‘Treat dating like a 9 to 5 job’: Love Island dating lessons you should follow
Whether you’re watching for the hot bods or keeping on top of the coffee break chatter, we’ve garnered some valuable lessons from the Love Island stars this year.
“Look beyond the neon soft furnishings and gratuitous show of flesh – there’s a lot we can learn from how the contestants interact with each other as they go from glaringly single, to very much available,” says dating agent Anna Williamson.
Here, the romance guru tells OK! how the reality dating show can help us find the formula for forever love…
Find your people
The more you’re in close contact with like-minded people, the greater your chance of connection – it’s called the Proximity Principle, and that’s what Love Island’s designed to do.
Some people may scoff and raise eyebrows at how realistic it can be to find genuine love in such a short space of time. But it’s actually very plausible that many couples leave the villa with a bona fide partner.
Take away tip: If you want to date, get your mindset in the right place. Do you want a relationship or a fling? Love Island contestants have a set goal: to find love. You need to find people with the same goal as you.
Be honest and vulnerable
The big showstopper each week has been the Recoupling Ceremony, when the Islanders choose who they want to couple up with and continue their Love Island journey. It’s extremely public and exposing, encouraging complete honesty and vulnerability.
There’s no chance of getting away with a quick, “Yeah, I like so and so.” Instead, the contestants are encouraged to reflect on and declare what they like and value about their chosen one, while addressing them. In a dating world, where so many games are pointlessly played, it’s a great demonstration of emotional maturity.
Take away tip: Letting your partner know what it is you like, love and appreciate about them is a great way to establish connection and mutual trust, and to solidify feelings.
The Love Island environment has been specifically constructed to keep the contestants’ eyes on the prize, and that’s not only the cash for the winning couple. Without the distractions of day-to-day life there’s nothing else to do but focus on, and explore, each other. This is dating its purest.
Take away tip: We should treat finding love the same as we would finding a job. The more effort you put in, the more success you’ll have.
Show your appreciation
It’s about the little things… Ekin-Su making Davide a post-workout breakfast, Andrew giving Tasha his ring – the smallest acts can have the biggest impact.
Take away tip: Make your partner breakfast in bed, or maybe they can bring you a morning cuppa. Doing thoughtful things for one another is a highly effective ‘love language’. Actions speak louder than words.
Make the effort
After a day of sunbathing, the Islanders take things up a notch by getting glammed up for their evening antics. It shows the other halves that they want to look their best, not just for them, but for themselves.
Take away tip: Have a think about getting out of your trackies in the evening. It’ll almost certainly spice things up.
The islanders weren’t always on their best behaviour this year – Anna’s picked out the strongest warning signs of shady behaviour…
1. Weaponising past mistakes
At one point, Davide was arrogant, thinking he could pick up and drop Ekin-Su as he pleased. His trust issues made her second guess herself and her previous misdemeanours were being dragged up, stopping their romance from moving forward.
● Is there equal respect in your relationship? Look out for emotional manipulation – people using our past as a weapon. It doesn’t create a level playing field.
2. Possessive behaviour
Luca and Jacques used intense language like “I’m obsessed with you.” It could have made Paige and Gemma feel claustrophobic, as if they had been claimed.
● This intense language is a subtle way of warning, “You’re mine and nobody else’s.”
3. Dishonourable defence mechanisms
Andrew acted out by throwing himself at other women in the wake of conflict with Tasha. A respectful partner should handle anger with maturity.
Do they rebel or communicate effectively? You need to work out what you accept as OK behaviour in your relationship.
Anna Williamson is a counsellor, life coach and co-founder of the relationship place, therelationshipplace.co.uk.