Photo by author
Call it a trashy reality show all you want, but 90 Day Fiance and all its spinoff shows are fantastic. It’s an opportunity to see the world through the eyes of Americans and their foreign lovers. Especially when we Americans won’t be traveling any time soon. It’s also a lesson in relationships.
It sounds insane to say you learn about relationships from a reality TV show. Especially one that has scenes that people claim were staged. But you learn a lot about the countries, the visa process, and each other.
The show does a great job of highlighting different relationships while showing challenges each couple goes through to find love. It’s a fascinating look at the things people do for love.
The show highlights how common online dating is in the twenty-first century
Dating sites are growing. I mentioned in a previous article, Relationship Advice from a Millenial to a Gen Z’er, that one in five relationships start online. Studies also show that these relationships beginning online are stronger than traditional relationships.
Most of the relationships on the show start online. The internet is full of dating sites for people seeking foreigners. Other foreigners reached out through social media and made connections that way.
Yet, in the twenty-first century, people are wary of making connections online. It sounds bizarre finding out your friend is talking to someone from another country.
People should take safety precautions if they ever meet their online friends. You never know who’s genuine and who’s a catfish. The show helps show traditional daters what a red flag in online dating can look like to experienced online daters.
- Are they asking you to send them money? Red flag!
- Do they avoid talking on the phone and camera? That’s a red flag!
- Do they seem unreasonably angry if you say no? Red flag!
These red flags are before the couples meet. When they meet, you can see traditional red flags in their relationships.
The show isn’t shy about showing biases and ignorance from both countries
If you could make a drinking game out of the 90 Day Fiance series, one cliche happens every season. There is always one person who accuses the foreigner of going after a green card.
On the flip side, you’ll occasionally see a foreigner who assumes every American is wealthy. They’ll come over and get disappointed when they realize their American fiance isn’t as rich as they hoped.
When you watch the show, you see many different relationships. You see couples with a significant age gap, interracial relationships, and inter-religious.
Even if both people were American, these types of relationships come with their own set of problems. As someone who’s never been in these relationships, it’s an eye-opener to what people go through.
You learn a lot about the immigration process in America
If there’s one thing you get out of watching 90 Day Fiance, immigrating to the US is not cheap. Americans are spending thousands of dollars to bring their potential spouses over, and it takes a long time to process the visas.
That’s the visa process alone. It doesn’t say anything about traveling to the fiance’s country to see them. International travel isn’t cheap in the US. You need to prove your fiance won’t go on welfare when they come to the US. If you don’t have the income to support them before they get their green cards, you need to find a sponsor.
For foreigners, it’s not easy to get visa approval either.
- There’s a background check. A criminal record needs to be near spotless.
- They have to prove the relationship is real through pictures, texts, and people writing for them on their behalf. The foreigner has to bring the pictures and other documentation to prove it on the interview.
- They need see each other within two years.
- After the marriage, the couple has to come up with money to apply for the green card. And the foreigner has to pay a visa application fee when they start the process on their end.
As I learn more about the visa process, I find myself thinking there’s a reason the divorce rate is so high. Three months isn’t enough time to make sure you’re with someone you want to marry.
I’m keeping in mind it’s a reality show, and there’s more to the story than I’m seeing. But when I watch the show, my brain immediately asks two questions.
They proposed that quick?
Doesn’t anyone research the countries before going to them?
The best part about the show is the conversations that happen when we watch it
Whenever I see a new season, I like to look at the couples and see if they’re still together. Most couples end up divorced, but there is a decent number of them that stay together.
From watching so many seasons of the show, I wonder if 90 days is enough time to get to know someone well enough to marry them. I often wonder why some people don’t go to a courthouse right when their fiance arrives. Maybe there wouldn’t be a show if people did that.
Often, the couples find themselves in awkward situations that make us think. My fiance and I would pause the show on different scenes and ask each other what they’d do in that situation. We can learn about one another’s gray areas too.
The show has its moments. There is the occasional scene where I find myself questioning how real it is. But in the end, it’s addicting. I’m amazed by the things the people do so they’ll be with the people they love.
These couples don’t let biases and language barriers get to what they believe is the best future for them.