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Session 208: Married at First Sight

The Therapy for Black Girls Podcast is a weekly conversation with Dr. Joy Harden Bradford, a licensed Psychologist in Atlanta, Georgia, about all things mental health, personal development, and all the small decisions we can make to become the best possible versions of ourselves.

If you’ve been watching this season of Married at First Sight, you know that last week was decision day, and what a decision day it was! Joining me again to debrief on everything that’s happened this season is Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, Beverley Andre. Beverley is back with us to chat about which of the couples decided to stay together and which of them have separated, her suggestions for those remaining together, our thoughts on where the couples seemed to struggle, and our predictions for what we’ll see at the reunion. This episode does contain spoilers.

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Read Full Transcript

Session 208: Married at First Sight

Dr. Joy: Hey, y’all! Thanks so much for joining me for Session 208 of the Therapy for Black Girls podcast. We’ll jump into the episode right after a word from our sponsors.


Dr. Joy: Before we get into our chat about this season of Married at First Sight, I have to take a moment to say thank you to all of you who took a minute to vote for us in the Webbys. We won! We won for Best Health & Wellness Podcast. This week, we were also awarded The Best Wellness and Relationships Podcast by the Podcast Academy. I am feeling overwhelmed with gratitude for all of your continued support and for being such valuable members of this community. For the Webbys, we had to prepare a five-word speech and mine was: I am because we are. And there’s no truer testament to this community. All of this is because of you, so thank you.

If you’ve been watching this season of Married at First Sight, you know that last week was Decision Day. And, wow, what a Decision Day it was! Joining me again to debrief on everything that’s happened this season, is licensed marriage and family therapist, Beverley Andre. Beverley is licensed in Florida, New York and New Jersey, and is the owner of BeHeart Counseling Services. Her work teaches black and brown women how to break down and unpack narratives that no longer serve them. She’s a member of The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and is also a Prepare/Enrich certified premarital facilitator.

Beverley joined us for Session 193 of the podcast just as this season was starting, and is back this week to talk about which of the couples decided to stay together and which of them have separated, her suggestions for those remaining together, our thoughts on where the couples seem to struggle, and our predictions for what we’ll see at the reunion. This episode does contain spoilers so if you haven’t watched yet, definitely hold off until you do. And be sure to share your thoughts with us about the season using the hashtag #TBGinSession. Here’s our conversation.

Dr. Joy: Thank you so much for being back with us, Beverley.

Beverley: Thank you for inviting me for a part two because, whoa...

Dr. Joy: Listen, so I feel like I owe a bit of an apology to the audience. Because for those of you who may not have watched Married at First Sight and then started watching because you heard us talking about it on the podcast, I feel like we did not give you the best introduction to the show. Because this season feels like it was very, very different (to me) than the other seasons have been. So there may be a bit of an apology needed but I would just love to hear your thoughts, Beverley, about what in the world happened this season?

Beverley: It felt super long!

Dr. Joy: They definitely added like sessions, I think. I feel like they added all these extra episodes to draw the season out. I feel like. I haven't gone back and like done the numbers to see how many episodes there typically are, but to me, it definitely felt longer.

Beverley: I think the emotional draw out was so much, especially last episode. I just feel like everybody was kind of checked out at different points, based off of feedback that I got on Twitter. I think at certain points it was like, okay, well, let's bypass a few of these couples and get the Chris and Paige and then, okay, with that fizzled out, it was like, okay, what's happening with Ryan and Clara? It was a lot of back and forth in terms of trying to remember what's happening, why are these couples interacting with each other this way? But then it's like, okay, well, you only see a little bit versus their very much lived experience. I think even the experts were fed up because Dr. Viviana and Dr. Karl... And when Dr. Pepper came up, oh my gosh. Their facial expressions were like, okay, something has to give.

Dr. Joy: So what do you think it was about this season?

Beverley: Well, I think that... Was it Dr. Viviana? She said that, about Chris in particular, the person who he was before is not the person that they have seen throughout the season so I think that you have people who aren't showing up fully as themselves during the casting period. And I also think that you saw couples who had a lot of potential, but for some reason, they were not hearing each other. Jacob and Haley, I really see why they were paired up with each other. However, I think that Haley was not showing up as her full self in terms of what she did and did not like about Jake. And I think Jake got a really good sense of that and was just like, okay, tell me how you feel? Is it an issue about looks? What is it? And I don't think he got the sense that Haley was being forthcoming.

