Reality Check!

While talking to one of my girlfriends about the popular television show, The Bachelor, I came to a frightening realization. Despite watching nearly every episode of the show, I couldn’t discern one singular contestant from the others.

On reality shows like Millionaire Matchmaker and The Real Housewives of whatever, everyone appears the same: The bronzed-ness of their skin is matched only by the blondeness of their hair. I’m not suggesting that there’s anything wrong with the way the contestants choose to present themselves, however – I do believe the consistent appearances and personalities portrayed on these shows sends a very specific message: Love is for other people.

Namely, love is for people with “perfect” bodies, clear skin, orthodontic superiority and no discerning personalities.

As a professional matchmaker, I hear all kinds of advice from all kinds of self-appointed “love experts,” telling us that if we consume X,Y,Z, we can we be successful romantically. Not because this is true, but because if we dislike aspects of ourselves, we will definitely buy something in hopes to heal that part of ourselves that feels unseen.

My entire career as a Matchmaker and Love Coach is built on only one piece of advice, and perhaps it is a cliché, but it works.

Be yourself. 

Or, more specifically, be the most unapologetic, fully realized, well developed, and clearly stated version of yourself. Only then can you attract the right person, and build an authentic relationship with a person that loves and adores you for who you are.

So, what messages do you think reality romance TV shows sends to its viewers? Do you have any tips or tricks that remind you to be yourself? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

Yours in romance,



Amy Van Doran is a professional matchmaker and relationship coach specializing in facilitating modern romance for extraordinary New Yorkers. Connect with Amy via her website, Twitter and Facebook.


  • M_fristoe

    I have heard this so many times after I went through my divorce. I finally set out to discover who “myself” really was and I was delighted to find me! I’m not a cookie cutter discription of a wife and mother….and that’s okay. Now that I know myself and love me with all my good qualities and flaws my children even love and accept me for who I really am and we have a much better relationship than before! I’m still on a journey of discovery because my likes and dislikes continue to change and I’ve polished some of my character flaws. Life is fun and wonderful and what we choose to attract to us. I keep a notebook of this discovery and it is amazing to go back and see all the changes that have been made. That’s how I remind me to just be myself.

    • anon

      Not being cookie cutter is so much more wonderful! Congratulations for embracing your true self! I imagine you are shining and sparkling with authentic specialness because let’s face it, there’s only one You on the planet and that is your gift to other people. And that is exciting! 🙂 

    • Anon1_San Diego

      My question to you is why weren’t you on the path of discovery and growth while married?  

      Don’t get me wrong, I think you’re growth is awesome!  But, it bothers me to hear that people can ONLY grow while not in a relationship.  To me that’s ridiculous (and I know that you didn’t say that. I’m just making a point.)  You should be your authentic self all of the time, whether you’re in a relationship or not.

      • marina

        great point, well put. why don’t people grow while in a relationship? Maybe in certain ways they do, but I know that most of my own personal growth has been in between relationships, when I have time to reflect. I do hope to bring it forward into my next relationship, and continue to grow in new ways through the relationship.

      • poc

        She wasn’t because she just wasn’t. Her story is pretty normal. People usually set out on a path of self discovery after a dramatic painful life event like a divorce. She just wasn’t at that point of curiosity and wanting to know more about herself. And that is OK. It’s in the past!

        However, I agree with you that it is a big mistake for ANYONE to think that they have to be single to grow and be on a path of self discovery. Truth is when in relationship, you have someone to reflect you back to yourself and relationships then become a very useful tool for our growth.

        Also, let’s not forget that even when not in a romantic relationship, we have lots of other kinds of relationships through which we also grow.

