Why some Married At First Sight couples survived and others didn't

By Alison Stephenson

There was mixed success on the latest series of Married At First Sight, with two couples remaining together and two going their separate ways.

But despite just a 50 per cent success rate, Dr Trisha Stratford, a neuropsychotherapist and one of the three experts responsible for matching the couples, says she is happy with the result.

"This is an experiment and we don't guarantee that the couples are going to stay together, but we give them a good shot at it," she told news.com.au

"I don't feel responsible (for the two failed relationships) but I do feel sad for them because this is a courageous act, these couples make themselves vulnerable on television which is a huge thing to do."

She adds that despite all the psychological, neurological and emotional testing the participants went through, the experts could never have predicted how quickly Jono and Clare's relationship would spiral out of control.

"Of course I feel concerned for them but I don't feel responsible because this is an experiment," she said. "They signed consent and when you come into an experiment as a participant you know you're going to be tested because you're going to be put under pressure otherwise you're not going to get a result. You can have an idea of how couples will react under pressure, but you can't totally predict that because everyone is so unique."

Dr Stratford gave news.com.au the lowdown on why Simone and Xavier and Jono and Clare crumbled, and why Erin and Bryce and Christie and Mark survived.

Erin and Bryce

Erin and Bryce are still together. Photo / Channel 9
Erin and Bryce are still together. Photo / Channel 9

Dr Stratford said of all the couples in this year's series, she believed Erin and Bryce had the best chance of working out.

"I just got the same feeling that I got with Zoe and Alex (from last year's series). All the couples wanted to stay together, they came in after making a conscious decision to find love and so they really wanted it to work. But there seemed to be a special connection with Erin and Bryce, they were both totally committed to making it work.

"But it takes more than wanting it to work, everything needs to line up, there was chemistry, there needs to be a sense of 'this other person's got my back' and Erin and Bryce had that right from the start.

"Bryce also took the time to understand Erin and what she needed.

Simone and Xavier

Simone and Xavier from Married at First Sight on their wedding day. Photo / Channel 9
Simone and Xavier from Married at First Sight on their wedding day. Photo / Channel 9

Dr Stratford said she was surprised Simone and Xavier didn't work out despite having some reservations about them from the start.

"Everyone wanted Simone and Xavier to be the success story. My concern was that they were too similar and it would take a lot for them to punch through and find that uniqueness. I was surprised because I wasn't expecting romance to be the issue. I thought Xavier would step up there.

"I got a sense that he froze, he went into that extreme flight response, he froze and he shut down. As Xavier froze, he became less connected and she needed connection, we all need connection, it was like she kept going to touch Xavier and he kept moving back and then eventually he wasn't there.

"On one level it's a shame they broke up, but I can see why she did it, I can see that Xavier couldn't give her what she needed in a relationship, as sad as that was. It became very clear to her."

Claire and Jono

Clare and Jono from Married at First Sight on their wedding day. Photo / Channel 9
Clare and Jono from Married at First Sight on their wedding day. Photo / Channel 9

Dr Stratford says she genuinely expected Clare and Jono to work out despite their feisty nature and Jono's comments that Clare was "not what I ordered".

"They're a real knockabout couple, they both had a great sense of humour. Jono needed someone earthy and someone who could match him and I really thought Clare and Jono would make a go of it and they did on the honeymoon and they really enjoyed each other's company, but they're two very independent people and they have very strong boundaries about who they are and they're not going to change.

"They're very inflexible, both of them and they both had an issue around control. Clare and Jono did not do well under pressure. Clare admitted that.

"They're both great people but their communication style is not great. Clare has quite a common communication style in Australia where you joke and wind the other person up and that didn't work for Jono. Jono is quite a sensitive man so Clare needs to understand the way she communicates with people is not how they want to be communicated with.

"Jono said at one point 'that's not what I ordered' but if somebody comes and applies for the show and says 'this is what I want', they immediately get culled, we're not there for that, our job is to decide who we think would go best with somebody else.

"Clare may not be the type of person Jono would normally go for, but he is still single and he applied to go on this show so maybe he needs to do something different and go out with somebody different."

Christie and Mark

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Distance is by far the biggest challenge facing Christie and Mark who remain together, but Dr Stratford said they both indicated that they were willing to move before they even met each other.

"We ask them all would they move for love, we don't just suddenly decide 'oh this couple's good and they live in this city and that city and lets put them together', because that is an issue for us because we get some couples who we think would be fabulous together but they do live in different cities and we can't put them together, but this time, we asked everyone if they would move for love and when they said yes we had more capacity to match.

"I think the issue for Mark and Christie is that they both know how to live on their own and I think they are still learning how to live in a relationship.

"There's always the risk of resentment, but it depends on how they negotiate that. They are both pretty upfront and honest people and they know what they want and I believe they will negotiate that really well."

- news.com.au

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