Season 4 of Netflix’s Love is Blind has brought us a new group of hopefuls searching for true love in all the wrong ways. As seen in previous seasons, friction happens with the pod members as they navigate finding, connecting, and keeping the individuals they believe to be their soulmates. As a licensed marriage and family therapist and follower of the series, the key issues I’m noticing this season that could make or break the couples revolve around poor communication skills.
Love is Blind removes the ability to see each other in order to limit physical distraction and promote connection through conversation. A consequence of that is it creates even more opportunities for miscommunication due to assumptions, erosion of trust because parties can’t see the other person’s facial expressions and body language, and heightened anxiety because they’re hyper-focused on tone.
This creates a big issue for Brett and Tiffany. There’s a moment between the two when Brett expresses deep feelings for Tiffany, and in the midst of that, she slowly starts falling asleep. Brett has no way of gauging what’s happening at the moment as he seeks a response. We see him go back to the pods, and while talking to Marshall, he registers that moment as rejection and quickly decides that he’s done. Even with the strength of Brett and Tiffany’s camaraderie, sexual connection, and friendship, this perceived rejection, which couldn’t be confirmed, only assumed, becomes an emotional hurdle the couple must now process. The emotional path he navigates before he talks to Tiffany again creates an opportunity for him to seriously break things off.
Obviously, as the viewer, we see what’s truly happening. Nevertheless, consider how more often than not, people who are dating or in committed relationships make assumptions about their partner and make finalized decisions before giving their partner a chance to clarify. Fortunately for Tiffany, after apologizing and giving Brett insight into what truly happened, they managed to move past it and would eventually become engaged.
While they were able to move past that hurdle, others have been plagued by their issues with communication. This has been the case for the likes of Jackie and Marshall.
Their relationship highlights how a lack of conflict resolution skills can lead to emotional shutdowns, which ultimately deteriorates the building of trust and safety in a partnership. During their many arguments, there’s a question about Marshall’s manhood regarding sexual intimacy. In later episodes, it’s revealed during a conversation that Marshall has with Brett that Jackie prefers aggressive sexual behavior in the bedroom. Both Marshall and Jackie struggle to accept their differences when it comes to personal needs.
There is resistance to expanding their vision of the type of person they believed they would be partnered with. This creates an emotional tug of war between accepting who their partner is showing themselves to be and who they desire their partner to be. Instead of creating a safe space to talk and navigate these differences, each time they attempt to communicate, it escalates into a shouting match. Once the argument reaches its peak, one or both parties walks away and leaves the other person alone in the aftermath of the fight, which creates a cycle of emotional abandonment.
Overall, this season highlights how the couples are not equipped with the necessary tools to navigate their emotional disregulations and triggers brought on by their potential partners. If love is truly blind, do the lack of emotional intelligence tools and support make it even more difficult for healthy relationships to be formed? While the hopeless romantic in me hopes for multiple couples to make it beyond the altar, the steady decline of healthy emotional processing from this season’s pairs has me hesitant to make that bet.