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Meet 'The Ultimatum' couples putting each other to the test

On the new Netflix show, six couples work through their relationship crossroad by living with other people in a "trial marriage."
The Ultimatum: Marry or Move On S1.
The Ultimatum: Marry or Move On S1.Netflix

This post contains minor spoilers for episodes one to three of “The Ultimatum.”

"The Ultimatum" is a new Netflix show from the creator of "Love Is Blind." Like "Love Is Blind," the series is more of a dating experiment than dating show.

For the show, which was filmed in 2021, six sets of Austin-based couples subject themselves to a curious scenario. One half of the couple is ready for marriage, and has subjected the other to an ultimatum: Either they walk away engaged or not.

To make their decision, with the guidance of hosts Nick and Vanessa Lachey, who also used an ultimatum to speed up marriage, the couples will spend three weeks living with other people in a "trial marriage." Do the math, and that ends up being a lot of couples to follow.

Here's what to know about the original and the new couples on "The Ultimatum," including their ages at the time of filming, how long they were together, and what they had to say about their connections.

All the original couples on 'The Ultimatum'

Lauren Pounds and Nathan Ruggles

Ages: Lauren is 26 and Nathan is 30.

Time together: Two years

Who issues the ultimatum? Nathan

After two years together, Nathan issues an ultimatum to Lauren. The couple is struggling over whether or not to have children. "There are things we can't get past — like the kid thing," Nathan says. Simply put, Nathan wants kids, and Lauren doesn't. She explains, "It's something I never felt needed to be a part of my life."

Rae Williams and Zay Wilson

Ages: Rae is 24 and Zay is 25.

Time together: Two and a half years

Who issues the ultimatum? Rae

Rae and Zay dated through college, according to "The Ultimatum." Rae felt compelled to issue an ultimatum upon her graduation. "I have graduated and I have everything planned out in my life," she says. "College, then proposal, then babies."

Zay says that while he and Rae both want the same things, he doesn't want to "feel rushed." He says, "This feels like my first real relationship. We're trying to figure everything out. You can't rush getting into a marriage."

Alexis Maloney and Hunter Parr

Ages: Alexis is 25 and Hunter is 28.

Time together: Two years

Who issues the ultimatum? Alexis

Alexis wants to get engaged before she moves in with Hunter. "I'm ready to make the next step and I basically told Hunter, we either get engaged or we break up," Alexis explains in the show. "I want what I want, and that's a ring."

April Marie and Jake Cunningham

Ages: April is 25 and Jake is 28.

Time together: Two years

Who issues the ultimatum? April

Going into the show, April says she wants a "ring and a baby" with Jake. "I want to be 50, 60 years old with you, because you've been the best role model as a friend and partner," April says.

According to April, the couple lives as a married couple — for example, he bought her an SUV. Jake says April showed him "what love really is," but isn't ready to propose because he got out of the military a year and a half prior. "I want to travel, I want to have fun, and I want to be financially stable," he says.

Madlyn Ballatori and Colby Kissinger

Ages: Madelyn is 24 and Colby is 25.

Time together: One and a half years

Who issues the ultimatum? Colby

As they explain in the show, Colby and Madelyn couple met in college. Colby was working in a bar when Madelyn walked in. Colby says he was "blown away" and knew she was the one.

Colby is ready for marriage. “I want to be known as her man,” Colby says. Madelyn is more uncertain: “He’s ready for me to choose him, but I’m not ready to get married yet.” She’s still wondering about other relationships. "I don’t believe in there being only one person for everyone,” she adds.

Shanique Imari and Randall Griffin

Ages: Shanique is 24 and Randall is 26.

Time together: One and a half years

Who issues the ultimatum? Shanique

Shanique begins "The Ultimatum" by saying she is ready for marriage and a baby — and thinks Randall is, too. Randall is less certain, preferring to wait until his finances are more stable.

All the new couples who date on 'The Ultimatum'

In the second and third episode of "The Ultimatum," the couples split up and decide to live with a new person for three weeks a "trial marriage." Here's who they choose.

Madelyn and Randall

Madelyn is drawn toward Randall from the start. "My eyes have been on Randall. He makes me feel needed and desired, but also very comfortable and safe ... I could see myself falling in love with Randall," Madelyn says in episode two.

She says she admires his "realistic mindset" when it comes to love. "You have the practical, realistic side that I have been missing in the relationship I came in with," she says.

Of his relationship with Madelyn, Randall says, "It feels so natural." While choosing her at the dinner in episode two, he tells Madelyn, "You've allowed me to show a side I never thought I'd be able to show."

Rae and Jake

Rae and Jake connect quickly, bonding over their similar heritages and their close ties to their moms. "Life, if I was married to you, seems really easy," Jake says in the second episode. Similarly, Rae says that Jake makes her feel "really comfortable."

They choose each other at the dinner ceremony. "Right after our first date, we bonded on every level. At the end of the day, I could see a future with you," Jake says.

April and Colby

Originally, Colby is drawn to Lauren, and thinks he can "help her through" her hesitation about having children. "After we got over the kid thing, Lauren is my number one," Colby says. Lauren says, "Colby makes me feel at ease when it comes to talking about having kids."

But when Lauren and Nathan get engaged, Colby reconsiders and picks April, after initially saying he couldn't see himself with her. "I still want to go down that road with somebody and explore. What I'm focusing on now is you, April, because you didn't go unheard," Colby says.

Shanique and Zay

Shanique likes how Zay is able to open up, and that she can see his fun side and his serious side.

"If him and I spent time together, I can see us eventually vibing with each other and maybe even falling in love," Shanique says at the dinner in episode two.

All the couples who leave 'The Ultimatum' early

Alexis and Hunter

Instead of choosing someone to move in with, Hunter chooses to propose to Alexis. In this case, the ultimatum works.

“This experience has showed me so clearly that I was just scared and I was using moving in together as a way to delay what I knew inside, and I’m not scared anymore. I want you, and I accept you. I love you for who you are ... and I don’t want to be with any other girl. I already know who I want to be with, and it’s you,” Hunter says.

The couple hasn’t confirmed whether they’re together, but Hunter appears on Alexis’s Instagram page, and Alexis appears on Hunter’s.

Lauren and Nathan

After Colby chooses Lauren and his top pick, Shanique, picks Zay, Nathan decides to take a similar approach to “The Ultimatum” as Hunter: He chooses to propose.

“I’ve learned through this that I don’t have a family without you. As long as I spend the rest of my life with you, that’s all I want,” Nathan says. “There’s no one else I can imagine being with besides you for the rest of my life.”

Lauren accepts his proposal, and is not dissuaded by the fellow cast members’ arguments about why they should go through with the experiment.