Have you finished binging Love is Blind, season two yet? If not, this is your warning: Spoilers ahead! If you don’t want to know what happens, stop here and consider reading our blog about these entertaining celebrity prenups instead.
If you’ve already cried over Shayne and Natalie or watched with bated breath as Danielle and Nick said their I do’s, read on. We’re going to take a microscope to some of the events shown in Love is Blind season 2 in order to explore what these individuals and couples didn’t do so well, and what they might like to do differently if given a second chance–all with an eye towards imparting tips that you can take forward into your own relationship.
Love is Blind puts contestants through ten days of conversations which bring new meaning to the term ‘blind date’: all participants are in their own separate ‘pods’, or small rooms containing a sofa and a loudspeaker + microphone. From the pods, they go on dates with participants in adjacent pods…without ever being able to see one another. Those who build a strong connection get engaged in the pods and are finally allowed to meet one another in person after already getting engaged.
Their weddings are scheduled for about four weeks after they’ve met in the pods, and soon after their first meeting in person they’re whisked away to Mexico for a romantic vacation during which they can focus on building the physical and in-person aspects of their connections. Shortly thereafter, they re-enter the real world, move in together, plan their weddings, and meet one another’s families–all on camera.
Their wedding days and moments at the altar are framed as their last chance to reckon with whether or not they really want to marry this person they met four weeks ago in a pod.
Mallory and Jarrett’s post-pod conversation: In season 2 of Love is Blind, contestants Mallory and Jarrett share a strong connection in the pods–but both ultimately get engaged to other people. During their trip to Mexico, all of the couples are eventually brought together for a meet-and-greet in a romantic courtyard in which alcohol flows freely, marking the first time that all of the engaged contestants can see their opposite-gender counterparts to whom they did not get engaged face-to-face.
When Mallory and Jarrett finally get a chance to talk in person, they exchange details that could cross some lines: Mallory calls Jarrett “JerBear”, her nickname for him when they were dating, and then reveals that she cried ‘so much’ after their falling out in the pods and that she feels the connection they had was “so [expletive] genuine”. She then exclaims “how did I not see that?” when Jarrett re-iterates why they connected.
Jarrett, for his part, emphasizes how well he would have treated Mallory had they gotten together and criticizes the engagement ring Mallory’s fiance Sal got her on the grounds that it wasn’t gold, which he knew she preferred because he had asked her about that when he was considering proposing to her. He insists that he would have gotten Mallory a gold ring, appearing to show lingering feelings for Mallory through his re-iterations of how attentive he was to her.
Meanwhile, a teary-eyed Sal (Mallory’s fiance) is interviewed after watching Mallory and Jarrett’s interaction from afar. “I know she’s not interested in me, and I want to go home” he tells the camera. Jarrett’s fiance Iyanna, on the other hand, already had pre-existing difficulties trusting that Jarrett truly wanted to be with her after finding out he only proposed to her after falling out with Mallory over an almost-proposal that she rejected. Iyanna’s trust difficulties can’t have been helped by her witnessing his and Mallory’s conversation.
The lesson: If you’re going to be spending time with an ex or previous romantic connection of any sort, have a direct conversation with your partner first in which you discuss expectations and boundaries for that interaction. Also, observe basic respect for your partner. It can be easy to get carried away in the moment and say things you shouldn’t say or unleash your flirty side just a little bit more than is appropriate. If you need help staying grounded, remind yourself of why you broke up with them, what you love about your new relationship, and how you’d feel if your partner were in your position with their ex.
Natalie and Shayne’s Communication Breakdowns: Natalie Lee and castmate Shayne Jansen get engaged in the pods but don’t make it past the altar on their wedding day. Although fans were rooting for them throughout season two, the cracks in their foundation were evident as soon as they began interacting in real life.
We can see that as the couple builds their relationship, Shayne frequently asks for validation in the form of compliments and words of affirmation, while a reluctant Natalie responds to his requests by teasing him. Some viewers might roll their eyes and insist that Shayne behaved too needily with his repeated requests for compliments, while others might argue that Natalie failed to show him enough affection.
