Never having been in a serious relationship isn’t the flex the Love Island boys think it is
The red flags are seriously waving
Winter Love Island 2023 has been on for precisely one (1) night and already some serious lies and treachery are upon us. The series’ youngest contestant Haris Namani told all the other Islanders he’d never been in a relationship, only for endless videos and photos of him out to eat, on walks and on holiday with a girl, who claims she’s his ex, to emerge all over the internet.
Obviously, this murky state of affairs isn’t the most wholesome start to Haris’ hunt for love. But, actually, he’s just the tip of Love Island’s “I’ve never had a serious relationship” epidemic. Farmer Will clapped his hands together with glee after revealing he’d never had a girlfriend (“No! no. Never. never”). The only person who appeared to show some mild horror at nobody having a semblance of commitment was Shaq, who panicked: “No way. So, I’m the only relationship guy in here?!”
This is not, of course, to shame anyone who’s maybe slightly socially awkward or isolated and has never been able to find love. Rejection and dating is hard— that’s fine. But it’s clear Will, who by his own admission has hundreds of girls in his DMs ready to frolic through the fields and Haris, who has “NEVER” had a girl turn him down before, do not have this problem.
“I think the most off-putting thing about the growing trend of Islanders saying they’ve never been in a relationship, is that it ultimately comes across as quite disingenuous,” says Natasha, Intimacy Expert at Kiiroo. “In the real world, the most likely reason someone may find themselves making a late entry to the dating game is a lack of confidence, something that by default doesn’t really apply to those ready to appear on a reality TV show,” she explains.
Instead, it seems as though the boys’ ready declaration that they’ve never been in a relationship is intended to show they’re hot shit, precisely because they’re entirely uncuffable. No woman has ever been good enough. No connection significantly spectacular. But experts, and anyone who’s ever been someone’s first girlfriend, knows this is actually a glaring red flag:
“I would never suggest that you should be put off by a potential partner’s lack of romantic or sexual experience,” says Natasha Ivanovic, Intimacy Expert at Kiiroo. “However, you should be aware that you may need to teach them a thing or two, both between the sheets and about relationships in general.
“Being in relationships teaches skills such as commitment, empathy, and that one quality often in short supply on Love Island, loyalty,” she adds. “Someone who has had a lot of short flings instead of one or two steady relationships may struggle to adapt to being part of a partnership. Healthy relationships require boundaries and inevitably compromise to ensure long-term success, and this could be a steep learning curve.”
Fundamentally, being a guy’s first girlfriend has no real perks. You might get told you’re “special” and “not like other girls” because you were the unicorn that finally managed to make him commit. But you’re also going to have to teach him how to effectively communicate his feelings for longer than two months and do foreplay that doesn’t feel like a medical procedure— things men who’ve been in previous relationships will, by the saintly patience of their exes, have already learned.
When confronted about his dating history by The Sun, it’s clear him and his previous situationship weren’t even on the same page about labels, which is equally troubling: “I didn’t see her as like actually being my girlfriend,” he claimed. “I didn’t leave her for the show because I didn’t see her as being my girlfriend. We were sleeping together and then it ended, and that’s it.”
Days later in the villa, Haris is now playing a fun game of commitment phobes unite with Olivia who also, surprise, surprise, has never had a boyfriend. Let’s see how this plays out.
Love Island 2023 continues at 9pm on ITV2 and ITVX. For all the latest Love Island news and gossip and for the best memes and quizzes, like The Holy Church of Love Island on Facebook.
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