Warning: Spoilers ahead for the Netflix reality dating show Love Is Blind!
The Netflix reality dating experiment Love Is Blind has taken the country by storm. The three-week special series, which follows six couples who've gotten engaged after dating without ever seeing or touching one another, has fans debating everything from which couple is in it for the long haul, and who made the most baffling decisions, to who needed to back out way before they actually did. Now we're hearing that half of one couple, Jessica Batten, actually wanted to leave way before she did, but wasn't allowed to.
Viewers who tuned in to Love Is Blind saw Jessica Batten accept the proposal of Mark Cuevas toward the end of the allotted 10 days of dating "blind." All of the conversations that the duo, and every other pair of daters, had with each other was in a specially designed pod that let them hear each other, but not see or touch the other person. I know. These crazy kids will do anything nowadays to try and find love!
After becoming engaged, Mark and Jessica were whisked off to a romantic Mexican resort (along with five other engaged couples), and then lived together in the same apartment complex as the other couples, to see if they could make their emotional connection match a physical one. The couples who managed to succeed at that, and also blend their personal lives at the end of a month, had the opportunity to get married on the show, or break up.
As you can see in the photo above, Mark and Jessica did make it down the aisle, but Jessica chose to dump Mark at the alter, right after he said a very happy "I do," to marrying her. As cold-blooded as it looked, Jessica is now able to say that she tried to leave the show way before that point. After getting the go-ahead from a Netflix representative who was present, here's what she told Entertainment Weekly when asked if she'd been given an opportunity to leave Mark before their wedding:
Okay. Yeah, I mean, I had to stay. I definitely had a conversation about leaving and I wasn’t able to do that. My dog got sick too, and almost died during the show, I had so much other stuff going on. I wanted to be 100 percent in it but I kind of went in and out of wanting to be 100 percent in it and knowing that I needed to deal with my dog. It was really frustrating because I kind of knew [Mark and I] weren’t going to get there. I definitely had some conversations and attempted to leave, but I wasn’t able to.
What. The. Hell? While one couple breaks up while at the resort and never comes anywhere near walking down the isle, every other couple that breaks up does it by getting ready for their wedding and them leaving their intended at the alter in front of all the assembled family and friends. Because of this, a big question for viewers has been whether or not everyone was contractually obligated to stay through the wedding once they left the vacation portion of the show. Now, it appears that that may have been the case.
Jessica didn't go into any more details about when, specifically, those conversations with the production took place or why she was told she couldn't leave the show. But, when EW spoke to Love Is Blind creator Chris Coelen about whether or not couples had the chance to abandon ship before the wedding, he responded by saying:
Well, they obviously could back out of it or not go through with it if they wanted to because there was one couple that didn’t go through with [the wedding]. So nobody was forced to do anything.
While that makes the show's position on following relationships that at least one party knew wasn't going to work seem cut and dry, the question remains as to why Jessica wasn't allowed to break up with Mark and leave the show before they both got all gussied up and were standing up in front of a minister. Not to mention why, with that one exception, the other couples who broke up also did it at the alter. Sure, it makes for good drama, but it's truly one of the worst ways to get dumped.
One thing that fans have discussed a lot during the initial run of Love Is Blind, which released several episodes a week for three weeks, was how Jessica was clearly not that into Mark (especially once they saw each other) and continued to run hot and cold with him, even though he seemed to be all-in with their romance and coming marriage, regardless of how she treated him. Well, according to Jessica, sticking around for wedding preparations was no picnic once she realized how she really felt about Mark:
It was psychological warfare, for sure, because planning a wedding is stressful enough, I hear...It was super stressful just being in a situation where you can’t leave, the pressure’s on, you’re planning a wedding, and you know the ending, right? But he and I really wanted it to be a positive thing too, because we had found each other and we had such a strong friendship and we were definitely connected for a reason. We definitely had love for each other, I just wasn’t fully in love with him so planning a wedding was a really, really difficult thing to do.
Man, I bet this was hard. But, after watching the whole season of Love Is Blind, and hearing that Jessica (who does not come off great for several reasons during the show) tried to leave when she saw the writing on the wall of her and Mark's romance, does make me want to cut her some slack. At least she tried to do the right thing and not dump the poor guy during their wedding. I am curious to know now, though, if anyone else tried to leave and wasn't allowed to.