Our analysis? Natalie failed to account for Shayne’s love language and Shayne responded by becoming increasingly needy (to the point of being annoying, which made Natalie even less likely to offer praise or compliments) until eventually his frustration over his unmet needs broke through in their iconic pre-wedding day fight.
Although the fight itself happened off-camera, viewers are made aware of the fact that Shayne apparently said some very unkind words to Natalie during this fight, including that he hated her. Natalie could not bring herself to say yes at the altar the next day.
While Shayne carries full responsibility for his own words, we still think their relationship might have been stronger had Natalie been more willing to show Shayne love in the form of words of affirmation (his love language), or at least to communicate openly about what was keeping her from doing that. Perhaps she feels uncomfortable with the vulnerability necessary to offer up verbal compliments, or perhaps this form of showing appreciation simply does not feel natural to her. However, instead of sharing what was going on for her in those moments, Natalie consistently avoids accountability by making jokes. Shayne, on the other hand, could have pushed harder for them to talk deliberately about their love languages and communication styles in order to keep himself from reaching the point at which he told Natalie he hated her.
The Lesson: It’s normal to have a different love language than your partner, but it’s crucial that the two of you reciprocally learn what makes the other person feel loved–and do it. Frequently, without reservations. This means being willing to be vulnerable enough to communicate your needs, which can be difficult. It also means being willing to try out new ways of expressing love that might not be what comes naturally to you.
For example, let’s say your partner is uncomfortable with praise but feels most loved through being on the receiving end of acts of service. You, on the other hand, are more comfortable doling out the compliments, but performing acts of service makes you feel disempowered. If it’s possible for you to adjust your perspective and go out of your way to do little things to help your partner and make them feel loved (cooking a meal that you normally wouldn’t, picking up their dry cleaning, offering a foot massage), it could go a long way in strengthening your relationship.
However, love must be given genuinely; if adjusting your perspective proves too difficult and either of you find that you are forcing yourselves to do things that make you uncomfortable, then it’s time to open up communication about that and consider seeking couple’s therapy if necessary. Having the tools to be able to get creative about how you give and receive love and to be able to do so in ways that each of you feel good about is integral to a healthy and strong relationship.
Shaina and Kyle: Issue Avoidance and Insincerity. Viewers watch as Shaina and Kyle develop a deep bond from the get go, but soon discover that they have fundamental incompatibilities over an issue that runs as deep as their bond: religion. Shaina is fiercely religious, while Kyle is an atheist. Although this discovery gives both of them pause, Shaina seems to take it more seriously while Kyle prefers to put his confidence in their relationship ahead of his worries over their differences. He eventually proposes to Shaina, convincing her (well, kind of) that they’ll be able to navigate any difficulties that arise as a result of their contrasting outlooks on the world. Unfortunately, real-world experience proves him wrong and the couple breaks up after a meeting with Shaina’s family doesn’t go so well.
Religion or lack thereof wasn’t their only worry, though. Unbeknownst to Kyle, Shaina was not able to let go of her connection to another participant, Shayne, after getting engaged to Kyle. Shaina goes so far as to express the depth of her feelings to Shayne knowing that he is likely about to get engaged to someone else–right after she has gotten engaged to Kyle. We then see that tension between her and Kyle is underscored by her private reluctance to let go of her feelings for Shayne.
The lesson: Fundamental incompatibilities need to be dealt with before making a lifetime commitment, not after. The oft-repeated line ‘we’ll figure it out’ may sound romantic, but in practice it means something like ‘I don’t know how to solve this problem, so I’m going to look the other way and hope that it eventually goes away’. Some incompatibilities can be addressed, and some prove insurmountable. That’s the reality; denying it will only widen a gulf. Some couples will break up over differences that they can’t negotiate their way around, and that’s ok–that just means they weren’t meant to be. Discovering that earlier rather than later reduces pain and complications for everyone involved.
