What Can Love Island Teach Us About Healthy Relationships?

What Can Love Island Teach Us About Healthy Relationships?

Laura Mone is a 2nd year Social Policy Student at Ulster University and is currently completing a 6 week placement at Relate NI.

Like many of you out there, I have been watching the antics unfold within the villa over the past few weeks at the same time I have been interning at Relate NI. What I am learning during the day at Northern Irelands leading relationships charity has given me some insight into some of the incidents and moments in the villa, and what viewers can learn from them;

1. Heart Rate Challenge & Communicating Effectively

In the heart rate challenge we seen all the islanders give it their all to try and get each other’s heart rates up, but what caught my eye was how some islanders dealt with the aftermath.

Jacques O’Neill was coupled up with Paige Thorne but during the challenge, it was his ex-girlfriend Gemma Owen who raised his heart rate the most and vice versa. Paige was understandably frustrated, but she didn’t initially communicate this frustration verbally to Jacques. Eventually the issue raised it’s head, as they often do, and Jacques got extremely defensive and a little disrespectful.

What we can learn here is the importance of effective communication to maintaining a healthy relationship. If you have an issue, always bring it up or it will fester and become a bigger issue. Try to do this calmly and in private. Always try to see your partners’ perspective, even if you feel that you are not in the wrong. Notice during the argument Paige says,

“You asked me what was wrong, and I’m telling you what was wrong. So don’t come at me calling it pathetic, don’t ask if you don’t want to know Jacques.”

In this case, it was not the incident itself but the reaction to it, including Jacques dismissing Paige’s feelings.

2. Crawling Controversy & Managing Expectations

Ekin-Su was coupled up with Davide and things seemed to be going quite smoothly for them until new boy Jay arrived. Ekin then started to make moves on Jay, without running it by Davide first. She started the plan of taking Jay up to the terrace in which she told him to follow her but to wait a few minutes until she goes up first. When Ekin arrived up she then crawled across the floor so that the other islanders wouldn’t see her from below and when Jay arrived she made him do the same until they shared a kiss.

The ordeal went undetected by the other islanders for the first night however, the following night people started to realise Ekin was missing, along with Jay. Ekin was then questioned by Davide to where she was and she lied and said she was upstairs. When the truth then came out when Jay finally spilled, Ekin and Davide came to blows screaming and shouting at each other across the villa.

Ultimately, it is the nature of Love Island that contestants have only known each other for very short periods of time. If Ekin & Davide met outside the villa, it would be normal and perhaps even likely they both might be dating other people at the same time, given they only met 4 weeks ago.

While commitment is an integral part of a long lasting couple relationship, as long as you are upfront and truthful about your intentions, and manage other peoples expectations, then sharing intimacy with one person while you are dating another is completely normal. It may even give you some perspective as to whether the first person is meeting your wants and needs (or not), and this could help you make a more exclusive commitment to them, if that is what you want to do. This is illustrated by the fact that Ekin has since chosen to couple up with Davide in the end.

Now compare the Davide-Ekin-Jay situation to when new boy Charlie entered the villa. He instantly wanted to get to know Tasha, who was coupled up with Andrew. When made aware about the idea she was confused about what to do with the situation with Andrew as she thought that they were quite happy together. When the opportunity for Charlie to take two girls on a date, one of the girls he picked was Tasha to no surprise. When Tasha spoke to Andrew about how he was feeling about the ordeal, he said that he wasn’t holding her back from getting to know Charlie and that he was fine with her going on the date.

3. Casa Amor & Maintaining Boundaries

Last week we have seen the famous Casa Amor take our screens which means the girls and boys separate into two different villas with new boys and girls to join them. Many of the boys showed their excitement of 6 new girls coming into the villa and some expressed their interest in getting to know them.

When Luca was asked to “rate the new girls in the villa by appearance” he said that he didn’t want to as he was set on sticking with Gemma, in which the boys expressed their annoyance with him as they want him to explore his options when he has the chance to and proceeded to call him boring.

Despite their reaction Luca decided to stick with Gemma. It seems to me like this peer pressure was actually not about Luca and his best interests, it was about how it might make any of the boys who ‘had their heads turned’ look in comparison. Setting boundaries is key to a healthy relationship, surround yourself with people who respect your choices.

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