Reality dating shows and today’s modern dating culture

Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 12:50 PM CDT
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Reality dating shows used to be considered a bit of a novelty, but within the past decade they’ve become a staple in television programming. Netflix, one of the largest streaming services to date, has 15 (and counting) dating shows available to stream at a moment’s notice.

There is clearly a demand for this type of content, but why? We’re aware going into these shows that the majority of the relationships won’t last and that they’re mostly comprised of mindless melodrama, so what is the allure?

These shows dramatize our worst habits (in more ways than we’re willing to admit). But, that leaves us with a “chicken or the egg” dilemma. Are these shows instigating the superficiality that has seeped into modern-day dating culture, or are they simply reflecting it?

We sat down with Dr. Frieda Birnbaum, a research psychologist, psychoanalytic therapist, seasoned media commentator, and author, and she shared her expert perspective on reality dating shows and how they mirror toxic dating behaviors.


Frieda Birnbaum, Ph.D., is a research psychologist and psychoanalytic therapist in Saddle River, New Jersey and the award-winning author of LIFE BEGINS AT 60: A New View of Motherhood, Marriage, and Reinventing Ourselves and WHAT PRICE POWER: An In-Depth Study of the Professional Woman in a Relationship.

An expert on topics such as family dynamics, parenthood, relationships, addiction, anxiety, and depression, Dr. Frieda is a seasoned media personality and commentator who is adept at discerning the psychological underpinnings of current issues and parsing the psychological profiles of various newsmakers- politicians, celebrities, criminals, etc.

Notably, Dr. Frieda is the oldest woman in America to give birth to twins. The mother of five, her youngest sons were born when she was 60, lending her a unique perspective on issues related to parenting and the empowerment of women at any age.

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