The UK’s iconic Married At First Sight (MAFS) returned to our screens this week, with a handful of new singletons looking to find ‘The One’.
Like usual, strangers met at the altar for the very first time before diving head-first into a simulation of married life.
After six weeks, couples will then decide whether it’s truly an ‘I do’ or an ‘I don’t’ by confirming whether they want to stay with each other beyond the show.
But the new season got us thinking — just how effective is MAFS, and does The One really exist?
MailOnline spoke with two psychologists to uncover whether dreams of love at first sight are truly possible or just fairytale ideals.
Finding The One: Married At First Sight (MAFS) returned to our screens this week on Channel 4
Does ‘The One’ really exist?
It’s no secret that marrying a handsome prince is a major plot point of countless fairytales.
Albeit idealistic, Dr Louise Goddard-Crawley told MailOnline that finding your own soulmate or ‘The One’ may be possible for not only the MAFS contestants, but the rest of us too.
‘Whether “The One” exists or not is a personal belief, and it can vary greatly from person to person,’ she said.
‘Ultimately, the pursuit of a fulfilling and lasting relationship should be based on individual values, needs, and experiences rather than a rigid adherence to a romantic ideal.
‘It’s important to acknowledge that media, including romance films and novels, often present idealised and romanticised versions of love and relationships.’
Dr Goddard-Crawley claims that robust relationships are centred around four key components which include compatibility, effort, shared values and communication.
MAFS match Jay Howard and Luke Morley also gave hope to us all this week as the giddy pair set off on their honeymoon to Grenada.
She added: ‘Discovering a partner with whom you share compatibility and collaboratively fostering the relationship takes precedence over the notion of finding “The One”.’
Arthur Poremba left Laura Vaughan (pictured) and her friends cringing when he told her he loved her at the end of his vows despite having met Laura just minutes earlier
Dr Gurpreet Kaur agreed, also adding: ‘All of this will be influenced by cultural, social, religious, spiritual, and economic factors.
‘Perhaps the idea of “The One” is only as important as one’s personal connection to the concept.’
Can you truly fall in love at first sight?
Whether it’s Romeo and Juliet or Dumb and Dumber, falling in love at first sight is yet another trope of romance movies.
MAFS contestant Arthur Poremba also startled the world this week as he declared his love for Laura Vaughan at their wedding — despite meeting her just a few minutes before.
In reality, Dr Kaur believes this is unrealistic, with many singletons mistaking initial attraction for the phenomenon of love.
‘Initially, there can be a strong feeling of attraction which can be easily mistaken for love,’ she told MailOnline.
‘The physical pull can be mistaken for intense emotional feelings and interpreted as a sign of something much deeper.’
During the first stages of a relationship, Dr Kaur explains that most people are often on their best behaviour and are perhaps more attentive than usual.
Viewers saw the emotional wedding of Luke Morley and Jay Howard this week, who later ventured on their honeymoon
She added: ‘This is amplified greatly on a show like Married at First Sight, where a camera crew and an expert panel are involved throughout the process.
‘However, determining compatibility in values, goals and personalities often takes time in reality and occurs through varied shared experiences.’
Dr Goddard-Crawley agreed, but added: ‘In the end, the quality of the connection matters more than how quickly it develops, as there’s no one-size-fits-all timeline for finding the right life partner.’
What are the signs you’ve found The One?
Kindness, intelligence and a good sense of humour are among countless typical traits we may hope for in a partner.
But Dr Goddard-Crawley explains that finding ‘The One’ takes much more than this, and MAFS participants must seek to strike a balance between stability and surprise.
‘While comfort and stability are important, there should still be a spark of excitement and attraction in the relationship,’ she told MailOnline.
‘However, anxiety can lead to misinterpreting whether you’ve found “The One” by causing overthinking, doubt, and fear of abandonment.
‘It can amplify insecurity, avoidance behaviours, and unrealistic standards.’
Oxytocin -– often nicknamed the ‘love drug’ – is a hormone that’s produced in the brain, stimulating feelings of intimacy and trust.
Viewers sobbed as Ella and Nathanial married after meeting for the first time at the altar and the former Geordie Shore star accepted his new wife for who she is as a transgender woman
Meanwhile, adrenaline is another hormone in our bodies that is often linked to new experiences and excitement.
A combination of these two hormones can make finding ‘The One’ confusing at times, according to Dr Goddard-Crawley.
But ‘The One’ should allow you to feel respected and accepted for who you are.
‘Adrenaline can lead to infatuation, where the relationship feels exhilarating and passionate,’ she added.
‘However, this type of attraction is often short-lived and may not necessarily lead to a deep, long-lasting connection.
‘Oxytocin is instrumental in building and maintaining emotional connections in long-term relationships. It’s what fosters the sense of safety, attachment, and bonding between partners.’
Should you trust your first impressions?
As MAFS participants walked down the aisle this week, there’s no doubt they quickly made judgements on their new partners.
But Dr Kaur also claims that first impressions shouldn’t always be trusted as they can be influenced by an array of different factors.
First date nerves and unconscious biases are encompassed in this, as well as your own mood on the day.
‘The initial click is often more about attraction and preconceived ideas about what is a good match,’ she told MailOnline.
‘The scenario in which a couple initially meet might also lend itself to a romanticised view of what each other should be like.
‘Stepping away from ideals and “shoulds” in regards to assessing the other person will help to see them more realistically and give you a chance to decide whether the interaction is worth pursuing.’