'Married at First Sight: Australia' recap: Poppy quits experiment on Luke as couples begin living together and drama explodes
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 07/02/2020
Married at First Sight: Australia featured each couple moving in with each other, which resulted in some couples self-destructing -- including Poppy quitting the experiment, Stacey kicking Michael out of their apartment, Jonethen called his relationship with Connie "a dictatorship," and Steve and Mishel arguing -- during Wednesday night's episode on Lifetime.
Season 7 of Married at First Sight: Australia -- which premiered in Australia in February and aired it's finale Down Under in April -- starred 12 couples, including one same-sex couple. But the Lifetime version of the show features 10 couples.
The 10 couples include Stacey Hampton, a 25-year-old law school graduate, and Michael Goonan, a 28-year-old company director; Mishel Karen, a 48-year-old teacher, and Steve Burley, a 52-year-old barber shop owner; Natasha, a 26-year-old financial analyst, and Mikey, a 28-year-old operations manager; Tash, a 31-year-old bartender, and Amanda, a 34-year-old strength coach; and Josh, a 28-year-old truck driver, and Cathy, a 26-year-old logistics investigator.
The remaining couples are Hayley, a 32-year-old finance broker, and David, a 31-year-old truck driver; Poppy, a 38-year-old photographer, and Luke, a 38-year-old maintenance supervisor with two teenage daughters; Connie, a 27-year-old retail assistant and aspiring marine biologist, and Jonethen, a 27-year-old projects officer; Vanessa, a 31-year-old pharmacy manager, and Chris, a 37-year-old youth worker; and Aleks, a 26-year-old real estate agent, and Ivan, a 31-year-old real estate agent.
The matchmaking experts for Season 7 of Married at First Sight: Australia are John Aiken, Mel Schiling, and Dr. Trisha Stafford, who matched the pairs for 10 weeks of married life.
Like the American version of Married at First Sight, Married at First Sight: Australia features couples getting "married" to a stranger, going on honeymoons, and then moving in together and attempting to form a new life together.
But unlike the American version, the couples "marry" at a Commitment Ceremony and then participate in subsequent regular Commitment Ceremonies in which each partner must decide whether they want to continue with the relationship or end it. The Australian couples also do not get married legally.
John said research shows living in such close quarters can often expose potential bad habits and shine a light on intimacy issues, so he believed this could be a make-or-break time for all the couples.
Luke was hoping he could finally sweep Poppy off her feet, and she was also banking on a fresh start. However, Poppy knew she must change her attitude in order to make things work, and she still felt overwhelmed and really missed her children back home.
Michael and Stacey were hitting their stride in the experiment, with Stacey saying Michael had become "a 10" in her eyes after getting to know him although she joked she thought he was "a 5" when they first met at the altar.
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Hayley was looking forward to David truly getting to know who she is, but Tash and Amanda walked into their new apartment pretty gloomy. Tash felt she was just being honest about her feelings at the first Commitment Ceremony but that meant hurting Amanda.
Tash told Amanda she always thought about things from Amanda's perspective and had validated her feelings.
"I feel guilt that I rejected her and that hurt her, but I am struggling with trying to give Amanda what she wants. I don't know why all of a sudden I'm the bad guy," Tash told the cameras.
Amanda complained that Tash could barely look her in the eye yet was quick to be chatty and flirt with other people. Tash felt attacked and couldn't see herself developing feelings of love and affection for someone so "aggressive."
Tash ran into a bathroom and started crying because she said she was giving the experiment as much as she could, but Amanda believed her partner wasn't fighting or giving anything at all.
Tash acknowledged she and Amanda "shouldn't be anywhere near each other" for the time being, and so she -- unable to cope with the conflict, according to Trisha -- decided to move into a separate apartment. Amanda vented how her partner just didn't want to see her "vivacious heart."
Meanwhile, Luke told Poppy that they only had a week to make their relationship successful, saying this time was "make or break" for him. Poppy was upset that Luke was already putting "an expiration date" on their relationship, and so the pressure was on and she suddenly felt it was "do or die."
"I feel like I lost my mojo," Poppy admitted.
