Netflix’s Love Is Blind is a bonkers concept but makes for good TV: A handful of straight couples fall in love and get engaged without having a clue what their partners even look like. They then get drunk in Mexico, return home, integrate their lives, meet each other’s families, and plan whole weddings—all within a month’s time. Like most reality shows, it’s heavily produced and edited to create drama, villains, and heroes. But unlike any dating show I’ve seen before, the point of this one isn’t “yaaaay marriage!!!” In fact, in this latest season, only two couples say “I do,” and I’m not convinced either of them will make it. The show doesn’t answer its own premise either—is love blind?—but, honestly, I don't even care. Because what it does answer is a much more important question: Should marriage really be the end goal for women anymore?
Intended or not, Season 2 of Love Is Blind flips the usual dating reality show trope on its head. Instead of the outdated fantasy of “wifey,” Love Is Blind gifts us a new kind of hero: women choosing to stay single. Two of this season’s contestants, Natalie and Deepti, both hopeless romantics, fought so hard for their relationships … maybe a little too hard. But in that final moment of truth, in front of all their loved ones in white chairs, a crew, and so many TV cameras, they each listened to their gut and realized their partners didn’t love or value them as much as a spouse should. By ditching their fiancés at the altar, they not only gave single people new role models to look up to, they also reflected back to us a major shift that’s been happening in the straight world, especially since the pandemic locked couples in their homes for eternity. Women are realizing it’s way more fulfilling to be alone in peace than feel alone in a relationship.
Natalie fell hard for Shayne right out of the gate. Because of that, she overlooked major red flags, like when he gaslit her with a hissy fit after he called her the wrong name. Once they were engaged, he asked her to constantly validate and assure him, and even scolded her for not bragging to everyone about what an amazing boyfriend he was. He didn't believe in 401(k)’s or saving money, and was annoyed when she said he should stop wasting $2,000 dollars a month on eating out. The dude even asked to wear a cape to their wedding and admitted he couldn’t remember the last time his family wasn’t drunk. But the woman was smitten. Like a lot of women, including myself, she excused his selfish behavior, compromised too much, and put his needs before her own because she was attached to his potential, not his reality. The night before the wedding, after he literally said he hated her and that she’s the worst thing to happen to him, she finally came around and ditched him at the altar.
Deepti’s story was even more compelling, because she and Shake had so much in common, got along so well, and seemed to genuinely be best friends. Like Natalie, she is a hopeless romantic. “I’m looking for someone to complete me,” she says on the show. For eight episodes, we watched her wait patiently to be truly wanted back by her fiancé—a guy who talked about how amazing she was to her face and the camera, but told literally anyone who would listen, including his mom, how much he didn't want to sleep with her. God bless that mom of his who didn’t think her own son deserved a queen like Deepti. And even said so!
Despite Deepti showing him so much love and patience, and believing in him more than he believed in himself, nothing she did was enough to make Shake appreciate her. Shake commented on the size of Deepti’s body and made it clear he had never dated an Indian woman before, despite being Indian himself. He left her feeling so unattractive, undesirable, and insecure that at one point she asked the camera if her breath smelled. Like a lot of men with podcasts on the Internet, Shake seemed to think he was the prize and that this was a tough decision for him to make alone. So when Deepti showed up stunning to the altar and said, "Nope, I deserve someone who knows for sure. I choose myself,” he was shocked and humiliated, and it was glorious to watch. Instead of waiting to be chosen, as women have been conditioned to do our entire lives, Deepti took back her power and chose herself.
The end of these romances make sense. We’re in a different era now, after all. One that a lot of men, including several in the cast, haven’t come to grips with yet. Unlike some women of past generations, we were raised by moms who had access to power (like making money) and choices (birth control), who could buy homes and have bank accounts that weren’t attached to their fathers or husbands, who could (and often did) raise their kids entirely on their own, and who could even thrive without men. My sister and I were raised by a single working mom who was living proof that women don’t need men. Hell, our lives got better once our patriarch left. Each year, women are realizing just how much we don’t need straight men.
More importantly, though, we’re realizing men are the ones who need us.
It’s been proven that straight men are the ones who consistently benefit from marriage. On average, men live longer, get better care, make more money, and thrive in every way possible when they have a wife at home. Women, on the other hand, live shorter lives and become more depressed when they are married. We are fed up, exhausted by weaponized incompetence, and over the man-babies we have to raise. For many women, marriage isn’t worth it unless our partner brings way more to the table than a paycheck. I say this as a woman who waited until 42 to get married. I only chose marriage then because I saw myself becoming a better person in every way as a direct result of my husband’s presence in my life. Until him, I’d always been most confident and happy when I was single.
Even worse, if women choose the wrong partner, it could not only ruin their lives, it could end them. One in three women experiences domestic violence, and it’s even higher for Black women (more than 40 percent). So women have everything to lose if we rush into marriage with the wrong person. Even dating the wrong one can be dangerous. So is it really any surprise, then, that the happiest demographic on the planet are single, childfree women? Now that straight women don’t need men, we have to actually want them. We are the ones who should be dragging our feet to the altar, not men. We should be the ones asking, "what do you bring to the table that I don’t already give myself?"
That’s why Deepti’s and Natalie’s story arcs were just so glorious to watch, as they both showed us in real time a kind of awakening happening with women who are fully embracing their worth.
In real life , women are choosing themselves more and more. Hell, there’s even a whole side of TikTok full of women preferring outright celibacy over settling for men’s bullshit, led by creators like Cindy Noir. I hope this is the direction TV is heading now, too, because bride culture feels outdated. Straight women are realizing there’s nothing to be ashamed of in staying single. That the bravest thing you can do is pull a Deepti and never give up on love and protect your peace at all costs.