Love Is Blind gives “not here for the right reasons” a new meaning

A man sitting on a couch, leaning forward, elbows on knees, in a very brightly colored room.
Trevor is one of the Love Is Blind contestants this season who has been embroiled in offscreen drama. | Courtesy of Netflix

The offscreen drama of the Netflix reality hit, from Jeramey to Trevor, explained.

It’s now a given for any major dating show that people aren’t really on there to find love.

That pattern has become so prevalent that The Bachelor has coined a damning catchphrase for it. If a contestant is on the show just for fame and clout — or at least unable to conceal that mindset — they’re branded as “not here for the right reasons.”

Even among shows notable for glory-chasing, however, the dramas of this season’s Love Is Blind have been staggering.

As the show has aired over the last few weeks, a bevy of offscreen allegations have recast multiple lead contestants (looking at you, Trevor and Jeramey) in a new, and unflattering, light.

Specifically, they’ve suggested that these contestants were already in other serious relationships while either filming the show or shortly prior to participating in it. (Jeramey has rebutted these claims, while Trevor pretty much admitted to it during the show’s reunion episode.)

It’s a wrinkle that further undercuts any plausible suggestion that the show is dedicated to helping people fall in love and not simply a vehicle for more Instagram followers and a cushy influencer career.

As its conceit goes, Love Is Blind asks people to date and get engaged to others sight unseen in order to test just how much looks matter in a relationship. The show’s dedication to that premise, however, is sorely tried by its contestants’ clout chasing and by producers’ willingness to cast individuals who have no commitment to the concept it’s based on.

This season’s offscreen scandals, briefly explained

Two of the big Love is Blind dramas this season have centered on men with either a serious partner or a recent partner choosing to go on a dating show.

The first concerns Jeramey Lutinski, a construction department manager perhaps best known on the show for staying out until 5 in the morning with another woman — Sarah Ann Bick — while his partner — Laura Dadisman — was at home. In the end, Jeramey eventually splits with Laura and reconnects with Sarah Ann. In an especially notable scene, Jeramey attends a group event on the waterfront and speeds away with Sarah Ann on a jetski after an emotional breakup with Laura.

“I don’t condone how I acted during this,” he later wrote on Instagram about his behavior.

As the show has aired, Jeramey’s former fiance, Brittani McLiverty, and her mother, Jenni Gelven Daniel, have levied allegations, which he has denied, that make him look even worse.

“Someone was engaged and living with someone when applying to this ….” Jenni wrote in a Facebook post accompanied by a photo of Jeramey and Brittani posing with an engagement ring and a child. Brittani has also posted comments on Instagram suggesting that Laura and Sarah Ann deserve to know “all the info” about Jeramey’s ex-fiance and how the couple sold their home a week or two prior to filming.

Jeramey has countered Jenni’s claims and said he “was not living with anyone when casting reached out” and that he was not engaged when he applied for the show. He says that he’d already been “out living on my own” for a number of weeks at that time, and stated that the past engagement was openly discussed with the other contestants on Love Is Blind.

The second scandal — which involves a contestant named Trevor — was even more shocking because it didn’t jibe with the onscreen edit he received. Trevor, a project manager, wasn’t part of one of the final engaged couples, but he was a close runner-up for one of the main women (Chelsea) and has been described as a “teddy bear” due to his warm persona and penchant for talking about his dog (also named Chelsea.)

Since the debut of the show, Trevor’s ex-girlfriend, Natalia Marrero, has alleged that they were together throughout filming and that they agreed that he could go on it while the two were still dating. She notes that Trevor had framed the opportunity as one that would be financially beneficial for both of them. Marrero’s since shared texts that show Trevor telling her about the show and saying he wants to marry her, and Business Insider has confirmed that the number linked with the messages is tied to his phone.

Marrero tells BI she wanted to go public because the truth of the situation was so contradictory to the portrayal Trevor received. She alleges that just two weeks prior to the show airing in 2024, Trevor broke up with her and then later threatened her if she tried to come clean about the situation. Trevor was effectively left speechless when confronted with the text receipts for his actions at this season’s Love is Blind reunion. After he recovered his ability to speak, he claimed that he and Marrero had never officially said that she was his “girlfriend” though they were dating throughout filming, and were “toxic” together.

The purported revelations about Trevor undercut both the persona he has on TV and, theoretically, the chief reason to participate in the show, which is to find a long-term relationship.

It’s certainly not the first time a contestant appears to have misrepresented their relationship status in order to try to get cast on a reality show, which only adds to the skepticism around whether this franchise — and others — are trying to help people secure love at all. (That idea was only halfway plausible in season one, if ever, when Love Is Blind hadn’t yet become a smash hit.)

Other prominent examples of people supposedly using such tactics include Jed from Hannah Brown’s season of The Bachelor, who allegedly also had a serious girlfriend right before filming, and SK from season three of Love Is Blind, who appeared committed to an engagement with Raven, his partner from the show, but who was later accused of cheating.

In another instance of this season’s Love Is Blind contestants going on with goals counter to those of the show, Clay, a member of one of the engaged couples, says “no” at the altar because he isn’t ready for marriage.

As many fans have noted, having questions about marriage and commitment isn’t in itself problematic, but it is odd to go on a show that famously ends in a wedding if you’re not ready to follow through.

And to make the whole feigning singledom situation even more confounding, there are reality shows designed for couples who want fame (The Ultimatum, for one), so there are outlets that partnered-up people do have instead of faking their relationship status.

Clout is blind

A big draw for going on shows like Love Is Blind, during which contestants open themselves up for judgment by millions of people, is that even if you leave single, there can be a professional payoff at the end.

Popular contestants from past Love Is Blind seasons, like Lauren Speed from season one and Alexa Lemieux from season three, each have upward of a million Instagram followers, a massive audience that can be leveraged for brand deals. Natalie Lee and Deepti Vempati, two fan favorites from Love Is Blind season two, now have a successful podcast analyzing the show called Out of the Pods. (In Love Is Blind, contestants aren’t able to see each other during the first part of the show and can only communicate by speaking to each other in windowless “pods.”) Previously, Lee and Vempati spoke candidly with Fortune about how they quit six-figure jobs in consulting and tech to make three times their corporate salaries as influencers.

The season six revelations make it all the more clear that this is many contestants’ end goal.

That motivation isn’t surprising or necessarily even troubling. It requires a healthy suspension of disbelief to think that anyone is appearing on TV for the pure purpose of finding a soulmate.

The issues with this season’s contestants and their questionable relationship statuses, however, do continue to dilute the idea that the experiment is out to accomplish any of its stated goals. Understandably, producers are motivated to select people who will make for interesting and often combustible television, since the drama — onscreen and off — is what makes watching a show like this entertaining, fun, and worthy of rampant discussion.

What such casting isn’t necessarily conducive to, though, is real, lasting relationships.

As Vox’s Alex Abad-Santos has written,Love Is Blind has proven itself to not actually be about whether two people who have never seen each other can find love. Nope … There’s no ‘winning’ on this show, as the pool of ‘prizes’ are men and women who have been picked to cause the most drama and wave the brightest of red flags.”

Update, March 15, 5:30 pm ET: This story was originally published on March 7 and has been updated with information from the show’s reunion episode.

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