Can You Find Love by Participating in a Dating TV Show?

finding love on tvThis may sound like a weird thing to think about but reading all the reviews englishrosiee has written recently (such as her harsh but fair thoughts about My Hotter Half and Extreme Engagement) made me think about whether reality shows have anything to do with well… reality. I’m also curious whether people actually ever find love that lasts or is it all for show?

My own reality TV addiction came to an end when I wrote the last word of my MA thesis 8 years ago. In my mind, A Shot of Love with Tila Tequila, where a bisexual girl keeps making out with lots of people to find out who she fancies, is as exciting as it gets.
I’m happy to find out through research that it’s not and that producers keep doing everything they can to keep people interested and allegedly for contestants to find love. Here’s a list of 5 most interesting ideas  I’ve found:

1. To Rome For Love

Five African-American women with different life stories travel to Rome to find love. Sounds interesting? Sure! The show has beautiful women, beautiful men and a beautiful city going for it.
Italian men have a very good rep and as someone who’s dated three of them (and kissed some more!) I can tell you that there’s a lot of truth in what people say about them.

Chances of finding love: Seeing that international relationships are difficult in general I just don’t see how such a series could en up producing a long-term romance for anyone.

2. Married at First Sight

WHAT? People legally marrying strangers and seeing how it’ll work out? Yes, this is exactly what happens on this show that has been announced to run for at least 9 seasons. The couples marry on the day they meet and then they live together for 8 weeks. After that they make their final decision about whether they want to stay together or divorce.

Chances for finding love: Ummm. well, this is pretty hardcore. I guess swim or sink kind of approach can be good but people have to be really lucky to end up finding someone who they can share a lifetime with.
I’ve had a look at the shows’ stats and out of 25 married couples 5 are still married long time after the show ended. I guess given that 50% of marriages in the US end with a divorce this isn’t too bad!

3. Find My First Love

I think almost everyone has fantasised about getting back with their first love during their single days. However, most of us think about it for a while and then realise (often when they meet the next person of interest) why their first love story didn’t work out.
Some people take part in reality TV shows to chase their first love instead, hoping to rekindle. Crazy Ex Girlfriend vibe much?

Chances of finding love: Of all human weaknesses related to looking for love, this one bugs me the most. I know a lot of people who’ve indulged in the first love escapism, thinking that their life would be perfect, if only they were reunited with the very first person they loved.
The reason why it bugs me so much is because most people are not the same person after a few years that they were when they dated someone. That’s why their fantasy about something that happened back then is just a fantasy. Sure, maybe someone has worked out with such a person after being reunited but I really think that for most of people such rekindling would end up badly.
But hey, maybe these people need precisely that – to meet the old flame and get a bucket of cold water poured over their head!

4. Are You The One? 

This TV show has a more complicated idea behind it. A bunch of people live together and go on dates to find out who “perfect matches” within the group are, according to a matchmaking algorithm created by producers. If they guess the group wins a million USD to share. Yay? Sounds pretty complicated…

Chances of finding love: Judging by the stats extremely low! Most people are either friends or nothing but I’ve spotted a successful couple or two among 8 seasons of 20 contestants each… It may be that people are too busy trying to figure out who the perfect matches are to win the money to actually focus on the search for love during the show.

5. Naked and Afraid

Naked and Afraid was not designed as a dating show but the producers keep choosing 1 man and 1 woman for this show so it seems like they’re hoping for some romance to happen.
The show follows these two strangers trying to survive in the wild…naked. Lol. I just could not help myself but include it on this list. Pretty insane, huh?

Chances of finding love: Not surprisingly there have been some contestants who have developed an immediate attraction. In terms of finding love, I guess there’s not so much of a difference between this show and Married At First Sight. It either happens or it doesn’t. One has the disadvantage of the whole world seeing you naked, another one of having an 8 week long marriage to your name.

There are of course more traditional shows where it’s literally a case of a bunch of men or women competing for attention of one person. Are there any more successful that, for instance, Married at First Sight? I’ve found this article that shows that The Bachelor or Bachelor in Paradise are no more successful at creating lasting relationships. Surprisingly, The Bachelorette has the highest success rate but that may be because of programming of women into the catch him, if you can attitude. The world encourages them to be less fussy because, after all, the WORST thing that can happen to a woman is staying single.

