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‘Married at First Sight’ Decision Day Part 1 Recap: One Couple Splits

Married at First Sight's Vanessa, Tres, David, Ashley, Sam and NeilOne couple decides to get a divorce at the end of Married at First Sight's Decision Day Part 1. Credit: FYI

Married at First Sight viewers have been anxiously awaiting Decision Day. Now that it’s here, we’re finding that the couples’ decisions could go either way.

On the January 23 episode, entitled “Final Decisions, Part 1,” we find out the clock has run out for one couple, and the verdict is far from mutual. After recapping the ups and downs of two of the couples’ marriages (Neil Bowlus & Sam Role and Tres Russell & Vanessa Nelson), the end of the episode cuts to David Norton and Ashley Doherty on Decision Day.

Norton and Doherty met six weeks ago, both excited to get married to a complete stranger. Although Norton was instantly smitten with his bride when they met on their wedding day, Doherty’s first impression was not as positive. Despite Norton’s endless attempts to get closer to her throughout the Married at First Sight process, she kept him at arm’s length throughout the six-week experiment. He’s remained positive, but viewers knew it would take a miracle for Doherty to change her mind.

Unfortunately for Norton, that miracle never came to fruition. When the couple sat down with Dr. Pepper and Dr. Joseph to announce their decisions, Norton was determined to continue trying, telling Doherty his commitment had “never wavered.” “You know that I wanna stay married,” he tells her, pleading for her to remain his wife. “You know that’s my decision.”

“I think that you’re a good person,” Doherty responds. She explains that she has never questioned why they were matched. “I really wanted it to work,” she tells Norton. “I think the best option for us is to… we get a divorce.”

Norton is clearly deflated as Doherty makes her final verdict, but she’s quick to tell viewers why she made the decision to end it. “I don’t have the same feelings; I wish I did,” she admits, “but I don’t, and I do want the best for him. That’s part of the reason why I made this decision… because I genuinely feel that it’s the best decision for both of us. I think in time he’ll realize that.”

Dr. Joseph encourages Doherty to tell her husband why she chose to divorce him. She calls Norton out for breaking her trust by messaging her friend via social media. “I felt so betrayed and disrespected,” she tells her husband. “It’s a hard place to come back from. It didn’t work.”

Despite his disappointment, Norton manages to respond to his wife. “To me, anything in life that’s worth a damn is difficult,” he says. “It just seems like you’re making excuses.” Doherty doesn’t reply, leaving an awkward silence hanging between them.

“I know there’s tears,” Norton tells viewers, “but it’s clear as day that she checked out a long time ago… she never truly gave it an honest to God shot.”

After the show, season one Married at First Sight participant Jamie Otis interviews Norton and Doherty about their decision to divorce on ‘Unfiltered: Final Decision.’ “It’s tough. It’s something that I really wanted,” Norton explains. “I was pretty far from perfect. I never thought that I was; but I was the best husband that I could be on every single day of this marriage.”

Married at First Sight's David and Ashley

David and Ashley have decided to get divorce after season 3 of Married at First Sight. Credit: L. Hunter Photography

Doherty reveals that she didn’t think Norton was going to say his decision was to stay together, “because the night before he had said we were going to be a united front,” she says. “He knew that I was probably leaning towards divorce and we would go into this together.”

“How did he know you were leaning towards divorce?” Otis asks. “I don’t know,” Doherty says with sincerity. “I never shared, but come on. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist.”

“I just feel like there’s so many things going on that we owed it to ourselves to see what would happened if you stayed married,” Norton explains to Otis.

“I think he was in love with the idea of being married, rather than with me.” Doherty explains. “In my heart, I knew it was the right thing. So I had to do it. It makes me feel terrible thinking about it right now, but I think I just knew that’s what needed to happen.”

Norton recalls the day before they left on their honeymoon where they ate take-out food in their hotel bathroom together as a memory of a time he really connected with Doherty. “There were these awesome moments that felt really powerful,” Norton shares. “Again, it felt like there was love existing between us.”

“I never felt this connection on any level and I wanted [it], but you can’t force yourself to have that,” Doherty tells Otis. “And I don’t want that for him. I want him to be with someone that he just has a connection with.”

Will the other two marriages end, or will they keep moving forward together?

About the Author

Kelly Spears
Kelly Spears
Kelly is an online news writer for The Knot. She is a professional writer who studied English at Ohio State University. Kelly is a big fan of TLC's '90 Day Fiance' and FYI's 'Married at First Sight.'