After watching the first episode of “Chad Loves Michelle,” I was going to write an essay about how refreshing it was to, for once, see a man be the one waiting around for a woman to get her sh*t together. As far as public portrayals of real-life couples go, there aren’t too many instances of the man in the relationship being the patient, kind, understanding one as his female partner acts out in ways that can be labeled as “hard to love.”
With Michelle calling off the engagement three times and telling Chad that she wasn’t good enough for him, it was clear she was the one who needed the hand-holding.
But relationships aren’t Black and White. And in a recent clip from the show, we see that there are some issues Chad could stand to work on as well. Particularly his handling of Michelle’s discussions of race and bringing her mental health struggles into the disagreement.
When their therapist asked them about their communication, they explained how things got so tight.
“I said something to him on the lines of ‘Well, Chad because you are not Black, you wouldn’t understand why I communicate the way I do. Maybe because you didn’t grow up around a lot of Black people.’ And so that was very, very offensive to Chad.”
“To me, it doesn’t matter if you’re Black, White, green, yellow, it doesn’t matter. If you know that the other person is like, ‘I didn’t like the way you said that, then seek to find some understanding as to why that person didn’t like what you said. And let’s keep that the issue and not pull in all these other things because then it feels like you’re just trying to cut and push further away.”
Michelle said in the moment that is not what Chad said to her. Instead, he offered his own cutting commentary.
“But, and this is not to justify, yesterday when we had the disagreement, he said ‘Did you take your meds today?’ Now that!…”
Chad offered this explanation for his behavior.
“But wait. That was, Dr. Thema…I would never go there and I apologized for it…”
Michelle interjects to say, “But you shouldn’t go there regardless.”
Chad: And I don’t think you should ever go there with Black and White. And it was after she said again. And I got mad and said, ‘Did you take your meds today?’ She knows how to cut.”
There’s no question that both of them are wrong in this instance. There are cultural differences in communication. But that doesn’t excuse saying anything you want, any way you want in the context of an argument. And just because you’re mad, it doesn’t mean that you can throw your partner’s vulnerabilities in their face.