Danielle Ruhl was surprised during the season two finale of Netflix’s “Love Is Blind” when she and Nick Thompson said their “I do”s at the altar. “This was the last thing that I thought was gonna happen, and it happened,” she shares in the episode. The couple’s relationship on the show had proven to be one of ups and downs: an immediate connection in the pods sight unseen, followed by seemingly persistent arguments as they transition into the “real world” and try to navigate melding their personalities and personal items (hello, hot-dog costumes and Rock Band!) together successfully. However, they make it through the rough patches and reveal during the reunion, aired on March 4, that they’ve enrolled in couples counseling.
Ruhl says on the reunion special that she believes the stress of saying “I do” put them in a “pressure cooker,” which gave way to near-constant disagreements. But once the show concluded and they started this next chapter in marriage, “a lot of the disagreements that we had ended up being nonexistent.” Thompson explains that couples therapy has taught him how to listen as opposed to falling into “fix mode.”
The pair opened up about therapy further to People, sharing they’ve been in couples counseling for almost the entire time post “Love Is Blind” filming. “We’ve put frameworks in place for communication. We’ve had to force ourselves through some conversations [about] what we actually need in that moment and [have] worked on being able to articulate that,” Thompson said, explaining this could mean walking away before circling back to the topic or dropping it completely. “There are so many different things that we’re applying to our communication [style] that has really given us a good step to move forward.”
Ruhl told the publication that, in addition to seeking couples therapy, they go to individual counseling to benefit their marriage. “A lot of couples, when they’re dating, have the opportunity to naturally learn one another’s language as you would if you’re trying to learn a language outside of English,” she said. “Learning that in such a short period of time is very difficult and takes a lot of patience, love, and understanding from both sides.”
Speaking candidly about therapy, Ruhl noted, is important for the sake of helping break the stubborn stigma surrounding mental health and therapy. “It doesn’t mean you’re doomed,” she said of couples counseling. “It means you both have the goal of wanting it to work.”
On Feb. 20, Ruhl wrote on Instagram that producers left out key details around the panic attack she had in Mexico during episode five. At the time of the incident, she said she was reliving past trauma she’d told Thompson about. Ruhl identified negativity directed toward her online for that incident, writing: “I want to reiterate that I am fully aware that I can project my anxiety onto others and it is something I am constantly working on. However, being dragged down on the internet for my mental health and being ‘diagnosed’ with every disorder in the book based on an hour of footage taken from months of filming is not only damaging to myself and my family, but to anyone else who have had similar experiences.”
Ruhl also alluded to this in a post a week prior, writing, “As you witness my journey, remember this is a small capsule of time that cannot possibly portray the complexity and nuances of anxiety, depression, etc.” She noted in the caption, too, that she’s been in therapy for years.
Thompson, who disclosed he was previously diagnosed with depression, told People that he loves his wife’s advocacy for and openness regarding mental health. “I don’t talk about it because I grew up not being able to talk about it,” he said, adding that he’s inspired by her strength. The way she gets through days that are “not always great,” he said of Ruhl, is “admirable.”