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Holding Space & Boring Is Safe | Perfect Match (S2E2)

Dating reality shows often reflect real-life relationship issues and can provide valuable lessons on healthy communication and relationship building. In Episode 2 of Season 2, we observe two couples—Elys and Harry, and Bryton and Dominique—each dealing with their unique challenges and dynamics.

Elys and Harry: Holding Space for Both Perspectives

In this episode, we witness a poignant moment between Elys and Harry. Elys expresses that she takes time to open up to people and acknowledges that she has heard things about Harry outside of the show. Despite this, she wants to allow herself the space to form her own perspective and experience with Harry. Harry, on the other hand, feels hurt and judged based on his past actions.

This scenario underscores the importance of holding space for both individuals' feelings. I once had a supervisor who emphasized that, in most conflicts, both parties are right in their own way. The key lies in what we do with this information and how we help the couple work together. In this situation, both Harry and Elys are justified in their feelings and perceptions.

For a relationship to thrive, it's essential to validate each other's feelings and to communicate openly about needs and concerns. Elys needs to feel safe and take her time to build trust, while Harry needs reassurance that he won't be solely defined by his past. The goal is to inquire about what each person needs to build trust and strengthen the relationship. Discussing how to communicate anxieties, seek reassurance, and address concerns is vital for developing a healthy partnership.

Bryton and Dominique: Recognizing Safety Over Toxicity

The dynamic between Bryton and Dominique continues to reveal toxic patterns. There's a pervasive misconception that a stable, calm relationship is "boring." However, what some perceive as boring can actually be a sign of safety. When individuals are accustomed to toxic and unhealthy relationships, their nervous system becomes familiar with that chaos. Yet, this does not equate to a healthy or safe environment in the long term.

Bryton exhibits a tendency to put other men down, which is indicative of his own insecurities. If he were confident in himself, he wouldn't need to belittle others to feel better. This behavior is also a passive-aggressive way to influence Dominique's decisions, steering them in a direction that benefits him rather than respecting her autonomy. For instance, calling Chris “Prince Charming” in front of Dominique is an attempt to manipulate her perception and choices.

Bryton’s reaction upon exiting the show further highlights his inability to manage emotions when things don’t go his way. Instead of reflecting on his actions and considering areas for personal growth, he immediately puts Dominique down for her decision. This lack of self-reflection and emotional regulation is a clear indicator of his immaturity and insecurity.

Lessons and Reflections

For those who find themselves in similar situations, whether in reality TV or real life, these interactions provide valuable lessons. Healthy relationships require mutual respect, understanding, and the ability to communicate openly about feelings and needs. Holding space for both partners’ emotions and validating each other's experiences is crucial for building trust and intimacy.

If you recognize patterns of dismissiveness, manipulation, or inability to handle emotions constructively in your relationships, it’s important to seek help and support. As a therapist, I encourage individuals to engage in self-reflection, seek professional guidance if needed, and strive to build relationships that are based on mutual respect, trust, and emotional safety.

Remember, safety and stability in a relationship are not boring; they are essential for your well-being and long-term happiness. It's okay to seek out and expect a relationship where you feel secure and valued. You deserve to be in a relationship where your feelings are validated, your boundaries are respected, and your well-being is prioritized.

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