‘Seven Year Switch’ is an Australian reality TV show on Channel 4 which follows the journey of 4 couples who are unhappily married. It is based on a US series with a similar title name. It started airing on 15 March 2016 and is still running.
The 2018 season of the show
Four couples were selected for the show. These included Nikki and Simon, Rachel and Tom, Michelle and George, and Gemma and Tony. Tony, 29 had already separated from his girlfriend Gemma, 28, and moved in to stay with his mother now. Gemma was staying separate from their 2 young children.
The couple was supposedly engaged but Tony had some commitment issues and deiced to buy some time to decide for sure. Tom and Rachel also had marital discord and were now sleeping in separate rooms and were seriously considering divorce.
The couples were taken to Thailand and promised counseling sessions. But they were in for a shock!
The productions’ rude shock
The couples were told that they would be separated and would have to live with a stranger for 14 days. They will have to share a villa and even a bed with that stranger. They had to live as husband and wife and it is up to them to decide whether they want the sleep on the bed with the stranger or to sleep on the sofa.
They would also be subjected to extensive counseling sessions and at the end of the 14 days, they will have to decide whether they want to be with their real partner or call it quits.
The relationship counselor defends the arrangement
The show’s relationship counselor Lee Valls said that the accusations that the show is ‘voyeuristic’ are ill-taken. He said:
“Yes, we could send couples away together and give them intensive counselling, but what we wanted to do was to take them out of their comfort zone and the destructive cycles they were in,”
“We were very careful about who we paired each person with. The idea was that it would be someone who was very different from their own partner. There was a bit of compare and contrast going on.”
“You might as well stop filming now, I’ll pay for my own flight home.”
Michelle threatened her partner George who was paired with Rachel that she would harm him in case he gets close to Rachel. She said:
“You can’t be naked around her. And if your hands go on her bottom, you won’t have hands.”
The couples are tempted by the producers in various ways to drop their towels and share a bed with the stranger with them. But this they say is to make them confront the reality of their marital situation.
The couples are also made to undergo exhaustive counseling sessions and there is plenty of crying on the show as the couples talk about their marital problems with the counselor. They are told to improve their communication with the real partner or risk losing him or her.