Sure, Monday nights are all about The Bachelor. But there are other nights, and other delightfully messy dating shows to watch out there in the wide world of reality TV. Forget dramatic rose ceremonies - there's polygamy, foreign visas, and forced marriages out there happening right now on our cable networks! (Not to mention even more disastrous TV headed our way this Spring...) Here's a list of ten reality TV dating shows we're obsessed with, and why you should be too.
Love After Lockup (WEtv, Fridays at 10 EST)
If you aren’t watching this gem of a shitshow yet, I have just one question for you: WHY NOT? Please stop reading this, go set your DVR to WEtv for Friday night at 10pm EST, and meet me back here in a sec. Okay – welcome to living your best life. You’re welcome.
Reason to watch: From the producers of 90 Day Fiance, camera crews follow six couples who built a relationship while one of them was behind bars. Will their love last beyond the prisoner’s release? Will we find out that the people on the outside are 100% crazier than the inmates? Will an ex-Crip and current Mormon-mother-of-three make the perfect match? Answer: No, Yes, and No. Brilliance.
To Rome for Love (Bravo, Sundays at 9 EST)
Relationship expert Diann Valentine takes five African-American women to Italy who claim to have faced challenges finding a good man, state side. In Rome, our single ladies are presented with Italy’s most eligible – and sometimes most cringeworthy – bachelors.
Reason to watch: As we’ve come to expect from Bravo, this is a highly produced piece of eye candy filled with good lighting and beautiful backdrops. But Bravo also knows how to bring the drama – and they don’t disappoint in highlighting the culture clash between the American bachelorettes and their super stereotypical Italian suitors. Also, these women are bound to fight among themselves. As the Bravo gods demand.
Seeking Sister Wife (TLC, Sundays at 10 EST)
Already building a solid cult following, this show follows three “plural families” as they look for/transition a new sister wife into their crazy ass lifestyle.
Reason to watch: If you love reality TV, then you love polygamy. Just admit it already. The theme of current-wives-hating-new-wives runs deep, and this show doesn’t disappoint in exploiting this mine field. Also, special shout out to TLC for giving us the first dating show that includes more than two people on a first date. If you like feeling vicariously awkward and skeeved out for one solid hour a week, this show is for you!
Married At First Sight (Lifetime, Tuesdays at 9 EST)
Three couples are matched by a team of so-called “experts,” forced to marry each after meeting for the first time at the altar, then live with each other for a series of weeks to see if they want to stay together for the long haul or get divorced. It’s essentially the highest stakes date you can ever possibly go on.
Reason to watch: A handful of couples have actually stayed married as a result of this show’s experiment. This season, however, it looks glum for all of our couples. Tune in to see bizarre moments like a husband and wife learning each others’ phone numbers for the first time – or the fact that they can’t stand the sight of the other person, period. But whoops! Now they’re married to them. Mazel!
Find My First Love (FYI Network, Tuesdays at 9 EST)
If you’ve ever dreamt about the “one that got away,” this docuseries shows you what happens when you find them. British TV personality Cherry Healey hosts this hunt for exes on a worldwide journey that practically requires the services of Interpol. The show promises romantic endings and heartbreak, with some dramatic dead ends to boot.
Reason to watch: Stalking is fun.