Absence makes the heart grow fonder — right? On Seven Year Switch‘s season 2 premiere on Tuesday, January 3, four brave couples certainly hoped so. Struggling in their marriages, they agreed to “switch therapy,” which was a fancy term for trading in their spouses for new ones for a finite period of time.
According to the experts, Dr. Jessica Griffin and Charles J. Orlando, each person would be paired with someone who better matched the criteria they thought they wanted in a mate, in order to find out if that’s actually what they needed. The idea wasn’t to create new love connections, but rather to help the participants figure out how to make beneficial changes in their real marriages.
The season kicked off with introductions to the couples and a peek into some of the struggles they were facing as husband and wife. Things progressed rapidly from there, with the couples telling their loved ones about their intent to participate in the experiment and then heading out to meet their new (temporary) better halves. What could go wrong?
James and Kelsey
James and Kelsey had been together for roughly five years and had been married just about half of that time. Though they had an initial spark, Kelsey admitted it had fizzled out. James expressed his frustration over always bending over backwards to accommodate Kelsey when he didn’t feel she did the same for him. When the experts dropped in, Kelsey rated their marriage about a 4 out of 10, while James clocked it at a 5.
Kelsey then added that she didn’t think James trusted her, and he basically confirmed that she was correct. Apparently, she had gone wild on a credit card unbeknownst to him shortly after they tied the knot, and ever since then, his dogs were up.
Kelsey seemed determined to keep her marriage together largely because her parents had been married for 35 years, and she didn’t want to let them down. (They were not very excited about the experiment, just for the record.) Before she and James set off to meet their new spouses, they discussed boundaries. They both thought drinking was OK, but getting drunk was not. Kelsey also promised not to hook up with her new husband, though she acknowledged she was a bit of a flirt by nature.
Heather and Aaron
Heather and Aaron met in college and had been together since, but both agreed they were exhausted from their busy lives and weren’t getting nearly enough time together. Talking with the experts, Heather rated their marriage an 8.5, while Aaron estimated an 8. Heather was clearly burned out from doing all of the cooking, shopping and cleaning (on top of working three jobs), but Aaron was weary as well from working nonstop.
Though Heather joked that she hoped her new husband cooked, before they parted ways, she was already crying about how much she was going to miss Aaron.
Dustin and Jaclyn
Dustin and Jaclyn met when she was a fight card girl. Their attraction was immediate, but over time they had grown apart. Dustin thought Jaclyn had turned into a stick in the mud and that she felt more like his boss or mom than his wife. There was also a lot of tension over Dustin’s drinking, and both of them rated their marriage a 6 to the experts (which seemed generous based on their filmed interactions). Complicating matters further, Jaclyn actually hadn’t told her family they were married — though they probably knew now.
Discussing their boundaries with their new spouses, it became clear that Dustin saw the experiment as an opportunity to get very drunk, very often, and flirt with other women. Still, they agreed they would not sleep in the same beds as their new spouses. After parting ways with Jaclyn, Dustin headed out to drink, where he met another girl and then bragged about how he had already basically gone on a date. Charming.
Liliya and Tony
Liliya and Tony had been married three years and together for nine. The majority of tension between them seemed to stem from perceived differences in ambition. Liliya, an ER doctor, wanted Tony, a student, to contribute more. When the experts dropped in, however, they soon deduced that Tony did all of the shopping, cooking and cleaning. He argued Liliya didn’t value those contributions. Discussing their boundaries for the experiment, they agreed to no holding hands with their new spouses (which also meant no sleeping in the same bed, just FYI).
The New Couples
The experts paired James and Jaclyn, who both yearned for a partner who was more responsible. Their initial meeting was very awkward. James described Jaclyn as “pretty,” “fit” and complimented her “great personality.” Jaclyn, however, didn’t say much about James except that he was “not like Dustin.” (Ironically, this was not a compliment.) When they opened a box that had been left for them containing temporary wedding bands. Jaclyn didn’t waste a second before sliding it onto James’ finger. He didn’t like that so much.
The experts also paired Aaron and Liliya. Aaron was pretty delighted with Lilia’s butt from the minute he laid eyes on her, but he seemed to cool to her a bit when she refused to wear the wedding ring she had been provided. Things between them were civil but a little chilly.
Next, Tony met Heather. Heather was immediately impressed that Tony helped her carry her luggage into the house, and he was struck by her appearance. Tony predicted they would get along well. After opening the box with their temporary rings, they decided to wear them, but only alongside their real wedding bands.
The remaining two were Dustin and Kelsey, who both wanted more adventure. Though Kelsey was initially delighted by Dustin’s looks, the novelty soon wore off as he revealed that he and his wife hadn’t told anyone they were married, he didn’t ever wear a wedding band and his intentions for his time in Los Angeles were to have “a great time” and “party” his face off.
Tell Us: Do you think this experiment will help any of the couples?
Seven Year Switch airs on FYI Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET.
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