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.
Netflix just wrapped up season 2 of its’ hit reality show Love is Blind and y’all know we had to discuss. Joining me again today to chat about what we saw this season is Beverley Andre, LMFT. Beverley and I chatted about how this season compared to Season 1, the impact of having your relationship chronicled so publicly, and whether a relationship can survive if there is not an instant attraction.
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Check out Beverley on Session 193 of the podcast discussing Married At First Sight & This Is Us.
Check out Beverley on Session 208 of the podcast discussing the Season 12 finale of Married At First Sight.
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Executive Producers: Dennison Bradford & Maya Cole Howard
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Session 251: What We're Watching, Love Is Blind
Dr. Joy: Hey, y'all! Thanks so much for joining me for Session 251 of the Therapy for Black Girls podcast. We'll jump into the episode after a word from our sponsors.
Dr. Joy: Netflix just wrapped up season 2 of its hit reality show Love is Blind and y'all know we had to discuss. Joining me again today to chat about what we saw this season is Beverley Andre. Beverley is a licensed Marriage & Family therapist, relationship coach, and founder of BeHeart Counseling Services. She and I chatted about how this season compared to season 1, the impact of having your relationship chronicled so publicly, and whether a relationship can survive if there is not an instant attraction.
If there's something that resonates with you while enjoying our conversation, please share it with us on social media using the hashtag #TBGinSession or join us over in the Sister Circle to talk more in depth about the episode. You can join us at Community.TherapyForBlackGirls.com. Here's our conversation.
Dr. Joy: I am so excited to chat with you again, Beverley, my fellow colleague and friend in the pop culture loving world.
Beverley: I know! It's a rare few but we're out here.
Dr. Joy: We're out here watching all the things so that y'all don't have to or that you might be inspired to.
Dr. Joy: We have just seen the wrap up of season 2 of Love is Blind and so I am curious to hear your thoughts. This is an unedited conversation because we haven't checked in with one another about how we feel. We haven't been tweeting back and forth about it so I don't even know how you are feeling about season 2. How would you compare season 2 to season 1? Like did you love it more? Less? Was it about the same?
Beverley: I think that when it got to the reunion that that's when I became invested because I felt like some of the storylines... I thought that we had higher expectations for season 2 versus season 1. You had Lauren and we were all rooting for her and it was like, oh my gosh, a sister and she found true love and all of that. And then so we're like, okay, they have more sisters on this season so we were like, okay, let's see what they're going to do. Let's see how they continue with the same energy of season 1. And I think a lot of people kind of let down because there wasn't a clear couple to root for. It felt like “oh, who am I gonna root for” I guess, type of thing.
Dr. Joy: I guess. Who's left?
Beverley: I guess.
Dr. Joy: You know, I have definitely been thinking about that too because it definitely felt like it was such a new experiment. Like we also both watched Married at First Sight and so this felt kind of in that same vein–and I think it's actually the same production company so that makes sense that it feels similar. But it was also like a unique twist, that they wouldn't even see each other, they had like on this whole relationship through these pods.
Season 1, I thought was really fresh and really exciting and interesting. And then season 2, you're right, I also had higher expectations because I really enjoyed season 1 and I did feel like season 2 was a bit of a letdown because I just wasn't as invested in like the cast in the same way. And I wonder how much of that is due to the fact that season 1 was such a smash and so they had the benefit of nobody having been on that show before for season 1. Whereas season 2, then I think you get into like, okay, are these people actually here to kind of be honest and go through the experiment? Are these people who want to like get an influencer career popping off or Hollywood? Like what are their real motivations? And so it felt like I didn't necessarily like as many of the cast members this season as I did last season.
Beverley: Right. And what you said about the familiarity with Married at First Sight and Love is Blind, I felt that even more this season. And I think that season 1, we gave this show a lot of benefit of the doubt because we had no expectations, we really didn't know and so it was like a welcoming surprise. And I feel in my heart of hearts that people started becoming a little bit more skeptic to see, oh, will people actually fall in love this time around? Right? Because with Lauren and Cameron, it was just like, oh my gosh, they made it, this actually works. Now the second time around, well does it really work? Hmm.
Dr. Joy: We don't know.
Beverley: You don't know.
