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TV Dating Versus Real-Life Dating: 5 Lessons to Learn

Samantha Dawn | Freelance blogger
If you get all of your dating advice from reality shows, then chances are you’ll be ill prepared for the real dating world. It can be tough out there as made evident by FANGLE’s survey on several students’ worst dating experiences. The real picture is far from airbrushed couples in magazines and on TV, even if it’s touted as reality programming. FANGLE is here to clear the air with five lessons that years of The Bachelor, Love Island, Beauty and the Geek and all other romance-themed reality shows have taught us.

On love at first sight
If you haven’t caught on yet, several factors of reality TV are manipulated for a certain outcome. Including casting. Producers predetermine a pool of contestants where personalities and compatibilities are already known off screen. Contrary to what the screen says, falling in love at first sight is rare. Word of advice–don’t pass on the chance of getting to know someone just because they didn’t elicit special feelings upon first glance.

On physical appearances
It wasn’t much of a surprise when former Bachelor Sean Lowe divulged that contestants were asked to change their look for the show. Being a form of escapism, reality shows usually highlight beautiful people with enviable lives. However, this creates unrealistic expectations. Physical attraction may be important, but deciding to be in a relationship with someone shouldn’t be based on looks alone. Other traits such as intelligence, humor, and kindness may be more appealing in the long run.

On relationship ideals
Television has a way of setting standards that are impossible to reach especially when it comes to love and romance. This year’s winners of the british reality show Love Island are the perfect example of this. Ladbrokes reported that Dani Dyer and Jack Fincham were fan favorites and even walked away with the prize. It was a match made in reality TV heaven. Despite their palpable chemistry on air, Fincham admitted that their first time together did not exactly set off fireworks. Not everything about dating is as seen on TV. Not all dates revolve around a helicopter ride overlooking the mountains. Avoid disaster by keeping communication lines with your partner open especially when it comes to your needs.

On casual dating
Even though dating shows can put casual dating in a negative light, there’s really nothing shameful about it. It may even be healthy to keep options open. Arie Luyendyk Jr., of The Bachelor, took back his proposal to Becca Kufrin to instead propose to Lauren Burnham. That may have been brutal, but it’s better than forcing a marriage he didn’t want. It also speaks about the time frame of most dating shows— it’s hard to decide on marrying a person after only a few months! So by all means, date around. Safely of course.

On happy endings
At the risk of sounding cynical, a happily ever is fairy tales material, not exactly real life. It is everyone’s hope of meeting their forever person. But just look at Pop Sugar’s list of former contestants of The Bachelor if you want proof that happy endings are more fiction than fact. Many of the engagements fall off after a few months and only a few are made to last. (Sean Lowe and Catherine Giudici, are in fact one of the lucky few who have managed to make it stick.)

Before you put yourself out there, remember that not everything you see on screen will happen in real life. There’s nothing wrong about holding out hope as long as you can keep a realistic attitude about love.