So when you saw Jacob like leaving her in South Carolina just in the middle of the night, I was like this man has checked out. Because there is no man in his right mind, in a relationship with someone that he wants to be in a relationship with, is just going to check out on their partner like that. You have a safety concern, right? They showed up separately. I think she, at one point in time when they were coming back from the honeymoon, she switched her seat. There's a disregard to safety in the relationship. Physical safety, meaning I didn’t know where you’re at or who you were with and also emotional safety, like, let me communicate this to you so I am now accountable for telling you this, even though I'm not responsible for how you take it. There was none of that. There was no conversation whatsoever.

And I think the communication issues also extended to Erik and Virginia. When they would talk to each other, they would talk at each other instead of talking to understand. And so you saw people who were like, I need to get my point across. I have different thoughts about Virginia and how and why she's communicating with Erik, but I think a lot of these couples were talking at each other instead of, okay, you're a stranger to me and I'm trying to learn you so let me communicate to understand.

Dr. Joy: I agree with you. I think I can see why some of them were matched but then other things became apparent for me during this season that made me wonder, like, why would they be matched? So Ryan and Clara, for instance, it seems like they have very different approaches as it relates to like religion and spirituality, which I think can be a deal breaker for a lot of couples. And so I don't know if they asked about that during the screening process, but it feels like that would have been something that came up that would have said, eh, these people might not be the best match.

Also, Briana and Vincent in terms of kids. Vincent is like clearly very gung ho in terms of wanting kids and Briana is a little more hesitant, you know, rightfully so for some health concerns. And so for me, it felt like there were some things that I would have thought would have been caught in the screening process that it seems like were not either talked about our were not as big of a red flag for them.

Beverley: You know, I had that thought as well and I remember the experts talking about that on an interview. And they were mentioning something along the lines that, you know, when it comes to the values, we try to definitely make sure that the values align but obviously it's not a perfect matchup in terms of this is your perfect person. I think where Vincent and Briana, that... Vincent, first of all, he's a Dominican man through and through. He is from Latin America, Caribbean, all the way and he's like, I want all my kids, I want to be on my deathbed and see all my kids surrounding me, so that was definitely a high value for him.

But with Briana, it doesn't seem like kids was a non-negotiable for her as opposed to “due to some health concerns, I have second thoughts about motherhood and all of that and what it means for me and my life.” Which, rightfully so, it makes sense. I think maybe if the medical... I mean, I don't know. I want to operate on assumption, but the show only showed that it was a medical reason. Maybe that they did have the same values in terms of children and family, but that medical point for Briana was maybe I can't have kids, you know, from myself but maybe surrogacy or adoption or anything like that might be okay for her.

With Ryan and Clara, as much as Ryan was talking about his spirituality and raising his children in church, Clara was like, well, I believe in having free choice. And so I don't think it was a non- negotiable for her as opposed to “I want my kids to have their own choice as opposed to forcing them.” So I can see some wiggle room with them.

With Erik and Virginia, that's what kind of gave me pause in terms of like, housing, where we’re going to live, who's going to move in with who. Thoughts about age, because that kept coming up for them. And with some comments that she was making, I think there was a difference in politics and that led to a really big blowout for them. Because she mentioned it *[inaudible 0:10:47] his beliefs that really don't align with mine and I don't know how we're going to navigate that. I think that was really important for her, especially with the people that she has in her life and how maybe her politics might be leaning more so on... based off of those relationships. And we’ve also got to think about the timeframe. It was like, you know, 2020 and election season so I wonder if that heightened things for them if they were on different sides of the political field.

Dr. Joy: You know, I am thinking, Beverley, as I thought back about it. The season prior to this one, I think, was right at the top of the pandemic so you saw more conversation about what was happening and how it was impacting the couples, I felt like. Whereas this season, it feels like maybe they were taking all these different safety precautions. Because you still saw like the cast together a lot, you saw them out a lot, and so there wasn't very much conversation around like how the political happenings and the pandemic were impacting these relationships.

And we know people who were in relationships years prior to this and how they have been impacted by the pandemic and everything that has been happening–and these are new people! So I am kind of surprised and wonder how much of that also colored what we saw this season. We know people's anxieties and whatever was coming up for them, maybe voiced or unvoiced, but we didn’t hear very much about that so I wonder how much that played into everything we saw as well.

