By | June 24, 2015 20 Comments

‘Married at First Sight’ reality TV show apparently cast a sociopath as the groom

Editor’s note: The Lovefraud reader “amille2” wrote the following critique.

I normally do not watch reality TV shows. The few that I have seen seem anything but real.

With that said, I was intrigued when A&E and the DIY networks promoted a show called, “Married at First Sight.” The premise is two people marry ……. without meeting in advance. The men and women are matched by a panel of experts: a psychologist, sexologist, spiritual advisor and a professor with a PhD in Sociology.  A modern twist on arranged marriages. They all claim the participants go through rigorous interviews evaluations, background checks, questionnaires, etc.

One would assume then that while the prospective spouse may not know whom they are marrying, they could at least expect the experts had weeded out a potentially harmful partner?

Unfortunately, that doesn’t appear to be the case.

In season 2, bride Jessica recently filed a restraining order against her groom, Ryan.

Admittedly, I didn’t watch every episode of this “social experiment.” And I only saw what the editors wanted us to see.

What I saw was a man exhibiting sociopathic traits.

He is very handsome and was quite charismatic at the beginning of the show. My initial impression was surprise that he would have any trouble finding dates. Nonetheless, he and his bride seemed very happy with their “match” on their wedding day. They consummated their marriage that night.

Remember, they just met that day.

It went downhill from there.

He proceeded to devalue, reel her back in and repeat. He seem to try and control things that shouldn’t matter ……. ironing on a bed vs. ironing board? Who cares? Every time she tried to speak up for herself he would rage, personally attack and walk out.

This was most evident on the “reunion” episode. Jessica stated that although he claimed he wanted to stay married, once the cameras stopped rolling, he became distant; didn’t want to live with her; said, “I was with you for six weeks Kid, I need a break.” Kid?  He had other plans on Valentine’s Day.  Would you be surprised to learn she found a Valentine’s Day card from another woman at his apartment later? That his response was that he wasn’t cheating? That he can’t control it if women send him cards?

He claims she is lying. That she called him all kinds of names. That she is crazy and smashed one of his watches once she found the card (she admitted this; says she felt so guilty afterwards, she bought him a new one).

His behavior was outrageous and completely inappropriate on that final show. He even “one upped” one of the other brides about something that was a non-event.

If you Google, “Married at First Sight” you can read all the reports.

So why did this strike a chord with me?

  1. I still struggle with my role with my spath relationship. I was with him for far too long. Why didn’t I see him for what he was? Why didn’t I question him more? Was I/Am I really that blind?  Well, I guess if a panel of experts can’t spot a potential sociopath, then perhaps I should cut myself a break.
  1. The bride tried to humiliate him in revenge for his treatment of her during their brief marriage. I winced when I saw what she tried to do. The next day I read that he was caught on live mic allegedly threatening to kill her and her family (hence the restraining order). It is reported that the show hired security as a precaution.  This just reinforces that seeking revenge against a sociopath can be dangerous. Sticking to No Contact seems to be the safer, healthier choice for yourself.
  1. Reading the comments after the published articles was disturbing. While I was encouraged to see people question his outbursts, many blamed the bride to “driving him” to his behavior.  One person went so far as to say, “If you get involved with a psycho, you get what you deserve.” Really? I wonder if he/she would feel the same if they found themselves with one in their lives.

This just reinforces how much more education is needed; how little people truly understand.

More on this topic:

”˜Married at First Sight’ Season 2: Ryan’s DUI, gambling issues come to light; experts deny liability, on


Posted in: Media sociopaths

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Interesting article in most recent issue of Psychology Today about betrayal and how people do tend to blame the victim. It’s very sad but true. The theory in that article is that people do this to avoid a realization that there are terrible things in life that they can’t control hence blaming the victim with an attitude that they are “smarter” and would “never let something like that happen to them”. Life will eventually teach most people and do agree that we do need to somehow educate people to stop blaming the victim.


Donna…wow, I had not seen that clip you posted with article. How did the “experts” miss this guy? I know the answer of course. I’m sure he was completely charming through the interviews. And if they saw any other questionable behaviors? It would make for great TV/ratings. Shame on them.

