Reality Steve

Dr. Reality Steve

“Dr. Reality Steve” & Live Video Chat Tonight at 9:00pm EST/6:00pm PST

With the emergence of UnREAL this season, there have been more and more articles written about how “fake” reality TV is and what really goes on behind-the-scenes. Yesterday, the NY Post wrote a piece but specifically tailored it to the “Bachelor” franchise. Granted, this is nothing you haven’t heard me tell you 1,000 times, but it was good that they got former contestants to give specific examples of instances where a producer did something to them to elicit a reaction that wasn’t necessarily the reaction you saw on camera. Like I said, nothing I haven’t been telling you for years, but still is interesting to read this stuff coming directly from people who experienced it. So yes, on UnREAL the situations are a bit exaggerated, but the role those producers are playing and how they have to think of ways to get contestants to do/say what they want them to isn’t all that far fetched at all. Their ITM interviews, their leading questions, the way they pump certain contestants with confidence/fear depending on the situation – that’s what they do. It’s their job. But I’m telling you at this point, 30 seasons in to this franchise, I don’t think these contestants care anymore. In fact, I know some don’t. They just want to be on TV so they really don’t even need to be manipulated as much anymore. They just do what they’re told because they know they have a role to play.

The finale is 4 days away and to get you all the unspoiled people excited for it, this clip of Nick meeting Neil Lane was released today. Hilarious. You can see exactly where this is headed and it’s why they specifically chose this clip to be released 4 days before the finale. The knock at the door, the anticipation of whether he’ll get dumped again before picking out a ring, etc. Predictable. So now because he got to meet Nick and pick out a ring, Nick obviously is thinking that Kaitlyn’s gonna pick him. Uh huh. Always a bridesmaid, never a bride. 2-for-2. Lets make it 3-for-3 next season.

Join me live tonight at 9:00pm EST, 6:00pm PST for this week’s video chat where we will discuss how DeAndre Jordan going back on his word royally screwed the Mavericks for the upcoming season. Or not.



I love your column and love what you do. I’m a 37 year old Investment Banker living and working in Downtown Chicago. I’ve worked my ass off to be where I am, and always admire meeting/seeing/interacting with people who have had the courage to take a different path and ultimately find success. You’ve done it, so kudos.

I read the “Doctor” stuff every week and am floored by these women’s inability to see the truth. I read an article today that pretty much laid it all out there, so thought I would share.

I’m certainly not perfect, I married an emotionally immature man even though he was 40 at the time. This article confirmed it, it also confirmed I was right in leaving him.


Comment: Thanks for that. I just try to approach all these “Dr. Reality Steve” emails from an unbiased opinion. I’m sure all these people have already asked advice from friends/family, but those people will usually tend to side with the person they know better. I basically don’t know anyone who’s emailing in, so it’s much easier to give sound advice to them and let them do with it what they will.

It’s funny, because I give advice to people from this franchise all the time. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve been come to with a dating/relationship situation and give my thoughts…and about 5% of them end up listening to me. So whether you choose to listen or not, just know it’s coming from an unbiased place and I’m here to tell you what’s real and not what you want to hear.


I read your Dr Reality Steve column yesterday and felt compelled to write you after reading the story about the 22 year old married girl who doesn’t want to be married anymore. I’m older now, but 6 years ago I could’ve written that letter to you word-for-word. I didn’t take the advice you gave, and I deeply regret not working on my marriage. I went through years of pain and regret, and it wasn’t worth it. Marriage is a curious thing. The pain you endure when ending a marriage is very different from a serious relationship, and you never truly get over it. I would encourage this girl to give her marriage EVERYTHING possible. Getting married at a young age is stupid, young people are flakes and people change and you’re not mature enough to deal with issues. The truth is, she probably has an amazing husband but she’s bored. Fortunately you can get over boredom, but you’ll never really escape being a divorcée.

You go to counseling, you find other married people your age, you ask for guidance from older, wiser people and you take it. And you believe that you’ll get over this period in your life, because you can and you will. Just some thoughts from someone who’s been there and made some mistakes.

Comment: Hopefully that girl from last week reads this. I’d email her your email, but once I post the emails, they’re deleted from my inbox. If I don’t, they all start bunching up and I get confused which ones I’ve answered on the site, which ones I’ve answered personally (some people ask to not have me publish them), and which ones are set for the next column.