What does it mean for your chances of finding love in a dating TV show? Well, I’d say that there are certainly ways that give you more probability of finding the (wo)man of your life than participating in one.
The sad thing about such TV shows is also that the producers mostly choose very attractive individuals that you’d expect to see on the covers of magazines (apart from the South African Afrikaans weirdly popular show Boer Soek ‘n Vrou about farmers looking for a girl they can keep on the farm, lol).
This means that your average Jo will probably not even make it to the show and also that contestants may be more likely to be a bit superficial.

Do you think people can find real love on a dating TV show? Or is it all for the show? Would you be willing to participate in a show like this to find love? 




  1. I wonder how much love matters or if we’re just not becoming more and more picky as a civilization? Beauty fades, your excitement to wake up next to the person fades, but some people figure out a way to work as a team and become best friends. That is something different from love, in my opinion.
    If you look at ancient (and some modern) eastern societies where arranged marriage was the predominant way people found their mate, falling in love doesn’t seem to be all that important in a happy marriage. Of course, this oversimplifies things. In lots of arranged marriages, the bride and groom knew each other for years prior and were often best friends already. I have a friend from India whos marriage was arranged but he’s known his wife since he was a child and they’ve just always been around one another. I won’t lie, there’s a part of me that finds that more appealing than throwing myself into shark-infested waters over and over again! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Beauty fades for sure but I don’t think the excitement of waking up next to a person necessarily does. It hasn’t for me, at least. The couples I admire are best friends and a team but also fuck bodies 😀
      A good, healthy relationship requires quite some work so I’d definitely said my husband is my best friend cause I don’t have the time to share as much with anyone else. Still, the romantic side of things is a massive part of it – PDA, sex etc and that’s where love comes in.
      Relationships don’t work longterm for a lot of people but it doesn’t mean that the good ones don’t exist and aren’t worth all the trouble of trying to find the.
      I often wish I was never born or have anger issues about stuff in my life but my husband is my biggest asset. I’m not the kind of woman who’d be satisfied with a husband being an ONLY asset but still.
      And if I can have something like this then I think other people can too.

      The whole idea of arranged marriage is based on the idea that you need marriage. Marriage then stands for security, social status and ehre you get babies from. If you want these things arranged marriage can be great but if you want love your chances of finding it are lower if the marriage is arranged.
      There’s also this idea that people can just work things out if they’re willing. Then again it depends on your expectations and what you want as a person.
      The reason why people throw themselves in shark-infested waters (love the expression!) is because they’re looking for love and not marriage and security.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Marriage isn’t at all as important as it is for survival as it was when arranged marriage was the convention. I agree that it’s not for everyone but if you do manage to find someone like your husband, it obviously has many more benefits than just financial!
        We might even be getting back to a world where marriage is more essential… I know that I can barely support myself on my single income, but I also haven’t reached my full earning potential yet. Time will tell!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I was going to say that life with a joint income can be much easier than single life. Especially when you get older many people don’t want to live with flatmates and studios or bachelor pads are really pricey! Let alone buying property, taking loans, etc. All this can be much easier in a relationship.
        It can also be much more difficult if you’re with a wrong person. I’ve dated at least two sponges and dating them just made me poorer!
        Also, many married people have separate finances (I find it odd) and don’t even split groceries but count exactly who spend what so it’s not like you can just marry someone and get richer by that 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s been a fear of mine around long term relationships, and I think we talked about it before. I’m very financially conscious and don’t want to wind up with someone who spends all of their money and doesn’t like to budget. That’s not something that I’d let happen though!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, you did mention that. It’s quite easy to predict a person’s spending habits, though. If you live together before you join finances no one can hide anything 😉


  2. I saw Married at first site and had to turn the channel. What a train wreck. My wife and I am glad we got to know each other before we married and the thigs we continue to learn about each other only enhance our relationship not put it in jepordy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, it sounds like a pretty hectic idea. People must be quite desperate to find the right person to participate.

