Warning: Spoilers from the Love Is Blind reunion are ahead.
Love Is Blind had viewers hooked from the minute people started professing their love for each other through walls, but the Netflix series really had us on the edge of our seats when episode nine ended on a cliffhanger. Damian Powers and Giannina Milady Gibelli stood at the altar after she already said “I do.” Powers and Gibelli’s relationship started off hot and heavy but they hit multiple speed bumps. As Gibelli put it, she “lost her butterflies.” Despite the ups and downs, it was still startling for the season finale to begin with Powers saying “I don’t” to Gibelli. In the most dramatic moment of the series, Gibelli took off running and returned for a final confrontation with Powers. That was where the show left them, but as those who've watched Netflix's Love Is Blind reunion know, their love story is far from over.
At the reunion, they announced that they are somehow back together after meeting up the night of their cancelled wedding — without cameras. “We snuck back into our old place after we got kicked out, hung out all night and talked it out. And we were like, 'Let's do this for real time. No pressure. Just you and me and we'll go from there,'” Gibelli explained on the reunion.
They're dating, they live in their own apartments, and they're working on their own timeline, rather than a TV show's. Still, they acknowledged that theirs was a tough road — Powers apologized for hurting her, but said it was the right move at the time for both of them. Gibelli apologized for being "non-constructive and insensitive." Ultimately, though, their reunion interview was about how happy they are now, a year and a half after the wedding debacle.
But after such an explosive breakup, it seems impossible that the relationship could be repaired. How did they get here? Refinery29 caught up with Powers and Gibelli at the Love Is Blind reunion taping in Atlanta, to find out.
"After the wedding, I understood where he came from. I was just obviously very vulnerable and I felt like this open wound, where my family and friends were there," Gibelli tells Refinery29. "I said 'yes' to this person and I overcame all these fears and I committed to him in that moment. Sometimes you just need some time to cool off and get back to your senses a little bit. I realized how great of a man I had and didn't want to let that go in any sense.”
And while these two are clearly happy to be dating, they are not rushing to get engaged and walk down the aisle again. That has a lot to do with what we didn't see on the show.
"From the original pod dates that were sorta missed behind the scenes, she says 'I don't believe in marriage. I don't want marriage. I'm looking for a soulmate, a friend. I want somebody that I can enjoy spending my time with without feeling bogged down,'" Powers says. "And first I was like, 'Well, I do want marriage. I do want kids.'"
They marched toward the wedding until this conversation started to wear on Powers.
"Curious enough, leading up to the days of the wedding, I started seeing more and more that we have had a lot of fights on the show. We've always also had a lot of good moments that weren't ever seen. I didn't know my answer till the second of, that's why you hear me say 'I do...not.' It was so hard to get out," he explains.
But he asserts that when he said those words, he was thinking of Gibelli, not himself: "I didn't want her to feel that she was being locked in by something called marriage where we had to move in together where we had to stop going out and partying and where you have to combine your bills. There's so many things that come with marriage."
Gibelli respected Powers’s decision. "From what you can see, obviously I had a lot of learning and growing to do, so I stand by Damian's decision and I'm just happy we were both able to say how we both felt."
They definitely took a different road to get there, but we can add this duo to the list of Love Is Blind season 1 success stories.