Dear Steve,

Reader since Ben’s season, Bachelor fan since Alex’s season.

Anyway, I’m 26 years old, currently living in ”Option Central” NYC. I met a guy on Tinder 3 months and 14 dates ago and now I’m not sure where we stand. Also, we both just got off 2 year relationships a few months ago.

The first few weeks he asked me to hang out 3 times a week then eventually it was twice a week then once a week.

In the beginning it felt like he was smitten because he would say things like ”Is it weird that I can’t wait to see you again?,” we would talk on the phone for hours, tell each other we missed each other and he would take me on super romantic dates (broadway musicals, fine dining, surprise picnic, etc). He actually still surprises me!

Two weeks into meeting him, he told me I was acting like a girlfriend and that we should probably space our time out a little and to ”not like him so much.” One night he came over and we were watching…you guess it! The Bachelorette (I presented him with a rose myself and asked him if he would accept it). We had another great night but a few days later, he told me that he was going on vacation with his ex and her friends because he just ”couldn’t say no to a free ticket.” When I asked him if he was trying to date her again he never said yes or no. He basically said he’s happy dating around and enjoying single life.

When he got back and I took him on my first surprise planned date for him. We had a really fun time. After every date since our 3rd date, I have gone home thinking ”there is no way there isn’t mutual feelings there.” We have deep conversations, we make each other laugh, we like a lot of the same things, etc. I never brought up his ex again or if he was seeing anyone else because I don’t feel like we are at a point in our relationship for me to say anything.

A few weeks ago he picked me up from the airport and helped me move into my new place (Who does that??). He had dinner ready, a bottle of wine and a gift. It was very sweet! Later that night we talked about what page we were on and I told him I was open to seeing where things were going. He said he definitely likes me but doesn’t know what he wants and doesn’t want anything serious but wouldn’t say never.

What I don’t understand is…why would someone spend money on me, buy me gifts, surprise me on every date, tells me how attracted he is to me but says he doesn’t know what he wants. Is there any hope for this relationship to develop further or is it going to stay dating with no strings attached? I’m kinda just going with the flow and trying to meet other guys so that I’m not putting all my eggs in one basket. He’s 2 years younger than me and seems like he knows he’s good looking and has a good job so he can probably have a lot of options. He says he wants me in his life and considers me a friend. We aren’t exactly hooking up either…so I’m just confused and don’t understand what he’s getting out of this?

Going with the flow

Comment: I think he told you all you needed to know when he said he doesn’t know what he wants. Does the behavior match that answer? Not really. I mean, the guy went on a vacation with his ex and her friends. Seems to be a common theme in the last few “Dr. Reality Steve” columns where people are mentioning a guy they are seeing just happened to take a vacation with an ex. Is this a thing now?

The good thing is you aren’t putting all your eggs in his basket. You shouldn’t. He’s elicited enough bizarre behavior and said things that are some pretty decent red flags. As for why he does some of the things he does and says some of the things he does, then turns around and says he doesn’t know what he wants? Could be a number of reasons why. I don’t know the guy, but the simplest thing is he wants to play the field. He likes you, but he likes other people too. You’re an option, but not a real high one at that it doesn’t seem. Some guys just like having a boat load of female friends. This guy might be one of them. But it seems like he’s only making you a priority when you’re together. Common “player” mentality. It’s what he does when you aren’t together that speaks more.

Two can play that game. You’re not tied down to him, so keep doing what you’re doing and putting yourself out there for others. It’ll happen. Like you said, NY is “Option Central,” so just like he has options, so do you.

Dear Dr Reality Steve,

I know this is going to sound weird and strange but I felt I had to write to you. I’ve been a big fan of your site for a few years now. I’ve never watched Big Brother or Survivor or any other shows that you’ve had blogs written for your site, but when I saw you post a message in your blog earlier this year about a “Scott Ottersen” writing for your site, it caught my attention.

That name is most definitely familiar to me. I looked into it and found some of his info that led to his Facebook page where I saw his picture and remembered him completely. As it turns out we went to college together. DePaul University in Chicago to be exact. We even ran in some circles together while we were there. We never dated or even hooked up, but we did chat a couple times. I think we had a class together but it may just be my memory remembering things wrong.

