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 fourth episode, including what his views are on some of the questions posed on the couples in the game-show challenge, Dustin and Courtney’s split and how he feels about having his integrity questioned.
You asked the couples their stance on a lot of different relationship issues in the game-show challenge: flirting, dancing, masturbation, snooping. I wondered if we could get your opinion on this stuff.
I need to be candid with you: it’s all about being on the same page with your boundaries as a couple. It also depends on the couple and the longevity of their relationship. Not just longevity, but the history of their relationship and what boundaries have been crossed. I mean, if you start out the relationship with somebody and there’s no reason for them to have trust issues, then there’s no reason for them to have to look into your phone and see if you’ve done all this stuff. That’s only if you have done something wrong.
Are there any absolutes, though? Do you think it’s OK for your partner to fantasize about having sex with someone else when having sex with you?
That’s normal. Everybody does it. You’re lying if you don’t.
What about encouraging your partner to masturbate?
Encouraging them? I don’t know about encouraging them. But if you’re not going to give it to them, then you shouldn’t have a problem with them at least taking care of themselves.
Are you anti-strip clubs?
Oh, I have no problem with strip clubs. I think they’re perfectly fine. I think that depending on the relationship that you’re in and the boundaries that you’ve agreed upon with your partner should ultimately dictate what’s permissible and what isn’t.
How about fighting in public?
That one’s a no-no. You never want to fight in public.
It was kind of surprising that Christina and Mario were rarely on the same page as they seem to be in an upswing last week.
I think it came down to wishful thinking. You’ll see one person answer the question the way they think the other person wants them to answer it. When you answer it for yourself and what you think and what you believe, you should be on the same page. I think there was just a little incongruence there.
Do you think there was anyone else who was suffering from that phenomenon?
Danielle and Pawel. They weren’t doing a good job communicating with each other and it was all like, “He doesn’t talk to his ex-girlfriend, so I don’t know how to answer it.” Hypothetically, Danielle! Just go with the program. Sometimes they just over-think it and it just makes it more difficult than it should be.
Obviously the major interpersonal event of the episode is that Dustin and Courtney split. All of a sudden, Dustin can’t stop talking about Courtney. You said this is a case of not knowing what you have until it’s gone.
Right. Most guys don’t realize a good thing until it’s gone. This guy needed to see that there were real consequences to what he was doing. I mean, he knew that she was afraid to leave him and he felt in his heart that she would never go anywhere. As soon as he feels like he’s going to lose her, he realizes, “Oh crap, I better get my s*** together.”
It only took a baby step for him to react, too. I mean, he and Courtney are in the same vicinity still.
I think because she started distancing herself from him right away, he felt like he was really losing her. He started to react a certain way. Immediately, he realized he was in the wrong and he wanted to at least make it right by seeing that he’s doing the right thing and trying to hold onto her. But Dustin realized that not only does he not know how to exist in a relationship, but he really doesn’t know how to let go of one either. These coping skills are really necessary I think in order for somebody to really understand the value of their relationship.
Meanwhile Courtney’s having no problem coping.
No, not at all because she didn’t do anything wrong. She had nothing to feel guilty about. So she’s like, “All right, well I better enjoy this.”
We’re you impressed or surprised at all of the abandon with which she approached singledom, swinging on a stripper pole and all?
No, because she was still in the boot camp and still under my care, and she was not truly out there yet. I think she realized that there was still a lot of time left in boot camp and she was excited about the fact that she can really focus on herself.
You called out Christina for blowing up on Mario. Her reaction to his honesty was pretty ridiculous.
Oh yeah, it was. And the worst thing was, it was on tape. He couldn’t have lied if he wanted to. So it’s like, what are you worried about? Really? If you can’t learn to trust this guy when you’re not around and you keep acting like this every time he comes back and tells you something, then you’re only going to push him further and further away.
I thought it was weird that Ryan and Axelle were named the best this week, because after the game show you said that their dynamic was like dog and trainer.
Yeah, but they like it. A lot of relationships are like that where the woman wears the pants. In this respect, I think Ryan enjoys sort of being disciplined. I think that’s a lot of the reason why he acts out and takes chances and risks in his relationship.
The final blow-up regarded Dustin questioning your authority.
Because he was not getting what he wants. It’s pretty easy, isn’t it? It’s pretty easy for everybody to get pissed off at me when I’m not doing what they want. They’re not there to control boot camp. They’re not there to make rules. They’re there to do what I tell to do and if they don’t, they don’t like it. We’ve seen this before. We’ve seen this in Season 1, we’ve seen it in Season 2. You’re not hearing what you want to hear and all of the sudden you don’t trust the process. Give me a break.