Beverley: I mean, I don't know if they recorded it but I think that would have definitely been an added layer that the audience would have appreciated seeing. Because, like you said, there are seasoned couples struggling with having that much access to their partner on a daily basis during the... well, we’re still in a pandemic. There are some seasoned couples that definitely struggle so you have these brand-new strangers who are with each other pretty much all day every day, trying to figure out how to make it work.

Am I developing feelings with you because we're in a pandemic and we have to be a little bit more in contact with each other, or are these genuine emotions that I'm starting to develop for you? Hearing the couples talk more about that would have been really interesting. It would have given it a little... not credibility, but I think people would have been able to empathize more with the individual couples because they're like, okay, how do I know what's real? It's just like people who are dating in a pandemic–are my feelings for you skewed by what's happening in the world?

Dr. Joy: I definitely think it would have added a layer.

Beverley: Mm hmm.

Dr. Joy: Last week was Decision Day. This upcoming week, we will have Reunion so by the time many of you are listening to the podcast, it'll probably be the day of the reunion. So we saw that a number of them stayed together, which was kind of shocking to me, I definitely did not expect as many of them that stayed together to stay together. And I think the ones that ended, I was not surprised by. But I would love to hear from you any suggestions you would have for the couples who did stay together.

Beverley: With Ryan and Clara, I would say that having clear boundaries about what’s okay to talk about with friends and family in the relationship. Because when it came to like them having sexual intimacy with each other, she would talk to her friends or talk to the experts and she’s like, oh, everything's fine, it's perfect. There's no relationship that's perfect. But I think she was trying to honor the fact that Ryan didn't want to have conversations outside of them two about that. But then we saw in like the girls’ night, sis was going off. She was big mad. And I think that when you don't feel like you have a certain number of people or set people where you can really talk about the things that's going on in your relationship without feeling like you're betraying your partner, it really brings on isolation. And that person can blow up and just start *[inaudible 0:15:00] their business any and everywhere.

So I think moving forward, I would definitely suggest, hey, like are you okay if I talk to my best friend about things that may be going on? Because you don't want to feel like you're betraying your partner but you also do need an outlet. Because if she wasn't giving the full picture to the experts at first, then what if she doesn't have a therapist that she’s seeing and she doesn't feel like she can talk to a therapist about it? There needs to be at least one other person that she feels comfortable talking to.

Dr. Joy: Let me just stop here, Beverley, because I feel like we do need to do a little bit more digging. Clearly, we don't know all of it, we just know what we saw. But it definitely seems like something was going on between Ryan and Clara that I cannot quite put my finger on. I could not quite understand the intimacy issue for him. It sounded like he kept saying like I really want this to be meaningful. It sounded like he was waiting for something to happen to make it okay for them to be intimate. Well, penetration intimate, because it sounds like they had been intimate in lots of different ways. So what do you think was really happening there?

Beverley: Listen, Dr. Joy...

Dr. Joy: Again, this is only based on what we saw because we don't know everything.

Beverley: Okay, so based on what we saw, it had been presented Ryan is really... Religion, spirituality is really important for him. And I think that Ryan didn't want to venture into the physical realm with someone who was not for sure going to be his wife. He did not want to say I love you to somebody who was not going to be his wife fully. He does have agency over his body and I think that's really important as a man of color that he can assert himself and say, “I have agency or my body, I do not want to share it. Yes, we are married but until I know it’s a for sure thing, I want to keep this to myself.” I completely respect that.

What doesn't make sense to me is the fact that y'all are still in the gray area. Like she was just like I'm getting you off every night and getting nothing in return. So I'm just like, wait, wait, wait, this sounds a little imbalanced. Because we can't say that, you know, certain things are no but then certain things are yes for me and you get nothing. I believe in equity so I think it should be give and take. And you know what, he may have gotten hurt by some women and maybe he wants to protect his heart and I think maybe he thinks by abstaining from sex, that that would be a way of protecting himself. I'm really interested to see what happens in this Reunion episode. They chose to get married so is it no longer a hard stop or are you all the way in now?

Dr. Joy: Right. I do definitely feel like the cameras, it feels like, played a big role in it. That he just did not want that part of the relationship really shared with the cameras. And so it would be interesting...

Beverley: Maybe for family, too.

