Ryan, a 29-year-old firefighter, married Jaclyn Schwartzberg, a 29-year-old teacher turned sales representative. After their honeymoon, the couple will return home from Jamaica and move in together. After several weeks of conquering the ups and downs of daily life, Ryan and Jaclyn will decide whether to stay together after the show or get a divorce.
The season's three couples were matched by Married at First Sight's panel of experts: Dr. Jessica Griffin, a Boston-based psychologist and professor who previously appeared on FYI's Seven Year Switch reality series; sociologist Dr. Pepper Schwartz; and marriage counselor Pastor Calvin Roberson.
Ryan is "surrounded by a loving family with three sisters and parents who were, and are still very much in love. He claims his childhood was the quintessential American dream and has the utmost respect and admiration for his parent's marriage," Lifetime revealed, adding that he loves serving his community but was missing "the one" in his life to come home to.
During an exclusive interview via email, Ryan talked to Reality TV World about appearing on Married at First Sight. Below is what he had to say.
Reality TV World: Why did you initially decide to apply for Married at First Sight and take the risk of marrying a complete stranger? Was dating in the Boston area that much of a struggle?
Ryan Buckley:Married at First Sight actually reached out to a colleague of mine at the fire department. Initially, I wasn't one of the first guys asked. I had never thought that much about it given my busy work life. However, the more everyone at work talked about the show, the more I saw what was missing.
Dating wasn't necessarily a struggle, but finding the right person is a lot harder. Having dinner or a couple drinks with a girl is one thing but finding someone that you want to spend your life with seems a lot more daunting.
Reality TV World: Married at First Sight unfortunately has a low success rate of couples who decide to stay married long-term. Was that a big concern of yours when choosing to participate in the experiment? Did the outcome of previous seasons affect the faith or trust you had in the experts to match you with the right person?
Ryan Buckley: It never really mattered all that much to me for a couple reasons. I chose not to look into the statistics because I wanted to go into this with an open-mind, heart and skip all the unnecessary doubt. Going into a marriage or any type of relationship, you are never expecting it to not work out.
I couldn't be fair to the relationship I was going into if all I was focused on in the back of my mind was the potential for divorce. It was easy for me to trust the experts because without any prior knowledge of the show it was easy to trust they had my best interest at heart.
Reality TV World: What were your fears when beginning the process, other than the obvious prospect of getting divorced? Were you worried your partner may just be going on the show for attention or fame?
Ryan Buckley: I was worried I wasn't always able to convey to the experts what I was looking for in a woman and a relationship. I was always hopeful but I had concerns that we didn't always envision the same match.
Reality TV World: What mistakes do you think unsuccessful Married at First Sight couples made on the show, and what did the happy couples -- such as Jamie Otis and Doug Hehner from Season 1, or Ashley Petta and Anthony D'Amico from Season 5 -- do differently? How did those lessons affect your personal approach to the process?
Ryan Buckley: All of this was pretty foreign to me because I had never seen the show. But I think with any relationship, there is a fine line of what works and what doesn't. Some relationships, opposites attract, sometimes they don't.
Being too similar can cause conflict as well. You really never know until you're together. I didn't necessarily have a plan as much as I had an outlook. I wanted to be positive and open going into this experience.
Reality TV World: How important was physical appearance to you on the show, honestly? Did you feel you could definitely grow to view someone as attractive over time?
Ryan Buckley: To me, physical attraction is important because of what it invokes in me. Romance, being intimate, feeling wanted, even just playing with one another all comes from that first initial spark.
I do think it can grow over time and I don't think beauty is only skin deep, however I think you have to be physically invested in someone to reveal all the other great parts of them.
Reality TV World: Could you elaborate on what the reactions of your friends and family were when they found out you were doing the show? Did anyone have an especially strong response, whether positive or negative?
Ryan Buckley: My mom was the person with the strongest negative response. She's my mother and wants what is best for me. It's hard for her to hand over her son's love life to experts she doesn't know. Ultimately she supported me but it was tough for her to understand at first.
Reality TV World: How would you respond to critics who might say Married at First Sight participants do not value marriage? Do you take marriage less seriously since you're willing to wed a stranger on TV?
Ryan Buckley: I certainly don't take it any less seriously. People find one another in plenty of strange places. I've always grown up respecting what my parents had together and wanted that for myself some day. Just because I took a more unconventional route doesn't mean I don't value all that marriage stands for.
Reality TV World: Going into the experiment, what did you believe was going to be the hardest part for you -- moving in together, the idea of being intimate with someone you've just met, etc? And what part were you looking forward to the most?
Ryan Buckley: I was worried about how my work and play life would be able to fit with someone else and vice versa. Having an upbeat personality and a strong work ethic were very important to me. I was worried if the person didn't have it, or those areas didn't mesh well we wouldn't see eye to eye.
Reality TV World: Could you elaborate on what you asked the experts to find for you? What qualities and characteristics were you looking for in your dream spouse?
Ryan Buckley: Someone upbeat and positive, understanding of my schedule and core values. To me, having someone that had as much drive and work ethic as myself was huge to me. I also really wanted someone who was fun loving, caring and adventurous.
Reality TV World: According to Lifetime, you are very picky, but only because you refuse to settle in a relationship. What has been missing in your past relationships? What have you been unable to find in a woman that you're willing to go through with an arranged marriage to find?
Ryan Buckley: I think it's okay to be picky. You wouldn't tell your best friends to settle, so why would you tell that to yourself? I wanted to find someone that balanced out some of my negative qualities and took my good ones and made them even better. I guess that's what has been missing in the past.