Anyways, to my question – I’m married, have 2 beautiful kids with my husband, am happy, but ever since I saw Scott’s name on your site and saw his picture, it kinda brought back some “special” feelings I saved up for him. Or had of him stored in the back of my brain, I don’t know. But anyways, I’m just wondering your thoughts on what I should say, if anything, to my husband? Should I bring it up at all? Or just play it off like my change in “mood” has been over something else or him, because I feel as if he’s starting to think there’s someone else because of my newly found passion for him, to put it nicely. 🙂

I just thought you might have some insight since you know him and you’re the one who reintroduced him to me and my life.


Comment: Whoa, look at that. See the perks of writing for this site? You get chicks galore. Ok, maybe just one.

Well Scott is married with two kids as well, so I highly doubt anything will come of this. No, you shouldn’t bring this up to your husband because I really don’t see the point. It’s not like anything is happening between you and Scott and I sincerely doubt it will. You saw an old crush, you got excited, and that’s that. I’m sure Scott is flattered, but there doesn’t seem to be anything here.

And for those thinking it, no, this girl emailed from a completely made up email address so I don’t know who she is, nor does Scott.

Send all links and emails to: To follow me on Twitter, it’s: Instagram name is “RealitySteve,” or join my Reality Steve Facebook Fan Page. Talk to you tonight.



  1. rob22

    July 23, 2015 at 9:37 AM

    What do you know? Another woman meets a guy on Tinder (In NYC, no less), and is confused about the guy’s intentions. Really? It actually seems like he’s been pretty honest with you when you’ve talked about your status. So, he’s not a scum bag, at all. Why does he treat you so nice? He does no doubt like you, and it’s likely that he finds that such “nice” behavior pays off pretty well, nudge-nudge wink-wink. But don’t confuse it with love or the desire for a long term relationship. He’s been pretty honest with you in that regard.

  2. jay2

    July 23, 2015 at 9:43 AM

    Hey Rob22 just for the record, I’m not the one who wrote the second letter! 🙂

    @ Going with the Flow — you gotta get out of that relationship. It feels to me that you are taking that guy very seriously whereas you are just one of his options. In the moment he went with the ex on a vacation, that should have told you everything you needed to know as to where he stands. The “never say no to a free ticket” is plain BS, particularly if he has a good job so he can afford his own tickets.
    Sounds to me that you really like that guy but he is not that into you. He is younger and at 24 in NYC he won’t settle down. He has too many options.

    Of course he likes you and that’s why he does nice things for you but he won’t go the next step, at least not at the moment. He likes you as a friends with benefits but that’s it. Keep seeing other guys and don’t get too attached to this one, he is not a keeper.

  3. rob22

    July 23, 2015 at 9:49 AM

    Good email from the woman who married young and pulled the rip cord too soon. This is VERY common, and a really good reason to wait until at least your late 20s to get married.

    I had a woman that worked for me. When she started working for me, she was just through a divorce. She immediately jumped into another relationship, got married, and divorced a couple of years later.

    She once told me that she wished she had stuck out the first marriage & worked through it because she essentially followed the same pattern with her second marriage. It’s great, then it’s not great, then I can’t stand you, now I’m gone.

    Well, it seemed there was some learning there, but no. She got married a 3rd time, and divorced again quickly. So then, she’s 35 & a 3 time loser. Then she sort of started a slide downhill with some sketchy guys, an eating disorder and possibly drug use. Her life was a total mess and she had kids she was obviously busy screwing up. It was really sad.

    So, it’s possible of course, to rebound from a divorce, learn from it & move on with life. But sometimes those early failures can really stick to you & start to define you. It’s best to wade into the marriage waters when you’ve got some life experience in the real world & have taken a few body blows. Enough to know that life isn’t going to be perfect. The fact is, marriage is really hard. EVERY marriage goes through periods where you don’t even like each other very much. Maybe worse than that. I had a dark period where I can’t even comprehend what was going through my mind. My wife is awesome, but for a period of time I thought of her as any thing but awesome. Fortunately I came out the other end of things & worked on making things better. But it does make me realize what people go through when things go south. It’s not really rational, but you think it is. Oh, and btw, when I finally put my finger on the problem…. surprise!…. the problem was me!!

