.
Dating shows in general made me feel less ashamed and fearful of putting myself out there again. Whether they were filling me with hope for my own love life, allowing me to laugh at my own cringeworthy moments or making me go, “Jeez, I’m glad I didn’t have to go through that,” they were an overall sweet distraction from my heartache.