Just listening to him describe his wedding day gives me chills.


i am commenting on Donna’s post about marrying a PD and not knowing it was like i read my own story even though my story has more extreme detail as im sure hers as well. Married 8 years i was a punching bag not physically but emotionally and mentally they are so damn good at manipulation u end up blaming yourself and also you spend years trying to “fix” them i did not see signs until After we got married. I thought i owed it to him to do my best to make the marriage work he made me feel bad for him because of his awful childhood past. I have left him 5 times before and always went back! I knew it was wrong but my lack of family and financial support kept me with him! He knew what he was doing all the while but i didnt they slowly put u into a posistion where they have complete control over u and make sure u need them financially he always came crying back promises broken he is a compulsive liar and actually stole jewelery from me and jewelery from my deceased father that is not replaceable I got hi his job where he makes excellent money but u would never know it he never gave me money he wpuld go and get what i needed and i mean only neccessitys he did not give me money to wash my clothes like a clock i know him between 8am and 11 am he is a nice person between 2 and 5 he is a monster and then again at 8 pm i would shake knowing he was oming home i lost my spirit and soul i sit before u today a women who is on her way up on my own


Congratulations on your escape – it can be incredibly difficult and shows great strength to get out without family or money to help you leave.


Donna, I have not watched this show but have watched the previews ad’s on tv and thought to myself I am sure there will be at least one sociopath on this show & how very dangerous this show is for these woman. This is a perfect example that these evil people can con anyone. It also made me wonder about these sociopath groom running up huge debt quickly during this show “marriage” and then sticking the bill with the bride that wants a divorce weeks after being on this show.

I read that these show participants did not know that they would be getting married until the very last meeting with producers by then they were sucked into this show con game by the producers and although half of the participants did walk out of the last meeting the other half stayed and some where married off “at first sight”. Clearly the producers were manipulating & conning all of these participants by not telling them the real premise to the show = they would be getting married until the end. That in itself is very sociopathic manipulation which we know that narcissist & sociopaths are running amuck in Hollywood.

If you have watch the Bachelor/Bachelors shows you will see that they use the same manipulation techniques as Cults use = isolate the contestants, don’t tell the contestants where/what they are doing, change their environment, love bombing, triangulate contestants against each other to gain control…etc etc. It’s all cult behavior like Steven Hassan book author and cult & domestic abuse expert states in his book. Beware if someone tries to change your habits, your environment, tries to isolate you etc quickly as they are most likely a sociopath. The creator of these two show is none other then Heidi Fleiss cousin (or maybe brother) and he has a restraining order against him and appears to be a sociopath himself.

It also brings up the point that in the countries that still have “arranged” marriages that so many brides are married off to evil sociopaths and sadly divorce might not be an option for them because of the status it brings to a woman if she leaves her husband or in some countries they can only get a divorce if the husband agrees to a divorce which we all know a sociopath is not going to let go of a victim. Very sad to think about all the women past, present & future that will meet a sociopath on their wedding day and be suck into a life of hell.

On the flip side I was flipping channels over the weekend and came upon a show called “Player Gets Played” on the Oxygen Channel….the show connects all the women that are being cheated on with the same guy and then the women confront the guy. Very Empowering for all of these women. They have full episodes on their website worth your time.


Jan7, In the first season, the participants had no idea the show was about getting married “sight unseen.” Half the participants did leave…..probably more than that. Interestingly, 2 out of the 3 couples are still together.

In season 2, people knew what was going on. Therefore, I think anyone who wanted their 15 minutes of fame signed up/showed up. It was more about entertainment, then the marriage.

I hope this bride is able to sue and get at least some financial compensation from these so called experts and producers for failing to properly screen participants/protect her.

I’ll have to look for the “player gets played” show 🙂


Hi Amille, I do think some participants are looking for fame but I also think some might just have given up on the dating scene and thought having “experts” helping you pick a mate might be a good idea. Then once they were hooked into this game created by producers they might have felt stuck. It’s easy to get in a stuck situation when you don’t know how to fix a relationship and want to leave but because of maybe embarrassment or the old “marriage is handwork” some might stick it out longer then they should. Clearly the “experts” are not educated enough to pick mates.

In the book “Tuesday’s at Morris” one thing that he states always stands out…if you don’t have the same moral foundation you are going to have nothing but problems. This is soooooooooooooooooo true!!!!

yes, the show “players get played” really is powerful that all the women join forces to call the guy out…very empowering when women join forces vs fighting over a guy!

Forgot to tell you good for you for reaching out to new groups in your area. Follow your gut when meeting new people as you are still vulnerable but otherwise have fun!