    Commitment is the key. Without it, it’s very easy to bail and regret it. And guess what? The next marriage isn’t going to be any easier. You’ll have all the same fights all over again. Might as well get the first one right…. and btw…. there’s really no need to have the same fight over and over. Some things we just need to let go. Your spouse is who they are. Some really good features, which is why you got married. Some, not so good. Guess what? They’re human. They have flaws, some of which are highly irritating (if you let it get to you). The sooner we accept that, the better of we are.

  4. jay2

    July 23, 2015 at 11:43 AM

    First email -@37 year old banker in Chicago- I just read the article. OMG, so true. Thanks so much for sharing!

  5. vessel

    July 23, 2015 at 2:02 PM

    I have to sort of disagree with the woman who wrote in regarding the 22 year old and how she should work on her marriage. That isn’t across the board always the right path. I, too, was stupid enough to get married at 22 (about a gazillion years ago) and it was a mistake. We divorced at age 24 and it was the best decision of my life, and I most definitely got over him. I didn’t feel any stigma at being a “divorcee” and it left me free to find and marry the total love of my life. I couldn’t be happier all these many years later.

    I’ve never really subscribed to the whole “marriage takes work” line. Why should it take so much work if you and your spouse are a good fit? I think if it’s a good match it’s usually pretty easy. I mean how often does marriage counseling actually work? Any couple I have ever known who has gone through couples counseling ended up divorced anyway. Aside from occasional minor disagreements I have not once felt like I was putting any work into my marriage.

    I say don’t get married super young in the first place, but if you’re dumb enough to and it’s just not working and you’re unhappy then chalk it up to a bad decision and get out.

  6. rob22

    July 23, 2015 at 2:25 PM

    @vessel: why should people have to work on marriages? Because there’s people in them. People have all kinds of noticeable flaws & frankly, when we live with someone, we irritate one another pretty easily. If you haven’t had to work on your marriage then count yourself in the minority & very lucky. I know it happens. I just don’t really see it very often, or if at all. Obviously you chose very well the second time around.

    I don’t think it’s a good idea for people to go into a marriage thinking that there will be no rough patches & no stuff to work through. And usually that means examining our own contribution to the problem & trying to address that…. not our spouses problems. We can’t fix our spouse. We can fix ourselves though & stop ourselves from creating problems. Hopefully our spouses reciprocate too. Hint: it’s usually our attitude, not anything our spouse is doing. That’s the work I’m talking about.

    The reason marital counseling often fails is that couples wait until they’re on the verge of divorce before trying it. It works much better if you do it before you already hate each other. I’ve never done the couples counseling, but I’ve done some marriage seminars and retreats. I’ve found most of them to be quite valuable. Pick fun ones though. It should feel more like a vacation then an intensive course. The smart ones set them up like second honeymoons, with some talks & lots of alone time & stuff to do.

    BTW: to be clear. If your spouse is a cheater, an abuser or an addict, I completely support divorce as a good option. These types of people are manipulative and seldom change until things hit bottom, or near bottom (if they change at all, which most do not). It’s a long bumpy ride, best case, if you hang in there. I personally wouldn’t put up with any of the above.

  7. vessel

    July 23, 2015 at 4:47 PM

    Yeah maybe I am in the lucky minority. There is literally nothing about my spouse that annoys me, and I’d happily be with him 24/7 if we were loaded and no one had to leave to hold down a job. I’m just obviously basing my ‘no need to work on a marriage’ on my personal journey to find love, lol. My past marriage and all of my past relationships had communication issues, or lack of trust, deception, irritating behaviors I couldn’t deal with, etc. There was just always something. And ever since marrying my husband it’s been a continuous “a-ha” moment of “so THIS is what a good marriage is supposed to be like, well this is a cake walk”. I guess I just get irritated when people make blanket statements about all marriages being hard and needing constant compromise and work. It makes it sound so unpleasant and for me it’s parenting that I find is constant work. I’d hate to have to be working on being a good mother AND a good wife.

