Let’s be honest: we all love reality dating TV. Be it consuming seasons of “Love is Blind” and “The Bachelor” or catching up with the latest on what the real housewives are up to, we watch our favorite larger-than-life personalities and their dramas, fights, feuds and, most of all, whirlwind romances.

But, are these romances truly examples of hypergamy? Are the connections based on mutual upliftment and luxury? They might want you to believe that they are, but in reality, reality TV is not entirely real life.

Revealing Hypergamy on Screen

“The Bachelor” is a prime example of modern hypergamy in reality dating TV, and it showcases how the contestants hope to elevate themselves through their romantic relationships. The Bachelor himself is larger than life; he’s desirable, he’s successful— everybody wants his attention.

In Season 25, Matt James, a real estate broker, was a truly hypergamous man. Contestants like Rachael Kirkconnell and Michelle Young vied for his attention, and the women themselves held traits and qualities they believed would align with Matt’s success and lifestyle. This season highlighted the aspirational nature of hypergamy, where women sought to partner with someone who could provide not only emotional support but also was iconic in his own way for his success.

On the other hand, “The Bachelor” often features women who are professionals in their own right. These women don’t require a successful partner yet still seek someone who can elevate them. 

The Bachelor invites us to see how dating a successful partner could potentially look. It’s full of glamor, full of dates to exotic locations— this is the dream of someone who wants to date in a hypergamous way; having it all, and someone there to share it with who facilitates it.

Couple who could be on The Bachelor

The Illusion of Attractiveness

On the other side of reality dating, we have Love is Blind.

Contestants meet each other through a wall— they can’t see what the other looks like and are forced to connect on a deeper, more emotional level.

In the recent season of Love is Blind, Amy and Johnny were the only couple to actually get married. 

They got engaged before even seeing each other, which is the essence of the show— connecting on personality and intellect rather than social media clout or looks. Their story highlights that finding a genuine hypergamous relationship is possible but rare, as the rest of the couples slowly fall apart (some more dramatically than others). 

It raises the question: is this true hypergamy? The answer is that it can be. 

The Love is Blind romances lacked something vital: when the cameras were turned off, all of the couples had to go back to their regular lives. The magic of meeting on television did not carry through, and the aspirational factor of their connections left alongside the producers. 

The set-up of Love is Blind prevents true Hypergamy from taking place; it’s important to know exactly who you’re talking to and to ensure that their lifestyle, image, and energy match yours.

The Thin Line Between Reality Dating TV and Entertainment

In the end, we have to acknowledge that these shows are set up by their producers to draw us in and to make us root for the couples. 

We watch them, imagining ourselves in their shoes, as they navigate the landscape of dating—some dating down, some dating up. We watch as they fall apart and fall in love—all tinged with the showbiz of makeup artists and wardrobe departments.

In the most recent season of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, we saw what a mismatch of a hypergamous couple can result in— Kyle Richards split from her real estate mogul husband Mauricio Umansky, as their ideals and dreams for the future no longer matched. We watched, heartbroken, as the pair parted ways, but with a key message behind it: if a couple’s goals no longer are complementary, then it’s time to move along. Reality TV became real life, in that moment, and allowed us to reflect on the people that we choose— do they align with our long-term goals? 

Maybe that’s something that the Love is Blind couples should be asking each other, from behind their walls.

Finding Your Real-Life Power Couple

So, if reality TV isn’t quite the launchpad for hypergamy, where do you go to find that person who elevates your life? Let yourself be inspired by the dream that these shows offer; use them as a benchmark, but not a guideline for how to get there (no one has time for that amount of drama).

The Bachelor whisks us away to private islands on private jets, while Love is Blind invites us to imagine what it might be like to meet someone who intimately understands us before meeting in person. 

These ideals might seem like daydreams, but in the end, they give us something to dream about: a love on the silver screen built on a foundation of mutual upliftment and mutual understanding—with a core of luxury.

That’s the true path to hypergamy— believing that life can be so much more than ordinary. When you raise your own, personal standards, you start to see things differently— because in reality, and not just on TV, connection can be something extraordinary. You might meet your very own Bachelor, whose helicopter flies you out to the top of a skyscraper.

The key is to curate your dating life. 

Power Couple on Private Jet

You’re not going to find that person by simply daydreaming about beach dates and rose ceremonies (though it’s a good place to start); you’re going to find them by putting yourself out there, actively, and joining the websites that they frequent.

At Seeking, we facilitate connections like these so that you can go on those dates in real time, and find the person who changes your life.

Who knows, you could be our next success story, Bachelor, or Bachelorette— join Seeking.

For more hypergamous dating stories and tips, visit the rest of the Seeking Blog.

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