Amille, this is from the book Tuesday’s at Morris”

“there are a few rules I know to be true about love and marriage: If you don’t respect the other person, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble. If you don’t know how to compromise, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble. If you can’t talk openly about what goes on between you, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble. And if you don’t have a common set of values in life, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble. Your values must be alike.’ – Morrie Schwartz”
”• Mitch Albom, Tuesdays with Morrie

I read this book while married and this part of the book is the only thing I really remember other then it was a great book. But this part stood out because I was still married and confused about staying with my ex h. The part of this quote always has been in my mind since the day I read it and I would think about it often And if you don’t have a common set of values in life, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble. Your values must be alike.’ My ex & I had complete opposite values & morals.


Here is another quote that applies for victims recovering from a sociopath:

“If you hold back on the emotions–if you don’t allow yourself to go all the way through them–you can never get to being detached, you’re too busy being afraid. You’re afraid of the pain, you’re afraid of the grief. You’re afraid of the vulnerability that loving entails. But by throwing yourself into these emotions, by allowing yourself to dive in, all the way, over your heard even, you experience them fully and completely.”
”• Mitch Albom, Tuesdays with Morrie


Jan7, I completely agree some gave up on dating and felt why not let the experts choose? And if they saw the somewhat success rate of the first season, even more incentive.

I just think these experts did a bad job of screening potential partners.

I also agree about feeling stuck. In this case, I think this girl was trying…..torn between trying to speak up for herself vs. Walking on eggshells to make him happy.

We can all relate to that.

Thank you for the quotes. I agree on the need for shared values and Morales.

I don’t think we could ever have shared values and morals with the spaths


Donna, I watched the show from day one til the end…I also thought the same thing of “RYAN”!
Look how far you have come and what you have done to help others journeys…..don’t let your ex sociopath retain his power years later now that you are happy and made the right choice!
You have gotten even and continue to get even everyday as you help all of us……..taking down or preparing us for one sociopath at a time(as prepared as we can be) Keep your chin up girl, and keep up the good work, we love ya,” Winifred”!


I went online to watch the various episodes of the show. I was disgusted with how everything unfolded and it was as if I was witnessing an example of how my very own marriage played out with my spath ex-husband.
This woman was conned by producers and Ryan. I found it EXTREMELY DISTURBING how the “experts” (therapists) did not intervene and say something about Ryan. His demenor, mannerisms, and words were robotic in nature; all they had to do was glare into his eyes and see he was an individual who is devoid of a soul and just going through the motions. Shame on them for not stepping up to the plate and speaking out. Then, there is Jessica. She wasn’t in love with this man. She was in love with the dream of what being with this man represented. I’ve been exactly where she is, but I had a marriage therapist who helped numerous family and friends over the years save their marriages tell me that I needed to leave my ex asap. Where were they to help her? Also, shame on her parents for even endorsing this madness. I wish my parents would give me their blessing to marry a man I didn’t even know for purposes of a reality show. Everyone around Jessica who should have protected her failed her. Don’t get me wrong, she does share some responsibility in all of this. It did not sit well with me when she stated “divorce is not in my vocabulary.” I wanted her to hear me say, “does unhappiness fit into your vocabulary because that is where you are now and will be if you stay with this manipulator?” This was an absolute circus and I hope everyone involved faces some sort of punishment for allowing Ryan to carry out his motives toward Jessica. Also, shame on his mom for pushing off her “bad apple” of a son onto someone else. She knew what kind of person he is. Just disgusting!


NewOutlook, I agree 100%. When I first watched the show, I could see why someone might give up on dating and let someone else chose a potential partner….LOL, my track record is not so great! Was this show the answer? Obviously not.

As I was blinded by my ex boyfriend’s handsome appearance and charming personality, so was Jessica. She thought she hit the jackpot.

I can somewhat understand the so called professionals being fooled by Ryan during the interview process. But after his true colors emerged? How can they now defend their selection process? How did they not understand what was in front of them?

Perhaps the 4th lesson from the show… your point… “don’t bother with marriage counseling if you are dating or married to an spath.”

You really don’t need to watch the whole season to determine Ryan’s personality disorder. It was that final reunion show that made me think, “OMG….he’s just displayed pretty much every trait of a Sociopath….. In 20 minutes.”

Reading about the restraining order the next day was the final validation.


