Are relationship reality shows good for us?

It would seem these days when you turn on the TV at night, there is a show about dating and relationships. However, unlike renovation and cooking shows, these ones cop a little bit more criticism. Do they have the best interest of the contestants at heart or is this about ratings?

Whilst this is a TV show with TV procedures at the helm (and not a qualified therapist pushing these formats), whatever way you want to look at this, there is a benefit for the viewers.

One of the common issues in relationships we have these days is a lack of communication. Life is getting busier, things feel more hectic, and often it’s our relationships that suffer the most. There isn’t enough time to work on this as well as everything else. We don’t talk enough about the things that matter and it all eventually spirals to out of control.

These relationship shows might seem like great entertainment from the outside, but there is a benefit that many people wouldn’t even be aware of. They are motivating us to talk about the important issues and in return helping us to explore our own. This is not so much about sex and relationships education, but a catalyst to begin conversations.

Let’s take Married At First Sight, a show were couples are matched on their wedding day. Whilst this scenario is falsified and not realistic to most viewers, the themes, issues and struggles the couples had were reflections of everyday life. Who hasn’t jumped into a relationship and struggled with commitment and letting their guard down? A combination of the expert’s advice and the honesty of the contestants, made for a great point for discussions not only in households but in the media.

And now another one is about to start, The Last Resort, where couples have a month to work on their relationships and decide if they should stay together or part. The focus seems to be more on therapy and issues that arise in long term serious relationships. I might have been able to have a sneak peak and even I found myself in discussions around relationship issues and talking about things I didn’t know needed to be discussed. This is what made my heard turn and when I had a lightbulb moment as to what these shows have the capability to do.

The next time you tune into something with a dating and relationships edge, instead of just watching what is happening on the TV, take note of what is really happening with the contestants and what is playing out between the couples on screen. Consider if you identify with them and if you do not maybe look at why. Take this opportunity to turn to the person next to you and start a conversation about what has just been said. Ask their opinion, check in how they feel about it.

And here is the big hint ladies: Men are not great talkers when It comes to the relationship stuff, however they are great at watching TV. Instead of candle lit dinner and face to face investigation of how they are feeling, why not a beer in hand on the couch in front of the box (and I’m talking about the TV). They might think it’s couch potato time, but you could have others plans…

I welcome these formats and I only hope to see more of them in the future. They don’t have to be right or even always make sense, as long as they are motivating us to talk about issues and what’s happening on the screen.

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