page contents

Survivor or The Bachelor: Which is Best for Romance?  

One of my dirty little secrets is I like reality television.  Not all of it, but I am a fan of Survivor and The Amazing Race.  If any of you are fans, you know the last episode ended with a marriage proposal.  One of this season’s contestants proposed on live television to a prior contestant.  She accepted.

This got me to thinking.  There seem to have been a lot of relationships that grew out of that show.  I decided to do a little research.  After 22 seasons there are three marriages of Survivor alumni, and, including the recent engagement, an additional 3 ongoing relationships.  There have been other couples whose relation-ships haven’t lasted.

I decided to contrast that with outcomes of The Bachelor and Bachelorette, shows I’m not so fond of but do get exposed to.  For those of you who don’t follow reality TV, let me tell you about these shows.  Survivor is a show where contestants compete in challenges and against the elements to eliminate each other and win a final $1,000,000 prize.  It takes place in exotic, but primitive, locations.  In The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, a group of men or women compete for the love, and proposal, of one member of the opposite sex.  They also go to lots of exotic, and not primitive, locations.  My question was, how did the shows whose purpose was to find love stack up against Survivor?

From 15 seasons of the bachelor there has been one marriage and one relationship that lasted for five years but has now ended.  All of the other relationships fell apart.  In fact, one of the most common phrases I ran into in doing this research was “they broke up after several months.”  One marriage has come out of six seasons of the bachelorette and a couple from the season completed in 2010 are still planning their wedding. 

Final score?  Survivor comes out on top with marriage 3 ½ to 2 ½ and in other relationships 2-0.  Granted, altogether The Bachelor and The Bachelorette had one fewer season, but they should at least stack up given that their goal is to find love. 

Why is this important?  I think it is instructive on the kinds of things that build relationships.  Two points in particular come to mind.  I am always harping on creating shared experiences and there is a good deal that people who go through the Survivor game share.  It is an arduous game and many contestants talk about how it has changed them.  It seems that shared experience can create an affinity between the contestants.  But what about the other shows?  There are shared experiences there as well.  I wish I could afford to take my wife on all the exotic dates they engineer!  My sense is that the difference probably has to do with genuineness.  In Survivor people are faced with a great deal of stress and really get to know each other well, warts and all.  On the other hand, when people are pursuing a relationship too hard, they often work very hard to put their best face forward and aren’t particularly real.

The bottom line.  If you want to improve your relationship, or develop a new one, be genuine and create shared experiences.