Fox Television pushed reality TV a little further on Monday, January 6, with the airing of "Joe Millionaire," a new program in which 20 women vie to win the heart of one man they believe to be a millionaire. But here is the rub: none of these women know that Joe is, in fact, a construction worker with limited financial means, earning only about $19,000 a year. Can love trump money and survive deception?
"In some ways this is an extension of the old battle of the sexes, but I think it has taken a very harsh turn," says Armond Aserisky, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist from thePhiladelphia area. "No matter how you slice it, what you have is people participating in a lie. I'm made uneasy by that."
"This kind of fakery is done all the time," Aserisky admits. Still, basing a new relationship on false pretenses is not healthy, and it creates a ruinous undercurrent of distrust. Even if both partners can overcome a rough beginning, it is difficult to reestablish trust once it's lost, a vital element of any healthy relationship. "It is a no-win situation," says Aserisky.