The article, titled “The Unforgivable Mistake in the ‘Love Is Blind’ Reunion,” was written by clinical psychologist Isabelle Morley and published on 9 November. In the op-ed, Morley accused Love Is Blind producers of neglecting their “ethical responsibility” to protect contestants.
Specifically, the psychologist described one moment during the season three reunion special when Matt Bolton and Colleen Reed discussed an argument they had in Malibu, after they had left the “pods” engaged.
In episode seven, the 28-year-old sales executive confronted the 26-year-old ballet dancer about an interaction she had with her former fling, Cole Barnett, at a pool party. Bolton appeared upset that Reed didn’t “shut down” the conversation, and accused his fiancée of being flirty towards Barnett.
“It takes three words – ‘That’s my man’,” Bolton said, before an emotional Reed asked to “take a minute” and went into the bathroom. At the end of the episode, Bolton said he wasn’t going to be “played” and threatened to end their engagement.
The scene didn’t sit well with fans on social media, who called his behaviour a “red flag” and said that Reed should “run” from the relationship.
However, the couple’s heated argument was barely addressed during the reunion special. Instead, co-hosts Nick and Vanessa Lachey made the cast re-watch the infamous pool party scene, and held Reed “accountable” for crossing a line in her relationship.
“You can see Colleen’s body tense, her breathing change, and her heart race,” Morley claimed in the op-ed. “She is stiff and anxious the entire episode. She barely smiles. She stumbles over words as she tries to explain. She even apologizes for getting emotional and crying. If she were presenting that way in my office, I’d be very worried about her.”
She added: “If Matt is as abusive as he appeared on-screen, then the Lacheys and the entire production team made an unforgivable mistake. They put Colleen in the line of fire for more abuse. They reopened the first trigger of Matt’s abuse and encouraged contestants to rehash their reactions. Not only do they let Matt get away with abusive, inappropriate, and unacceptable behavior, but they also put Colleen at risk for more abuse.”
The psychologist also questioned whether Love Is Blind producers have an ethical obligation to protect their cast from similar situations, but ultimately decided that the show’s staff is not held to any “professional, ethical code like therapists are” and contestants likely sign “comprehensive waivers that free the show from liability.”
That said, Morley did accuse the show of monopolising on the dramatic confrontation between Bolton and Reed instead of choosing to “protect” the contestant, which “feels unethical on a human level” to Morley.
“The show allowed this to occur without apparent repercussions (that we saw, at least) and doubled down during the reunion,” Morley wrote. “Watching Matt’s behaviour was hard, but watching the Lacheys milk the drama for all it was worth at the expense of Colleen’s safety was even worse.”
The psychologist concluded her op-ed by listing some recommendations for Love Is Blind producers to avoid a potentially dangerous situation between cast members in the future. First, Morely suggested the show hires a psychologist to support the contestants, and that producers intervene when there’s “abuse” present in a relationship. She also said the show should include a number for the domestic violence hotline during the episode, and that there should be a “message on-screen during an abusive interaction so that viewers know the behaviour is unacceptable and know not to normalise it.”
It seems this op-ed isn’t the only one criticising both Matt Bolton and Love Is Blind producers since season three premiered on Netflix last October. After the reunion aired on 9 November, many Twitter users called out the show for not addressing Bolton’s behaviour during his fight with Reed in episode seven.
“love is blind is deeply irresponsible for airing colleen & matt without acknowledging the massive red flags for domestic violence! their scenes make me sick,” one person tweeted.
“Is Colleen ok?? I’m genuinely concerned. Her shifty eyes and fake smiles were so scary this entire reunion episode,” someone else said. “Someone please check on her…Matt is terrifying”.
A third person wrote: “I am FUMING that not a single soul brought up Matt’s anger towards Colleen. NO ONE confronted him about that. That was a missed opportunity to call out unacceptable behavior.”
love is blind is deeply irresponsible for airing colleen & matt without acknowledging the massive red flags for domestic violence! their scenes make me sick
— maddy schiller (@maddyschiller) November 11, 2022
Is Colleen ok?? I’m genuinely concerned. Her shifty eyes and fake smiles were so scary this entire reunion episode. Someone please check on her.. Matt is terrifying. #LoveIsBlind pic.twitter.com/rNoaVUQt64
— Kelsey (@KelseyEllin) November 9, 2022
I am FUMING that not a single soul brought up Matt’s anger towards Colleen. NO ONE confronted him about that. That was a missed opportunity to call out unacceptable behavior. #LoveIsBlind
— Erika (@Air_i_kay) November 9, 2022
Despite much conversation surrounding their relationship, Matt Bolton and Colleen Reed have been happily married ever since they said “I do” during the Love Is Blind season three finale.
Last week, the ballet dancer posted a tribute to her husband on Instagram, along with a smiling photo of the couple on vacation.
“Matt, I met you in the most unexpected way and now I can’t imagine a life without you,” she captioned the post. “We have gone through many challenges and I’m proud of much we learned from each hurdle that we have come across. A year and a half later and I continue to love you more and more each day.”
“You are my love, my person, my best friend, my chef, my dance partner, my world traveler, my movie buddy, my golfer, my lobster, my silly goose…my everything,” she said. “Quoting myself, ‘Cheers to getting Litty as a Titty for the rest of lives!’”
Reed also posted a compilation of videos and pictures from their relationship ever since they were married a year and a half ago. “A little glimpse into our life this past year and a half,” she captioned the clip.
Love Is Blind producers have yet to respond to the Psychology Today op-ed, and Matt Bolton and Colleen Reed have not publicly commented on the abuse allegations.
The Independent has contacted Bolton, Reed and Love Is Blind producers for comment.
The national domestic abuse helpline can offer support on 0808 2000 247, or you can visit the Women’s Aid website. For those in the US, the domestic violence hotline is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Other international helplines can be found via www.befrienders.org.