Reality tv’s pursuit of the next best coupling format has continued to gain traction since The Bachelor’s first decade of monumental success following its 2002 launch. The reality romance bandwagon includes shows such as The Bachelorette (2003); Millionaire Matchmaker (2008); 90-day Fiancee (2014); Married at First Sight (2014); Love Island (2015); Love After Lockup (2018); Back with the Ex (2018); Dating Around (2019), and Love Is Blind (2020).
An over-the-top infatuation with the peaks and valleys of curated heart drama belies our culture’s hopelessly romantic fascination with the existentially enigmatic tension between attraction and compatibility.
Each new coupling format reframes the raw humanity that is at the root of our emotional partnering process. The vicarious experience of this often sensationalist entertainment model taps our deep seated hope of stumbling upon the key to balancing relationship chemistry and psychology.
As with any category of human experience, the most satisfying attraction-compatibility dynamic changes from one personality to the next. An understanding of personality and its influence on romance and emotional commitment suggests that each of these formats appeals to different personalities for different reasons.
This series of posts will share the UnConflict perspective on viewer experience for each of the formats mentioned above.