Plenty of people have their mind made up about Karen from “Married At First Sight.” They find her cold, disinterested in Miles—who appears to be a sweetheart—and hung up on antiquated ideals of what masculinity is and how it should be expressed.
The cast members from “Married At First Sight” have been absent from social media. So we don’t know what the couples are thinking about the episodes as we watch them.
We reached out to Karen recently to share her thoughts about what’s been happening between her and Miles, her tears, love languages, and how the pandemic affected their marriage.
See what she had to say below.
MadameNoire: You got emotional talking about Miles saying he wouldn’t say yes if today were decision day. What were those tears about for you?
Karen: I don’t watch the show so I’m going off my memory. But I think you’re probably referring to Recommitment Day. That entire day was emotional for me because Miles and I had a very long and freeing conversation just a few hours before. That conversation was a breakthrough. For the first time since the experiment, I saw Miles drop the “everything’s okay. I’m going to do whatever it takes to please you regardless of how it affects me” attitude and tell his full truth (respectfully of course). That’s the first time that I felt I could trust him to share 100% of how he was really feeling. Trusting that someone can share the good and the bad is very important to me when building emotional intimacy. The tears were a result of feeling like a weight had been lifted. It was a lot in the moment.
MN: In the clips from last week you said you and Miles were still finding ways to do nice things for one another—but the footage only showed Miles. We know that’s not the full picture. Can you tell us how you helped keep the relationship going during quarantine?
Karen: I am so happy you asked this question! I think Miles and I have always done a great job nurturing one another and doing things to show we care. Also acts of service is 100% my love language. I always tried to do little things for Miles—like bring home his favorite snacks or pick up things he needs / wants without him asking. For our anniversary I got him a vinyl record player and some new records since he loves music. I also used some Thai massage techniques at home after our initial session several times. Even on the tough days, we always found ways to let each other know we cared. The appreciation and respect has always gone both ways.
MN: A lot of us were mentally and emotionally drained during the first few weeks of the pandemic. And with you working in healthcare, I’m sure the pressure was more intense for you than most. How were you feeling during those first weeks of quarantine?
Karen: I’m not going to lie, I was not my usual self during the start of the pandemic. It was tough. I was working really long hours (many days 12+ hours, including weekends) and I was struggling with how to deal with the new stress and emotions that stay-at-home orders brought. It was like navigating uncharted territory and I didn’t know how to handle it at first. I didn’t know what I needed from myself to get through most days, so it was especially hard communicating those unknown needs and new feelings to my husband who I had only known for about a month at the time. I don’t think people realize what a mind f*ck that whole situation was.
MN: How do you think processing the realities of the pandemic while still trying to be married affected your relationship?
Karen: It was hard. Miles and I were both struggling for different reasons during the first part of the pandemic. It made everything feel harder because you’re taking in all of these vastly new (and large) life changes at once. I think it clouded a lot for us and made communicating with each other hard. By now, you all know I’m an introvert—I was stressing so hard internally to process everything with no downtime. The camera crew was gone, but the pandemic was like the new elephant in the room.
MN: Do you think you’ve learned anything about your perceptions of masculinity since you started this Married At First Sight journey?
Karen: No, I don’t think that I had to grow in that area. From the viewers’ perspective, it looks like I have a toxic or immature view of masculinity, but in reality I do not. Viewers have not been shown how I truly feel about masculinity (at least not at this point). I can’t change what or how things were portrayed, but I can speak my truth. I hate that masculinity was linked to my reaction of clinical depression. I also hate that it appears I view things like expressing emotions and communicating as less masculine, when I do not. There is so much that’s out of context on my views, but I’m excited to move forward in life and share more of my true feelings on topics like these post-show.
A new episode of “Married At First Sight” airs tonight at 8 pm EST on Lifetime.