As the couples talk about infidelity, coming from both sides, communication and growth are honed in on as the reasons why they ended up staying together.
|Director(s)||Codie Elaine Oliver|
|Herself||Danesha ‘Starr’ Scott|
When They Both Cheated: Todd, Alicia
One of the things which, for most, is a deal breaker in any relationship, married or otherwise, is cheating. Yet, as noted by this couple, married 26 years at this point, and many of the others, the relationship is only over if you want it to be. But another reason why this couple sort of represents all of the couples is because they once shared the same issues.
When it comes to Todd, his getting married didn’t lead to an adjustment of his lifestyle. He was still going out, acting like he was single, and really testing Alicia’s faith in him. Which led to, through life or death moments, arson, and counseling, eventually it just seeming to be too much. Not to imply there weren’t good times, none of these couples would still be together if there weren’t. However, there is always that question of when are the good times coming back around?
Which is perhaps part of the reason she had an affair. For while Todd was showing growth and changing, dealing with old baggage vs. a brand new suitcase is tempting. Yet, with it being more than a decade and them going through a lot together, so came the point they decided to acknowledge the baggage yet start new. Hence why they can be serious as they are and get a little teenage love affair flirty.
What you have to appreciate about this episode is the diversity of the couples, all Black of course, who present to you different angles yet also similar paths to get to where they are. This couple in particular, who went through a lot, really did sort of sum up everyone’s story. With them, neither was a saint, both had to go through a lot of counseling to get to where they are now, there was the type of trauma which could have easily broken them up, yet something held them together.
Making it where, even after she moved out, they ended up being all flirty and now we see them on this couch with pillows looking like they are made from the hair of a dog. And honestly, you have to appreciate their journey. For it really does push the idea that love can conquer all if you are willing to run into battle with it.
When She Cheated: Don, Tanya
When it comes to the dynamic between men and women, there are many double standards. One of them being the woman suffering from waiting for their man to grow up and do right, but if the woman messes up the man should leave. Todd mentions this in terms of how he predicts the reaction to viewers. However, when it comes to Don and Tanya, there isn’t a tit for tat situation in play. The issue here is what a lot of relationships have a problem with – this idea that, by doing the basics, you are doing well.
It’s something talked about in Red Table Talk. The idea that, bills are paid, someone seems happy, so everything should be good. That, so it seems, was how Don operated. Bills were paid, seemingly there were no issues with their family, so why is she cheating? Well, it was because he was holding her down financially but not emotionally. So, some dude complimenting her on Facebook led to what, at a minimum, was emotional cheating. The focus isn’t too heavy on Don and Tonya so I’d have to rewatch to know if something physical went down.
What is clear though is Don took that situation, in the long run, as a lesson. One which pushed that being a husband is a multifaceted thing. You can’t just be a financial provider but emotional, perhaps assist with the spiritual and that means going beyond the bare minimum. But, one thing you have to love about this couple is, unlike the others, when it came to counseling, they needed an individual one. No couples counseling in or out of the church, but individual sessions to get to the root of their issues. Especially if their marriage was going to survive for reasons outside of not being able to afford a divorce.
When it comes to the “Accountability” episode, folks kept it real. There isn’t one lick of holier than thou, I’ve come to preach. It’s all, this is what I did, how we handled it, and how we found a way to stay together. The accountability if both personal and being accountable for why the partnership is the way it is.
And what also made this situation interesting is that, strangely, it’s the only one which really mentions social media. The role that can play in infidelity and how just a few messages can creep into your heart when someone is slipping. But also there is the factor of the man, Don, using the same words we hear a lot of women use when cheated on. Taking note of what he did or did not do, taking the kind of responsibility for the situation which doesn’t leave her blameless, but is strangely reflective.
Which, in his mind, is maturity but being at my age I find that word to be oddly used for the situation. Yet, also because of my age, and having no marital experience, there is the need to recognize that marriage is not just about love but an investment. And pulling out all your stocks and abandoning a partnership you started with someone, is not as easy as people make it out to be. Not just because of your feelings but money, family, and other factors were the profits of the partnership and splitting that up might take as much work, if not more, than trying to and ultimately working things out.
So the real decision comes from, as said by Julie, “Do you want to stay married or do you just not want another divorce?”
When He Cheated: DL, LaDonna, Styles, Adjua, Bart, Starr, Mark, Julie
Naturally, men cheating holds the bulk of the story and they all share some common things. Most of which comes with not dealing with their personal messiness before getting married. Whether you are talking about DL, Styles, Bart, or Mark, they all had issues before they were married that they brought to their wives to deal with. For DL, he had some outdated idea of how a husband should be. I’m talking, the 1800s or maybe up to the 1960s, where all that mattered was his family was good, he came in before the sun went down, and whatever he did before that, as long as his family wasn’t directly affected? Well, that’s his business.