Dr. Joy: It definitely seemed like, especially some contestants in particular, it felt like the first season, people really went into it with this idea that, okay, I am going to get to know these people outside of like anything physical. Whereas this season, it definitely felt like people were trying to gauge like Shake’s infamous question around would I be able to pick you up at a concert and put you on my show? This kind of thing. So people were trying to gauge some physicality, I think, that I don't remember seeing as much with the first season.
Beverley: Right. I think Shake definitely represented what a lot of people thought was going to be present in season 1.
Dr. Joy: Yes.
Beverley: Like, oh, it's going to be superficial. Oh, it’s only going to be sexy looking people. And I think that the show definitely took that into account because there were plus sized women. I mean they disappeared. They disappeared, we don't know what happened, but I think they were more conscientious about how people responded to season 1 and how they craved the authenticity–or as authentic as you can get with reality TV. People want love, people want to go to the ends of the earth hoping that this is something that's actually attainable, and I think that's what season 1 gave. Season 1 gave that, like you can actually find it in the most weird moments, very unique circumstances, you can find it. And I think people are looking to see, can I still find love? Is it true? Will this formula work for me? Or is this going to be something that was for entertainment? Okay, hook and sinker, you got me. Wow.
Dr. Joy: Yeah. The interesting thing about this, and I feel like this is like a mashup conversation between Love is Blind and Married at First Sight because I think that there are some similarities. And so the premise for both of these shows is that there is like something in your normal dating life that hasn't been working. I tried to do the online dating sites, I tried to ask friends for recommendations, paying attention in the grocery store to see who might be interesting, and none of that is working. And so now I'm going to try this thing that is maybe like a more extreme dating, so to speak.
And I would love to hear your thoughts about do you think there is some truth to having an outsider decide what's good for you or like going against what you're typically interested in? Because that seems to be like the piece that is the key. Like in Married at First Sight, there's the panel of experts. Not necessarily matchmakers, but experts who pair the people. And then of course on Love is Blind, you're going into it with, okay, I'm not gonna lead with physical attraction, I'm gonna try to lead with something else. What do you think about that?
Beverley: It's really interesting that you were like someone needs to take over when for me, I see it as a collaborative approach. I feel like the people show up and say these are my expectations, these are the things that have been working for me, these are the things that have not been working for me. Like there's something that they give. They give information or data and these experts take that data and then they formulate a plan with the hopes that it'll yield the results that the person ultimately wants to see, which is being in partnership. And just like with every experiment, you hope that it works out but it's not a guarantee. You try to remove as many barriers as possible to see whether or not the desired outcome can occur.
Dr. Joy: Yeah. And it might work or it might not, as we see it.
Beverley: Because you have the human element, you can't control what people ultimately do. But if I'm saying, oh, I don't feel like people get to know me because they get sucked into what I look like or all of these things, so what are you going to do? Okay, let's remove the barrier of looks, let's see if personality is enough and then secondary looks can be an added bonus or like figure out what's not working in your dating life and then let's capitalize on all the other things.
Dr. Joy: I'm glad you brought up the issue of attraction because I think that that is like a key element in both of these shows. Is that you are kind of leaving it up to chance that you may be attracted to this person, but you know that you won't know because you are not like picking for yourself. And so it does seem like for the couples who have a better chance of the relationship lasting, it seems like one of the key factors is that there is that initial attraction. And it seems like the couples who there is not that initial attraction, I don't know any instance besides Doug and Jamie from whatever season of Married at First Sight, and that might still be questionable. You’re taking a sip; people can't see that but I see you. But they are the only ones that I can remember where there wasn't an instant attraction but they like worked to overcome that and then they continued in the relationship. And so what role does attraction actually play in a long-term satisfying healthy relationship?
Beverley: Attraction is tied to desire. It’s tied to sexual attraction. Like do I want to have sex with you? Do I want to kiss you? Do I want to cuddle with you? However, attraction is not the end all be all to that; you can build on that. I think people are fixated with a type, people have their type and when you allow your fixation with your type to put you in a box, anything outside of that you don't even give it credit. You don't allow yourself to be open to building attraction. Because at the end of the day, you can say you want X, Y and Z, but that's not lasting. Anything could happen. What if they get into a car accident and they're disfigured? What if there's a fire? What if they start graying early?
