The progression of a relationship doesn’t necessarily equate to the increased maturity of the people in it.
We’ve been rooting for Jephte Pierre and Shawniece Jackson since they appeared in Season 6 of Married at First Sight, the only couple from Boston to make it. We still root for them. But just because they agreed to stay married and went on to welcome a child together doesn’t mean their relationship progressed emotionally in the way people have assumed. They informed viewers in the last few episodes of their spinoff, Married at First Sight: Happily Ever After? that while Jephte was going through a bout of depression, including months of being openly unhappy in their relationship, Shawniece decided to have them separate. In the time that they were apart (it has gone back and forth from a few weeks to three months of separation), Jephte decided to see other people — and have sex with them.
They are trying to work through that, especially with their baby on the way in the most recent scenes, but the admission hasn’t sat so well with fans of the couple, or Shawniece’s mother.
“I don’t ever want my child to feel like she’s not wanted, and she did,” said Shawniece’s mom, Denise, as she, Shawniece, Jephte, Jephte’s mom, Laura, and little brother had family dinner. They were all discussing the fact that the couple isn’t wearing their wedding rings anymore and how they’re trying to work on their emotional issues instead of focusing on wearing rings just because.
“With the marriage, my mother basically gained a son,” Shawniece said in her confessional. “Something that she’s never had. So what Jephte did was pretty much a smack in the face.”
During that moment, instead of letting Jephte explain himself and his behavior, his mother, Ms. Laura, decided to interject to defend her eldest son.
“You are very lucky to have Jephte,” she said. “Jephte is a good young man. I raised Jephte very good, and Jephte is very respectful, too. But, you guys took a chance to get married to strangers.”
And while Ms. Laura’s response left much to be desired (let that man take responsibility for doing a shi–y thing like cheating on his pregnant wife!), Ms. Denise said it best: Don’t be the type of man you wouldn’t want your daughter to have to deal with.
“When you have a little girl, and if she comes to you later on and says to you, ‘Daddy this guy is da da da,’ you’re going to feel some type of way,” she said.
And while Ms. Denise is being forgiving, Twitter? Not so much. The criticism got to be so much for Shawniece, not Jephte surprisingly, that she has quit Twitter for the rest of the year.
In an interview with Newsweek this week, Shawniece explained why she had had enough of people’s opinions about the issues in her marriage.
“I quit for the rest of this year because it’s hard trying to filter out the negative comments from people judging us,” she said. “It’s either I’m the victim or he’s the villain and it’s not even like that. Jephte’s depression was a hard time for us and I do not want him to be back in that space again. He has put in a lot of work and I’m so proud of him. So in the meantime, I will stay off so I can make sure I’m in a healthy mental space to be the support my family needs.”
And while we know people have laid into Jephte because of his infidelity, they’ve also criticized their banter and the way he overall treats her. That includes when they communicate in therapy, have intimate moments at home, or going back to how he behaved when they were initially getting to know her and he wasn’t opening up to her.
“People have criticized Jephte for simply being himself,” she said. “Yes, I know his delivery may be a little harsh at times but he was still trying to figure it out. He didn’t have feelings for me in the beginning so he was trying his hardest to be nice about it and waiting to see if we will click. However, it came off as if he wasn’t or still isn’t good enough for me and that’s not true.”
“I really do think that we are in a situation where it’s hard not to criticize someone based off of what you see,” she added. “It’s entertainment. I get it, however, I feel as humans we should be mindful. We are real people and there are always three sides to every story.”
Jephte, overall, is taking things a little better:
But you know Twitter isn’t feeling it. Check out what folks said about last night’s episode and Jephte and Shawniece’s overall relationship: