The list of reality TV shows that fills spaces in the weekly guide seems endless. Ranging from bachelors to housewives to insanely large families, we’ve seen it all by now. One thing that has been a common thread through most of these shows is the changes that come from sudden fame and fortune and the disastrous relationships that follow. How often do you see one of these shows where no one is fighting and no one is being overly dramatic? Never.
Think about “The Bachelor” series alone; how many dramatic girls have there been causing fights in the house, while acting like the sweetest thing to the yearly bachelor? Another thing to think about is how many couples have actually gotten and stayed together through this show, only two, both of which came from “The Bachelorette” spin-off series. “The Bachelor" is more like “The Breakup," promoting short and intimate relationships that are almost guaranteed to end in a public manner. This is what television has come to, and this is what people are learning from.
Another quintessential example of bad relationships on reality TV is the notorious “Housewives” franchise by Bravo. Of the six or so different cities that are part of the franchise, at least 14 of the “housewives” were divorced during or shortly after their time on the show. This doesn’t even include the women who had already experienced a divorce before starting their show. Sure, some of the relationships were probably doomed from the start such as Camille Grammer and Brandi Glanville, both of which are the epitome of celebrity romances gone wrong.
Others, though, may have had some hope left, like Bethenney Frankel and Teresa Guidice. Perhaps both of their relationships were flawed, but the publicity certainly didn’t help. How can you build a strong relationship when the media is pulling all of the details of your personal life into the open?
If the divorce statistics were based on the “Housewives” franchise, then our country would probably be heading close to a 70 percent divorce rate. The real question is why this is happening. Is there something about reality TV that leads couples down this rocky road? But also consider all of these other couples, like those on "Teen Mom."
By no means are these couples something to aspire to be like, but they show that even reality couples that have little fame and no fortune seem to be doomed. Look at Jenelle Evans, who very publically fought with her boyfriend/fiancée of the time over Twitter. What ever happened to keeping private matters off of Twitter and Facebook and instead handled things in person? Cons and benefits of social media aside, they clearly, along with the media in general, have seriously affected relationships, especially those of celebrities.
Now is this something to be pitied or criticized? We all choose how to handle our relationships, and publicly through scandals and Twitter battles isn’t the way to do it. If anything, this is a moment to look at reality TV and learn just about everything not to do.
— Samantha Warchol is a sophomore in psychology. She can be reached at email@example.com.