Married At First Sight & A Cautionary Tale On Shutting Down When Ish Goes Left

May 5, 2017  |  

It’s that time of year again, you know the time when a panel of experts decide which two strangers should not only commit themselves to one another in holy matrimony, they should also have the entire process filmed for the masses to enjoy.

Y’all already know we love “Married At First Sight” around here. And since we’re Black, we’re particularly interested to see if the Black couples find a way to make it work every season. Unfortunately, up until now they have not. Not Monet and Vaughn, not Vanessa and Tres, so now we’re holding out hope for Nathan and Sheila.

To be honest, I thought the experts effed up when they paired a 31-year-old woman with a 25-year-old man. The stereotypes we’ve learned about men are often true y’all, the maturity rate is slower. And from the wedding episode, judging by the behavior of Nathan’s parents, especially his Daddy, it wasn’t hard to assume that he might follow in their footsteps.

But after last night’s episode, it was clear that Nathan exhibited the more adult conflict management skills.

From the honeymoon episode, it seemed like Nathan and Sheila started out on the right foot. The two were obviously attracted to one another from jump and they decided to consummate their marriage. And though Sheila was quick to let the cameras and the world know that she hadn’t had an orgasm and Nate didn’t exactly give her one that night either, they went into the next day feeling good. But from the looks of things, Nate driving a little too fast on the jet skis set her off. And by a little too fast, I mean the jet ski tipped over sending both of them into the water.

The way the crew edited the episode, it seemed that that event was what set Sheila off. She said she expected the ride to be more calm. And later at the pool, she explained that there are going to be times when their energy levels don’t match and he can’t expect her to always meet him where he is. While the footage didn’t show Sheila saying anything about compromise or her trying to match his energy level, it was a valid conversation. But I started giving her the side eye when she seemed to completely shut down at dinner. I mean, she wasn’t talking to him, giving short one word answers, wearing a bit of a pout.

I say Nathan was the bigger adult in the situation because instead of returning her energy, or being equally pissy, he responded by being even more kind and loving. Which helped to bring Sheila out of the funk.

To be fair, on her Instagram and Twitter pages, Sheila explained that it wasn’t the jet ski incident that dampened her mood. In fact, she called their time on the jet skis a highlight of their honeymoon. Instead, she said it was a lot of the behind the scenes stuff that zapped her energy, which is why she was being so distant. And she thanked Nathan for being so kind while she was on some other stuff.

So they’re good with one another. But I’m writing this because I reacted so strongly to that part of the episode. “I can’t stand that shut down sh*t.” My sister, who was watching with me, turned and looked at me like, ‘Ooo, you ok?!” Because clearly that strong of a reaction wasn’t directed at Sheila, a stranger I just so happen to watch on TV, it had a lot to do with past experience. And the feeling of pure dejection you feel when you try to get the person you love out of a funk.

I remember this man I was dating, came to visit me in the city one week. For anyone who lives in New York, you know what type of pressure and anxiety an out of town visitor can cause. You want them to see the best NYC has to offer, you want to be a good host, make sure that they go home feeling like you put them onto something new. So in that spirit, when I got an email from work offering two free Miguel tickets for a night when I had absolutely nothing planned, I jumped at the opportunity. Not only was former boo a big fan of Miguel, it was free. And these were media passes, so I knew the tickets would be poppin’.

But as y’all know, things happen. My connect, who had both my name and the tickets assigned to them, was running late. So when I tried to check in at the door, access was promptly denied. And while I wasn’t thrilled about it, I guess it embarrassed him because he immediately went into shut down mode. Short, one word responses, staring off instead of looking at me, and being generally silent. Now, keep in mind, we weren’t kicked out of any club. We were just ushered to another section of the venue while I called my connect and waited for her to come through with the tickets, which were legit. Literally, within twenty minutes, we were sitting front and center, looking up at Miguel.

And after the high of Miguel singing directly to me, and having him confirm that fact when we got to meet him afterward, I asked old boo, why he slipped into a mood.

“You were pretty upset while we were waiting for the tickets. You weren’t talking to me. You kind of shut down.”

And instead of him offering an apology for his poor behavior or showing even a semblance of embarrassment, he said, “Yeah, that happens sometimes.”

And that was it.

Even after I reminded him that even if we never got into the concert, it was free for him, that was all he had to say.

Y’all I’m not here to pretend that I don’t ever slip into my feelings and behave irrationally. Hell, I’m not even going to pretend that I always apologize for my bad behavior. I try to but I don’t 100 percent of the time. But, to this day, I can’t understand why homeboy was so pressed about the possibility of not getting into this concert, especially when he didn’t spend a red cent, outside of the subway fare, to attend. Especially since we were only there because of my job. And especially because the experience ended up exceeding both of our expectations.

To me, that’s just not the way you show gratitude when some gifts or gives you something.

But even more importantly, in the years since that relationship ended, and I’ve had time to evaluate the things that happened, that incident always stands out so clearly in my mind as the time I found him the most unappealing, the type of behavior I did.not.want. to experience again.

So I write this as both a cautionary tale and a reminder to myself not to slip into a toddler-like funk and if I do, to apologize for that behavior because it doesn’t solve anything and it certainly is far from attractive.

Veronica Wells is the culture editor at MadameNoire.com. She is also the author of “Bettah Days.” You can follow her on Facebook and on Instagram and Twitter @VDubShrug.

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