There's just so many things that can affect somebody's appearance. If you allowed that to be the bulk of why you're with someone, it's not enough to keep you in the relationship. And so I think seeing Jamie from MAFS, yes, Doug was not her type but I think that she's attracted to her husband and they got kids. They report that they are happily married and that they're in love with each other and that they're attracted to each other. And eventually, she chose to work on that, like can I be attracted to this person? Because attraction can be, oh, you're washing the dishes for me and that allows me the ability to go sit down and relax. Oh, you take care of me. All of these things build attraction, all of these things are foreplay, all of these things make that person that you're with or considering sexier. It’s not just what they look like because you can find someone who's fine and their attitude and everything else is just trash.
Dr. Joy: Very good point. And so do you have some tips for how attraction builds later? You're right in all of that, like anything can change and like we know attraction waxes and wanes throughout the lifecycle of a relationship. But it does feel like, at least from these shows, it's harder when that initial attraction is not there. If somebody is not in a reality TV kind of situation, what kinds of things can be done to build attraction into a relationship if it's not there initially?
Beverley: I think really taking a look at what your type is or why they're not attractive to you. If you're looking for someone who is way over six feet but the guy that is pursuing you is under six feet, are you going to reconsider? Does that make him less attractive because he's shorter? You know what I mean? Like think about what the attraction is tied to. Okay, you want somebody who has a six pack, he has a two or a no pack–that's something that could change. If working out is important to you and you're like I find it so sexy when you're like physically active and I would love for you to join me in running. Or “babe, let's go on a walk” or anything under the sun. That person's willingness to like, okay, my partner likes this, let me take that into consideration. Or you're dating and you hear the person say, oh, I love that cologne that you're wearing. You may not find them attractive but something about that cologne is attracting you. Being conscientious to what are the things that you do like.
Because if you start looking for all the things that you don't like, there is no way to build an attraction to somebody that you're continuously analyzing and chipping away, so you’ve got to be careful with that. Be careful about your type casting cue because you may just be considered as that guy or that gal that, oh yeah, like don't even bother talking to them because they only want the Instagram model or they only want the guy who can flex on the beach. Like people gotta like you. To be liked builds attraction so there needs to be something with your personality that allows someone to be attracted to you, to like being around you.
Dr. Joy: You know, you bring up a really good point around looking for the things that you do like about them as opposed to like constantly analyzing and being critical of the thing that you don't like. I feel like some other stuff is probably going on with Shake too, but I definitely feel like that is what was happening in his relationship with Deepti. At least from what we saw. There would be all this conversation around like how she was such a great partner and she was helping him like rethink things in his business and he felt like for this next leg of his career, she would be somebody who would be a great support and could really like do a lot. He could see himself building a life with her but there was not the attraction and he would, of course, let anybody who would listen say that as often as he could. But I definitely feel like he was being super critical throughout this season about her looks.
Beverly: I know that they said that there were other comments that were made that were just terrible and what they showed wasn't that bad. I do have clients who are from Indian culture, Indian backgrounds, and one of the things that they've talked to me about is how colorism plays a factor and how certain regions and certain aesthetic is supported more than others. And it was very clear to me that both Deepti and Shake said that they’d never dated another brown person before. And I feel like that's very telling because in conversation with one of the people that is from the same background, they said that the lighter you are, the better because the goal is to lighten up the lineage.
And Priyanka, she's not that light. She is of darker skin. And in the conversation about Deepti, they were like she contradicts what certain families would want. I don't know if you've ever seen Indian Matchmaker on Netflix but that was one of the key issues that was talked about. So I really wonder how much of a cultural influence impacted Shake’s ability to even consider her as a partner, beyond the physical. I'm not saying what he was saying was right or anything like that, but I think it would behoove us to look at that cultural aspect to see that if he could even allow himself to be attracted to her because of the background. You know what I mean?
Dr. Joy: Right. Yeah, and I think that that was one of the more interesting pieces of the conversations we saw between Shake and Deepti, was that they both had not dated other brown people. And so it did seem at least like they’ve recognized, oh, this is actually pretty cool. Like it's cool to be talking with somebody who knows like all this family stuff and knows why I would want to dress a particular way on the wedding and have these rituals and, you know, these kinds of things. And so I think, at least for Deepti, it sounds like in listening to interviews with her post-show, now this is something that's more attractive to her. Like she's interested in maybe dating more brown people. I'm not sure if that is the case for Shake.
Beverley: She’s dating Kyle.