    I guess it’s on my mind more lately because every day I read somewhere about how Kaitlyn is too fun loving to handle the work it takes to sustain a marriage. It always leaves me thinking what’s wrong with fun? Can’t marriage be fun, too? Mine is. In any case don’t take that statement to mean I think she and Shawn have a chance at ever walking down an aisle because I don’t.

  8. LynnS

    July 23, 2015 at 6:59 PM

    Vessel, I, too, am married to a wonderful man. Likewise, I never subscribed to marriage needing a lot of work, or that marriage is really hard. If so, why bother? Life is hard enough, so marriage has to be hard as well? I understand having occasional disagreements, and minor flaws in one another, etc., but highly irritating flaws? Major disagreements/arguments? It’s obviously very important to know someone well before getting married. I would think that any major flaws or major differences of opinion would show up in the “getting to know them” stage.

    And yes, vessel, it’s the parenting that takes the hard work. Our children didn’t make a commitment to us, they’re immature (they’re supposed to be!) and will test us at every corner. I couldn’t imagine marriage being hard work as well. Yikes!

    I don’t believe I’m in the minority. I see plenty of couples who want to make each other happy, and do what it takes without feeling like it’s so much damn work. If one has a big flaw, and it’s important to the other, then why isn’t the one with the flaw changing it instead of being stubborn and refusing to do anything about it? It doesn’t make sense to me.

    Anyway, this is just my opinion. But I can honestly say that I’ve never thought about leaving my husband, and I have definitely not ever felt that that I didn’t love him – or worse, not even like him.

  9. whattamorondude

    July 24, 2015 at 8:01 AM

    I got married at age 24, had 3 kids, got divorced after 17 years of marriage. I’ve now been divorced for almost 10 years and am most of the time very happily single. I’ve had two post-divorce relationships that each lasted about 1 1/2 years. The guys each had fatal flaws (alcoholic, cheater) and I learned a ton from these mistakes.

    I now feel that I know what I’m doing….finally. When the right guy comes along, I’ll know it. Love is a learning process and it’s too bad that sometimes kids have to pay the price for two people who never should’ve been together in the first place or simply let themselves drift apart.

  10. vessel

    July 24, 2015 at 9:21 AM

    @LynnS Thanks! I was pretty sure I wasn’t alone in that notion. The “marriage takes hard work” people can often be very loud and very serious in that theory, and often to me it comes across to me as No, YOUR marriage may have proven to take a lot of tending to and work, but please don’t speak on behalf of the institution of marriage on the whole based on your own personal experience with it.

    Glad I’m not alone, and congrats to you in finding your perfect match too! 🙂

  11. purplerayne

    July 24, 2015 at 4:25 PM

    I wish women would stop looking at Tinder as a love match making service. Its just an opportunity to meet people (similar to walking into a bar). If a guy tells a girl to cool it off, then not sure why she would want to continue on? Unless you are okay with a casual relationship, there is no reason to invest into a person that is clearly not invested in you. And at the beginning, almost every guy says the same bs (ive never felt like this, its weird how much we connect, what we have is special). So try not to put too much stock in that stuff. Some mean it, some dont. The only way to find out if they are genuine is with their actions.

  12. janela

    July 24, 2015 at 4:29 PM

    Vessel and Lynn S can I just say that I’m pretty darn jealous of both of you 😉 I’ve always shared your opinion that a good relationship shouldn’t be incredibly hard and there should be an ease, respect and support between two people in a marriage/long term relationship. But I’m in my early 40’s and haven’t found this balance yet in a relationship, some have been close in this regard but ended because we were young, moving in different directions or the attraction wasn’t there. Now it’s beginning to seem harder and harder to even consider possible, so many people my age are married/committed or seem to be divorced and somewhat bitter. Also despite being in a major city, being social and friendly, working at a university and spending lots of time out and about or at parks with my dog it seems like the only way to meet someone to date is online. I’ve done so much of that I’m just burnt out on it. I’ve had some relationships with people I met online dating but they’ve been with people who I later found out were hiding lots of things, deal breakers let’s say.

