by Rukiya Symister, M.A.
My first experience with the "Love Island" reality T.V. show came when my niece was at my house. I was intrigued by the drama unfolding in front of my eyes of some unlucky guy in love. My initial thoughts were concern regarding my teenage niece watching the show and thinking that she may believe this is how people behave when dating. So, like any good aunt, I binged and watched 20 episodes of Love Island, becoming both enthralled and emotionally invested in these couples. How could one not get wrapped in Lexi stealing Ryan from Ari? I mean, I was literally picking my jaw off the floor. As their storyline developed, I watched Ryan and Lexi build a connection and fall head over heels for each other. I was, for sure, certain that another person could not have broken that bond. But in true reality tv fashion, that would change when another bomb came into the villa. I, of course, had to Google; to find out what couples made it because I could not handle the unknown.
The show made me think about how long these couples were together to put perspective on the tears I witnessed from all genders. I was shocked that the couples had been together for only a few days. I thought about the pitfalls of dating and how quickly we put all our eggs in one basket without knowing much about the other person. As a true researcher, I needed to know how perfect strangers could fall head over heels in love after spending only a few days together. I found that dopamine and oxytocin may be the cupid bows that shoot many of us, causing us to practice writing the other person’s last name and daydreaming about what kind of cake we should serve at the wedding. Haven’t we all planned a pseudo wedding with someone we just locked eyes with at Target as we both reached for the same milk jug?
The lesson I learned from Love Island is that sometimes those neurotransmitters dopamine and oxytocin can make us feel more deeply for a person than reality and make us fall out of lust just as fast. My dating tip is to honestly think about what you are looking for in a partner. If you want a serious relationship and the other person wants something casual, it's best to walk away before the shot of cupid’s bow has you in a situation-ship that causes you to question your worth. I have seen very few successful situation-ships work out, and no, that does not mean it’s an invitation to think yours will be the one.
Dating doesn’t have to be difficult if we walk away sooner rather than later from relationships that show we are not a proper match. Also, a reminder we can’t change anyone; only a person who wants to change will change. So sorry, we can’t love someone more to make them love us, or gather enough rose quartz to open a crystal shop to get that person to want to be with us. On your next date, take it slow by getting to know the person sitting in front of you, not the illusion of who you think they are. When someone shows you their true colors, believe them. Use your green and red flags as a guidepost to lead you to that healthy relationship. Don’t be like Lexi putting ALL your eggs in one basket only to find out that, sadly, a new bomb can come into the villa and truly show you that you and your partner weren’t on the same relationship page.