Dr. Joy: Yeah, you're right. It'll be interesting to, one, hear what's happened now that the cameras have kind of stopped rolling. But also, when he has now had the opportunity to maybe go back and watch the show, like what kind of commentary he will have now based on being able to see her talking with the girls. Like what kinds of thoughts maybe and what kinds of conversations they've had with one another since the cameras have stopped.

Beverley: Mm hmm. I think that it's something he sees very privately. Even with the other guys when they would always be together, Ryan was not an extroverted person who was speaking first or anything like that. He can very laid back and I can imagine that he wanted to reserve as much of his privacy–even though it's a reality TV show. He wanted to reserve as much as he could, even though the cameras were there.

Dr. Joy: Right. We will see. We will see over the next couple of weeks, I guess. More with Beverley after the break.


Dr. Joy: What suggestions would you have for Briana and Vincent?

Beverley: Briana and Vincent? Hmm, I think not weaponizing words. I think that you can express your feelings about your partner without character assassination. Because one thing that Vincent kept saying was like, “oh, she's bossy, she's bossy, she's bossy.” Well, okay, Vincent, it sounds like you're adopting how her family used the word bossy. Oh yeah, she's a bossy person. But your interpretation of bossy and what you're trying to communicate to your partner, it skews the tone and she understands it to be differently.

Maybe you're trying to say, you know, I don't like being talked over. Or maybe you're trying to say I don't like X, Y and Z. I felt some type of way about it, I had to check myself. I felt some type of way. Because like Vincent, you can say, hey, when you over-speak or you talk over me, I get a sense that you don't really care about how I feel. That is a different message than “you're bossy” because you're literally saying what you don't like about that person.

Dr. Joy: And I would imagine your reaction and maybe some of the other listeners comes from how often that word is thrown, especially at black women. In other people, it would just be assertive or, you know, all these other things but black girls often get labeled as bossy in a negative kind of a way. And so I'm sure that's what your reaction was.

Beverley: Right. Because it's like, okay, well, you want her to shrink herself–is that the issue? Or do you not like the fact that she can assert herself? Which may be a thing and that's okay, you can work on that. But you saying “you are” is very definitive and it's like, okay, unless you remove that trait, then I have a problem with you. And even she said some things about Vincent too, you know. He got a little sensitive about it. So them just being aware of their word choice and making sure they're not attacking their partner with their words is the biggest thing.

Dr. Joy: Mm hmm. Yeah, yeah. And it did seem another point of growth for them as a couple, it feels like, is that Vincent (it seemed) really was hesitant to try new things and like didn't want to seem like he was not perfect when he started. Like you saw this with the dancing, you saw this with the horseback riding, so I would imagine in reality it’s really adventurous. Like it seems like she likes a lot of different new things and so that'll be something they will have to continue to navigate as well.

Beverley: They will. And somebody had mentioned something on Twitter, they asked me if the different cultural backgrounds... I think it was about communication. I’m like it definitely does. I can imagine with Vincent, especially with like the Latin culture and the machismo, you know, the males having to be like manly men, not make mistakes. You're supposed to be strong and all of these so if you're in a situation that makes you uncomfortable and it's clear as day that you're uncomfortable, it’s like, okay, what does that say about you as a man in front of your woman?

He doesn't want to feel embarrassed, he doesn't want to feel like he doesn't know what he's not doing in front of her because he wants to maintain his image for his woman. So I can imagine how that definitely was a factor in how they were interacting with each other, especially on camera. Because it's not just them two in a bubble; it’s them two in a bubble and the whole world is watching.

Dr. Joy: Right. That's the other thing that I don't think we saw either with Ryan and Clara or with Briana and Vincent, like these cultural conversations. Now, that doesn't mean that they didn't happen but I think that that would have been a good thing to add too. To hear them talking about how their different cultures might impact how they show up in the relationships.

Beverley: Right. I had thoughts about that. I'm surprised it didn't come up, especially with Ryan was wearing very black-lives-matter-centered, power-to-the-people type clothing. So I'm very surprised that that didn't come up with them too. Well, it didn't come up on the show.

Dr. Joy: Right, or we didn't see the footage. It may have come up; it wasn't aired. And then what suggestions would you have for Virginia and Erik?

