Love

Netflix’s 'Love Is Blind' Explains The Tragic Reason Why So Many Men Are Single Today

Photo: Netflix, Wiki Commons
scene from love is blind

Men are lonelier than ever.

Men in their 20s aren’t having sex. Men are not okay. More and more men identify as ‘incels’ — which stands for ‘involuntarily celibate.’

You’ve probably been hearing things along these lines in the last few months, maybe even longer.

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But if you look at the statistics on heterosexual male sexlessnessrelationship status trends, incel forums participation, etc., it all checks out.

And as with any social phenomenon, there are all sorts of theories as to why there’s a rise of single, lonely men — especially young — who, even though they want to be in a relationship, can’t seem to succeed in doing so.

(Some of which point the finger at women or feminism. Surprise, surprise.)

I’ve recently watched the latest season of Netflix’s show Love Is Blind and besides reminding me of my own horrible dating experiences from a few years ago — I’m now happily in a relationship —I think it also offers some explanation as to why that’s the case.

More specifically, the behavior of the male cast does.

Love is probably not so blind

Love is Blind is your typical dating reality television series, apart from one detail. In the initial phase of the show, the participants — a handful of single, heterosexual men and women — go on dates in purpose-built pods where they can talk through a speaker but not see each other.

They eventually meet in person, and then they have a few weeks to decide if they want to marry each other.

And this is usually when shit really hits the fan.

Although there are three seasons of the show to date — and I did watch them all — the last one definitely takes the cake in terms of the most unhinged casting. Because while most female participants seem to be genuinely looking for love and marriage, and they’re ready for it, the male participants are not.

The worst of them all is probably Cole.

He’s a 27-year-old realtor, devout Christian, and just a giant, walking red flag. Almost everything he says and does is inappropriate, childish, or a combination of the two.

His relationship with the woman he proposed to, Zanab, outside the pods essentially starts with him freely admitting to her and everyone else that he doesn’t find her that physically attractive.

But he also admits he finds two other women in the show more attractive than her. When Zanab confronts him about that, he immediately lashes out and implies she should be grateful because ‘she’s a 9/10, and he usually gives women 7s.’

How lovely.

Apart from that, the couple also constantly clashes over the issue of Cole’s maturity. Or rather, lack thereof.

He lives in a filthy, fly-infested apartment that doesn’t look like it’s been clean since the day he moved in. He doesn’t know how to cook, clean, and take care of himself. And even when he tries to make dinner, he quickly lets Zanab take over and then disappears into their flat to look for his… toy gun. Right.

Oh, and he, later on, accuses his fiancée of being ‘bipolar’ in the middle of an argument about him essentially behaving like a child.

There’s also Bartise, another 27-year-old who’s upset that the woman he chose isn’t a tall, blond fitness model.

Just like Cole, he can’t seem to shut up about it to his fiancée, Nancy. He also freely admits that another woman in the show, Raven, is ‘hot as shit’ and a ‘smoke show’, unlike her.

And when Bartise isn’t busy manipulating her into thinking she’s not enough, he’s gaslighting her, getting angry that she wants to be hugged, policing women’s right to choose — because women can only apparently get ‘one free pass’ to have an abortion — and being really emotionally immature.

But hey, at least his demeanor slightly changed once he realized Nancy’s wealth and successful real estate portfolio.

There’s also Matt, a 28-year-old sales executive whose red flag isn’t just the usual toxic red — it’s dangerously red.

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He can’t seem to have one conversation with his fiancée, Colleen, without raising his voice, swearing, and behaving like an angry toddler that just had his favorite toy taken away from him.

There is literally no communication, and he goes from zero to 100 within seconds.

No, the man-child syndrome really isn’t cute

It was difficult to watch all that male entitlement mixed with a complete lack of self-awareness and overly inflated egos with a sprinkle of misogyny and sexism on top.

Most of the men on ‘Love Is Blind’ latest season — a total of five made it out of the pods — need a therapist, not a wife. (Some of them, like Matt, probably shouldn’t even be allowed around women.)

But I’d be lying if I said I’ve never met guys like Cole, Bartise, or Matt in real life. I did. And many, at that. Hell, I even dated — briefly, but still — men just like them.