Luke decided to go to the grocery store and cook a steak dinner for Poppy, but she was totally unenthusiastic and just sprawled out on the couch. Poppy told Luke that she wasn't hungry and so he should just cook for himself, and he appeared shocked and deflated.
Poppy wished she could "come to life" and be the girl she is when she's with her children, but she apparently just couldn't get it together.
The couples then learned it was "Intimacy Week" in which each couple must build an emotional bond in order to expose each spouse's vulnerable side. Each couple was tasked with coming up with an activity to increase intimacy levels.
Connie and Jonethen got off to a great start on the show but Connie was becoming annoyed with her husband's constant phone use. Connie said Jonethen was "absorbed" in social media and she didn't like how one of his posts about wanting to fall in love allegedly suggested he was single.
Jonethen could tell a wedge was being divided between them, and Connie told the cameras she felt like she was "fighting with a boy" and it was "exhausting."
For "Intimacy Week," Connie therefore suggested they both ditch their phones for the week. Jonethen initially acted like he was okay with it, but then he got a bit passive aggressive.
"She wants an insatiable amount of attention," Jonethen told the cameras, before telling Connie that not talking to his friends or family or having a way to research anything was just fine.
Connie realized the activity might "backfire" on her a little bit.
That night, Poppy and Luke slept in separate apartments after a tense night, and after reflecting on her marital experience, Poppy decided to leave the MAFS experiment.
Poppy said she never wanted to give up on the experiment but being away from her kids had been "the hardest thing" for her.
"I didn't realize that it was going to affect me so much. All I did was cry, the whole time... [like] an annoying person," Poppy said in a confessional.
A producer then informed Luke that Poppy had decided to leave the experiment. Luke admitted he was "devastated" but could understand why Poppy was so overwhelmed.
"It's a lot to take on. I had hope for me and Poppy and I wanted a happy ending more than anything else," Luke told the cameras.
Luke tossed his wedding ring on the bed and left.
And Poppy explained, "I really, really, really thought that this was going to finally be the happy ending. I need somebody who's going to be a good dad to my kids and have that family, because I deserve that. I'm really sad to leave the experiment, but I'm still really positive about finding love, and I'm going to hope for the best."
Connie then suggested she and Jonethen write letters to each other because Jonethen didn't seem to be an emotional person at all, nor did Connie think he was expressive or articulate about his feelings.
And David organized a question game for Hayley and himself in which they wrote down questions for each other to answer about intimacy.
Hayley wanted David to be genuinely interested in her, and David noted he was attracted to how his wife seemed committed and driven. The couple also took a pottery class and had a lot of fun.
When Connie and Jonethen exchanged letters, Jonethen said he saw them on the right path and was in it for "the long haul," so Connie was really happy to hear how he was feeling.
Michael's idea for "Intimacy Week" was to break down Stacey's "sassy and materialistic" walls that he claimed he loved about her by asking her to remove all makeup and let him do her hair -- and then go out in public together.
Michael insisted Stacey always looks gorgeous, and he wanted to see her in a more vulnerable state.
Stacey admitted the activity was totally out of her comfort zone and gave Michael a hard time, especially because her hair extensions were exposed, but she apparently trusted Michael and wanted to prove her confidence in him and their relationship.
Meanwhile, Tash and Amanda had hit rock bottom in their relationship, so they reached out to John for a chat.
Tash admitted she felt Amanda was aggressive, but Amanda explained she's just a passionate person who speaks with conviction. John also told Tash it wasn't good to shut down and withdraw herself in tense situations because it's important to communicate and talk things through.
Amanda apologized for "attacking" Tash, saying it was never her intention, and Tash acknowledged Amanda had it tougher in their situation because Amanda was the person with romantic feelings.
Amanda and Tash then agreed to hang out and just enjoy each other's company in attempt to build closeness, intimacy and romance. Amanda admitted fun had been missing in their relationship, and so both women left the meeting feeling more positive and optimistic.
While Stacey and Michael were doing great, Stacey said Michael came home one night drunk.
"He comes home and he's drunk; he's being obnoxious and he's being rude. He's being disrespectful towards me. He said he was happy to leave last night and never speak to me again, so I kicked him out," Stacey griped in a confessional.
"What makes it worse is that I had been through this before on the honeymoon... That is it. He is done in my eyes."
