real life

"Seven Year Switch made me realise what was wrong with my marriage."

In an ideal world, you wouldn’t have to choose between friendship and good sex when it comes to finding a life partner. You’d get both. The sad reality is that oftentimes it’s one or the other. Or it starts off one way, and becomes another.

You start off being wild about each other, but find that the passion fades.

Or you begin as good friends, and develop passion born of trust.

Seven Year Switch is a controversial new TV show that sees couples swapping partners in an attempt to figure out if their troubled relationships are salvageable. It’s compelling viewing. I didn’t expect to love it so much. These brave people are so open and honest about their problems. It is clear they are all suffering and are desperate for a resolution.

I hope this show helps them achieve this.

Last night’s episode was epic, with Brad confessing to new friend Jackie that he and his partner Tallena haven’t had sex for 11 months, “not that I’m counting,” he said.

It got worse.

“We don’t kiss passionately. It’s like she’s my best friend. That’s how I see it, it’s just like she’s my best friend.”

My husband was never my best friend. Ours was a relationship born of passion. We were not suited, didn’t make a good match, were from different backgrounds and wanted different things. Even our star signs weren’t in sync. On paper, we were all wrong.

Watch Brad’s as he makes this revelation to Jackie and she has trouble containing her shock. Post continues after this video…

Video by Channel 7

Except we were completely and totally physically infatuated with each other. We couldn’t keep our hands off each other. I married the best sex I’d ever had and four years into the relationship, I realised I’d made a terrible mistake.

My husband wasn’t my best friend. He wanted me to be happy, as long as it meant I wanted all the same things he wanted. Our relationship was exhausting. There were epic fights and dramatic breakups and tearful reunions and declarations of love and hate. How we got through those first few years, I have no idea.

It’s only been in the second half of our relationship that we have become best friends. The passion ebbs and flows, but the friendship is stronger than it has ever been. We not only love each other and want each other, we also prioritise each other’s happiness. We are lucky that the friendship developed at a time that the passion had seemingly run out. The friendship saved us.

Maybe marrying your “wild lover” isn’t so bad after all, as long as you eventually develop a lasting friendship.

Sex Therapist Matty Silver says couples who start out having great sex can soon run into problems if they are not careful. “The problem is that they have this romantic belief that sex should ALWAYS be like those early days. This is an example that can happen when you marry your ‘wild lover’.”

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“Sex may still be good but not that exciting anymore and sometimes it may even become a chore or you feel like roommates. But that doesn’t mean that the great sex you used to have should also be gone – you just need to find ways to keep your relationship and your sex life interesting – that’s the key to a good marriage or relationship.”

She feels it is risky to marry your best friend and hope to find passion later on in the relationship. “Marrying your best friend – and hoping he or she will become a wild lover – may never happen.”

Silver says if pressed, she will advise people to marry their “wild lover” as opposed to their best friend. However, she adds this significant caveat.

“If friends would ask me, I probably would say go for the wild lover! But with the divorce rate that high – I don’t really have a clue what to tell people (before they are getting married).”

Relationships, Silver says, are really based on luck and hard work.

Regardless of what you think of this reality show – for the record Silver is NOT a fan – there’s one thing to be said for it. It is mesmerising television.

A quick survey of the office today revealed that the majority values friendship in a relationship over good sex. One added, “When you get old and one of you moves into a nursing home, good sex isn’t going to help.” Another felt that good sex comes from building a trusting friendship in your relationship.

The one lone voice, that values good sex over friendship felt that it’s harder to find someone you feel passion for than it is to make friends. “You can always make more friends,” they added.

Brad and Jackie Seven Year Switch
Brad and Jackie have instantly bonded over their separate relationship issues. Image: Seven Network.
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Perhaps it depends on your intentions. If you are just casually dating you might favour those with whom you feel a physical connection. If you are looking for something more serious you may value friendship over all else.

Some people must be watching Seven Year Switch and wondering how some of these people got together in the first place or how they’ve lasted so long. That’s the whole point. They got together for a reason. They just have to remember that reason and figure out if they still have enough of it left to build on.

The couples in the show have been separated and matched up with someone who is very similar in personality to them, seemingly as a test to see if the passion that inspired them to settle down with someone so different to them can stack up against spending time with someone they have a lot in common with. I can see some of them remaining friends after the show, regardless of the outcomes.

I really hope none of them hook up. That would be devastating for me, and so many viewers. That is NOT the way to break up with someone you are in a serious relationship. They owe it to themselves and to their partners to wait until they are reunited with their partners and have a serious talk.

Don’t do it guys! Not good at all.

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A quick survey of the office found majority valued friendship over good sex when it came to choosing a life-partner. Image: Castle Rock Entertainment.

I hope it all ends happily, at least for some.

For more sex and relationship advice visit mattysilver.com.au.

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