13 relationship lessons we’ve learnt from Love Island this year

People may judge the ITV programme for being a fame-hungry reality show but it's taught us some valuable lessons when it comes to relationships and self-love

Katie O'Malley
Saturday 27 July 2019 10:42
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Love Island 2019 is finally coming to an end and with it we bid farewell to nights sat glued in front of our television screens come 9pm.

Over the last two months, we’ve watched a whopping 36 islanders walk through the doors of the Majorca-based villa to find romance (and, let’s be honest, a Boohoo modelling contract), taking part in a range of challenges to find out if they really are compatible with their partners.

While some love affairs have flourished into “official” relationships (Tommy Fury and Molly-Mae Hague’s), others have ended in tears (Amy Hart and Curtis Pritchard), confusion (Michael Griffiths and Amber Gill’s), and the nation falling head over heels for this year’s heartthrob/wise owl/fashion inspiration, Ovie Soko.

During the course of the hit ITV show, we have not only developed a new dating vernacular – the words “bev” and “ovie’d” are carved deep into our brains – but also a deeper understanding of the do’s and don’ts of dating.

As in previous years, the villa serves as a microcosm of wider society, exposing the pitfalls of modern dating – no, Jordan, you can’t reject Anna so flippantly as if you’re swiping left on Tinder – and the need to be honest, vulnerable, and have confidence in pursuing a romantic interest.

Ahead of the programme’s final episode on Monday 29 July, here are all the love lessons we’ve learned from this year’s show.​​

1) Make your mental health a priority

When you’ve broken up with someone, it can be hard to accept the warning signs that suggested your relationship was heading to an end. And while you might think it’s a good idea to cling onto any remnants of the relationship (old photos, text messages, a T-shirt that smells of them), there comes a time when you need to let go so that you can move on for your mental wellbeing.

Amy Hart on Love Island

Former contestant Amy Hart perfectly demonstrated the importance of walking away when another person’s actions are causing you pain. Following her break-up from “half boyfriend” Curtis, Amy decided to leave the villa to prioritise her mental health (and get as far away as possible from the dancer’s flirting antics with Maura, no doubt).

“I’ll let you find whatever you were looking for,” the flight attendant bravely told Curtis before her departure. “I can’t heal living in the same house as you at the moment.”

If someone is causing you more hurt than joy, walk away with your head held high.

2) Cheating isn’t brave

Cheating, be it physically or emotionally, is not a courageous or selfless act. In fact, it’s exactly the opposite. This is something we wish someone had told Curtis long before he told Jordan to tell India Reynolds his true feelings for her, despite having asked Anna to be his girlfriend days before.

(YouTube/screengrab

Explaining why he’d given the illogical advice that Jordan should talk to India before expressing his doubts over his relationship to Anna, Curtis told Maura that he thought Jordan was “brave”. The brave thing to do would be to come clean about your feelings for another person to the person with whom you’re actually in a relationship.

Going behind someone’s back is not brave, it’s cowardly.

3) Love comes in many forms

Forget holding a boom box over your head or sending a bunch of roses on Valentine’s Day, because Love Island has shown us that there are very simple (and cheap) ways to truly prove your romantic feelings for someone.

Anton Danyluk and Belle Hassan

Take Belle, for example, who was willing to shave her partner Anton’s bum with a razor just days into their relationship. Or Chris’ avocado on toast breakfast for Harley Brash following their bust up, which has the word “Sorry” spelt out in letters made of toast.

The most romantic gesture of all? Greg making a green and breakfast tea for Amber because he wasn’t too sure which brew she’d prefer. That, my friends, is a sign of a keeper.

4) Embrace your partner’s toys

A stuffed teddy bear might not feature in all relationships – at least not adult ones – but it’s important to learn to accept your partner’s affection for cuddly toys, when necessary.

Boxer Tommy Fury has fully embraced Molly-Mae’s adoration for her elephant teddy bear, Elly Belly, and even recruited the toy to help him when asking the influencer to be his girlfriend. The athlete has cuddled the toy at night, held it during recouplings and dressed it in sunglasses.

5) Call out bull**t

No one likes to rock the boat and cause tension among friendship groups but when you see an injustice, it’s important to not let it slide.

Case in point was when Curtis told Jordan to “crack on” with India. Greg and Ovie were two key figures in the villa who questioned why the dancer and model thought it would be a good idea to go behind Anna’s back with the revelation.

“What was your thought process behind that?” asked Greg (and the rest of the UK on Twitter), prompting Curtis and Jourdan to admit that they had made a mistake.

When Michael protested that he had feelings for Joanna Chimonides, despite not leaving with her when she was voted out of the villa, several of the islanders picked the firefighter up on this admission and suggested he was lying.

