Starring in ‘The Ultimatum’, Netflix’s new reality show: ‘It’s crazy’

Absence causes the heart to grow more… or not.

On Netflix’s stunning new reality dating series “The Ultimatum: Marry or Move On” (premiere Wednesday, April 6), six couples temporarily separated from their partner to date other people – even as far as living with someone else. At the end of the ordeal, they must decide if they are ready to reunite with their original partner… or if they felt sparks with another and want to move on. Not surprisingly, the show was created by the same geniuses behind “Love Is Blind,” and like that series, Nick and Vanessa Lachey are the hosts.

“It was weird, it was a very unique experience,” Lauren Pounds, 30, a bartender from Austin, Texas (like everyone else on the show), told The Post about joining the show. “After two and a half years of being in a relationship, it’s an awkward thing to be thrown back into the dating pool. It’s so unnatural. You go [on the show] in a committed relationship and they break you up and put you on speed-dating. And you visibly see your person on a date with someone else. And then you are separated from them and not allowed to talk, and then you have to move in with a stranger … it’s crazy. ”

“The Ultimatum” features the couple Lauren and Nate (left) and fellow couple Hunter and Alexis (right).
Nick and Vanessa Lachey are the hosts
Nick and Vanessa Lachey are the hosts of “The Ultimatum”.
ILANA PANICH-LINSMAN / NETFLIX

Lauren went on “The Ultimatum” with Nate, her boyfriend, whom she has somehow known for more than a decade. Nate wants children, but Lauren leans toward a child-free life.

“It wasn’t a hard no or a hard yes, it was just something that I felt I needed to explore a little more,” she said. “So going on there, I had the thought that I would somehow miraculously figure it out with someone else. I would marry him, and he would marry me, and it was just the child thing that was so frustrating, because everything else in our relationship was very good. ”

However, Lauren did not enjoy watching Nate go on dates with other girls in the program, and she even ended up crying under the shower for a few days.

Zay (left) and Rae, another pair on
Zay (left) and Rae, another couple on “The Ultimatum.”
Randall, left, and Shanique, another couple
Randall (left) and Shanique, another couple on “The Ultimatum.”

“As dates were set up, I sat and talked to another guy whose boyfriend was sitting and talking to Nathan just a few feet away. So I got really emotional … and I thought, ‘Oh my God, this is awful. This is unnatural, you are not meant to see your partner on a date with another whose partner you are also on date with. It was really messy. I thought, “What did I do to us?”

Spoiler alert – Lauren and Nate ended up leaving the show early and pulling the plug on the whole endeavor. “I think by dating other people I realized, ‘Oh my god, I do not want to be in this scene again,'” she said. “All the time I was comparing everything to Nathan and I was thinking, ‘I have a good person, I really do not want to go through this again, I do not want to be single.’ And I found my person, I just have to work on my problems specifically with him and not focus on other people. ”

April Marie, 24, and a business recruiter, attended the show because her boyfriend of two years, Jake Cunningham, 26, had been dragging her feet when it came to settling down.

She said going on dates with other people was a “fun experience.”

“I’m a human and it opened my shell for that flirtatious butterfly feeling again. It was fun to see, ‘That’s how it would be without Jake,’ she said.

Jake Cunningham and April Marie are sitting on a couch.
Jake (left) and April went on “The Ultimatum” to find common ground.

But it also hurt in April to see Jake being single and interfering.

“In the back of my mind, watching Jake was having fun … certainly regrettable at the time of filming. So it was a very uncomfortable three weeks of dating [someone else], and tried to seek out Jake and talk to him, but we did not see eye to eye. It felt a little traumatic, like, ‘What did I do?’

But during the three weeks that April spent living with another guy on the show, she was able to find clarity.

“The Ultimatum” guys Randall, Hunter and Zay toast to their new single life.
JODY DOMINGUE / NETFLIX

“That experience was the time of my life,” she said. “Dating [the other guy], we did something every day and every night it was something new. I thought, ‘This is how a relationship should feel. A relationship must be adventurous. ‘ That was my takeaway. “I want this feeling now, and I want this feeling, even after I leave the show.” That is the relationship [with the other guy] was mostly about me finding myself. ”

Finally, she said she’s grateful she went on “The Ultimatum.”

“It was the hardest three months of my life,” she said. “But sometimes you need a hard lesson to learn what you need.”

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