'Married at First Sight' recap: Chloe is reluctant to move in with Michael, Emily is told to "run for the hills" from Brennan
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 02/01/2024
Married at First Sight featured Chloe flipping a switch and feeling reluctant to move in with Michael, Emily calling her marriage to Brennan "a mindf-ck," and Becca feeling rejected by Austin during the Season 17 episode that aired Wednesday night on Lifetime.
Married at First Sight's seventeenth season was filmed in Denver, CO, and stars Emily and Brennan, Clare and Cameron, Austin and Becca, and now Michael and Chloe.
Orion and Lauren already chose to divorce, but they continue to appear on the season every now and then.
Married at First Sight features strangers meeting at the wedding altar, enjoying a honeymoon, and spending about two months moving in together and navigating the joys and struggles of daily life together.
And at the end of the experiment, Married at First Sight's Season 17 couples will reach "Decision Day" and have to decide whether to remain married or decide to end their marriages and divorce.
The couples were matched by Married at First Sight experts Dr. Pia, Pastor Calvin Roberson, and Dr. Pepper Schwartz.
Chloe apparently had four panic attacks during the night in which she abruptly woke up -- and woke Michael up with her -- but she assured Michael that she was out of her element and only experiences them at night and when she's particularly overwhelmed or stressed out.
Michael was able to laugh off the panic attacks and be supportive of his new wife, and he mentioned how he felt relieved that she didn't tend to have panic attacks during the day.
Michael and Chloe both agreed they were totally committed to the process and each other, and they looked forward to leaving for their honeymoon at a nice resort in Colorado. The pair was feeling happy, optimistic and comfortable with each other.
"We have great chemistry, and I want to continue to ride that momentum," Michael shared, adding, "There is a level of unknown, but I think it will be easy with her."
Meanwhile, Becca and Austin were spending some time in Pennsylvania with Austin's grandmother and family with 18 days to go until Decision Day.
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And Emily and Brennan were still working on their communication and active listening. In order to build trust and not interrupt each other, they had a conversation utilizing a talking stick.
"Losing you would suck, and that's why I'm trying, so that doesn't happen," Brennan told his wife.
"I also care about you a lot," Emily replied, "but I'm afraid that sometimes I'm semi-losing myself along the way."
Emily added, "[I'm] maybe putting up with stuff or not being treated the way I feel I deserve... I still get very emotional because I care, and I feel like that's not always healthy for me."
Brennan said they shouldn't blur the lines between a friendship and a romance to avoid confusion or mixed signals, meaning he wanted to just be friends and he didn't want Emily to overstep his boundaries.
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Emily, however, said she had different expectations for their relationship. Emily explained how she felt like Brennan didn't even treat her like a friend.
As she spoke, Brennan interrupted her and asked if she really wanted to go down this road. He then asked for specifics on what was bothering her, and Emily shared how Brennan hadn't put any effort into spending time with her or trying to have fun with her at Michael and Chloe's wedding.
"People come up to me and say, 'You don't even look like you are friends,'" Emily told her Married at First Sighthusband.
Brennan told Emily it was up to them whether they should absorb other people's opinions or ignore them, and he just wanted to focus on them. But Emily explained how the comment had come from a close friend, and that's why it really upset her.
Emily then told the Married at First Sight cameras, "I know he cares about me a lot, but I don't really feel that a lot of the time. Maybe I need to go back to what I said -- no expectations. And then you can't get frustrated, and I can't get upset."
She added, "I don't think I have many expectations, at all, of him right now."
Over at Michael and Chloe's hotel suite, they popped champagne at the start of their honeymoon and expected to have some fun. The pair went rock climbing together, which forced Chloe to face her fears, and Michael apparently had her back and prioritized her the entire time.
On intimacy during their honeymoon, Chloe said, "I don't feel we're holding ourselves back from something that would feel like a really natural step to take. We'll see [what happens]. Honeymoons can have a wild effect on people, so you just never know!"
For Clare's part, she was worried about Cameron as he recovered -- and slept a lot -- from his heart surgery. Clare wanted to be there for Cameron, but it seemed he didn't want or need much attention and comfort from her.
Clare and Emily got together and vented about how their Married at First Sight husbands were treating them kind of poorly.
Emily said trying to be friends with Brennan was harder than trying to make a marriage work because it was "a mindf-ck," and Clare claimed that Brennan was "silencing" Emily and wanting her to be someone she's not.
Clare also pointed out that Brennan seemed closed off and she didn't see any type of friendship between them.
"He was fine with me being myself for some time -- until it wasn't for him and his narrative and his image that he's trying to portray on-camera," Emily confided in her pal. "To some extent, this is honestly the best he can do, for who he is... That is just what he is capable of, and it's sad."
Emily said she had no intention of giving up but being with Brennan -- and filming their relationship for Married at First Sight -- was truly a challenge.
With 17 days to go until Decision Day, Emily and Brennan had a sitdown conversation with Pastor Cal. Emily was worried the chat was going to set Brennan off because he tended to be sensitive or get a little uneasy with certain topics.
Emily recognized that she could set Brennan off by not saying the right thing, especially because Brennan just wanted to focus on the good things between them.
Emily told Pastor Cal that if she wasn't happy, she'd just leave her husband. Emily said she still had faith in them as a couple and respected Brennan enough to let their "reset" progress.