Dr. Joy: Well, I don't know. Is that substantiated? I mean, I have definitely seen them like playing around on Instagram and TikTok.
Beverley: I don’t know if somebody posted a video of them like it was on a date. I don't know, they may just be friends. But I think it was really interesting when Shake was like it feels like I’m dating my auntie. And I wonder if because that was his first time ever dating somebody from the same culture, that that familiarity felt familial for him versus, oh, this is what it's like to date somebody where I don't have to explain my background. And I think sometimes when people are dating other folks who may have very similar backgrounds, it becomes like a friendzone situation. As opposed to, oh, like we have the same background or similar backgrounds and we can vibe and we can connect, but that doesn't mean that I still can't be attracted to you because you're not completely different or opposite.
Because when you're first dating, the difference is like exciting. Oh, you like this? Or tell me more about this. As opposed to somebody who has a very similar background and it's like, okay, what else is there for us to talk about? Or what else is there about you that's interesting? Because I feel like I know so much about you by circumstances because we have very similar backgrounds.
Dr. Joy: Got it. More from my conversation with Beverley after the break.
Dr. Joy: The couple that of course I think probably was most interesting to both you and I was... Now why are you leaning in like that? What was most interesting to you and I was Iyanna and Jarrette. I will definitely be honest in saying that I definitely had to warm up to them as a couple after the whole fiasco with like Mallory. Because I feel like I over identified with Iyanna just being a sister and like she was so vulnerable and sharing so much of her life experience and her history. And the way that she fell down in the hall after she had the conversation with Jarrette where she found out that he had proposed-ish to Mallory felt like “oh my gosh.” Like you could just feel the despondency maybe, I don't even know what would be the best word to describe it. And then like she gave him another chance and so I'm like, oh you better not hurt her, you better not. But it definitely seems like at least in hearing them in the reunion and like in post-show conversations, it definitely feels like they have had lots of conversations about how all of that went down.
And in honesty, I mean I guess it is kind of a part of the experiment that you are dating multiple people. But the way that that all transpired... And again, we don't have timestamps so we don't even know, like what day did he have this conversation with Mallory versus with Iyanna? And so it felt like it was in quick succession, it felt like it was a day or two maybe that had passed. But I definitely have warmed up to them. It does feel like they have done a lot of work, it feels like, to kind of get on the same page in terms of being a couple. He has apologized both privately and publicly for how all of that played out. I'm just wondering if you have any thoughts about what you saw go down with them.
Beverley: I have a lot of thoughts. I have a lot of thoughts because it's like a “both and” for me. I'm not like super on one side. At the end of the day, yes, it is a show where you're dating multiple people to see who you fit with so it was very plausible that something like this would have happened between Jarrette, Mallory and Iyanna. I get it. I will say, seeing good sis in the hallway when she's sank, I sank with her. I slid off my couch, I was like, oh. Because I felt that and the reason why I felt that was because not ever knowing if somebody is with you because they want to be with you or because of circumstance, is hard. Like I remember listening to Gabrielle Union, her book. Was it I’m Going to Need More Wine, I think?
Dr. Joy: The first one or the second one?
Beverley: The second one.
Dr. Joy: You Got Anything Stronger?
Beverley: You Got Anything Stronger? Yes. And she was like I will never know for sure whether or not Dwyane is with me because he wants to be with me or because of circumstance. And to hold that, to hold the unknown of the weight of that and to move forward in relationship is not an easy feat. It means you are willing to hold on to what the relationship is and can be. That's all that you can walk with. And I think Iyanna had to really sit with what that meant to say “I am still going to say yes to him, I am still going to try and make this work or see what happens.” Knowing that this is going to be seen, you know, around the world and people will have so many thoughts about her and to still say yes... And she's in a relationship and she's married and she has to live in that relationship.
When she sank down, I understood why. I don't know if it's true, Iyanna. You can hit me up, girl, and let me know. We can have a conversation but I really felt the weight of that. Do I still say yes or do I say no? And if I'm saying yes, what am I saying yes to? Is me saying yes to this, does that mean I'm saying no to me? You know? It’s just so many thoughts and questions. I think that where Jarrette definitely had to be held accountable is for the conversation that he had with Mallory. However it looked with editing, the flow of conversation and that time frame, it just felt messy and he owned up to it, he apologized for it. But I will say like after Jarrette... Excluding that, after Jarrette said yes or proposed to Iyanna, I never hear him talk about Mallory outside of that one. It felt like that was their version of trying to have a closed conversation and they both said that that's what that was. That was the first time that they’d seen each other and they never had a close, which I get. It just ventured on the line of disrespect and they both apologized for it. But after that, Jarrette was like Team Iyanna. Like I ain’t never hearing him mentioning anything about Mallory after that.