Beverley: With Virginia and Erik, I would suggest for Erik that he realizes that his age does play a factor into the power dynamics in the relationship. And also, ultimatums do not help a relationship out. Ever. Those are two things I was noticing that was happening. I'm like, uh-uh, sir, you have to go ahead and fix that if y'all want to stay married. You can't keep doing ultimatums and you have to realize the power dynamics between you and Virginia. Because she wants to have a voice and you’re shutting it down because you believe that you're an expert in all things, so it comes off as if her voice doesn't matter. But when she starts to get louder with you, it’s because she doesn't feel heard and respected. Even though you may have the wisdom of age and experience, she is still part of the relationship. And getting and doing or saying ultimatums to try to get your way, doesn't help you guys connect. It actually pushes her away further.

With Virginia, I think realizing that if you do have your personal things that trigger you or behaviors that trigger you, being able to, one, tell your partner, “Hey, this is how you keep me emotionally safe in conversation because this is my trigger and this is what's happening. I'm really trying to work on that so this is how you keep me emotionally safe.” And being able to receive what he has to say. Both of them just need *[inaudible 0:25:46] she wants to go and, you know, sleep on her homeboy’s couch. He's like, well, it's a safety issue for me. And then when she tries to explain herself, he's like, well, you know what? I don't like it and if you're going to continue doing it, the marriage is over. So they never get anywhere.

They never get anywhere because he's not realizing that, hey, she wants to feel like she has some autonomy. You have a home, she has an apartment and you're like, oh, well, she needs to move in. And it's just like, well, she wants to go ahead and find a different home that you guys can create from scratch. And for her, that's probably like, okay, well, I can have some power in this situation because this is a neutral space that we're both co-creating as opposed to I'm leaving behind all of my things and moving in with you. And they even got an issue with her dog. So that won’t really motivate her to, you know, want to connect with you, so she runs.

Dr. Joy: And I feel like this has come up on past seasons of the show, too. It feels like there needs to be more conversation about like what happens if the couples stay together because undoubtedly, there's somebody who like owns a home and then so that feels like a huge part of what's to navigate as well. Because it feels like that is a source of tension for the couples for multiple seasons now.

Beverley: I mean, you don't know who you're going to be paired with. And let's say if this show wasn't a factor, if y'all were dating and y'all decided to get married, that tension would still be there. So show or not show, when it comes to figuring out, okay, wherever I am in life, whoever my partner is, if they have a home, okay, what do we do?

Dr. Joy: Yeah. Yeah, I think the speed of this is what changes that because in theory, you would likely maybe be dating someone longer before you would make that decision about whether you're gonna sell your home or not. Yeah, so it’s something to be mindful for if you decide to sign up for a show like this.

Beverley: Yeah. I've had women tell me their family members have told them, oh, don't buy a home if you're single because what will that look like? No man is gonna want to move into a woman's home. And it's just like, whoa, you’re telling me to put my life on pause for a potential partner?

Dr. Joy: And you don't tend to hear it the other way. The expectation is that if you are dating a male partner, that you will move into his home. Nobody tells guys don't buy a home because that's not going to be attractive to women you may want to partner with.

Beverley: Because it looks like you're too independent.

Dr. Joy: Right, right. That's typically a gold star actually for guys. So we definitely have to talk about Chris and Paige. My goodness. I was not sure and it definitely feels like we got teased a lot this season. You would think that storyline was like wrapped up and then they would bring them back for some reason, so by the time we get to Decision Day, I don't know what I was thinking but I was not anticipating that we would have the interaction that we did end up seeing.

Beverley: I wish you could see my face right now. I’m just shaking my head, lord. I'm shaking my head because I can't remember which one of the experts said it but they were recording for like six hours of just Chris and Paige.

Dr. Joy: Yes, right. Yeah, it sounds like it completely changed their production schedule because I think Decision Day is typically one day but this shifted it into two days.

Beverley: Oh, listen, they had them experts wearing the same outfits because it is nonsense. It was six hours but how it was edited, it seemed like Paige said “I'm done. I'm leaving it.” Then this man decided to share the news that him and Mercedes lost their child and then came back and was like, oh, well, this is the woman that I need in my life. And then all I saw was Paige just transform. I said what is happening here? She sat up straighter, she started leaning more towards Chris. She came back and she had his... what do you call it?

Dr. Joy: His jacket.