I really think this site is overusing and therefore nullifying the definition of “sociopath” to include all abusive behavior. This is an injustice to those of us who have really been victimized. Some emotional abuse and cheating is not what a sociopath is. It has to be criminal.

victoriamin – unfortunately, the mental health profession does not agree on what abusive personalities should be called and how their behavior should be defined. Lovefraud’s use of the term “sociopath” is explained here:


Victoria that’s an interesting observation, and not completely without merit. There is a balance that we should strive for. There happens to be layer upon layer of complexity here on the subject that you comment on. To broaden the lens a bit, we are discussing traits and characteristics of people’s personalities. We are discussing people’s character. I’ve personally found no simple descriptor that is any more effective than others. This is largely because there are so many misconceptions that are deeply woven into society’s fabric. Do you know what happens when I say to someone that I was married to a psychopathic woman ? Typically they laugh in my face. At first it hurt a bit. I must admit. What I realized is that the word has been co-opted by pop culture to the extent that it immediately conjures up comedians rants. The word narcissism often times isn’t understood. I’ve had people say they have never heard of it. The other side of the coin is if I try to discuss the behaviors individually, almost everyone will minimize. Society at large is being groomed to accept and view as normal things that would have been shocking to earlier generations. ” The Narcissism Epedemic – Living in the Age of Entitlement ” – ” Character Disturbance: th Phenomenon of our Age ” – Amen, and Amen. There are a few of us around still who refuse to quietly go along with the status quo. I’m Not implying that you feel any differently, just that there is a lot more to it than you may have given thought to. A small nuance that makes me feel a little more comfortable is the ic at the end. Since I’m not able to make a clinical diagnosis, I instead focus on the behaviors, the patterns. What an average member of society may think is normal or even great, I as an educated anomaly have been taught is SociopathIc behavior. Maybe there is no perfect term for us to use. Maybe we can just be thankful that Donna is initiating discussions and a supportive environment. I hope some of this is helpful. Peace


Ok I just learned an interesting point that will edit my above post. I just read this in “The Borderline Personality as Transient Sociopath”
” It should be noted that behaviors per se are never sociopathic, only the individuals perpetrating them. Sociopathy is a mentality from which antisocial, exploitative behaviors gestate and emanate with a destructive, historical chronicity. But one can infer the presence of the sociopathic mentality from a telling pattern of behaviors. ”
Thank you again Dr. Steve Becker


I watched the entire show and was outraged that no one told the bride (at least on televised taping) that Ryan’s behavior seemed abusive.

A “normal” person, like Jessica, recognizes that both parties bare some responsibility in an argument…often providing too much benefit of the doubt to an accusing abuser. Without any support from a “watching” professional(??), she likely thought that everyone sided with Ryan…that she was responsible for initiating each argument…SHE failed to communicate (but Was interrupted and dismissed by him every time she tried). SHE had a lot of issues (not him…he was perfect). SHE had a lot of issues (as he kept telling her). SHE needed to learn to appreciate that he was only trying to help her become a better person…like him!

I talked to the TV every time he treated her like crap. “He’s bad news…get out of this marriage ASAP! You deserve much better treatment, Jessica.”

But she stayed (like me…urrgh!).

Drama seems to attract viewers. Perhaps those so called “professional” counselors deliberately threw Jessica overboard w/o a life jacket simply for the sake of keeping their show on the air. If so, shame on them!


I just wanted to point something out. I have a degree in media and I have had to deal with TV and film producers in the past. So the thing that I would like to point out (please keep in mind that I have only read a few of the comments, please forgive me if this has already been brought to light), but there is the chance that Ryan did not slip though the panel of “experts”, but the producers of the show, who have the ultimate say, kept him on the show, simply because they knew he would keep the audience coming back to watch the train wreck, which would bring in the ratings.

This is why I am against reality shows. For being reality shows, none of them are realistic, or healthy. In reality, if I had a friend who told me she was going to marry a man on the day she meets him, with no prier dating or relationship, I would be very worried. But because this is a reality show, we become detached, it is entertainment and nothing more, the show makes a lot of money, and the producers don’t care about the damage that is done. And I am not even going to mention the influence these shows have on viewers about what is a normal, healthy relationship, because this post could go on for days.

Also, I have had to deal with two sociopaths in my life, one being an ex boyfriend and the other being my mother. So when I see shows like this, I wonder how why someone would even want to participate, but it is so easy to get swept away by these people, it is more than the charming sociopath, it is the lights, fame and glamor (and maybe even sociopathic producers) . But when the lights go out and everyone turns the TV off, the real reality hits and it is so hard to get out of it.


I watch this show and being recently, 1 year, divorced from a 20 year relationship with a sociopath, the first words that came out of my mouth when I saw Ryan’s rage, his nastiness,how charming he could be, and every other thing he said and did was SOCIOPATH….it was extra errie for me because he resembled my ex so much……I am so glad and relieved that Jessica found her voice and strength to end the nighmare that was waiting for her if she remained married this this “man”. This just goes to show you how cunning sociopaths are, he had to go through a panel of 3 experts and he passed with flying colors!

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