And so I think, at the reunion, you could literally... I mean, first of all, they came coordinated. I’m like come on, black couple. Hello. You saw that there was like a very intimate way that they were sitting next to each other and also a protective way. That Jarrette was like the body was very protective. Because they know, they know that they're gonna play these clips and even Iyanna was like it was really hard watching that but we've had those conversations outside, not in front of the cameras. And so that shows to me that somebody was held accountable, somebody actually did the repair work and decided to still stay in and do the repair work anytime it comes up. Because I'm pretty sure after the reunion and her watching that clip, feelings came up probably and you still have to do the repair work. Because your choices affected this person and until they're able to like process it in a healthy way, you're still held accountable.
Dr. Joy: Mm hmm. The language that you're using is very much like what we hear after there has been like infidelity in the relationship. Anytime that there is a betrayal in the relationship, which I think this could be seen as.
Dr. Joy: There is like continuous repair work that has to be done. But you brought up a great point that I would love to hear you talk more about. Because of course this happened in this way on the show. It's entertainment, we know that they're dating multiple people, but there are instances in real life, off TV, where maybe you find out that you're not somebody's first choice. Maybe this is somebody who has been married before, there are lots of different circumstances that someone might find themselves in. Like you used a Gabrielle Union quote of not being sure if they picked me because of this or that. And so if you had a client that you were working with, what kinds of things might you do to help them process where they found themselves in a relationship?
Beverley: I will definitely have a conversation about what feelings are coming up for them. Is this triggering an insecurity? Do you have past experiences where you may not have been prioritized or chosen first in other aspects of your life? Because I need to know, are we just talking about this situation in isolation or is this connected to past experiences? Because then that opens up what we're really working with. And so it's really important that we dissect that because those patterns of experiences can become a belief. And so I'm not only just challenging the belief, I'm challenging these past experiences, so let's process it. Let's see if there's a possibility for us to reframe it.
Just like in the situation with Iyanna, let’s say she's on my virtual therapeutic couch and she's just like, you know what, this was the situation. I’m like alright. Yes, your feelings, you’re hurt and all of that. Totally get it. But let's talk about the experience. Like do you believe that his choices were intentionally to hurt you? You are hurt but do you believe that he was intentionally trying to hurt you? No? Okay. So his choice, you being hurt is a byproduct of that. Got it. So did he apologize? Yes, he's apologized. Okay, how has he apologized? Well, he's apologized verbally. When I want to talk about it, he talks about it as well. Okay, so what does the apology look like in action? How has his behavior changed?
We start really looking at what has that person who hurt you done to do the repair work? If you're feeling betrayed, is this person actively trying to betray you because they want to hurt you or was it a circumstantial event? Because sometimes we don't give our partners or the people in our lives the benefit of the doubt and we allow their choice to fuel these beliefs that we already have. Like of course, no one's gonna have my side. Of course, they were bound to betray me. Is it that or is it something else? So challenging the belief and really connecting the choice with what you're seeing in terms of how that person is treating you will allow you to really understand. Okay, how am I feeling, why am I feeling? And is this really a factual experience or am I feeling a belief that may be a little misguided?
Dr. Joy: It seems like you're being very careful in using this language of “did they do it on purpose.” What difference does whether... because if I'm hurt, I'm hurt, right? Why does it make a difference about whether the person intentionally hurt me or it was a byproduct of something else?
Beverley: Because I think knowing somebody's intentions will allow you to give them grace. Everybody knows my coworker, Sherlock, we have a love-hate relationship. And I know sometimes Sherlock will like, you know, be around my feet and doing all these other things but I'm trying to move on about my day and there are times where I trip over him. If I don't give Sherlock the benefit of the doubt, I'm going to automatically think “Why are you trying to trip me?” You want me to fall down and get hurt? Why are you doing this? As opposed to let me take a beat and take a benefit of the doubt. Okay, he was just trying to play and he doesn't really have a good sense of where I'm moving, he just wants to be closer to me. And because of that, I tripped over him.