  • Beth

    the Bachelor and the like are like public prostitution…..yuck

  • anon

    Great article! Thank you. I have been thinking about this recently too… I have been thinking that all the things I have done in the past to make myself more lovable in relationships have been the things that have prevented me from being loved. All the things I did to try to attract love have made finding love impossible… it all comes down to the thing you point out in this article… be yourself. Because if you’re not being yourself, YOU can’t be loved… the person you are pretending to be can be loved, but not YOU. I have also noticed looking back that I have met most of my loves when I have been not wearing makeup or dressed up, not been looking, not expected it. I think it’s easier to know you are made for each other when you wear something that is so you- like a tshirt of your favourite band (when I was a teenager it was so much easier! ha ha) or whatever. I don’t like the advice that tells people to ‘get into’ the thing the guy they fancy likes… maybe once you are together they can influence you like that in time… but I don’t see why women should pretend to like football if they don’t… how does that breed compatibility? So I really like your advice to be yourself fully. I also ask the angels for help finding a new man… so far I am single… but it’s like a recently remembered why my past relationships have not worked out. I have never really chosen anyone truly compatible and that’s because people like me are rare… so the male equivalent is rare… so I end up settling for the best of who is available instead of holding out for the man of my dreams. On one level it’s good to give people a chance, but I think I’ve been doing too much of that and not enough of being realistic about only giving a chance to guys who are on my level to begin with… where to find such a person? I will let the angels arrange that one for me I reckon… 

    • <3.

      I like what you had to say. Everyone is rare. I believe people think too much. We mistake being picky with being discerning. Most picky people I know end up “picking” the wrong people. Seth Groden says to “pick yourself”. I say this because “picky” people underneath it all are afraid that maybe no one will pick them, so being picky places them in a position of power. Sort like, “I chose you now you’re special.” And in turn they want to feel special. Well, the only way to feel special is to recognize that everyone, including oneself, is special, unique and rare.

    • Asking the angels to help you find a new man…it will happen; have patience; they’re working on it:)  It worked for me…finally met the man of MY dreams…and I thank the angels every day.

  • Ashley

    I’m actually reading a book about this right now! It’s called Reality Bites Back by Jennifer Pozner and it describes exactly what you just did. It’s amazing how our perception of love and reality can become construed by something that is supposedly based on “reality” itself. I recommend taking a look at the book! Certainly very interesting material.

    Have a lovely day 🙂

    • amy van doran

      ashley, i am so picking up a copy! thanks for the recommend. 

  • Not so sure about the connection here.  If all of those bronzed blondes are on reality matchmaking tv shows…then that shows that they are not that lucky in love in general, right?  And everyone else- who is being themselves the whole time anyway- is all matched up already, thus not on the show.  It can also be seen that way, don’t you think? Regardless, good post, and advice to be yourself is never a bad thing!

  • Guest

    So true. I think the advertising and fashion industries (and media) also plays a huge role in this twisted view of love and romance we have…that you have to look a certain way or have a certain personality.

    Let me put it to you this way, I read a guy’s blog somewhere a while back where he asked these questions “Do you really think ppl out there who don’t look like models, who are overweight, who aren’t pretty or considered handsome, who don’t look like actors/actresse  are falling in love and/or getting some? How many of these ppl aren’t in relationships and having families of their own? Ever noticed?”.

  • marina

    My only trick in helping me to be myself when I am going out with someone is to remind myself that I am a special gift of love to the universe and that any person I allow into my life will love me for exactly who I am in this moment. Positive self talk, it works for me!

  • Sharelle

    I agree. I aim to be nothing more or less than myself. In saying that, I will not belittle myself, nor will I talk-up myself to be apart of a something that only exists imaginatively. To remind myself of who I am, I stay who I am. At other times, when I feel like a change is needed, I remind myself of who I am by acknowledging what I would usually do, instead of what I’d choose to do. In all of my 21 years on earth, I spent most of my life trying to be apart of something that never existed, and the rest of my time prepping myself to acknowledge, want, plan and go after bigger and better things. And I must say, that this is the last stop, because I am not going back to wanting something so little and irrelevant to my life and my success–and that includes intimate relationships as well. As far as love not being attainable for people who are themselves, I must admit that I am a little more worried about it not being for me because I am not willing to put up with a lot of stuff that appears to be inevitable to go through, in order to have that happily ever after marriage.

  • I think wearing what you want to wear is actually a big thing, and not disguising tendencies that you have as an individual. I think when people aren’t afraid to be themselves on all levels it will lead to a more abundant society and more social understanding. 

  • Karen

    Personally, I have done the most work on myself in terms of self-acceptance outside of a relationship and self-awareness inside of one.
    Both avenues have worked in my discovering how wonderfully amazing I am,  just as I am…

  • Thanks for all the amazing feed back, and great comments everyone! some real food for thought. I love how everyone is interacting and spreading the positive love. I can’t wait to write the next blog post. 

    Yours in Romance,
    Amy Van