    Anyway, I still hold out some hope. But when you are also happy being on your own and the prospects aren’t appearing the years go by. I know you both know exactly how lucky you are so I’m not really hear to say that. Mostly just glad to hear it is out there and honestly needed to vent a little too 🙂

  13. vessel

    July 24, 2015 at 7:16 PM

    Awwwe thanks Janela! I met my husband online years ago in the very early stages of there even being an online. (Not a dating site, just in a chat room of a band fansite) You never know where or when it’s going to happen, and I’ve learned that things often just turn on a dime, so never ever ever just go and give up hope. That said though it sounds like you have a happy life regardless and are obviously totally comfortable being on your own and I think that is wonderful, too.

    All my best wishes and good luck to you! 🙂

  14. LynnS

    July 25, 2015 at 3:46 AM

    Thanks, Vessel, and congratulations to you, too! We found men who want to make marriage successful. They support us, want us to be happy and don’t feel like they are “giving in” by adjusting their behaviors and lifestyle to better the marriage. And we do EXACTLY the same for them!

  15. LynnS

    July 25, 2015 at 3:47 AM

    Janela – Thanks! It is so sad that it’s hard to find the right person. I understand this completely. My first marriage (from age 17 to 23) was horrible. I know now that I was too young to see the warning signs.

    Anyway, I really do know how how fortunate I am for finding my husband. I went through a lot of counseling so that later on when dating, I could spot the wrong type easily. I’m glad you’re there now as well. It saves a lot of time and heartbreak!

  16. maxbaby6

    July 25, 2015 at 8:39 AM

    @janela. Kudos to you for still holding onto hope for love. I am in my 30’s and also a single gal. I do hair for a living and hearing the majority of my friends and clients experiencing not so great experiences in the love department, not to mention my own lack of luck in love, I’ve decided the single life is the way for me. I have intentionally not dated this year and I’m happier than I’ve been in a really long time. I attempted the online thing last summer. Youch! That was awful. I was told I wasn’t pretty enough, not thin enough, not tall enough, a few guys said they were only looking for a physical relationship, and the ones that wanted a serious relationship came with a lot of financial problems, baby mama drama or other deal breaking baggage. I get it I’m not perfect, but I’d rather be single than settle or to be with someone who feels they settled with me. I wanted what the 2 ladies with the great marriages have, but not so common it appears and for me no longer worth the time. Life is too precious to not be simply happy. Best of luck to you. I sincerely hope that you find love. ?

  17. meghann

    July 27, 2015 at 8:31 AM

    I am happily married and feel that my marriage does not require a lot of work. My husband and I are very compatible and are able to work through any issues that arise. We are a good team.

    However, there were several issues that we had to figure out before we got married. We dated for four years with over a year of that time long distance but driveable. Part of the time one or the other of us was in school. When we first started dating I still had some heartbreak from a past relationship and wasn’t ready to jump in with my whole heart right away, even though I wasn’t interested in dating anyone else. We had a few family crises during that time and a few job and school crises, but supported each other throughout and became closer as friends and partners. We loved each other through a lot of that time and enjoyed the romance in the relationship, but it was quite a long time before I realized that I wanted to be with my husband for the rest of my life. We had to decide together some things about what our life would be before we got married, but once we decided to get married I have never doubted our relationship at all. I got married at 27 and we have now been married for 14 years.

    I can’t help thinking that a lot of people who are dating online now are in a world where there are so many available choices online that they start seeing people as online profiles rather than people. I also feel like some people are looking for someone to fix their problems. I probably did that too when I was younger. I think you need to take your time to get to know yourself and get your shit together before you think about getting married. I think you also need to have weathered some storms with your partner, learned how to communicate in good times and bad, and talked about important issues before your relationship is mature enough.

  18. karynr

    July 27, 2015 at 3:06 PM

    maxbaby6, I decided to take a break from dating about 7 years ago and just can’t make myself go back out there. And, if I do decide to start dating again, I think I’ll avoid anything online. Especially after watching way too many ID television shows!

    There’s a great movie called Boys on the Side and the title says it all. Men/women should never see a love interest as the main dish, but a side dish to compliment the main meal.

    And never settle!!!! I have a friend who couldn’t be alone and settled for a real piece of crap.

    So far, the single life is for me at the moment. I was married for seven years and have a wonderful son from the relationship, but learned a lot about what I do and don’t want. I’ve had a couple serous relationships since my divorce years ago, but am thankful both ended before making another big mistake.

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