Break Up, Make Up or Wake Up?

Break Up, Make Up or Wake Up?

Check out the "game show" that solves couples’ biggest relationship problems

Claire Mcintosh

by Claire Mcintosh, February 06, 2013

Break Up, Make Up or Wake Up?

[Claire] Thank you, and welcome to…


 … the game show on which love coaches answer reader e-mail and match wits with members of our studio audience (100 readers who voted on Ebony.com) while taking the Three Choices Challenge.

We’ll hear six dilemmas from our Mystery Guests—EBONY readers who’ve hit relationship rough spots. Is it better for them to break up or make up? Perhaps it’s time to wake up and re-evaluate expectations! There’s only one way to find out. Let’s play along!

Challenger #1 is James C.
Wadley, Ph.D., a sex therapist from Philadelphia! (drjameswadley.com). Welcome, Dr. Wadley. Listen as our first Mystery Guest backstage tells us what she’s dealing with …

{Mystery Guest #1} My husband keeps porn in his pocket! He watches pornographic videos sent to his smartphone by “a friend.” I’m afraid his habit may lead to sexual experimentation outside of our marriage. He claims the videos don’t really turn him on, so why can’t he stop looking at them? Is he addicted?

Dr. Wadley, your response?

You and your husband may be in denial about his pornography use and what it means. Is he a sex addict who can’t control his behavior? Maybe. It’s his denial that it is a problem: His refusal to set appropriate boundaries with the sender and the medium through which he uses it in isolation suggest the possibility. Meanwhile, you may be an unwitting enabler. Both of you should consult a psychologist or therapist who has training in the treatment of sex addiction and …
[Buzzer sounds]

Time’s up! Dr. Wadley, your answer to this Mystery Guest’s challenge is … WAKE UP! And re-evaluate the relationship. Does the studio agree?

Studio Audience;

Make up 27%

Wake up 62%

Break up 11%

Way to go! Who’s next, Don?

Challenger #2 is Shane K. Perrault, Ph.D., founder of africanamericanmarriagecounseling.com, who joins us from Greenbelt, Md. Here’s a guest with a gripe, Dr. Perrault …

{Mystery Guest #2} Every time I get into an argument with my girlfriend, she threatens to leave. I don’t know what to do to make her happy. How can I fix this?

I sympathize with the anxiety that her threatening to leave causes you. It’s unsettling to imagine that someone you love is less invested in the relationship. To change this pattern, shift from being reactive to becoming proactive. Often, people threaten to leave because they feel their issues won’t be heard—much less resolved. Even worse, your mate may feel she will be hurt over and over. If you react to her threats in an angry, defensive or critical way, you could make a bad situation worse. During your next fight, invest your energy into discovering why she is hurt instead of fixating on why you are hurt and offended about her threatening to leave. Try saying, “I love you and recognize that you feel hurt, unheard and frustrated. I don’t want you to feel that way. What precisely are you hurt about?” Then listen! Instead of defending yourself or criticizing her concerns, try asking, “What would make you feel better?” and, “What would the behavioral changes you need from me look like?” Next, simply respond by saying, “I hear you and do not want you to feel that way anymore. I love you, and going forward, while I will still make mistakes, I will do things differently so that your concerns are addressed.” [Buzzer]

That’s the way you MAKE UP!

Studio Audience:

Make up  5%

Wake up  36%

Break up  59%


Challenger #3 is Linda R. Young, Ph.D., a psychologist from The Woodlands, Texas (drlindayoung.com). Welcome, Dr. Young! Let’s listen to our Mystery Guest.

{Mystery Guest #3} After I found a video of him having sex with other women, I kicked him out. I know this sounds crazy, but I still love him and want him back home. We still have sex sometimes, but I know he’s seeing someone else. He says he still loves me. What should I do?

Dr. Young, your response?

Your boyfriend has made it clear that he doesn’t value your relationship. Tell him you are going to stop seeing him because you don’t want to be a booty call. To help you stand your ground, get to the bottom of the issues that keep you holding on. Complete this sentence: “I’m afraid if I never see him again ...” Some common answers I’ve heard and the corresponding issues they represent are: “No one else will love me” (self-worth); “I’ll be too lonely” (lack of social support); “There are no good men out there” (distorted belief that all men are dogs). Work with a counselor or self-help resources to address the issues your answers reveal. Now flip the sentence to the positive: “The best things about never seeing him again will be ...” Reread your answers daily to

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