Relationships are full of uncertainty, but exponentially so when you marry a stranger. Building a foundation of trust that will lead to emotional and physical intimacy can be a challenge.
That’s certainly the case for 30-year-old, Karen Landry and Miles Williams, 26, who took a leap of faith on Season 11 of “Married at First Sight”.
In part one of this interview Karen expounded on her definition of a “masculine” man and what that looks like in a relationship. Make sure to click the link if you haven’t read it yet.
In this part, we’ll address mental health, the role of emotional intimacy, and the fear of being hurt.
Before we get into the deeper issues, I want to talk about the unique relationship you and Miles have with Woody and Amani. You recently revealed on “Married at First Sight Unfiltered” that you and Amani knew each other prior to MAFS. Can you explain your previous relationship with her?
Amani and I were acquaintances prior to the show. We had mutual friends and had met several times.
This is the first time the experts have found matches for two best friends. What challenges and rewards did that represent for you as a bride to one of these men?
It didn’t present any challenges for me. It’s a hard process that no one can truly understand unless they are going through it. As the bride to Miles, I was glad he had that support. It was also helpful to me personally to talk to Woody at times when I was trying to figure out things with Miles; [for example] gifts, advice, and how to communicate with him.
Woody and Amani are in a very different place physically and emotionally than you and Miles are. Did comparing of the two relationships enter into it?
I think we all made very conscious efforts not to fall into the comparison trap. Everyone has their own journey, and that’s the beautiful part.
Now let’s talk about the day Miles shared his diagnosis of clinical depression. What was going through your mind as he revealed that to you?
My first thought was, ‘Wow. It’s dope that he can openly talk about this, especially being a Black man.’
My second thought was, ‘How can I support him, and will he be able to articulate his needs to me?’
My third thought was, ‘Great talk. Now let’s get back to having fun on our honeymoon and continue to get to know one another.’
That moment helped me see some of his emotional maturity and was a positive one for us both.
Those thoughts surprise me as it appeared you were struggling with a very difficult and vulnerable revelation from Miles.
Everything is not what it seems [laughs]. I guess this is another moment I was misunderstood.
In a private interview, you admitted you weren’t prepared to hear that confession on your honeymoon and that it was a red flag. Is that something you think he shared too soon?
It wasn’t a red flag to me. I didn’t expect to hear it during the honeymoon because I wasn’t expecting us to feel so comfortable with one another that quickly. But I didn’t mind that he shared it at all.
What impact did hearing his diagnosis have on your relationship? Did you see Miles as a less suitable or masculine partner?
It really had no impact and I definitely didn’t see him as a less suitable or masculine partner for sharing that. The clip of me talking about wanting a masculine guy was in reference to what I generally look for in men—not at all in reference to mental health. I was just as pissed as the audience [was], watching it back. They were not then, and will never be, related in my mind.
That’s an important clarification so thank you for your honesty. Let’s move on to your relationship with Miles. At this point, we see him making every effort to ensure you feel comfortable in your marriage.
Miles was making effort, but what I really wanted from him was to just relax and chill. Don’t be so caught up on trying to be, ‘Mr. Perfect Husband’ that you don’t express your frustrations, disagreements, thoughts, wants or needs. The risk in this process is that you may not even like your spouse to begin with. I just wanted to see if we genuinely meshed for who we are, not what we think we should be as husband and wife.
Marriage is a two-way street. What are you doing in return in meeting his needs, both emotional and physical?
I can’t force physical intimacy. It is tied to emotional intimacy for me.
Right now, I am focused on building the right level of emotional intimacy with Miles so that we can naturally progress in our relationship.
We’re having to have deeper conversations earlier than you would normally have since we married ‘strangers’. I’ve had to share some pretty deep, painful things with him. Those moments can be overwhelming, but they are necessary for building trust and emotional intimacy.
You want Miles to share his innermost thoughts, wants, and needs. What would your efforts look like in creating a safe environment for him to reveal who he is without fear of rejection?
I think my efforts include me sharing what I’ve been through, in hopes that he will see how open, honest and vulnerable I am being with him. My thought is that if he sees I am sharing everything with him, he will continue to feel safe sharing everything with me too.
You told Pastor Cal that you were afraid of being hurt. Is this fear prohibiting you from fully engaging in a relationship?
I think most people are afraid of being hurt. Truth be told, the world knows the tip of the iceberg of what I’ve been through. Miles knows more.
I’ve worked hard to move past my pain and have a high level of awareness when it comes to how those things have affected me. I don’t hide it. I own it and I understand it. I’ve dealt with my pain and ensured I had time to heal between past relationships and situationships.
How do you move forward to build trust with Miles, while being cognizant that you aren’t holding him responsible for past relationships?
I plan to continue to be open with Miles and to explain to him how and why I am feeling certain ways to ensure I am not holding him responsible for past relationships.