RHOA: On Cynthia Bailey, Mike Hill, And The Fragility Of Children Of Divorce

February 10, 2020  |  

The Real Housewives of Atlanta - Season 11

Source: Bravo / Getty

After a weeks-long hiatus, “Real Housewives of Atlanta” returned with an emotional episode that explored family life from a variety of complex angles. Among the most emotional scenes were the ones shared between Cynthia Bailey, her new fiancé Mike Hill, and Mike’s daughter Kayla Hill because they offered an unfiltered look at the complicated reality of blending families.

To promote his new tell-all book, which touches on Mike’s past relationships and serial cheating, the Fox Sports personality invited a gang of his closest friends to his home to chat about love, life and how much he’s changed over the years. 17-year-old Kayla was also present for the gathering — something that the adults in the room had to be reminded of once the alcohol started flowing.

At one point in the conversation, the friends got on the subject of Mike’s cheating in his past relationships. “Mike has told before that he has never been in love,” one of Mike’s female friends informed the group.

It probably felt wonderful for Cynthia to hear that she was “the one,” but the same words that put butterflies in her stomach felt like a knife to the heart of Mike’s teen daughter. The second that the words leave the woman’s mouth, the camera flashes to Kayla who sits in the sea of intoxicated adults and appears to be listening intently though she is visibly uncomfortable. And yet no one seems to notice and the conversation continues. Mike went on to say that he believes that he and Cynthia met at the right time because he is a much different person than he was three years prior.

“We caught each other at the right time. That’s why I told her, we caught each other at the right time,” he expressed. “Their moms, I’ve apologized to them about the transgressions I’ve done in the past and now I’m just trying to do right.”

While it’s probably wonderful to hear that your father wants to be a better man, as a child of divorce, it has to be somewhat hurtful to know that it’s with another woman who is not your mother. And while we, as adults, know that some relationships were not meant to last forever, it doesn’t make that reality any less hurtful for the child who has to suffer the consequences of that broken union. Still, the conversation lingered on and Mike reiterated the fact that he wasn’t deeply in love with Kayla’s mother or his other ex-wife.

“Their moms, I’ve apologized to them about the transgressions I’ve done in the past and now I’m just trying to do right,” he said. “There was always a part of me that wanted to be in a committed relationship. Obviously, I’ve been married twice and I’ve felt strong love and strong passion but I couldn’t have been in love that much.”

At this point, clearly unable to hide her emotion anymore, Kayla drops her head and Mike suggests that she go to her room — a suggestion that he probably should have made 3 drinks and 2 hours prior. He and Cynthia immediately go to check on the college student, who is sobbing in her room.

“I know you heard some things that you probably shouldn’t have heard and that’s on me,” he tells Kayla who essentially tells him that there’s nothing he can really do to make things right.

“I feel terrible because it was inappropriate for me to have that conversation in front of her,” he later tells Cynthia.

Though Mike definitely tried to make things right in the end, this entire ordeal can serve as a teachable moment for parents and their new partners. While they may put on a brave face, children of divorce are fragile and any discussion relating to their other parent should be handled with the utmost care. It’s very easy to assume that just because a bit of time has passed and your heart has healed that theirs has as well. However, the reality is that divorce hurts children and the pain can linger for a very long time. Additionally, remarriage can open old wounds as well as create new ones. Single parents deserve love and happiness just like anyone else, but while pursuing their new lives, they should keep the fragility of their children at the forefront of their minds.

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