From Finances to Cohabitation
This is one of my favorite episode’s on Married at First Sight, as we watch these couples work through one of the most important aspects of this social experiment, moving in together.
“Many couples have different incomes. I think the key to navigating through this is just to be thoughtful when talking about money. You shouldn’t have to hide what you have, but you shouldn’t make someone feel bad for having less than you do.”
The interaction between the matches during the financial conversations is fascinating. Although in very different places individually, the couples have honest conversations and work out a financial plan that best suits them collectively.
Jaclyn bravely tells Ryan that if she has money, she spends it.
Ryan puts his paychecks into savings, but he wants Jaclyn to be happy.
Ryan is an entrepreneur with expensive taste…especially for food.
Ryan feels the need to provide for Jess. She feels the need to to cook for him. Perfect!
Davina is more financially successful than Sean. Her biggest fear is that he will come to resent that.
Sean’s biggest concern is navigating finances for two homes, while living in one location…which happens to be way out of his comfort zone.
This is a complicated situation that will be interesting to watch play out.
Jess is all about keeping the skeletons in the closet.
In the end, they agree a fresh start is always a good thing.
After nixing the $4000/month option and the bedroom across the hall, they decide they like the ambiance of the brick wall. (No pun intended.)
While Davina seems happy to have found an interim apartment, Sean’s body language screams “run”.
Mookie’s having some angst too, about sharing the bed with daddy long legs.
After a full day, they find the “purrfect” combination of P’s…price range, parking and a pet.
Bonus! Ryan gets the two for one special out of the deal.
“Cohabitation means that you are blending your lives together. Not as two individuals, but creating a totally new identity, that of you as a couple.”
Cohabitation presents some very real challenges for all three couples this week.
Davina and Sean have an emotional disconnect.
They take a moment from packing…
…to have a heart to heart. Sean says he hears what she’s saying…
…but being overwhelmed has blocked his ability to show affection. With a commitment to ramping it up…
…anxiety takes over and he runs back to his comfort zone. (If you haven’t experienced anxiety, it can be an all consuming thing.)
Davina sees this as actions speaking louder than words. The fact that he left her alone on their first night was not a speak, but a shout.
However, life is not always as easy as black and white.
With Jaclyn and Ryan, we see an intense emotional pull.
The girls give her some moral support as she packs. During their chat, she comes to realize…
…she’s flipped the switch. And just like that, Ryan went from bro to man.
This is the definition of giddy.
Ryan feels the weight of responsibility, as he leaves his mother and niece behind.
He was prepared to move, just not so far.
It’s not goodbye, it’s see you later.
This is the definition of heartbreaking.
With wedding rings on hand, spending the first night in their new apartment is the perfect time to take their marriage to the next step.
Ryan and Jessica struggle with communication.
With cat in crate, they become “Brooklyn”.
It’s clear that Ryan is used to making decisions. Jess admittedly avoids conflict at all cost.
Being a mover and a shaker, Ryan takes the closet by storm. Which leaves Jess feeling like a silent partner.
As they adjust to life in Brooklyn, Jess needs to find her voice. Ryan needs to allow her to speak it.
And he needs to learn how to cuddle. Life is a journey worth snuggling up to.
A Bee in Your Bonnet
This week there seemed to be a disconnect with two of the couples and their living locations. I asked show expert, Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Joseph Cilona, to weigh in on this.
Can you explain the process you go through and what is taken into consideration when matching the couples, based on their jobs and living locations?
Due to the unique challenges involved on the production side of Married at First Sight, (MAFS) geographical proximity takes on a critical role. Potential participants must live and work within a reasonable geographic area, both in order to execute the rigors of filming and production, as well as the obvious strict requirement that couples must be able to meld their lives and maintain their jobs. These are real people with real lives and livelihoods.
When distance appears like it may be an issue, we clarify what the needs, preference and deal-breakers are for the particular participants in question. We take care to distinguish between needs, versus preferences, versus deal-breakers. We then factor the information we gather, into our recommendations for matches.
We always respect deal breakers, or explore them in more depth, in cases where we feel they might have some measure of flexibility. Depending on how all the information gathered informs potential matches, we may take some degree of liberty when it comes to needs and preferences, if we feel the overall data is compelling enough to support it.
