IT’S gut-wrenching and emotional viewing.
Queensland woman Sue said sitting down with her estranged husband Gary with the cameras rolling was a lot more intense than it looked.
The mother-of-three walked out on her husband in 2014 and wanted to see if they still loved each other.
Having not spoken for months, neither was sure of the outcome.
Sue and Gary’s story features on SBS Show Look Me In The Eye which aired for the first time last night.
Hosted by Ray Martin, the six-part series explores what happens when two estranged people come face-to-face — without saying a word — to look each other in the eye.
Following the silence, participants are given the choice to talk or leave.
“It was so intense,” Sue told news.com.au ahead of the show going to air.
“I didn’t even think Gary would turn up and when I heard those footsteps I thought it was Ray Martin coming to tell me he hadn’t come.
“I looked up and saw Gary and burst into tears.”
While the experience was difficult and emotionally draining, Sue said they got a lot of five minutes of silence.
“Neither of us looked after our marriage in the end and we lost it,” she said.
Sitting down opposite Gary, Sue started to remember the good things she loved about him.
“All the events of the past 33 years came flooding back and a series of events went through my mind from the children, to camping holidays to so many different memories.
“It was all positive and we reconnected.”
The couple were married for 33 years and have three daughters, but separated after Gary’s work took him away from the family.
Things soon started to unravel and both of them stopped making an effort in their marriage.
Sue, a former flight attendant and executive assistant, said the couple were not even on speaking terms, which made things hard for their three adult daughters Lauren, Chloe and Stephanie.
The two years leading up to the end of the marriage was also difficult with Gary admitting to Sue she was the one who keeping things together.
“I did work really hard but gave up and things just declined,” she said.
“I did a lot of growth after the marriage ended and I just wanted to know if he was OK.”
One of her daughters even asked if going on the show was what she wanted, knowing her dad had caused her pain.
The new TV show was well received with social media praising the participants and the content.
Sue said going on the show was life-changing and she doesn’t regret it for a second.
“People are estranged for different reasons, but everyone should do this,” she said.
Admitting most people feared rejection, Sue said the positives outweighed the negatives.
“You just have to be proud and think yes you might get a rejection,” she said.
“Maybe give it a go you might get a reconciliation.
“Personally for me I drew a line in the sand and stepped over it and it allowed us to communicate without the ‘but you did this and you did that’.
“All that space around us let us think even with the cameras on.”
Look Me In The Eye features Australians from a range of backgrounds who are looking to reconnect with someone in their life.
More than three million Australians are estranged from their loved ones and host Ray Martin said when all other attempts to reconcile have failed, maybe it’s time to try something different.
“The beauty of a TV program like this is that as a kind of social experiment, it’s every man and every woman. If it didn’t happen to you, it happened to someone you know,” Martin said,
“Like First Contact, I think this is a really positive series in the sense that people will realise that we’re not alone, in our thoughts or our circumstances.”
Look Me In The Eye airs on SBS at 8.30pm Wednesdays.