Tough Talk From Steve Ward - Tough Love Couples Episode 2

Mother-and-son Master Matchmakers JoAnn and Steve Ward are back for a whole new type of Tough Love. As always, Steve will be checking in with weekly commentary on each episode via this blog. Below, he talks about the second episode, including Mario’s confession, Larry’s epithet and Ryan and Axelle’s marathon bickerfest.

The first major event of the episode is that Mario admits that he received a happy ending at a massage parlor. Do you think that threw a wrench into their situation? Did you suspect that he cheated on Christina?

It was only a matter of time. And I think he was smart. I think he was a lot smarter than I originally gave him credit for. I think he wanted to get it out there before it just came out on its own. I mean, if he mentioned it to a friend, maybe he thought a friend was going to rat him out. I don’t know, but that is what my suspicion was. I do think that he really does love the girl. The guy is very confused.

The slime exercise that immediately follows that reveal seems particularly helpful to Christina, just for the catharsis of it all.

Absolutely. That was the whole point of it. We were trying to kind of exorcize these demons or these really negative feelings, and try to get them out there so that we can address them and hopefully put it behind them. It’s funny, because in the first episode Dustin says that Courtney’s never shown him any emotion before. I’ll tell you what: she was the most emotional girl on this show. It only goes to show how much she has bottled up.

In Episode 2, more of the problems that Dennis’s mom is causing in his relationship surface. I wonder if that was anything you could relate to, being as close to your mom as you are?

I think there’s a balance you learn to maintain. That’s what becoming a man is all about. You have to be able to say no to your mom. You have to be able to put your foot down. Believe me. I’m extremely close to my mom, but we don’t always see eye to eye, and she knows it.

What did you make of Axelle being accused of escorting?

I mean, look: She’s in real estate, she has high-end clients and she needs to entertain them. It goes on in every business if it’s medical sales or pharmaceutical sales, you name it. If you have clients and you want to keep them as clients, you have to entertain them. I don’t think that makes somebody an escort.

It’s kind of amazing that she and Ryan are willing to fight in front of cameras for literally six hours. They don’t care much for self-editing, huh?

I was amazed, actually dumbfounded, at how open all these people were about their issues. It was startling. I think at one point I said, “I can’t believe that you could sit there and talk about all the dysfunction in your sex life to a complete stranger, but you can’t talk to each other.” It absolutely boggles my mind, but that’s why they’re there.

Then another strange thing is during the group, Axelle says that Ryan doesn’t flip his lid, and then of course there’s a flash back to him screaming and ranting and raving. Is she delusional?

I wouldn’t go with delusional; I would say she’s desensitized. Think about it this way: if you’re around somebody who never raises their voice, and then they raise their voice, you’re shocked. You’re like, “Oh my god, that’s not like you.” But if somebody is constantly yelling at you and yells at you all the time, it becomes normal.

Larry calls Christina a bitch twice. The strife isn’t just confined within the couples – it’s among the entire group.

You know why? Because that was the first competitive challenge that they faced. That was the first challenge where it was couple versus couple. That was Larry’s competitiveness coming out. But the bigger issue regarding why he broke down and cried in group, is the fact that he insults people, and is completely oblivious to it. How can you not even realize that you’re insulting somebody to their face? You have to know what you’re doing. So I have to use the feedback, use the video. That’s the most powerful device that I have on the show. Everything is caught on tape. So anytime somebody does something, I’m like, “Really? Let’s go to the tape.” You use it to prove your point.

There were no winners this week. Do you feel like people were under-performing?

I don’t think that anybody was able to see the point of both of the exercises. I think they did them, and they did them to the best of their abilities, but I don’t think they saw the point to it. If they had convinced me that they knew why I was doing what I was doing, then I would have chosen one of them. They could have been my example of “this is what you need to keep doing at the camp.”


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