Hi there! My name is Michelle Mouhtis, aka “That Millennial Therapist.” I’m a licensed therapist and relationship coach, and I’m also a junkie for romance trash reality TV. (Probably not what you thought you would hear all in the same sentence, but let me explain.)
There’s a part of me that believes reality TV is totally scripted, utter nonsense, and more dramatic than the theater.
But there’s another part of me that stuffs my face with popcorn, sits on the edge of my couch, and leans in in anticipation, wondering if this will finally be the fight when Damian and Gianinna call it quits for good, or if they’re going in for another round at the relationship dysfunction rodeo.
Yes, I’m talking about Netflix’s new release Love is Blind: After the Altar, the followup to Love is Blind, which happens to be my favorite nugget of reality TV gold. And I’m here to provide you with a full psychological and relationship analysis of what made the married couples last—and the ways in which some of the single cast members went through massive personal growth since the show ended.
I want to preface the following with this: just because a couple stays together doesn’t mean they are happy. Longevity doesn’t equal happiness. Also, there is so much we don’t see behind the scenes or when the cameras are turned off. This analysis is based solely on what was depicted in the show, which may or may not be entirely accurate. But that doesn’t mean there weren’t plenty of noteworthy moments the couples had that were indicative of a healthy relationship.
Amber and Barnett are both very playful with one another. They respond well to each other’s humor and really seem to “get” each other. They also appear to have similar values and goals, creating shared meaning in their life together. Even though they disagree on the timeline for children, it doesn’t mean they are necessarily doomed. Many couples have conflict that cannot be resolved, and find a middle ground that feels aligned for the two of them.
In Amber and Barnett’s case, it seems like they are still working through those differences, which is another good sign. It doesn’t matter so much whether or not couples have differences in their relationship, because they always will. What matters is that they both actively choose to work through them together and as individuals.
Fan favorites Lauren and Cameron display quite a number of characteristics of a healthy relationship. For one, they admire and mutually respect one another. Even when they disagreed about whether to wash poultry before cooking it, they still had a playful energy dancing between them. If resentment was an issue in their relationship, the chicken disagreement would have somehow turned into assassinating each other’s character.
Another impressive moment for me was when Cameron said he wasn’t pressuring Lauren to have children right now, even though he feels ready to be a father. Cameron seems patient, understanding, and respectful of Lauren’s decision on the topic of when to have kids, which (as we saw from Amber and Barnett) can be tense.
While Cameron’s and Lauren’s relationship isn’t immune to friction, they both seem to respect each other. Holding each other in high regard and having deep admiration for each other creates emotional safety, which means that the couple can work through conflicts in real time.
Diamonds in the Rough
Just because some of the cast didn’t end up in relationships doesn’t mean that they didn’t grow within themselves. Diamond seems much more sure of what she wants in a partner. When she was introduced to Rumeal in the first episode, she did not hesitate to ask how he feels about marriage, children, and what he is looking for in a partner to see if they were aligned.
As a therapist and coach, I recommend my clients be as upfront as Diamond, so neither party wastes any time. Plus, if someone is as serious about dating as you are, they will appreciate your straightforwardness—much the way Rumeal responded to Diamond’s questioning.
Of course, we can’t talk about growth without talking about Jessica. Amber claims that Jessica isn’t a genuine person, and while Amber is entitled to her opinion after the debacle that happened during filming, it does seem that Jessica has gone on a growth journey.
Jessica shared that she took significant time after the show to “memorialize” what she had gone through, spending time alone and taking ownership for what happened. Taking the time to reflect in between relationships is rich soil for personal growth, and that’s exactly what Jessica did. I’m not surprised that she found a relationship she feels aligned in after taking that break, alongside taking ownership for her behavior.
Whether or not any given cast member ended up in a relationship after the show, each one of them is on their own journey to love. There are no timelines, only the process of seeking happy and healthy relationships. We’ll be here, popcorn in hand, watching to see what happens next!