Beverley: The blazer jacket on, I said okay, put the jacket on when you’re inside and not when she's outside. But nonetheless, like you saw the body language change when they came back inside. I said, alright, here we go. And next thing you know, it's just like he said the thing that she's been waiting to hear since their wedding day. And Paige is like I don't know what I'm gonna do. I thought this was a done deal, like this one phrase that he just said did not absolve him for the entire season.

And so for me, I was thinking, okay, where has this been normalized for her? What has she seen that makes this situation okay and her changing her mind okay? The fact that she's contemplating it. And she was just like, oh, this was God-ordained. I'm like, okay, how much of our sisters are enslaved to this theological standpoint that at the expense of self, my husband is first and foremost for me. Like his needs supersede my own. If I'm married, that no matter what's going on, I need to hold... What did she say? I’m going to ride or die or I’m tuned to this or something like that. I'm like, where did you learn this? Because that is what's making you second guess being with somebody who is mistreating you.

And so I think all of it must have come to a head because when she went out and started crying and started shaking, I said there's some more work that needs to be done. Outside of this experience, there's some work that needs to be done. Because for us as an audience, we're like, this is a no brainer but for her, it is very much complex. Like she was very invested in this process and I give her so much respect for that because it does take a lot to put yourself out there. But you have somebody who did not have the same interest and who was very calculated with his behaviors towards you. And it just seemed a little too...

It’s calculated the fact that he shared this information and came back on the show and was like, you're the person that I always needed and wanted. Even though you weren't attracted to her. You literally said that they found the ugliest girl in Atlanta for me to marry.

Dr. Joy: I had such a strong reaction to Chris this whole season. And I feel like after we recorded our first episode, then the next week, it all kind of started becoming clear like this is gonna be an issue here. And I feel like so much of Chris's behavior really is for the cameras. Because if that were the case, if you decided, okay, I want to try to give this another chance with Paige, why was it Decision Day before you were having that conversation, right?

Beverley: That’s what I didn’t understand.

Dr. Joy: Because the cameras were there, Beverley, like that is why.

Beverley: If you really wanted to make this relationship work, how is it that you were not doing that before Decision Day?

Dr. Joy: Yeah, I think more of that was really him trying to manage the audience's impression of him. I feel like he is very much somebody who's really invested in like managing people's impressions of him and wanting to come off as this good guy and this godly man and all of these things. And so I really feel like a lot of what we saw on Decision Day was, one, his attempt to try to control the image we had of him. And also, very controlling, even in his statement of saying, “I don't know that this has been done before, this might be a first.” So he is just very kind of controlling, trying to control like the entire process, even though he had not been consistent or showing up for the process.

Beverley: And he made a mention of that when he was in the car. He may have mentioned to Paige like, oh, everybody hates me or something like that. I'm like, okay, why would somebody who is grieving the loss of his child think about the perception of everybody's hating him. America's hating him. Sir, are you here to make this relationship work or are you here to make it work for your professional endeavors?

Dr. Joy: And even in that, like what a lack of self-awareness. Like everybody hates me. Well, let me look at what I might have done that would give people a negative impression of me. How might I change that as opposed to I just want people not to hate me?

Beverley: He was really trying to make this his own spin off of Everybody Hates Chris.

Dr. Joy: Literally!

Beverley: Right, and it wasn't like “you” personally people hate you because of you in a vacuum. You literally dogged this woman out the entire season. Embarrassed her, brought the mother of your child to further embarrass her, used every opportunity to throw that in her face. And at the very end of it all, “you're the woman that I need or that I want to be with.” What?

Dr. Joy: And that wasn't the first time he had said that. Like when they met in their apartment, he made it seem as if he was trying to make another attempt and then we saw it go nowhere.

Beverley: It went nowhere. Chris cannot be held accountable, not by his family members, not by his wife. The man dropped his pastor because his pastor tried to hold him accountable. If your pastor cannot hold you accountable, who else can?

Dr. Joy: Right, especially when that seems like something that's so central to your identity.

Beverley: You know what? Say that, man of God.

Dr. Joy: More of my conversation with Beverley right after the break.


Beverley: I knew it got so real because Dr. Viviana was like, no, this is not okay. And I was like, yes, yes, come on and break through to this man because he needs to hear it from somebody else that this is not okay. And when Pastor Cal was talking to him, it literally felt like he was saying, “She's going to choose you; you need to not choose her for her own good.” Like he literally was whispering in his ear like you need to do the right thing. I think for a split second, if it wasn't for the producers, Paige would have said yes, I want to stay married.