Which, with having a wife like LaDonna, who is an established planner and DL the executioner, naturally made her start coming up with strategies. However, like with Don, minus the cheating, there came a point where DL had to own what he did and let her know, this has nothing to deal with you and everything to deal with me. It’s just, unfortunately, LaDonna was bearing the weight of his struggles growing up.
The same can be said with Mark who, out of everyone on this episode, is the most outrageous and, mind you, Styles P is a rapper so you’d think he’d take the cake. However, Mark was basically having sex parties with drugs involved, got married to his mistress, before married to Julie, and was a wild boy. The kind which, based off how DL talked, maybe didn’t change his ways necessarily because he saw the moral failing but simply couldn’t keep up anymore.
Not to pass judgement at all, but a lot of change happens when things just aren’t convenient anymore. Julie didn’t necessarily want to divorce for the second time but Mark was pushing her to it. I’m sure he didn’t want to pursue a possible fourth wife, so when she gave him a list of attainable goals and duties, he stuck to it, she gave him time, and he changed. Took some time, but he changed.
Leading to Styles, Adjua, Bart, and Starr. These four are perhaps the realist people this show may have ever had. Not just because they a little urban, but because there are 0 airs and graces here. Well, Bart kind of has that in his speeches but Starr calls that out with the quickness. For Bart just got back in the house and she is at the point where, she’d rather be friends than completely lose the ability to have trust in him.
As for Styles and Adjua, like with Starr and Bart, the idea is pushed, when the cheating goes on, you aren’t just sacrificing the relationship and family – you are also putting the friendship on the line. Which is the basis for everything. There would be no relationship if I couldn’t just enjoy hanging out with you, opening up, joking, and all that. And you have to enjoy that, while the guys talk about how lack of an example influenced them, the women call BS. Starr shuts down any and all of Bart’s excuses and Adjua does the same for Styles.
Thus giving you, altogether, a very well rounded and diverse episode you may not have expected.
I felt Starr & Bart, alongside Styles and Adjua were the couples to take the most note of. Primarily because, Starr was perhaps the realist, based off my life experience, wife on here. Bart tried to be, like many of the couples, this dude who learned his lesson, seemed like a guru, and like he was grown now. However, Starr brought him all the way back to reality and made it clear, they are still working on things and are kind of in the thick of it. Neither is really past what happened and I feel like that was far more important to show, at times, then all these people who were passed the infidelity.
Not to imply their methods and knowledge didn’t have value. But the issue which sometimes pops up is, while the paths and lessons are nice, if you are taking note of their stories, so comes the need to deal with that chasm. You are talking about how you crossed but I can’t see how can I? Yet, with Starr and Bart, they exhibited what it was like before there seemingly was maturity and forgiveness. Where there was still love but that pain was still hot. May have cooled off, but is still hot.
Something Styles and Andjua talked about as well. This idea that the affair was known and out there, but not truly dealt with. So then things became hot and cold. All that needed to happen was a good enough trigger and what you thought was handled rises up like a zombie. And, again, I have to say I loved the showing of couples like these two. For way too often, in my mind, the voice of reason and knowledge comes from those who seem either holier than thou or as if things only calmed down because they couldn’t keep up anymore.
With Styles, Andjua, Bart, and Starr? You don’t get that vibe. The pursuit of being better people and staying together wasn’t because they found Jesus, or simply couldn’t keep up the lifestyle. There was a real choice that, as men, they couldn’t use the excuse of their past to determine their actions in the future. Which isn’t to say DL didn’t make that point but something about the way the aforementioned four presented that in their segment just gave it a bit more oomph.
Collected Quote(s) & .Gifs
“Do you want to stay married or do you just not want another divorce?”
“Nothing speaks louder than silence.”
- A very diverse view of dealing with infidelity whether he cheated, she cheated, they both did, and how to handle it from there.
- Andjua and Starr calling out their husbands when they tried to shift the narrative in such a way to not tell the whole truth.
- Showing women cheat too.
- The noting of taking personal responsibility for what happened, nearly all talking about going to counseling, and really pushing the idea that while marriage can be wonderful, it is also work. Primarily in the form of adapting to this idea that your decisions affect the mental and emotional wellbeing of another person now. So you got to own and work on your s***.
- Pushing the idea that sometimes, people change because they just run out of wind. It isn’t always because you did or said something, maybe even threatened to leave. Like most things, it’s about being able to maintain a comfortable lifestyle personally more than anything.
On The Fence
- It being noted that the culture some of the men came from influenced how they became as husbands. Which is an “on the fence” note since it’s valid but there comes a point where you have to have a Starr moment and look at it as an Especially for some who seemingly were about that life well past their late teens and 20s.