Michael Griffiths opens up to Amber about his feelings

Amber later called Michael out on his words, after he suggested that he was referring her when he said he had found what he had been looking for.

6) You don’t have to tolerate slut-shaming

This point was proved following the backlash islander Tom Walker received when he told his fellow male contestants he wanted to see if partner Maura Higgins was “all mouth”.

Since entering the show, the Irish model had been open about her sexuality and regularly discussed sex and sexual anatomy, much to the surprise of viewers and her fellow islanders.

Maura Higgins on Love Island

Early on in the programme, the prospect of a night in the Hideaway with Tom was quickly put to an end when the latter told the men on the show: “It will be interesting to see if she’s all mouth or not.” Unsurprisingly, Maura told Tom he could forget their rendez-vous in the private bedroom as a result of his sexist comments.

Let this be a lesson to you all – just because you’re sexually liberated does not give anyone else the right to sexually shame, objectify, or vilify you. The way someone discusses sex is not representative of their willingness to have sex.

7) Always talk to your partner first

When you have doubts about your relationship, it’s important to discuss them with your partner before pursuing other romances or, in the words of Love Island, “getting to know” someone else on a day bed.

Maura Higgins and Curtis Pritchard on a date

If the demises of Jordan and Anna, and Amy and Curtis’ relationships are anything to go by, it’s important to realise that communication is key, regardless of what might result from a discussion.

8) Don’t be afraid to show your sensitive side

During the show, several of the islanders have broken down gendered stereotypes when it comes to men and women dating.

Some have shed their fair few tears (Chris Taylor, Ovie, and Amy), while others have shown their softer side, making romantic gestures such as preparing breakfasts and filling up their loved ones water bottles.

Tommy has regularly shown his sensitive side during the programme, singing along to Miley Cyrus and orchestrating a complicated yet adorable way of asking Molly-Mae to be his girlfriend.

Meanwhile, Amber slowly but surely broke down her walls after remaining guarded for several weeks in the villa. Following her split from Michael, the islander opened up about her true feelings to the Liverpudlian and her fellow contestants.

Being honest and vulnerable isn’t a sign of weakness, rather of strength.

9) Be wary of those who appear nice

You know the saying “never judge a book by its cover?” Well, viewers of Love Island should now know that you should never judge a person by their abs, pearly-white smiles, or choice of high street attire.

At first, 1950s-loving Curtis appeared to be a sweetheart with his cha-cha-cha hips. As did Jordan when he took Anna on a tour of the villa before asking her out.

Curtis Pritchard in the diary room

But if this year’s series has taught us anything it is that looks can be deceiving. Those who appear nice might even be more dangerous than supposed f**kboys.

When it comes to love and loss, people can be far more selfish than you’d initially think.

10) Being your authentic self isn’t an excuse to be d**k

The phrases “I’m just being real” and “I’m loyal” regularly echo through the hallways of the Love Island villa but always remember that being true to yourself isn’t an excuse to hurt others.

India Reynolds chats to Jordan Hames

If, like several of the islanders, you realise weeks into a relationship that it’s not quite right and you’re having feelings for others, take the time to figure out what you want and tell your partner. While it might be difficult to hear the truth, they’ll appreciate your honesty in the long run.

11) Don’t make promises you can’t keep

According to the Oxford Dictionary, a promise is the act of saying that you will certainly do something. It is not a half-arsed way of telling someone you kind of intend to remain faithful but you’re secretly keeping your options open. Islanders, take note.

Anna and Jordan argue in the villa

It will come as no surprise why Anna was shocked when Jordan told her he liked India. Or how Amber was hurt when she found out Michael had chosen Joanna, despite telling her his head wouldn’t be turned by another women.

If you can’t keep your word, it’s best not speaking. You hear that, Jordan?

12) No one is perfect

This may seem obvious but no one will ever tick all your boxes when it comes to finding your perfect partner.

At the beginning of the programme, Amber told Michael she normally goes for men who are tattooed, pierced and over 6ft. That said, she’s now developing feelings for Greg who categorically goes against all her relationship ideals.

Just because someone isn’t your “type on paper”, doesn’t mean that you should rule them out in search of your perfect man or woman.

Keep your options open and embrace that which makes us different.

13) All is fair in love and war

When it comes to trudging through the minefield that is modern-day dating in an era of dating apps, remember not to internalise problems and take them too personally.

Amber Gill, Arabella Chi and Lucie Donlan chat on Thursday’s episode of Love Island.

Relationships don’t work out for multiple reasons. Recognise the red flags, learn from your mistakes, and move on.

If you notice yourself veating yourself up because Mr/Mrs Tinder hasn’t replied to your Whatsapp message, or devastated after a bust-up, repeat to yourself the Love Island motto: “It is what it is.”

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