Dr. Joy: This really brings me to an interesting point, Beverley, and I guess we probably...Well, I know we do approach it very differently because we are clinicians, so helping people with their emotional health is what we do. In my mind, it felt like it was a liability for them to even continue to film with Paige and Chris because after he has called her the ugliest woman in Atlanta and done all of these things to degrade her, I am immediately jumping into “we need to now protect her.” So for me, it felt like a liability for them to even continue to film or to even really have a Decision Day. Because he has made it clear “we are no longer working on the marriage,” and so what was there to decide when he already made that decision earlier?

Beverley: It’s ratings, the optics. Because if we’re the audience and we’re seeing this and we're like, okay, y'all just letting this happen, what does that say for anybody who's contemplating being on the show? If y'all can have this woman on this show, who it appears needs some serious help and y'all just letting this wolf just attack her, what does it mean for other people who want to come on the show? Will the show protect her? Or him? If there's somebody who is clearly being manipulative, it really has to be beyond the ratings because, as clinicians, we abide by the “do no harm.” These TV shows, yes, you can have contracts and forms and all of that, but they don't have that same stance. So when you have this woman who's here being berated, being insulted, like how much more is she supposed to take at the expense of a show?

Dr. Joy: I'm guessing that they're coming on the side of agency–we're adults, we can make our own decisions. And, yes, I agree with that but I also think, like we saw them stand up for her on Decision Day, it feels like there should have been people standing up for her before Decision Day.

Beverley: We don't know. They did have separate conversations with Chris. He *[inaudible 0:39:00] but they did have separate conversations with both of them and yet they still made the decisions to show up. And you know what, Pastor Cal said something really important on Decision Day. And Dr. Pepper. She was like even though they went through all of this and we clearly see like they're not a good fit, there is something still between them.

And Pastor Cal was like, I can't be more upset than her. I can have my personal feelings but I can't be more upset than her. That's for everybody watching the show–she has agency over her life, we cannot be more upset about Chris than her because we're not in their relationship. If she's choosing to interact with him still, that is her choice. It's a sad choice but it's still her choice to make.

Dr. Joy: Yeah, I think that that was the hard part for me. We're not living it and we're only seeing what's been edited together, but it definitely felt like it was just such a bad situation for her. My pull was just like, “Oh my gosh, Paige, choose yourself, choose yourself,” kind of thing.

Beverley: We know a Paige. We know a Paige–via looks, via personality. I know people who look like her, who act like her and so it's very easy for us to see the women in our lives in that position. And as a friend, I want you to win. Friend, I want you to be loved. Friend, I want you to be respected. And when you want that so bad for somebody and she makes the choice that she wants to make for her life, it’s like, dang. I wish you could see you through my eyes. But you can't force somebody to see themselves that way until they accept it for themselves.

Dr. Joy: You bring up a really good point, that all of us know someone like Paige. So what suggestions would you give to the friends who are saying like, oh, I really want her to make a different decision, I wish she could see herself like I see her. What kind of suggestions would you offer?

Beverley: My suggestion would be for them to recognize their personal boundaries. That as good as your intentions are, you cannot control somebody else's life. That frustration and our emotional responses to the choices that they make, we end up having our feelings just skewed about our friend. If we remember where the line is for ourselves in our lives then we won't have that deep level of investment for that person in their choices. So just do a self-check for self first, and just making sure, okay, am I respecting that person's boundaries and am I respecting my own?

And also going to your friend and saying, hey, I really want to know, are you okay with me sharing my thoughts on the situation? Are you able to receive that? And if they’re able to receive it, go ahead and share it. If they're not, respect that they don't want to hear what you have to say and that they have every right to. That may make you think about whether or not you can show up authentically in this relationship with your girlfriend, but if they're not able to receive it, they have every right to tell you, “No, I just want to do my own thing.” And so you know that in your heart of hearts that you tried, you respectfully went up to her and she didn't want to hear it.

Now if she does want to hear it, share your piece and let it be that. Don't come back making snide comments, don't come back, do your hurt, being upset that she didn't take your advice. Just leave it for her to deal with. She'll respond to it accordingly. Just recognize like these are my limits. Because when we try to do for others more than they want to do for them, then we get so upset because they're not doing the thing that we want them to do.

