TV show Married at First SightThe whole premise of the TV show Married at First Sight is rather scandalous, but it received a surprisingly heart-warming welcome in the country and across audiences of both men and women.

I guess we all realize that finding a partner for life is not easy, and some people may have more trouble with this task than others.

This makes me wonder even more why international dating keeps getting such a bad rap from the media. Is it because when people in your own country struggle to find a partner, we are supposed to feel sympathy, but if it’s someone from another continent, it’s questionable?

I am sick and tired of media trying to portrait men and women who are looking at the option of international relationship as crazy misfits. It’s much less crazy than marrying someone you’ve just laid your eyes on for the first time, and having faith it should work (because: matchmaking). All the difference in international relationships as compared to local ones is that people live in different countries. We are not surprised when people move to work overseas or enjoy a holiday on another continent, but meeting someone for a relationship? It’s strange.

But let’s get back to the show Married At First Sight.

Matchmaking

Personally, I find the idea of “perfect matchmaking” absurd, and even more bizarre based on my knowledge of the TV casting process. For a pilot show (the one which has never ran on TV before) there would be only a limited number of applications. The people would have to be presentable and good-looking, so that there are no instant rejections based on appearance, which limits the pool of available candidates even further.

I would say that “matchmakers” only had about 40-60 people to work with, tops. From these 30 available men and 30 women they would have to try to design some couples that would be more likely not to have an immediate breakdown in each others presence.

In a relationship, it rarely works if only 1 person makes all the efforts.

The couple with the bride in black dress was doomed to fail, with the lady being overly dramatic already before her wedding ceremony. I know we all have breakdowns, and especially brides on their wedding day, but getting married to someone “at first sight” and worrying about the bride’s flower bouquet not being to your liking? Please. It was clear from the start this lady wasn’t ready to give up a part of herself (which is a necessary prerequisite of being in a committed relationship), so it was quite unfairly set up from the get go.

I would attribute failures of this relationship to the casting process, rather than to the couple’s faults. Sorry to say that, but some people have been single for so long that they are too ingrained in their selfish ways of thinking, which prevents them from seeing what they are doing as it appears from the outside, and learning to become more considerate to those around them. (I am pretty sure she is a good person but as I keep telling my kids, you cannot be 95% nice and 5% horrible to people you love, it’s constant walking on eggshells. Just be normal 100% of the time. You can be sad or mad, but still considerate.)

Why I do not believe that any matchmaking is capable of perfectly pairing people who have never met? Because in addition to the personality aspect, which can be tested through various techniques and questionnaires, there are also chemical, genetic, and archetypal aspects of attraction.

Research

We may like the person but don’t feel the chemistry.

The various body of research by scientists over years suggests that people often fall in love with partners that are reminiscent of their parent of the opposite gender. I believe that each of us has a physical type that we usually find attractive. If this type is not matched, no personality tests can vouch for people’s compatibility in the long run.

Chemical attraction has been confirmed in tests where women were requested to smell T-shirts worn by men in the test group, and describe the scent. Then the women could meet the men and grade their level of attractiveness. The similarities in 2 tests were stunning: if the lady liked the man’s scent, she would usually find him attractive in the personal meeting.

How these two aspects exactly work is still not exactly clear, but more and more evidence point to genetic predispositions along with social influences in childhood.

Married at First Sight success

It was amazing to watch how the couple, which behaved the most natural under the given circumstances (which were crazy, wouldn’t you agree?), was the only one that managed to pull through.

The youngest couple on the show, Zoe and Alex, were the only pair, which managed to make their relationship work.

There was little to no pretense, manipulation, or desire to seem as someone they were not. Arguments and misunderstandings were handled immediately, calmly, and respectfully. And they were truly caring towards each other.

The parting gift at the end of 2 weeks cohabitation by the groom to the bride was a pair of Ugg boots — a cheeky present for a slinky fashionista. By it was incredibly touching, the caring gesture and the warmth of the feelings. (I am sure the sales of Ugg boots in the country went through the roof in the following days.)

It’s quite amazing that the young couple with little life experience could build the best relationship on the reality TV series with the setup destined to fail (who can create a genuine and loving connection in front of TV cameras?).

It just shows me that if people are truly open and real, and sincerely wish to make it happen, with a little bit of luck anything is possible.

 

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Alistair
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I agree that some people seek a partner like one of their parents.
My mother was hard working and good fun and intelligent and patient.
I look for this in a woman. And I think that most people can make a relationship work with most people if they really try.
At the end of the day a relationship is about two people expending energy for each other.

MK
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In some countries (e.g. India) arranged marriages work quite well but in the Western world, they are doomed for failure because the expectations (what’s in it for me?) are not the same. The young couples had the best chance because they did have with the so much baggage from previous relationships.

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