Sean & Davina and Ryan & Jaclyn clearly have conflict with where to live. Is it ever a consideration to select individuals to be matched, based on conflict?
Matches or elements of matches are never, ever intentionally made to “create drama”. Aside from the obvious glaring lack of integrity and horrendous violation of decency, respect and consideration of these individuals it would entail to do so, it’s important to remember that everyone involved with Married at First Sight has their own investment in the success of these marriages.
We experts, first and foremost, all agreed to this because we felt it was innovative, compelling and provides an opportunity to do something special. It provides value not only for the participants, but for the viewers. I think we have proven that this is, indeed, possible. We have not only touched the lives of participants in many positive ways, but we’ve also been able to provide something of value to the viewers.
The other two relevant players here are the network and the production company. Married at First Sight (MAFS) is ultimately, a television production. As such, things like ratings and the message or “brand” of the show, matters.
It is not about drama, sensationalism or exploitation.
MAFS, at it’s core, is about love, relationships, believing in love, finding ways to make love better and more fulfilling, authenticity and hopefully, “Happy Endings”. That is the “brand” of MAFS. Both the network and production company, as well as we experts, are ALL invested (for our own reasons) in doing everything we can to help support the possibility that love will triumph in the end, and that we will create marriages that will be happy, healthy, fulfilling and enduring.
For the experts, we do our very very best to make matches that we feel have the highest level of potential compatibility and greatest chance for enduring success. We also provide support to our couples to whatever degree we can, that we deem most appropriate.
The production company tries their best to make the practical elements of filming as tolerable as possible, and to interfere as little as possible with their lives and relationships. This is a tough task, but I know for a fact that they really try their best to do this. Successful matches and happy, enduring matches translate into success for the show and better ratings.
So again, everyone involved really shares the same agenda for their own reasons. We all want our couples to succeed and we all do what we can to try to support that end.
Davina mentioned that living in Manhattan was a deal breaker for her. Why was it important to find her a match that either currently lived in or would move to Manhattan?
Davina was very clear that living in Manhattan was a deal breaker for her. For Davina, this had several facets. One was simply practical. She had recently purchased (and was in the process of renovating) an apartment. She was also in the middle of selling her previous apartment. Davina is very successful in her career, which is based in Manhattan. The other facet was more emotional. Davina absolutely loves living in Manhattan. The city itself, is very integrated into many aspects of her day-to-day life, general lifestyle and network of friends who really symbolize more of a familial role for her.
Sean has an established career and owns his home in New Jersey. It appears he is reluctant or unwilling to relocate. Did he indicate that to you during the selection process?
When it began to become clear that Sean and Davina were a potential match, we clarified this issue with Sean. He made it clear that he was open to the possibility of relocating, and even mentioned being open to the possibility of changing his job, if for the right relationship.
Ryan R. has many roles and responsibilities in his current family situation. It seems that taking him so far away from those responsibilities could be a challenge. Given this situation, was the 80 mile living difference for Jaclyn and Ryan a concern when matching them?
The distance issue was more challenging with Ryan R. and Jaclyn. Ryan did express a deal breaker around leaving New York in general, but was open to moving away from his home town, as long as it wasn’t outside of New York. Ultimately, we felt that there were so many compelling points of potential compatibility and complementarity for Ryan and Jaclyn. The match seemed so strong, we were comfortable with the challenges that a greater distance might present for them. And again, no deal breakers were violated in making that match.
Finally, it’s important to keep in mind that there will always be positives and negatives that need to be reconciled in these matches. We cannot give everyone everything they need, prefer and desire. There must always be a balance of weighing out pros and cons. Navigating this balance poses one of the most challenging elements of making these matches.
I’d like to thank Dr. Joseph Cilona, for sharing his critical insight and professional expertise, as the couples navigate through this week’s challenges. Along with Dr. Cilona, I’d like to thank Dr. Pepper Schwartz, Dr. Logan Levkoff and Greg Epstein, for their tireless dedication and commitment to providing content that enriches the lives of Married at First Sight viewers, like me.