      I get you! I’m definitely glad I knew my husband. That way you grow in marriage but you know what plant you’re growing 😛 If you marry a random you don’t know whether you’ll end up growing a rose or weeds.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Many of those marriages are doomed from the start …you want to have kids , he doesn’t, he wants to a green card , you want a relationship, he hates your family you want him to love your family…awful way to start off and then to correct it to have to divorce and that isn’t easy either …what a mess

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, I’d like it more if they just made two randoms live together for 8 years and figure out whether they want to be together. I guess how extreme it is makes people want to watch it, though. Producers care more about popularity than about whether these people will work together out or not…

        Liked by 1 person

      • Stats say it’s twice as likely for them. I don’t like the whole idea of taking marriage so lightly. It’s not a joke – it’s about your life.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I haven’t seen most of these shows…but I did one episode of UK Love at First Sight. The whole thing was friggin weird but to be fair from what I could see it was a more scientific approach to arranged marriage (relationship experts take the place of the parents). In the episode I saw, the relationship experts got a lot right about the compatibility of the couple (they clearly know their stuff) and the couple even had chemistry for a bit but eventually things fizzled out and her friends caught him on Tinder. I don’t think the concept of other people doing the hard work for you is a bad thing. But I do think jumping the gun and getting married off of someone else’s choice isn’t wise. Sometimes dating gets tiring and you are willing to try anything to get away from the usual channels I suppose. I recently let a friend set me up…and to be fair to her she found me someone I had a lot in common with, sadly there just wasn’t any sparkle and although I stuck it out a little longer than I should, it didn’t work out. That’s not to say getting a little bit of shove in the right direction is necessarily a bad thing – I guess with these things there is no guarantee but you’ve got to be open to trying new avenues if the existing ones aren’t working for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Does it mean you’d consider participating in such a show? I think that these shows sometimes have good concepts but when it’s on TV it just has lower chances of being genuine.
      You may be into your partner you’ve been “matchmade” with but what if they’re doing it only for the publicity? This happened with the one and only Polish season of “The Bachelor” (shot in SA btw). The guy chose one woman (the more socially acceptable one), started to soothe the other one on the plane already and didn’t sort of forgot about the chosen partner who accepted his proposal. Shortly after that the winner broke off the proposal and he was seen with the loser. Eventually, the loser left him too (in a month or two of dating).

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh dear! I agree, its unlikely that you’d have a successful relationship with someone you met through a dating reality TV show. If it weren’t for my general rudeness and un-PC words I’d be game for giving reality TV a shot. Why not? I blog about my personal life on here, I’ve spoken about ex-boyfriends on national radio and even recently did that ‘Hey boys. Look at me, I’m single and want to be the Bumble #globalconnectorbee so I can find me a man and get paid for it!’ so I really don’t have much shame when it comes to these things : P Though, as I said if I were to go on reality TV I’d really need to censor myself and even then, I’m sure something would slip out and people would start throwing stuff at me on the street and shit!

        I don’t know if you’ve seen ‘Getting Back With The Ex’ it is another netflix series where people that just couldn’t get over their ex revist those relationships after a number of years to see if they can hit it off. As you said in the case with ‘Find My First Lover’ most of them have a bad experience, they revisit old wounds and it just doesn’t end well. There was however, one older couple who met when they were young but due to distance (no skype, whatsapp, etc) they were basically forced to move on with their lives and say goodbye to their holiday fling but when they meet 30 years later things just work out … but it was the anomaly.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I think you’d be fine! They love un-PC stuff on reality TV. I mean, “Jersey Shore”?

        I haven’t seen it. It seems like a good series to review? PS I’ve googled and Peter and Diane are no longer together because of the distance which turned out to be an ultimate deal breaker the second time round too.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes! She said she was expecting him to propose and show commitment and it was perfect but their folks are getting old and they don’t want to do long distance forever.
        I guess they weren’t meant to be? I mean they didn’t have the same excuse 30 years ago…

        Liked by 1 person

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