“When it comes to men, why are our standards so low?”

On this season of Married at First Sight, a woman named Tracey has decided to stay with a man named Dean, who told her after one week he did not want to be with her anymore.

Dean didn’t respectfully explain how he felt in private. He waited until they were sitting in a room, with more than 20 spectators, and announced he just wasn’t all that into it.

Oh. But, there’s more.

The following week, when he (reluctantly) decided to give it another go with Tracey, Dean met up with Davina, another man’s partner, for a drink and said he would like to be with her instead.

We dicuss the mess of a relationship that is Justin and Carly on our Married at First Sight recap podcast. Post continues below. 

They exchanged intimate text messages, and discussed leaving their partners for one another. They were highly flirtatious, hugged each other, and stopped just short of sticking their tongues down each others throats.

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When Dean went on a date with Davina, he lied to Tracey about where he was. He left Tracey’s side at a dinner party, to sit only metres away from her, and talk to Davina about their intense attraction for one another.

Tracey found out. And then she decided to stay with him.

But, there’s more.

A few weeks later, Dean went to the infamous ‘Boys’ Night’, where he prompted a conversation about wife swapping, and said Carly, who he felt a “vibe” with, was certainly more his type than Tracey.

When no one opted to swap their current wife for Tracey, he said, “What about Tracey, guys? She’s hot… Can someone just say they want to bang Tracey? Please?”

The conversation was relayed to Tracey by multiple parties.

And still, she decided to stay with him.

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To be clear – Tracey feels content with a man who left her, had an almost-affair with another woman, speaks about her derogatorily when she isn’t there and yells at anyone who tries to pull him up on it. And all within the space of one month.

How does a 34-year-old woman get to a point where her standards are that low?

It isn’t, however, just Tracey. Ashley discovered last week that her experimental husband, Troy, spoke with the other men about finding her mother attractive, and still decided to stay. Carly remained with a man for nearly a month who barely spoke to her, and when he did it was exclusively about his career.

Jo stayed with Sean after he mostly ignored her and then moved out of their apartment, and Gab stayed with Nasser after he announced he wasn’t sexually attracted to her. Blair stayed with (the other) Sean after he said he had precisely no feelings for her, and Alycia gave Mat another chance after he yelled at her and stormed out.

But when it emerged that Davina had been seeing Dean on the side, her experimental husband, Ryan, checked out immediately and left at the first chance.

He knew precisely what he deserved – and Davina was not it.

Surely logic and life experience tells us that if someone hurts you within days of having met you, things are not going to get better. 

It has become increasingly difficult to muster any sympathy for Tracey, who has accepted time and time again a frankly deplorable standard of behaviour.

But she, as always, is not making her decision in a vacuum.

Every week she has been applauded by the experts, who appear to believe it’s better to be in a bad relationship, than not in one at all. This reflects a broader cultural trend, where it’s the woman’s role to desperately try to make it work, and the man’s role to leave when it doesn’t.

We’ve gotten to this point – where a woman refuses to leave a man who viciously erodes all her self esteem – by putting far too much value on romantic relationships.

Leaving a man because he does not treat you well, isn’t a sign of failure. It’s a sign of empowerment.

And if there’s one thing we can all learn from this season of Married at First Sight, it’s to raise our standards. Walk away – without looking back – from a person who is not meant for you.

It might be easier said than done, but there is real dignity in looking at a person who has treated you badly and saying: “I am better than this”.

If only we had more women on television showing us how that’s done.

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