Do TV Reality Shows Ruin Relationships?

September 24, 2016

Reality TV

My kids love reality shows. I mean if I were going to be honest, I would say that I’ve also been watching them and loving myself for years. Didn’t it really all start with MTV’s Real World way back when? Well, okay then. I was there. That’s why I believe that I can safely give an educated opinion as a spectator and as a therapist that I’ve seen reality shows do more harm then good to real relationships.

Think about all the celebrity couples you’ve watched on various reality shows. They are dropping like flies!  I mean has anyone really thought about the success statistics of The Bachelor? How many couples have really made a go of it?

What about our beloved Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey on MTV? Did we not all watch how fame helped that couple self-destruct before our very eyes?

Even friendships were tested. Remember Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie? Their reality show was a big hit but went into cancellation not to long after their life-long  friendship took a major hit.

I didn’t watch the Hulk Hogan show that much but it started out as a family show — now there’s a divorce and issues with the children.

Jon and Kate Plus 8 didn’t fare too well either huh? One of my favorite shows has practically imploded. You know things are bad when Kate has been on the cover of countless celebrity magazines for weeks in a row.

Let’s explore why…

Problem #1
There has to be consequences when there are cameras in the middle of your relationship. Even if they are there once a week. You either are going to try hide something from the cameras or you are going to perform for the camera. Either way – you are not responding naturally to the presence of the cameras and therefore you are not acting naturally in your relationship. I know, I know – celebrities always tell us that they forget that the cameras are there. But let’s be serious. It’s hard to ignore a man and a camera walking sitting right behind you in your living room!

Problem #2
Putting on a reality show is not a vacation but it is work. There are producers who want certain stories to unfold. Who want certain shots. Who may want you to look a certain way. Bringing that level of “work” into your home and your relationship can change the dynamic. Now you are in a business partnership as well as an emotional partnership. Sometimes the two don’t mix well. Think if you worked with your spouse all day and then came home together and then went out together and then slept together – and on top of that cameras are watching it all!

Problem #3
Fame is a drug. Isn’t there a famous rock song about that? I’m not sure, but what I do know is that fame is not easy for folks that go seeking it all their lives. So imagine the ordinary folks who thought it would be “cool” to document their lives for future prosperity. What they thought would be a fun and exiting new thing in their life becomes this huge celebrity monster. Yes there are the perks such as endorsements or product placement, free gifts, and high paying salaries per show (sometimes). But there is always a cost for that fame. Constant exposure. People passing judgment on you in a public forum. And of course people valuing the fame and what it brings them over the relationship(s).

Problem #4
The relationship may not have been that strong to begin with. Now mix in the added pressures of being on television in front of millions of people, and watch how quickly that relationship is tested. The weaker relationships don’t stand a chance.

I’m still rooting for a few remaining relationships to make it: Run’s House, Gene Simmons Family Jewels, and yes even The Duggars!

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