Cul­ti­vat­ing love

The highs and lows of love are on show on The Farmer Wants a Wife, writes Kri­tika Sek­saria

Herald Sun - Switched On - - On The Couch -

IF YOU want to be suc­cess­ful on The Farmer Wants a Wife, you’d bet­ter be an ex­tro­vert. That is the opin­ion of psy­chol­o­gist Dr Janet Hall, who says it takes a cer­tain kind of per­son to deal with the ex­po­sure and pres­sure that comes with the Chan­nel 9 dat­ing show.

Farmer is a pub­lic fo­rum where about one mil­lion view­ers each week wit­ness con­tes­tants’ ro­man­tic suc­cesses and fail­ures. Now in its sixth sea­son, Farmer has pro­duced three mar­riages, two en­gage­ments and a baby.

Chris New­some and Kim Tier­ney, who met and fell in love on the first se­ries of the hit Chan­nel 9 show in 2007, be­came the proud par­ents of Char­lotte in 2009.

Rob Hodges and Jo Fin­cham from sea­son two are mar­ried and ex­pect­ing a child, and sea­son four’s Brad Crane mar­ried Sta­cie Marmion.

‘‘ Only peo­ple with a cer­tain (out­go­ing) per­son­al­ity type can get ahead in this kind of sit­u­a­tion,’’ Dr Hall says.

Vic­to­rian potato farmer Nick Carey, 26, says The Farmer Wants a Wife has a unique edge over the sin­gles scene pubs and clubs and in­ter­net dat­ing.

You get to try be­fore you buy. The farm­ers spend a fort­night on their prop­er­ties with po­ten­tial wives.

The down­side is the con­stant pres­ence of TV cam­eras try­ing to cap­ture ev­ery hug, kiss or break-up.

‘‘ In the evenings af­ter 8 or 9 o’clock, when the cam­era goes off, there is an op­por­tu­nity to get some pri­vacy and build a good re­la­tion­ship, form chem­istry and share feel­ings,’’ Carey says.

Host Natalie Gru­zlewski says Farmer has had a bet­ter suc­cess rate than The Bach­e­lor or The Bach­e­lorette (one mar­riage out of 15 sea­sons and one out of six sea­sons, re­spec­tively) be­cause it is fair dinkum.

‘‘ The beauty of the show is its sin­cer­ity,’’ she says. ‘‘ What you see is what you get.’’

South Aus­tralian farmer Ben Wan­del, 33, agrees it can be scary to open up and form a bond with a po­ten­tial part­ner when the cam­eras are rolling and you know more than one mil­lion peo­ple will be watch­ing.

The speed dat­ing round, he says, was def­i­nitely the hard­est part of the show.

‘‘ Even­tu­ally I re­alised that if I re­lax, it helps the oth­ers (ladies) re­lax as well,’’ he says.

Sue Yort­sen, from Re­la­tion­ships Aus­tralia, says any­one who goes on The Farmer Wants a Wife is be­ing in­cred­i­bly brave.

The highs and lows of ro­mance or re­jec­tion are heigh- tened when they are played out on a high-rat­ing TV show.

‘‘ There is al­ways a chance of dis­ap­point­ment, re­jec­tion and heart­break. Deal­ing with that in pub­lic is ex­tremely dif­fi­cult,’’ Yort­sen says.

Those ef­fects con­tinue even when the cam­eras stop rolling.

The harsh glare of pub­lic­ity played a part in the split be­tween Jam­ba­roo dairy farmer Ben Honey and Syd­ney nanny Sarah Wal­ton, who hooked up on the sec­ond se­ries of Farmer.

Honey shunned the me­dia spot­light when he an­nounced his en­gage­ment to Wol­lon­gong woman Kate Mor­gan, say­ing he pre­ferred a more pri­vate ro­mance the sec­ond time around.

SE­RIES five farm­ers Devon Mills and Jamie Mor­gan called it quits with the part­ners they chose on the show.

Mills stopped see­ing fash­ion de­signer Leila Sweeney not long af­ter the show fi­nale.

Pearl farmer Mor­gan’s re­la­tion­ship with West Aus­tralian na­tive Emma Bramwell ‘‘ lasted the flight home’’.

In spite of that, nei­ther has re­grets. Mills says Farmer made him more con­fi­dent around women.

Mor­gan is set to be a grooms­man to fel­low con­tes­tant Nathan McC­ly­mont, who will marry Amanda Ecker, whom he met on the show.

McC­ly­mont, from re­mote WA, pro­posed to Ecker in the 2010 sea­son fi­nale of The Farmer Wants a Wife. The Farmer Wants a Wife, Chan­nel 9, Wed­nes­day, 8.30pm

Match­maker: The Farmer Wants a Wife host Natalie Gru­zlewski.

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