And I usually classified them as ‘men-children.’

The man-child behavioral pattern, also known as the ‘Peter Pan syndrome,’ was first described by psychologist Dan Kiley in his 1983 book Peter Pan Syndrome: Men Who Have Never Grown Up.’

It isn’t a formal diagnosis or a mental health condition but more of an informal term used by some psychologists to describe boys who refuse to become men.

And according to Kiley, here are some of their characteristics:

  • They refuse to accept adult responsibility, like domestic labor
  • They avoid taking accountability for their mistakes and may frequently blame others
  • They behave irresponsibly and may display narcissistic personality traits
  • They have difficulty expressing emotions, especially in appropriate ways
  • They treat romantic partners as ‘mother figures’

In short, a man-child is socially and emotionally immature, unreliable, struggles to form meaningful relationships, and will essentially ‘mommy-zone’ their partner.

Well. It does sound awfully like the guys from ‘Love is Blind’, doesn’t it?

Although there isn’t much research on what causes it, some experts say that it might be a consequence of boys being coddled by their parents or raised in environments with strict gender roles. I have a hunch that the ‘boys will be boys and ‘boys mature slower than girls’ mentality has something to do with it as well.

And while I know that some women might find it ‘cute’ when men are ‘in need of a woman because they can’t cook, clean, do laundry, express their emotions or handle most of the other adult responsibilities, is it really tough?

Sure, maybe in the short-term, if you’ve also been socialized to believe that it’s a woman’s job to become the mother of the man you’re dating.

But in the long term, I hardly think so.

Being a man’s parent, personal assistant, maid, cook, cheerleader, side-kick, pornstar, therapist, and whatever else is incredibly draining.

It’s why women still do most of the housework, even if they’re the primary breadwinner. And the reason women have, on average, 40 minutes a day less leisure time than their partners.

And according to some studies, it’s also why women sometimes experience lower sexual desire than their partners.

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Women shouldn’t be expected to want to babysit adult men

Women are in a very different place today — and in many parts of the world, not just the West — than they were a mere couple of decades ago.

More and more women get higher education. In the UK, women are 35% more likely to go to university than men. In the US, the situation is very similar. And globally, more women are now with a higher education degree than men.

More and more women are also thriving professionally and are fully financially independent. Millennial women are now set to become the most economically independent generation in history.

In other words, women no longer need a man to make a living, or even to have kids.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that we don’t want to be in relationships, but that the things we look for in potential partners have undoubtedly changed in the past few decades.

In particular, because many Gen Z’ers and Millenials like myself grew up watching our mothers essentially being single mothers, even if they were married. And, not surprisingly, the appeal of the man-child for many — if not most — of us is long gone.

(Besides, if we really want something to take care of, we can always buy a plant or adopt a pet, not date a man who believes he doesn’t have to grow up.)

But it’s not like men can’t possibly know now what women are looking for in a relationship, either. It’s not some great mystery buried deep in the file cabinets on Jeffrey Epstein’s ‘Paedophile Island.’

Women have been repeating time and time that they want a man who is empathetic, emotionally intelligent, kind, compassionate, and understanding. Not a needy, self-centered man-child who has zero regulation of his emotions, throws tantrums when things don’t go his way, and only pays attention to our physical appearance.

Of course, that’s not to say that all men are like that. Or that the only reason so many men are lonely, single, and sexless is that they refuse to grow up.

But it definitely is one of them.

Because I sincerely doubt that any woman in the right state of mind would want to babysit a fully grown-a** man.

In the end, most ‘Love is Blind’ couples didn’t go through with the marriages. How very shocking, isn’t it?

But some people are now speculating that perhaps the producers intentionally cast such childish men because they knew that would make the viewers’ blood boil.

Maybe that’s true, maybe not.

Still, this latest season illustrates the broader problem women often face in heterosexual relationships: having to essentially ‘mother’ their partners.

And I really can’t help but feel like the female participants deserved better than those men.

Just like many other women today.

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Katie Jgln is a writer and activist whose work covers women’s rights issues, pop culture, and news. 

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This article was originally published at Medium. Reprinted with permission from the author.