Michael, however, didn't think he had done anything wrong. Stacey explained to the cameras it was fine that Michael chose to have a few drinks but he ended up being rude and disrespectful to her.
"I came home and it was like World War II," Michael told the cameras. "I will not apologize for something I don't feel I need to apologize for."
Stacey said Michael's behavior was "crushing" and she had dealt with this type of behavior in past relationships, which brought up old wounds and scars for her.
To up the intimacy in their relationship, Cathy and Josh went shopping for lingerie, and it was clear Josh was totally attracted to and turned on by his wife.
Amanda also suggested she and Tash should go shopping for ingredients and do some vegan cooking since Tash is a vegan. Tash was totally onboard except she could only eat white foods for 24 hours.
Amanda joked her idea was "an epic fail" and there was always a challenge or obstacle to face in their relationship, but they made it work and Tash was in her element.
There was no flirtation as the couple cooked together, however, and Tash wouldn't even open up about her decision to become vegan when Amanda asked.
"I'm happy she's happy, but it takes a lot more than making a f-cking burger to make a successful relationship," Amanda said.
One morning, David revealed he and Hayley had sex the previous night and their encounter was "certainly not vanilla."
David said Hayley probably wasn't expecting for him to be so dominant in that area but they both are similar sexual creatures, and Hayley was all smiles and giggles that morning.
When Stacey and Michael reunited, Stacey accused Michael of getting on the phone with friends when he was drunk and talking badly about and "belittling" her. Michael felt like he was back in school, getting in trouble by a teacher, but Stacey wanted an apology.
Michael quickly said, "I'm sorry," but Stacey insisted actions speak louder than words and he needed to show he was genuinely sorry for his actions -- or else they wouldn't be able to get through the rest of the experiment together.
Stacey told the cameras she felt hurt and her walls were back up.
After Vanessa was shown dressing up like a nurse in order to take care of her sick husband Chris, who apparently had the "manflu" and got to see his wife's playful side, Michael tried to win back Stacey's affection by buying her a cake with an apology written on it.
Stacey wasn't exactly impressed, so Michael realized he had to come up with something else to do.
Later on, Hayley dressed up in black lingerie and made David bacon and eggs. While eating, Hayley blurted out, "I love you," which shocked David and made him want to pump the brakes a bit, but Hayley promised her husband that she just meant it in a friendly way.
Hayley said if she and David continued down this healthy path, they'd be "unstoppable."
But Jonethen apparently broke Connie's one Intimacy-Week rule, so Connie was really upset. Jonethen said he just checked his phone for the time, but Connie argued he had been checking the "likes" on his latest selfie.
Jonethen complained Connie wanted all of his attention, and he called their relationship a "dictatorship."
While Ivan and Aleks enjoyed a "mindfulness" session with a therapist/coach to increase and deepen their connection physically, Cathy and Josh dressed up as a cowgirl and police officer and got a little crazy in the bedroom.
And Mishel organized an activity to test Steve's senses of touch, smell and taste.
As for Connie and Jonethen, he took her to a drawing class in which they sketched a pair of models.
But Connie just viewed Jonethen as being immature and childish, and she said his "constant joking" made her feelings seem "invalid."
Stacey said it meant a lot to her that he tried, and the couple reconciled after Michael said he put a lot of effort into "gathering and putting it together," clearly choosing his words wisely.
But Mishel and Steve were having issues. Steve liked to relax and go out to dinner while Mishel wanted to do more adventurous activities and live a little more, like going kayaking or canoeing outside.
Steve felt Mishel wasn't meeting him halfway since he always tried to please her and do what she wanted to do, so he was "really pissed off" because she hadn't done anything for him.
"We're obviously very different. Our interests are very different," Mishel said.
"But it's give and take," Steve argued.
Mishel swore at Steve, which infuriated him, and the couple bickered and talked over each other. Steve said he felt like he was paddling uphill and worried about suggesting an activity because Mishel would probably just say no.
"I'm not ready to lie down and die. I want to experience life and live," Mishel told Steve. "Where are your hobbies?... "For f-ck sake, we might as well go to the retirement village. At least they'll have activities for us."
Steve then stormed out of the room, and Mishel wasn't sure where that was going to leave their relationship.