On the other hand, many couples do manage to find ways to tolerate major incompatibilities and build strong, sustainable relationships in spite of them. Usually this involves plenty of open communication plus a willingness to be flexible; understanding the story behind why someone feels or behaves a certain way can go a long way towards building tolerance. However, adopting a perpetual ‘we’ll figure it out later’ approach is not how successful couples bridge the gaps between them.
Additionally (and this should go without saying), making a commitment to a person is never advised when you’re still hung up on someone else. It’s alright to love two people, and it’s alright to feel torn, but it’s never ok to commit without being honest about where you’re at. Transparency isn’t easy, but it’s the right thing to do and ultimately leads to a better outcome than deceit.
Their Biggest Mistake?
The examples above are only the tip of the iceberg, but potentially the biggest mistake made by all of the couples was not even depicted in the show.
There was never any mention on the show of any of these couples–who met just a few weeks prior to their weddings, through a wall–getting prenups. (Nick and Vanessa, if you’re reading this, please make sure you set a good example for viewers when season three rolls around by letting everyone know that these marriages do (we hope) involve prenups!)
Like the couples in Love is Blind, some of you may be getting married while you’re still in your honeymoon phase, which can last anywhere from six months to two years (Krueger, 2021). If this is you, we’re here to gently remind you that those rose-colored goggles will fade away eventually and you’ll see sides of each other that you overlooked before…And we hope that you’ll have built a strong enough foundation to weather those realizations and cement your relationship well beyond the honeymoon phase.
Nevertheless, a prenup is extra-important if you’re getting married during the honeymoon phase. Luckily, the honeymoon phase is also the most ideal time to draft your prenup! This is because when you’re immersed in new love, you’re likely to be generous and graceful about making sure your beloved’s needs are taken care of, no matter what might happen in the future–and vice versa.
The honeymoon phase is also an ideal time to collaborate on an agreement that’s going to require both of you to be kind and accommodating. Since writing a prenup requires you to disclose all of your sensitive financial information and assets alongside making contingency plans for a divorce you don’t want to imagine as a possibility, tension and conflict can sometimes arise during the process. However, conflict may be more easily dissipated thanks to the boost in oxytocin experienced during the honeymoon phase (Jones, 2019). Therefore, it’s an ideal time for discussions that require generosity and which could feel tense at times. (Also, read up on how to make a graceful transition out of the honeymoon phase to help ensure that your relationship will stand the test of time.)
Another reason a prenup written during the honeymoon phase is so powerful is because it forces you to talk about financial and maybe even lifestyle realities that you might not have had such in-depth discussions about before, when you weren’t drawing up a contract which lays out plans for your future together. For many couples, writing a prenup really brings their communication to the next level.
The honeymoon phase is the time during which you lay your foundation as a couple, and that’s the foundation upon which your relationship will stand in the future. Communicating openly about the roles and expectations for your marriage + what happens if it doesn’t work out helps you during this crucial phase to lay a strong foundation built not only on passion and emotion, but also on clarity about the future and shared plans and goals. Drafting a prenup can bring a couple even more into alignment with one another, strengthening their bond for years to come.
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Julia Rodgers is HelloPrenup’s CEO and Co-Founder. She is a Massachusetts family law attorney and true believer in the value of prenuptial agreements. HelloPrenup was created with the goal of automating the prenup process, making it more collaborative, time efficient and cost effective. Julia believes that a healthy marriage is one in which couples can openly communicate about finances and life goals. You can read more about us here Questions? Reach out to Julia directly at [email protected]
Jones, A. 2019. Exactly What to do When the Honeymoon Phase Ends in Your Relationship. Retrieved from: https://www.womenshealthmag.com/relationships/a29338359/honeymoon-phase-over/#:~:text=One%20of%20the%20chemicals%20that’s,partner%20during%20the%20honeymoon%20phase.
Krueger, A. 2021. What is the Honeymoon Phase and How Long Does it Last? Retrieved from: https://www.brides.com/honeymoon-phase-5097161#:~:text=The%20honeymoon%20phase%20is%20an,%2C%20intimacy%2C%20and%20fun%20dates.