Married At First Sight’s Alyssa and Duncan showed every sign of being this year’s most successful romance. But as the season progressed, a few bumps in the road left fans of the show wondering if these two had what it takes to make their relationship work. With the final vows said and done, we now have the answer.
Who are Alyssa Barmonde and Duncan James?
Alyssa, 35, grew up in Utah where she was raised Mormon. She had been single for 12 months, after her previous seven-year marriage ended. She also shares a two-year-old son with her ex husband.
Duncan is a 36-year-old regional director of cyber security sales from New South Wales. He describes himself as “the best friend and the lover” in a relationship, and is looking for a partner with class, emotional intelligence and confidence.
Before meeting, Duncan and Alyssa both had high expectations for their potential new partners. In the lead up to their wedding, Duncan confessed, “Sometimes you’ve got to do crazy things to go on a crazy love story, in the hope that I find my forever person.” Alyssa echoed his thoughts, saying “It would mean everything for me for this to be ‘The One’.”
After tying the knot, the new couple seemed to hit it off, with Alyssa telling the cameras, “Duncan is absolutely my Prince Charming,” and Duncan agreeing, “I felt fireworks.”
Intimacy week posed a challenge for Alyssa, who admitted to being more reserved as a result of her Mormon upbringing.
“There is a part of me that is still fighting that inner Mormon that’s been ingrained in me since I was quite young,” she said.
To overcome her reservations, clinical sexologist Alessandra Rampolla challenged the couple to kiss for five straight minutes. The test seemed to work, because the next morning, the pair confirmed they had been intimate.
Alyssa and Duncan’s fairy tale seemed to continue into the retreat, however cracks began to show when Duncan opted to spend the day playing tennis with the other grooms.
After not spending any time together, Alyssa hinted at her annoyance, saying “I think this is the first conversation we’ve had today.”
Confused, Duncan responded, “I thought you wanted to spend more time with the girls?” and, “If I’m not reading this right, tell me!”
A major argument followed, with Duncan trying to work out what his new wife was upset about, and Alyssa furious at his misunderstanding.
Later that evening, Alyssa shared her version of events with the other brides, who encouraged her reaction.
“So he gaslit you?! Are you fricken kidding?” castmate Bronte exclaimed.
Duncan also confided in the grooms, however a very different conversation followed.
“I apologised, understanding that she’s upset,” Duncan shared, adding “I’m not used to being in relationships where I make my partner cry.”
Confessions week posed yet another test for the couple, with a task that saw Alyssa tearfully admit to her new husband that she had cheated in a past relationship.
“I was complicit in an affair, I was the other woman, and I knew that he was a married man,” she told Duncan.
At first, Duncan was shocked, saying “That’s extremely poor behaviour.” Eventually, however, he was able to forgive his wife, saying, “I feel like I know you, deep down.”
The Partner Swap
The partner swap saw perhaps the biggest challenge for this couple of the season so far.
When they were reunited after spending the week apart, Alyssa instigated a conversation with Duncan about how her child will always be her main priority.
Duncan tried to understand her position, re-assuring Alyssa that, “It’s not a concern. Your child would be your first priority, that’s a no brainer. I don’t even know why that question would ever be asked.”
But Alyssa shut down his attempts at understanding, saying, “You won’t understand until you do it yourself. Full stop.”
Duncan was left reeling at her response, eventually breaking down to cameras.
The Final Commitment Ceremony
At the final commitment ceremony, Duncan opened up to Alyssa about his feelings around their recent argument.
“I felt rejected. Pretty broken actually, I was crying,” he said.
But instead of responding with comfort, Alyssa was upset that Duncan had waited until the commitment ceremony to open up to her.
“You never said you were that upset. Hearing for the first time that you were crying, that’s a big emotion to not share with me,” she said.
Despite the experts trying to guide Alyssa to see Duncan’s point of view, the conversation ended with Alyssa in tears, telling the experts, “it’s hard for me to give Duncan that respect and that conversation that he needs.”
The Final Vows
When it came to the final vows, Alyssa and Duncan chose to go their separate ways.
This wasn’t exactly a surprise to viewers, who were beginning to doubt the strength of the couple’s relationship and more specifically, Alyssa’s part in it. Given that Alyssa had told Duncan that she was only planning to see him “once a fortnight” after the experiment ended, the relationship didn’t look like it had a strong future.
Despite this, Alyssa still appeared visibly heartbroken when Duncan ended their relationship at the final vows.
“I know what love and a great relationship is and we both deserve that. But our views on what a healthy relationship is seem to be apart,” Duncan told Alyssa.
“Maybe it’s our personalities or differing mindsets. Either way, the gap seems too big to bridge. I don’t want to hurt you or continue getting hurt so I have to say goodbye.”
‘F**k, I was not expecting that,’ Alyssa responded, before walking away from Duncan for the final time.
Are Alyssa And Duncan Still Together?
Alyssa and Duncan are no longer together.
In an interview with Nine, Alyssa shared her feelings about the break-up.
“When Duncan was reading his vows, I was waiting for that, ‘But, I want to still be with you.’ When it never came, I just couldn’t believe it,” Alyssa said.
“Duncan always told me that yes, we had issues, and yes, there were things we were going to be working on. But he wanted to navigate through that together.
“So at Final Vows, when Duncan pretty much broke my heart, I was absolutely blindsided.”
Duncan has also spoken about the break-up and the criticism that Alyssa has been receiving online in an interview with News.com.au.
‘If anybody asked me, in any interview, about Alyssa, you’ll always see I talk positively of her, because that’s what I genuinely think about her,’ Duncan explained, adding that he had also reached out to his former-wife since the break-up.