Dr. Joy: Mm hmm. Yeah and I think it makes it difficult for us to be there for them if they do decide to leave. So when you have done so much and “oh girl, you got to get out, you got to get out,” it tires you out and then if they make the decision to leave, you can't be there to support them authentically. As opposed to like letting it play out. Like you said, giving them the advice if they say they want it, and then taking a step back.

Beverley: Got it, that's true.

Dr. Joy: So what do you think we are going to see? My understanding is that this is going to be a two-week reunion so, again, we are being drawn out. What do you think we are going to see from these reunion conversations?

Beverley: Okay, so based off of the preview, I think that Chris and Paige still have conversations, just they're divorced. And if they want to work it out, go ahead and date each other and figure it out, right? Go to couples’ therapy. I think she made a mention about it, I don't know. But if y’all really want to make it work with each other, do you. I think they're gonna talk about that.

With Haley and Jake, I think Jake is coming out with boxing gloves on. He is not going to shield anything. Because that one preview, he was just like he was intense. So I said you better come through, Jacob, and share how you feel. Because she was a fraud, essentially, and didn't share her feelings and I had to deal with her this whole entire season.

Vincent and Briana, I think you'll get a feel of the learning curve of really moving in with each other and the cameras are gone. With Erik and Virginia, I have a big question mark on them. A big question mark because I don't know if they're going to work it out. I don't know if they're going to work it out, only because I don't see Virginia being stifled and I think that Erik has a really hard time making space for the woman that Virginia is still in the process of becoming. We're all in a process of growing. Where she is in her life and her level of growth or maturity, she still has... In comparison to him, where he is in life and his mindset and his values, they don't pair up with hers, and I don't know how that's gonna work. But they decided to stay together so there's that.

Ryan and Clara, I think all the questions are going to be about their love life. Is it going or not? And if it's not, what's up? We're gonna find out. All those questions that people had at the end, we're going to hopefully get some answers to it.

Dr. Joy: Yeah and I also think it's interesting. So I think already, Briana & Vincent and Virginia & Erik have signed up to do Couples Cam, which is like them following themselves and kind of sharing footage from what the life is like after the show. And I am not surprised that Ryan and Clara did not sign up for that because I feel like Ryan...

Beverley: They didn’t?

Dr. Joy: No. Well, I don't know. I'm guessing they gave everybody the opportunity and they self-selected in, but I feel like Ryan is kind of done with cameras.

Beverley: Listen, there is no way that Ryan was going to continue doing that. But you know what, that saddens me. That saddens me because I feel like that would have been the one way that Ryan would have been held accountable because Ryan gives me that sense that he doesn't think he's ever wrong.

Dr. Joy: Well, I mean, he has not admitted to being wrong in anything we've seen this season, so...

Beverley: Not one bit. That man right there...

Dr. Joy: We will definitely be staying tuned. Make sure that you chat with us on... Beverley and I are typically live tweeting during the episode, so definitely catch us on Twitter if you want to live tweet with us. Remind us where we can find you, Beverley.

Beverley: I'm on all social media platforms @BeverleyAndre_ that's Beverley with L-E-Y, and I'm also launching my personal website, So excited. That'll be up soon so that's where folks can find me. And if you're interested in therapy and you're in New York, Florida or New Jersey,

Dr. Joy: Perfect. We will be sure to include all of that in the show notes. Thank you so much, Beverley.

Beverley: Thank you so much, I appreciate it.

Dr. Joy: I'm so glad Beverley was able to join us for today's conversation. To learn more about her and her work, be sure to visit the show notes at And be sure to text two sisters right now and tell them to check out this episode. Don’t forget that if you’re looking for a therapist in your area, be sure to check out our therapist directory at

And if you want to continue digging into this topic or just be in community with other sisters, come on over and join us in the Sister Circle. It’s our cozy corner of the internet designed just for black women. You can join us at Thank y’all so much for joining me again this week. I look forward to continuing this conversation with you all real soon. Take good care.


Discover the transformative power of healing in community in Dr. Joy Harden Bradford’s debut book, Sisterhood Heals. Order your copy now!

Sisterhood heals
Order Now

Looking for the UK Edition?
Order here

Discover the transformative power of healing in community in Dr. Joy Harden Bradford’s debut book, Sisterhood Heals. Order your copy now!

Looking for the UK Edition? Order here