If your free time (and your DVR) is filled with dating reality shows that keep your eyes glued to the TV screen, there's some good news: It turns out all the lessons you’re learning can actually help you in the love department. Watching 20-something women vie for the attention of one man or watching a show about a couple who just met and are about to get married without even knowing much about each other’s lives isn’t a waste of time.
For some, it can be just what they need to get the romance back on track. Here are the four ways that binge-watching reality dating shows can actually help pump a fresh air of confidence and good energy back into your life.
1. You Can See Yourself in Those on TV
Even if your nearest and dearest friends have tried to sit you down and shake you up when it comes to your dating techniques and habits, none of that might work as well as watching a dating reality show and seeing similarities between yourself and those on the TV.
“Sometimes it’s hard to see the reality of your love life,” said Jonathan Bennett, a relationship coach and co-founder of Double Trust Dating. “It might be obvious to friends and family why you’re struggling, but you can’t see the truth due to various factors (like pride, fear, etc.). Seeing the love lives of others can help you see your own shortcomings and areas where you may need improvement.”
2. It Helps Put the Fun Back into Dating
If you and your partner are spending every single date night sitting down at the same local restaurant (or you're struggling to switch up your first dates), watching a reality TV dating show can inspire new ideas into how to add excitement into a relationship.
“Today our lives are so busy most couples who live together spend more time on their social media than quality time with their partners,” said Paul DePompo, a board-certified CBT psychologist. “Reality dating shows have over-developed the focus on dating and partner-focused behavior. In turn, watching a show like this together can model and remind you to focus on dating your partner. Often people engage in dates that viewers try to model after in their own way increasing emotional and physical intimacy."
3. You Can Start to Spot What You Don’t Want
In order to know what your must-haves are in a relationship, you have to start by seeing the kinds of things and qualities you absolutely can’t have present in a future partner.
“When we watch dating shows and the people on them are ill-mannered, aren't dressed well, don't communicate effectively, and create drama, we instantly imagine ourselves in that situation and get clear on what flies and what doesn't,” said Lisa Concepcion, a professional relationship coach and the founder of Love Quest Coaching. “It helps us look at our own boundaries and create healthy ones where they make have been too loose.”
4. You Learn Healthy Boundaries
Every reality TV dating show has one or two people on it who stand out because of their good morals, honest character, and true desire to find good ol' healthy love, without the added side dish of drama.
“Through the stories and drama that reality shows bring to us, we occasionally see someone who has healthy boundaries,” noted Antonia Hall, MA, a psychologist, relationship expert, and author of The Ultimate Guide to a Multi-Orgasmic Life. "By observing someone who is able to stand up for themselves, rather than get dragged into unhealthy behavioral patterns, it mirrors ways to set healthy boundaries in relationships.”
Personal Space is Bravo's home for all things "relationships," from romance to friendships to family to co-workers. Ready for a commitment? Then Like us on Facebook to stay connected to our daily updates.