Dr. Joy: Got it.
Beverley: So me taking a beat to figure out did you plan this? Was this a preconceived idea or was it just a circumstance? And then I'm able to give more grace and I’m like, you know, I get a little irritated. I’m like, you know what Sherlock, it’s okay. Alright. Let's go play. Let's figure out what it is that you ultimately want and then let's go on about our business. Yeah, I'm talking about a dog but it's the same thing with my partner. My partner makes a choice or he forgets something, I'm like why are you always trying to forget? Like do you not want me to do...? I can think like that but that doesn't serve our relationship. Me not giving him the benefit of a doubt in that moment did absolutely nothing for us. Versus, okay, let's talk. Let's have a conversation. Because the relationship ultimately matters to me the most and I want to make sure that we're on the same page and that we can limit these circumstances from happening, or whatever the situation was.
Dr. Joy: Yeah. I appreciate that articulation of that. That I think is super helpful. Something else you mentioned that I have also been thinking about is that we not only have whatever happens on the show, then we have like the public's reaction to it. I mean, that's a part of it. They know they’re signing up for the entertainment, but I think there is no way to know how you will be impacted by the public's reaction to whatever they see of you on the film or on the tape. And so what suggestions or thoughts do you have around how you manage that in the relationship. Like I think especially, we have definitely seen Shake–and he of course is not in a relationship with Deepti anymore, but we've definitely seen him sharing lots of things on social media. But I think even for like Natalie and Shayne, and Iyanna and Jarrette. What’s the other couple that was color coordinated in the blue?
Beverley: Oh, you're talking about Danielle and Nick.
Dr. Joy: Danielle and Nick, yeah. The public I think has had very strong reactions to like lots of things that we've seen shared. And so now the couples are not only dealing with whatever is going on in regular couples’ world, now we're also dealing with like the public's reaction to what they've seen of us.
Beverley: Right. I think specifically with Danielle and Nick, like Danielle definitely put out a post about giving more context to when they were in Mexico and how she was triggered and had certain memories. And so I think as a viewer, understanding that what we're seeing is... It was with intention that we're seeing this. We're seeing it for a specific purpose as opposed to many other moments that the couples had. And so being able to understand that, yes, this is a moment but this is not the entire experience. And the same thing for the couples. That what the viewers are seeing is just a moment, it's not the entire experience. And however you want to deal with it, whether you want to expound on it just like Danielle did or if you choose to say: you know what, we’ve got to chalk it up to what it is because we are unable to control the opinions of millions. And at the end of the day, if I know why I'm with you and you know why you're with me, then we have to allow that to be enough. And we may need to bar what we're seeing online because if we allow whatever we're seeing online to infiltrate us, then it doesn't give us a chance to do well.
And that's for them as couples and that's for couples regardless like of whatever status. Whether you're a celebrity or a non-celebrity. Anytime you look at things online, it gives you the opportunity to compare your relationship to whatever it is that you're looking at, whether it's for the positive or for the negative. And so I think that when it comes to protecting your partner, that also means protecting your relationship, that also means protecting it from things that can infiltrate your experience in the relationship. And so that's something that I would definitely say for the couples in regards to them trying to work it out and be in relationship to each other. Because I've seen people talk about Iyanna and Jarrette like, oh, Jarrette, he's a typical, whatever, whatever, whatever. It's just like, and Iyanna sees that and she starts to believe it, that may fuel some of those thoughts about “did you really want to be with me?” As opposed to we've made a decision, now we need to live out in that decision and part of living out in that decision means we’ve got to protect our decision. We’ve got to protect our choice, we’ve got to protect us.
Dr. Joy: Yeah, for sure. More from my conversation with Beverley after the break.
Dr. Joy: Something that I have also been thinking about with both Love is Blind, with Married at First Sight. I don't think there are any other dating shows that I've been really watching as much as I've watched Love is Blind and Married at First Sight, so specifically about those, I am beginning to question the psychological risk of going on some of these shows. You and I had a conversation last year about Paige from last season of Married at First Sight.
Beverley: Dr. Joy, I was finally healing.
