Partner swapping social experiment ends in tears for some in, 'The Ultimatum: Marry or Move On'

Randall Griffin, Hunter Parr, Isaiah Wilson in season 1 of ’The Ultimatum’. Picture: Jody Domingue/Netflix

Randall Griffin, Hunter Parr, Isaiah Wilson in season 1 of ’The Ultimatum’. Picture: Jody Domingue/Netflix

Published Apr 16, 2022


When you give someone an ultimatum, there is a high probability that the response might not be what you were hoping for. That’s what initially sparked my curiosity when I came across, “The Ultimatum: Marry or Move On”.

Aside from the Netflix show trending, there has been quite a lot of chatter about it on social media.

And it has Nick and Vanessa Lachey as hosts. With the couple having previously done “Love is Blind”, they are clearly attaching themselves to shows that don’t subscribe to the mundane, cheesy, scandalous and OTT offerings.

After all, there are plenty of those saturating the genre.

I enjoyed “Love is Blind” because it went beyond the superficial aspects that tend to manifest in dating reality shows, where libidos become uncontrollable and egos take over.

To date, this franchise has become immensely popular in several countries across the globe.

Back to “The Ultimatum: Marry or Move On”, the show centres on six couples, one of whom issued the ultimatum and wants to take the next step in the relationship but the partner is hesitant to make that commitment.

Jake Cunningham with girlfriend April Marie. Picture: Netflix

Jake Cunningham, 26, admits to being a reluctant participant from the get-go. But his feisty girlfriend April Marie, 23, signed them up nonetheless. She wants the whole nine yards: marriage, babies and the white picket fence.

Sadly, the breakdown in communication has put immense strain on the relationship. He doesn’t feel heard.

Then there is Colby Kissinger, 25, and Madlyn Ballatori, 24. He is madly in love with her and sees her as his forever - she has a lot of reservations about it.

Colby has a very different take on love and marriage and it is based on his parent's successful marriage, while Madlyn is jaded by it thanks to her mom’s experience.

Rae Williams, 24, and Zay Wilson, 25, appear to be the perfect couple. Their chemistry alludes to a solid romance. But Zay, who has some deep childhood scars, wants to be secure in every which way before going down that road. And Rae isn’t keen on waiting.

Shanique Imari, 24, and her boo Randal Griffen, 26, also appear to be stuck in that indecisive rut. She wants him to put a ring on it but he’s just yet not ready.

Alexis Maloney, 25, loves Hunter Parr, 28, and is baffled by his hesitancy to take the next step. And she’s run out of patience.

Nate Ruggles, 30, and Lauren Pounds, 30, love each other and want to get married. So what’s the problem? He wants kids and she doesn't. That seems to be a deal-breaker for him.

Zay Wilson and Rae Williams. Picture: Netflix.

It goes without saying that everyone that issued the ultimatum walks in feeling pretty confident that they will leave together.

A week in and they don’t feel the same, as insecurity creeps in while choosing a partner from the group with whom they will spend three weeks as husband and wife.

Thereafter, they get to return to their own partners and spend the same amount of time before life-changing decisions are made.

And this is where I felt like this partner swapping social experiment is probably taking things too far. Giving your loved one a pass to essentially cheat is asking for trouble.

Of course, before they even decide on new partners, the green-eyed monster surfaces, especially when Jake and Rae were spotted vibing as well as Madlyn and Randal.

Colby went all-in with wooing Lauren, much to the annoyance of Nate. And Alexis, who expressed an interest in Colby, didn’t take too kindly when he didn’t reciprocate her feelings.

Then again, he also shot down April - a decision he came to regret when they had to choose their new person for three weeks.

Of the six couples, two ended up bailing by proposing ahead of the experiment.

At the reunion episode, things got a bit heated when certain revelations came to light.

Although things didn’t go as planned for some of the couples, going through the experience did help them find their voice, and left them more decisive about what they wanted and what they didn’t.

I’m still undecided about whether the couples were brave or plain foolish. But, as a viewer, I was so invested in everyone's journey. The rollercoaster of emotions was next level, too, so brace yourself for that.

“The Ultimatum: Marry or Move On” is streaming on Netflix.

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