Would you pursue a connection knowing you were someone's second choice? No one wants to feel like a runner-up, but is it possible for the silver medal to shine brighter than the gold?
It's definitely a fair question, especially for those marathoning Love Is Blind season 4. In a series first, Zack and Bliss find their way back to one another after Zack Goytowski ends his engagement with Irina Solomonova, who has quickly been labeled the mean girl of the season. (We could go on forever about Irina's behavior, but these Love Is Blind memes quickly sum it up.)
"I made the wrong choice. You know I did, and I do, too," Zack said upon meeting Bliss Poureetezadi in person for the first time.
After their initial face-to-face get-together, we witness Bliss pursue her connection with Zack, but she certainly proceeds cautiously. With each date—a failed steak dinner, an evening at sea—we slowly watch her let her guard down until she decides to accept Zack's proposal.
"I'm engaged to Zack," Bliss said in a confessional. "Life is weird. It's exciting and shocking. I feel so cheesy saying this, but I knew that he was my person from just hearing him—our first date."
And somehow, after the ups and downs of Irina's demeaning behavior, we feel a sense of relief knowing that the pair have reunited, but can this "second choice" relationship work?
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Should you pursue a relationship knowing you're someone's second choice?
We all proclaim that we're not willing to settle in a partnership, but in reality, we're all probably someone's second choice.
"In a perfect world, the person we pick would pick us back, but it doesn’t always work out like that," says dating coach Rikki Dymond. "The right person is the one who aligns with your timing, values, lifestyle and relationship goals, and sometimes it takes dating and testing the waters before we find that right fit."
Instead of labeling a restored connection, like Zack and Bliss', as Plan B, Dymond suggests we flip the script.
"Does this mean that the next choice is a lesser option? Not at all! In fact, I would argue that a 'second choice' could be the better option — they just don’t know it yet," she adds.
But in order to make this type of connection work, you're going to have to be honest with your partner and yourself.
"Honesty and clear communication are essential parts of the recipe," Shannon Smith, resident dating expert at Plenty of Fish. "If you are considering pursuing a relationship with someone who has made it clear that you’re their second choice, it likely warrants hitting pause to take inventory of how that might impact you."
Rikki Dymond is a dating coach and Flirtini dating expert. Her mission is to "help women reconnect with themselves and use their natural feminine energy to bring forward mature and lasting love."
Shannon is the resident dating expert at Plenty of Fish, a Match Group dating app with personalized connection options that help "create the same magic online that you would IRL."
How to proceed in a 'second choice' relationship:
Being candid is the only way in which you'll be able to make a lasting commitment—in any type of situation, regardless of how you and your significant other met.
"Being honest with your partner and sharing your feelings of inadequacy is a beautiful way to build emotional intimacy and connection. It lets them know how you feel and allows them to provide reassurance," Dymond says.
In a sense, we kind of have to think about the whole dating world as a test until we've come across our other.
"It is entirely possible that a relationship that followed trial and error with other partners can be a positive one," says Maria Sullivan, dating expert and vice president of Dating.com. "Many failed relationships are critical learning experiences, and what we want as individuals and as partners or couples can change a lot over time."
Maria is a dating expert and the vice president of Dating.com.
So instead of focusing on the past and where everything falls in a timeline, just worry about moving forward.
"I think the key takeaway here is not to get stuck on the order in which you were chosen and to understand that dating means going on dates with different people until you find someone that aligns with you," Dymond says. "If you’ve found someone who matches you in all of the important things, let go of the past and go forward with an open heart."
As for Zack and Bliss' future, you'll have to tune in to find out. Here's the schedule for all of the upcoming Love Is Blind season 4 episodes, and be sure to check out other shows like Love Is Blind, too.
Need a TV show recommendation? Maybe a few decor tips? Danielle, a digital news writer at Future, has you covered. Her work appears throughout the company’s lifestyle brands, including My Imperfect Life, Real Homes, and woman&home. Mainly, her time is spent at My Imperfect Life, where she’s attuned to the latest entertainment trends and dating advice for Gen Z.
Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids, where she got to experience the best of the city from the point of view of its littlest residents. Before that, she was a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, and amNewYork, to name a few.
When Danielle’s not writing, you can find her testing out a new recipe, reading a book (suggestions always welcome), or rearranging the furniture in her apartment…again.
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