Dr. Joy: We were trying to move on but I gotta bring it back. Her from last season, even Chris from this season. Katina, I'm starting to worry about from this season. Deepti from this season of Love is Blind. And I haven't fully articulated this or thought it all the way out so that's why I'm bringing it to you to see what you're thinking. I know there are risks in any relationship. Like you start dating somebody and you don't know whether they're gonna be ridiculous and you're gonna have your feelings hurt and it's gonna be painful for you. But it does feel like there is a particular threat to your mental health when you go on these shows and it doesn't go well–in the ways at least that we see it. Now, it could be editing that gives us a much drabber picture than like the lived experience of it, but especially for like Paige and I think even for Deepti this season, as a viewer, it felt very hard to watch because of what we were seeing. And so it is making me question the threat to your mental health that can appear if you go on one of these shows and it's not successful.
Beverley: Yeah, I've had some of the conversations. And I would imagine for liability reasons that there are psychological assessments for all these people who are casted on the show. I will say what really had me thinking about that was with Danielle and when she was triggered and all that. And I was wondering like, oh, I wonder if there's a therapist there to help her because that can easily head into a dangerous situation. So I think as a measure of keeping the cast safe, not just physically with bodyguards, but also emotionally and mentally safe, that I would hope that there is. As for Netflix (I know that with MAFS they have the experts on there), I will hope that there's definitely therapists accessible to the cast. And if not, you know you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Not joking, but jokingly but not jokingly, you don't know these people from a can of paint and they don't know each other from a can of paint. And so if we really want to give these couples a fair shot, thinking about Danielle and Nick. Nick is out here at the beach and she's in a whole mental state where she is triggered and she's having an episode, that would have definitely been a moment for a therapist to be there with her to coach her and help her be grounded. And also help Nick who's her husband–not her husband at the time but soon to be husband–participate in that.
Because if you're in a relationship with someone who struggles with their mental health or who has a mental illness, you are also a part of that as well. You are living with them, you are able to support them or you're able to hinder them because you don't have the tools. So I think that would have been a great moment for Danielle and Nick to build emotional intimacy because then she would know that, okay, I feel even safer with him because he has the tools to kind of help me navigate through this. As opposed to they end up having an argument and it's Danielle versus Nick. I think there were unmet expectations because they were unsaid, because someone didn't really know. I think if the premise of this show is to help these couples actually make it to the altar, that would definitely be something that I would include in the show. In terms of therapeutic intervention with the therapist while they're at the honeymoon or doing other things as well. You know, I do have my passports, so...
Dr. Joy: You are ready to travel. If you were, let's say on a future season. Season 3 of Love is Blind comes out and you are the therapist maybe there in the moment. But in a post-show kind of situation, like what kinds of things do you think would be helpful for couples coming out of a situation like this to kind of give them the best chance of continuing in the health of their relationship?
Beverley: I will go ahead (and people may say that, oh, he is above it) but I would definitely want to have sessions with Shake. I would definitely want to have sessions with Shake to really understand, how did the choices that you made to say certain things, what was that really connected to? Because I know Deepti asked those questions. Like for somebody you said that was your friend and all these things, you met my family, how could you be so nasty towards me? I would really want to have him on my couch and let's really process that. Because I think what other people are seeing now and like he kind of like doubled down in the reunion and then doubled down in some of his posts, but then like posted something else that was like an apology–so I don't know what's going on. And he has reported receiving hate messages and all of that. And whether you like him or not, there's a certain way to go about communicating to people and that can definitely have an effect on his mental health. I'm not a proponent for internet violence or sending hate messages, and whether or not somebody else believes that he deserves it, he has to now bear that. You know what I’m saying?
Dr. Joy: Right.
Beverley: He has to bear that. In addition to Deepti maybe finding out all of the things that he was actually saying, I don't know if that affected her. But there needs to be like a recovery, repair period with the cast members. Definitely. Even with like Shayne and Shaina. You know, everybody was calling Shaina Jessica 2.0. I don't know how she's responding to that or people just calling you a villain or saying all these things about Shayne. And Shayne literally just lost his dad, he said three months before the show? We don't know how his grief is affecting him and all these things and how that’s affecting him and Natalie, but you can clearly see that they both have love for each other still, still communicate with each other. So it's not like what their experiences were outside of the camera were so devastating that they didn't still try to repair and to still move on.
Dr. Joy: Mm hmm, got it. Anything else you would do specifically with hypothetical season 3? With couples who do decide to stay together, like what kind of post-show interventions or questions might you have them walk through?
