I’ve found a new show that matches my dating show needs.
It’s called Back with the Ex. Australian show on Netflix. BwtE’s title should be self-explanatory, but if I solely let things talk for themselves, there wouldn’t be much point in me talking about them. The premise of the show is that they’ve rounded up a bunch of ex couples willing to give it another go. The ages and situations all range. One couple had been off and on, another couple fell out as a result of cheating, another had done long distance over two decades ago. Firstly, being Australian, everyone’s pretty good looking. More importantly, it scratches the itch of what I’m looking for with one of these dating shows. I’m not interested in a bunch of women fawning over a dude, or people trying to out-game each other. What I’m looking for in a dating show is to see how different personalities intersect, and how prospective couples navigate heightened spaces. I want to see them negotiate, and use their problem solving to work through issues. That’s not The Bachelor territory.
I’ve watched all of one episode. What I do appreciate about this show in particular, is how it showcases emotions that can’t be faked. With each couple, they’d filmed the moment that they first laid eyes on each other after a hiatus. The couples all varied in approach. Some were tentative, felt awkward or cagey. The older couple was fantastic. The scenario is that they’d broken up 28 years prior. The gal lived in America and the guy lived in Australia. At the time, logistical obstacles got in the way and they called it quits. The first time they saw one another was electric. They both trembled, immediately embraced and kissed. They’d gone from knowing each other in their twenties, to being around 50. It was so warm and engrossing to see. They were utterly excited and enraptured. Overall with this show, it’s great to see both sides coming in trying to make it work. I’m guessing they had to each consent to meeting up again, and it’s nice to see what happens when nobody has an angle. They’re simply gauging if they’re still compatible, or if the issues that split them are still relevant.
Mostly, as ever when it comes to these shows, it’s all about navel gazing. I’m vicariously inserting myself into these positions and asking those questions. What would it be like to meet up with my exes? Who would I meet up with? Are there any with whom I think a spark could be re-ignited? Invariably the answer is no. I don’t have a single ex that I would want to get back with. They’re not bad people, but each ex and I broke up for a reason. I knew that the long term potential wasn’t there, and it’d be foolish to pretend otherwise. The issues we faced weren’t about how we treated each other, but about sheer compatibility. There weren’t enough points of agreement, and that’s okay. Not everyone is destined for happily ever after, and it’s part of the process. I have a few exes I’m friends with. One I truly adore, but even then I wouldn’t want to rekindle an actual relationship. Her and I hang out every so often, and I’m incredibly grateful to still have her in my life. We’ll have a drunken kiss at a party every once in while. That, coupled with the emotional support and hang outs feels more like an intimate friendship. I love intimate friendships, but I only have so much time for a relationship these days.
Until that changes, I’ll just keep watching the show instead.