This week on Tough Love, Steve encourages the ladies let go of their emotional baggage — in true New Orleans style — by handing out voodoo dolls. The ladies open up about their tumultuous relationships as they stick their dolls with pins. Emotions run rampant. Shalana’s doll represents the men who have wronged her, which sadly turns out to be every man she’s ever been with. Danielle cries during the exercise because not only did she never intend to have a child before she was married, but she understands how growing up without a positive male role model is affecting her son, KJ. Elizabeth breaks down and shares that she was arrested after an altercation where her ex tried to take back her 10 carat diamond rings. As the girls wipe tears from their eyes, the surprise guests arrive: their exes.
The father of Danielle’s child, Kevin, arrives. Steve brought him to boot camp to assure that Danielle is over him.
Danielle worries because for the first time Kevin is here for her, rather than their son. Kevin asks if she’s been seeing anyone she’s likes, she affirms. Kevin is easily one of the most mature exes Tough Love has ever seen! He calmly lets her know he supports her looking for a serious relationship and that he wants what is best for her and their son. Danielle is apparently just as shocked as we were. She confesses, “It’s almost like he wasn’t my son’s father, like I was meeting a new guy. This is like an adult. He’s a man like and he’s like acting like a man.” Go Kevin!
Melissa’s awkwardness prevented her from ever having a serious relationship so Steve invites her biggest crush of all time, Jeff. He used to invite Melissa out for drinks regularly, but it never happened. Melissa shows some progress by asking Jeff if the lack of follow through was an indication that he wasn’t really interested. He admits it was. Melissa is OVER IT because she doesn’t want to pursue a guy who isn’t interested in her. Between Jeff’s admission and last week’s hot seat, Melissa realizes she is missing the one guy had the biggest connection with but she let go, Chris.
Elizabeth’s wealthy (and seemingly much older) ex-boyfriend, Paul rounds the corner carrying a vase of long stemmed roses, that are literally almost as tall as Elizabeth. Upon seeing Paul, she breaks down and doesn’t know if she should hug him or punch him. Steve is shocked and disappointed that something as shallow as roses would sweep her off her feet, right back into the past. He hopes that Elizabeth will show Paul that it takes more than gifts to be welcomed into her heart.
As if the ladies weren’t already on the verge of panic, it is that time of the show where Steve forces the women to concurrently entertain their new man and their ex. This sounds like a nightmare for even the most well-adjusted humans, let alone girls who still are carrying major emotional baggage. He hopes the ladies can remember the ever important “Rule #88 — Love is not a competition. Don’t let guys play tug of war with your emotions. It is up to you to choose.” As each new guy arrives, the exes insecurities come to the surface and the d*ck measuring contests begin.
Elizabeth is caught in a game of tug of war between Carl and her ex-Paul. First Carl asks to speak with Elizabeth privately. Minutes later he is interrupted by Paul, bottle of champagne in hand, asking if he can spend time with Elizabeth privately since he flew so far to do so. Ever the gentleman, Carl agrees. Elizabeth asks Paul to give Carl a chance by getting to know him, which he agrees to do, but not for long because he asks to borrow Elizabeth privately. Again.
She tells him that it’s clear that the two men are having a d*ck measuring contest to which Paul arrogantly replies “100%, I don’t have to measure.” Paul relishes in how uncomfortable he is making Elizabeth, but she realizes that his confidence has been shaken by seeing her with another guy whose positive qualities extend beyond his bank balance. In a surprising turn of events, Elizabeth asks Paul to leave. She realizes she is “going to get nowhere in life if I stick to what I’m used to and that’s Paul.” But Steve isn’t convinced she’s really closed the door on this chapter of life.
In one of the more mature interactions of the night, Danielle explains to Corey that she and her ex are still in contact only because of her son. She wouldn’t want her son to grow up in a world full of tension so they are cool with each other. Danielle admits that Corey is turning out to have a lot of the qualities she is looking for in a man — he makes her comfortable, he seems genuine and considering his daughter is part of his life, he is already a good father figure.
In an unexpected turn of events Danielle breaks down after the men leave because she never wanted her son to be “like me, without a father.” She wishes she had a do over with Kevin. Despina asks if Kevin asked her to be with her would she do it? Danielle responds “I don’t know. I’ve known him for ten years. He knew me when I was a kid, like it’s different” She wishes she could go back to age 19 when she knew she was pregnant to try harder to keep her family together and admits she has no idea if Kevin feels the same way because she’s never asked. She admits this is the first time she’s cried about their situation in six years.
Meanwhile, Chris returns to see Melissa after some convincing by Steve. Melissa is genuinely excited and confesses”I should never have actually let him go.” Chris is hesitant but he wants to give it one more shot. Melissa surprises Chris by telling him she wants him to continue the rest of the journey with her.
They make out. A LOT. Steve is proud of how Melissa admitted her mistakes and makes things right.
When they rejoin the others, they encourage her to sit on his lap and Chris proclaims “She’s not a virgin anymore!” Apparently Melissa is not the only awkward one in this relationship. Nerd love is adorable.
At group, Steve says that the previous evening was an eye-opener for him, and announces that Melissa did the best this week! Steve shows her feedback from Chris. He is shocked that Melissa asked him back and hopes that she likes him. He grades her kiss: She gets an A+! She admits that Chris is “actually a really good kisser.” She is glowing and shares that the “vagina whisperer has come for me.” She finally got the “vagina tingles” she has been craving so badly. Congratulations Melissa, your vagina is in working order! You are free to use it at your discretion.
Danielle had her first conversation with Kevin in years that wasn’t only about her son. Steve shows her some feedback from Kevin where he is really happy for Danielle’s progress. He thinks she is becoming more mature and a better person. He wants what is best for their son. She gets emotional. Steve asks her why – she says she is not sure if she is emotional because she found out her cares more about her than she thought or because she still loves him. She says “it just doesn’t go away. When you have kids with someone it just does not go away.” She feels they didn’t try hard enough. Steve tells Danielle that Kevin has moved on and that she has to respect it and let go. He tells her “nothing has changed in your life as a result of yesterday.” Steve shows feedback from Corey. Corey admits that he thinks he is falling for Danielle. ”Just think about your future and stop thinking about your past” Steve advises.
It is time for the hot seat — for Elizabeth. This week’s hot seat isn’t about best or worst, but more about questions Steve has. Paul’s arrival with flowers in hand caught her off guard because apparently flowers remind her of the happy times they shared. Steve saw the flowers as Paul’s way of manipulating her, which is apparently very easy to do. Elizabeth is pissed for being put in the hot seat once again because in her mind she has made the most progress, not to mention that she asked Paul to leave. Steve shows feedback from Paul where he expresses no worry that she is seeing someone else. He understands that she is attracted to him for his money and that she will come running back when she misses the lifestyle he can afford her. Steve compares Paul to her parents in that he provides for her if she does what she’s told. He tells her “there is a difference between supporting you and controlling you. Carl supports you.” Then Steve shows Carl’s feedback. He can tell Elizabeth still has feelings for Paul, but that she is worth fighting for.
Steve is worried that the girls are all going to revert back to their old behaviors after boot camp is over so he is going to “flip the script” – he is sending the girls home tomorrow for a few days. The twist – they are going to be bringing their dates with them!