Is Love Actually Blind? Here’s An Expert’s Take
Neflix's latest reality series, Love Is Blind, may have brought its namesake concept into the zeitgeist, but it’s nothing new. The question of whether or not love is actually blind has come up time and time again in movies and plays like Cyrano De Bergerac, Beauty and the Beast, and Sierra Burgess Is A Loser because there’s something eternally compelling about the idea that love is a force more powerful than something as skin-deep as beauty. "When we think about love being blind, it’s really about loving someone from the inside out, without putting an enormous focus on their physical attributes,” Julie Spira, online dating expert and author of Love In The Age Of Trump: How Politics Is Polarizing Relationships, tells Elite Daily.
Love Is Blind is just the latest series to attempt to answer that question, but with its own modern dating spin. Although, let’s be honest: While the participants on the TV series might not have met face-to-face until after they got engaged, everyone was pretty attractive. Because of that, the transition from pod love to IRL love didn’t fully challenge the question of whether or not love’s actually blind. Regardless, this dynamic made for a seriously entertaining (and even sometimes romantic) TV show. But is there any actual truth to this reality show concept? The answer to that is — no surprise — complicated.
When Love Is "Blind."
While the idea of love being blind is certainly romantic, is it something that happens in the real world? The answer to that, says Spira, is yes. “Some people go on blind dates and fall in love and get married (my parents did!). Some people fall in love at first sight, because they have a vision of what the person of their dreams looks like, and when that person appears in real life, they think they could be ‘the one,’” she explains. But it’s a little trickier than that, as those feelings — as powerful as they can be — can sometimes be misleading.
“Blind love can be real, but there are a lot of people who are in love with the idea of falling in love and often let their emotions get the best of them. If this is the case, often they will be embarrassed and won't have the courage to pull the plug when it's clear the relationship is over or isn't sustainable for the long haul,” Spira says.
What To Watch Out For.
While the upside to blind love is clear (that it’s a love based on a deeper connection than simply physical attraction), Dr. LeslieBeth Wish, a nationally recognized psychotherapist and author of Training Your Love Intuition, considers blind love to be something that has nothing to do with appearances. “‘Love blindness’ is the inability to detect or trust doubts and other negative reactions we have to our intimate partners. Very few of us are immune to it,” she tells Elite Daily.
If you’re in the kind of "blind love" Dr. Wish describes and aren’t sure if you're compatible, Susan Winter, relationship expert, love coach, and author of Breakup Triage: The Cure for Heartache, says to beware the honeymoon phase. “This is when our love blindness is at its highest peak. We haven't had enough time to experience the downside of our new lover. In the honeymoon phase, everything is perfect,” she tells Elite Daily. “We don't yet know what we don't yet know. We haven't experienced the many times they'll disappoint us, let us down, and hurt us. These are the things that occur later in a relationship. Without knowing the totality of our partner, we are forced to see them in a state of love blindness.”
It’s after the honeymoon phase ends that you can really differentiate between seeing beyond someone’s minor flaws and overlooking red flags. “After the honeymoon phase, reality sets in. Now we can see the positive and negative qualities of our mate. It's at this point that real love can occur,” says Winter. “This is the kind of deeper love that's based upon making a decision to look for the best in our partner. It differs from love blindness because it's an elective choice to notice the negative, but focus on the positive. And this is the thing that can keep a love alive for decades.”
Finding Your Own Blind Love.
While you might not be on the next season of Love Is Blind, there are some habits you can incorporate into your dating life to find a deeper connection that doesn’t emphasize physical appliance or turn a blind eye to emotional incompatibility. “I think singles should have a very open mind when they meet someone new on a date,” says Spira. “I recommend breaking your patterns of relationships that didn’t work out by dating someone who isn’t exactly your type and think outside the box. Maybe you need to expand your age requirements up or down, relax a bit about someone’s weight or height, and think about dating someone who isn’t geographically desirable, but would be willing to move for love,” she suggests.
Ultimately, focus on the attributes that really matter to you and prioritize those when selecting a date, as Cherlyn Chong, a dating and breakup recovery coach for professional women, tells Elite Daily. “People should identify the most important compatible qualities in a romantic relationship for them. Then they should seek a person who can meet these needs, regardless of surface or social standing. They need to not completely judge people right off the bat, but they should also prioritize those compatibility traits."
It seems the answer to the age-old question of whether or not love is truly blind is yes — so long as you enter into the situation with your heart open and without turning a blind eye to red flags.
Cherlyn Chong, dating and breakup recovery coach for professional women
Julie Spira, online dating expert and author of Love in the Age of Trump: How Politics is Polarizing Relationships