"But for me, I want a husband and not a friendship," Emily admitted.
Pastor Cal said he didn't want Emily and Brennan to look at each other like they were buddies because that's a really hard place to recover from. Pastor Cal then showed the couple their early Married at First Sight interviews to remind them of what they had promised to do.
Brennan had called himself a selfless, communicative, loving and affectionate person, which made Emily wince, and he had also promised to make his wife his priority and show up for her.
"For me, I'm going to trust this process... I'm going to follow the process and work on it the best way that I can," Brennan had told the experts in his initial interview.
Emily acknowledged how Brennan wasn't living up to his word, and she alluded to the fact the guy in that interview wasn't the same guy whom she was married to. Emily said Brennan wasn't really following through with those actions behind the scenes.
Brennan said if he wasn't comfortable enough to go deeper with Emily, he wasn't going to. Brennan, however, said he'd be open to moving forward if that's something Emily really wanted.
Emily admitted she was afraid to push Brennan or make him move faster than he felt comfortable doing.
"This is not Friends at First Sight... Usually that's a cop out, and I want you guys to get the full benefit of this experiment," Pastor Cal concluded.
Meanwhile, Michael and Chloe continued getting to know one another better on their honeymoon. They discussed their upbringings, culture, and family.
Michael then revealed during a romantic dinner how his mother didn't know about his second Married at First Sight marriage.
Michael had told his sister about it, but he apparently wanted to share the news with his mother when the time was right. He therefore asked Chloe to trust that he'd tell his mother -- and introduce Chloe to her -- in the near future and that he wasn't trying to hide their relationship.
Afterward, the couple enjoyed a massage at the hotel, and Michael told Chloe that he loved her inviting smile, her lips, and her intentional and present gaze. Chloe also confirmed that she was attracted to her husband and appreciated his unique sense of smile.
The couple bonded with each other through the compliments, and then through physical touch as Michael massaged his wife.
"I did not expect to have such initial chemistry," Michael gushed of his wife, adding how he'd love to be intimate with Chloe if she felt ready for it.
Once Becca and Austin returned to Denver from their trip, Austin confirmed he and Becca had yet to consummate their marriage and he was well aware intimacy was something he still had to work on.
Austin claimed that sleeping in a house with cats in Pennsylvania affected his allergies -- including his nasal passage and lungs -- and so he wasn't up for fooling around and having sex.
"I know Austin is into me, but it's difficult to initiate things and then continue to face rejection. I'm running out of ideas," Becca lamented in a confessional.
"I'm running out of ways for us to connect that do separate us from a friendship... ways that would make him still comfortable but would fulfill my needs. We are running out of avenues."
Becca told Austin that the ball was in his court but he really needed to make an effort towards foreplay during the day, even if it just meant a flirtatious text here or there.
Later on, Emily Zoom chatted with her friend Mackenzie, who didn't think Brennan was emotionally supporting or being kind to Emily. Mackenzie was trying to bring Emily "back down to earth."
Mackenzie told Emily that Brennan was "disrespectful" and it was ridiculous that Brennan was claiming Emily had broken his trust by talking about their problems at therapy with the Married at First Sight experts.
Mackenzie she felt bad that Emily was so confused about her marriage, and she asked her bestie to stand up for herself and make her own boundaries known.
"I'm at a loss. I do want to see if we're able to save the marriage, and it's hard doing that with someone who doesn't want to be portrayed negatively on-camera," Emily vented to her friend.
"Well then maybe he should be less of a d-ck," Mackenzie snapped. "I'll support whatever decision you make, but personally, I think you should run for the hills."
Dr. Pia was then shown meeting with Austin and Becca in their apartment. Austin said he had gotten better about initiating things with Becca, but Becca noticed a "halt" during their trip to Pennsylvania.
Austin shared how allergies affected his health and he didn't want to do too much PDA in front of his relatives, but Becca admitted the vacation had put her "on edge" and she couldn't help but take Austin's rejection "personally at times."
Becca announced how she wanted to move forward with Austin sexually and have him initiate more, but Austin clearly wasn't ready to take that next step.
The episode concluded with Michael and Chloe having a nice dinner in their hotel suite. Their honeymoon was coming to an end, and Chloe expressed how she was about to have a full-blown husband and share an apartment with a man she barely knew.
Chloe suggested that she still felt like Michael was a stranger, and she admitted she was "emotionally overwhelmed." Chloe said she was trying to process brand new emotions and the idea of moving in with a man suddenly hit her hard.
"We are moving in together and it's absolutely, freaking terrifying! I'm saying, 'I don't know if I can do this,'" Chloe told Michael.
Michael reminded Chloe that she's only human and he was there to put a hand on her shoulder and support her. Michael ultimately gave Chloe his blessing to be selfish and do whatever she needed to do in order to feel safe, happy and secure.
"You need to feel comfortable with prioritizing yourself. So please, act in your own interest and trust that I trust you," Michael told his wife.
Chloe didn't want to burden Michael with her issues, but he didn't seem to mind.
Chloe cried because Michael was acting so caring and sweet to her, and she had never heard a man say those words to her before. Chloe gushed about how she had a wonderful husband who was saying everything she needed to hear.
Chloe and Michael shared a sweet hug in the bedroom, and Chloe hoped things were going to work out between them.
"We're each going to give 100 percent, and we'll see where we land!" Chloe concluded.