Beverley: I would definitely ask, who's part of your support system outside of the show? Like who's going to really encourage you guys when the world starts to see all of this? Who's going to help protect you? Because to bear all of that just as a duo is hard. You need your family, you need your friends, you need your support systems. Also, I would want to do like an intensive with the couples and say, okay, there's a new level of fame that will come with this–what are your non-negotiables? How do you guys want to deal with this together and what are you guys not okay with doing together? If there's interview, what we're not interviewing. Okay, well please don't post this or let's keep our lives a little bit more private until this kind of dies down. You want to make sure that the couple is on the same page for as many topics as possible. I think the last thing would definitely be are there any residual concerns from the show that have not been addressed? By the time these other folks see it and start having commentary, we don't want this to be an even added stressor on the relationship, so let's talk about the residuals.
Dr. Joy: Those are all great points and I do think that that's something that does work in their favor because by the time we see it, it's really... At least for season 2, it had been almost a year so they have had time to process and get prepared for what we were gonna see. Those questions, I feel like, would be spot on with what they needed to anticipate as they were waiting for it to premiere. Anything else about this season that we haven't talked about that you really want to share something about?
Beverley: Okay, so I'm just thinking about all the couples. Like Shayne and Kyle who like were coupled. You can't compromise on religion.
Dr. Joy: Shaina and Kyle.
Beverley: Yeah. There's different things that... Compromising, not saying that you can't because some people do, but if somebody says that I am this and the other person says I am this and it directly conflicts and you are second guessing, do yourself and the other person a favor and just leave it be. Unless you have two beliefs that may be different but can still coexist. Don't set yourself up, don't compromise, because I know Kyle did a lot of compromise. The man doesn't eat me, he ate me for her. He doesn't believe in God or anything else but he was like, I'm gonna start. Like if you feel you have to change your core values to be with somebody, you really need to question that.
With Danielle and Nick, being in a relationship with somebody who struggles with their mental health or mental illness is another commitment as well. Be okay, ready and willing to be with the fullness of that person. You can't X out what you don't like. If you’re gonna be all in, be all in. Iyanna and Jarrette, even after betrayal, you can still build emotional intimacy. You can still have the relationship that you want. It's not an end all be all. And if you allow naysayers to infiltrate, then it's going to impact your relationship.
Mallory and Sal. Family is important and they have influence. Be mindful of it, be careful of it. Because that influence may be for good, it may not be for good. Natalie and Shayne, words matter. They hurt and they can have a long-lasting impact. Because something that Natalie said (I believe at the reunion) was that even afterwards we tried to make it work, he has apologized, he’s done all of the things, but it was a struggle for me to move forward based off of the things that he said. So in disagreements or having an argument, be mindful to protect your partner with your words because it can build up or it can break your relationship. And then with Deepti and Shake, it's okay to walk away from someone that you have great vibes with but ultimately doesn't respect you.
Dr. Joy: That's a mic drop.
Beverley: Because Deepti said that she was like, at the end of the day, this is my best friend and all of that. But because I know that there's a part of you that doesn't respect me or doesn't like me, I'm not willing to compromise me in order to be in relationship with you.
Dr. Joy: Mm hmm, love it.
Beverley: That's it.
Dr. Joy: Well, you have given us some great lessons for our own lives that we can take.
Beverley: ...All the couples, I had thoughts about each and every one of them and I'm like let me just break it down real quick.
Dr. Joy: We appreciate that breakdown. Tell us again, Beverley, where we can find you online. Your website as well as any social media handles you'd like to share.
Beverley: My website is BeverleyAndre.com, Beverley with an L-E-Y because my mama is fancy. And on all socials, @BeverleyAndre_ because somebody stole my name. We had to have that little underscore.
Dr. Joy: We will be sure to include all of that in the show notes. Thank you so much for joining me again to break down our faves in pop culture. I appreciate you.
Beverley: Thank you.
Dr. Joy: I'm so glad Beverley was able to join me again this week. To learn more about her and her work, be sure to visit the show notes at TherapyForBlackGirls.com/session251. And be sure to text two of your girls and tell them to check out the episode right now.
If you're looking for a therapist in your area, be sure to check out our therapist directory at TherapyForBlackGirls.com/directory.
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 Community.TherapyForBlackGirls.com. This episode was produced by Fredia Lucas and Ellice Ellis, and editing was done by Dennison Bradford. 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.