Brace yourselves, If You Are the One fans. We have some sad news.
Two months after finding love on the taping of the hugely popular Chinese dating show – and just days after Australia watched him choose her as his One - Ben McMahon, 24, and Feng Guo, 26, have broken up.
After going on a filmed date in Shanghai, the couple hadn’t seen each other for several weeks when they were meant to spend Valentine’s Day weekend together in Melbourne, where Ben lives.
“I took her to breakfast, then lunch, then dinner,” Ben said of their filmed date on Saturday, February 13. But later that evening, once the cameras stopped rolling, the romance appeared to fade and by Monday night, Ben had ended the relationship with a text message.
“Feng made it clear that I wasn’t her type,” Ben insisted.
But Feng remembers that night a little differently.
“The conversation I had with him on Saturday night where I said to him, ‘You have to relax and be yourself around me’, that wasn’t a break up conversation,” she said. “That was a me-being-honest-and-up-front-with-him conversation.”
But it may have been too late. Finally able to spend time together without a camera crew, the couple spent Valentine’s Day separately. Feng went to an art gallery, but Ben stayed home because, as Feng put it, “he had already seen that exhibition”.
Later that day, Feng thanked Ben for showing her around Melbourne via text and invited him to dinner with her family on Tuesday in Sydney.
She did not receive a response until midnight the following day. Ben suggested they go their separate ways, effectively cancelling their scheduled time together in Sydney.
“I was really shocked because I had planned dinner for us,” Feng said. “I had planned all these different dates to get to know him more… but then I get the message the night before he’s supposed to come. My family had prepared and bought all this food and we were going to welcome him… and then he sends this message the night before at midnight.”
“I thought ‘That’s very rude.’ He’s clearly not looking for a relationship,” she added. “How ironic that all the filming has wrapped up and the backstory has aired and now he’s not interested.”
For Ben’s part, he wasn’t comfortable with where things were going and decided there was no need to go to Sydney. But he doesn’t bear Feng any ill will, chalking it all up to the circumstances under which they met.
“It’s unfortunate that Feng and I didn’t work out,” he said. “We both realised after spending some time together without the cameras, that we weren’t suited to each other. And that’s okay. You shouldn’t expect too much more from a reality show where you spend 45 minutes on stage and you have to pick someone.”
Of course, there might be some awkwardness when Ben and Feng – along with other people from the show – fly to the Maldives for a two week holiday.
Well maybe not for Ben, who’s become close with the other contestants from the show.
“I know I’m going to have a wonderful time,” he said. “I hope Feng does as well.”
As for dating in the future, Ben said he hopes to find someone who, “whatever happens, keeps an optimistic YOLO view on life.”
“My feeling is, I’m never going to go on a date show again because I don’t know if those people are on there looking for a real girlfriend or a real serious relationship, which is what I’m looking for.”
So what about “love at first sight,” as Ben said in front of 50 million people around the world?
“He would have said it to anyone.”
If You Are the One: Australian Special airs Sunday 21 February at 7.30pm on SBS 2. After it airs, the episode will be available on SBS On Demand.