Tiffany and Richie struggle to deal with grief and anger after several tragedies have rocked their marriage. And, Ashley and Erin say their marriage is on the brink of divorce after infidelity and a failed open marriage. Can these unions be saved?
A Traumatic Start
Tiffany and Richie describe the beginning of their marriage — and several tragedies that have left them struggling to hold it all together.
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“Tiffany thinks that I should deal with grief the way that she does.”
After their miscarriage and stillbirth, Tiffany and Richie went on to have two healthy children. When they had their third child, they say they were overjoyed. But then the unthinkable happened again, and it nearly destroyed them both.
“I couldn’t save him. I blame myself.”
Onstage, Tiffany is overcome with emotion. “I just don’t think I should ever be happy again because I couldn’t save him,” she tells Dr. Phil, wiping away her tears. “Part of me just died that day with him.”
“Your belief is that he has shut down about this,” Dr. Phil says, indicating her husband. She agrees. He turns to Richie and says, “But you do hurt inside.” He urges Richie to tell his wife what he feels.
“I miss him,” he tells Tiffany with a trembling voice. “He was my baby. I hurt. I love you. I want to make this work. I want our family to stay together forever. That’s what I feel. I don’t want our marriage to fall apart. We’ve already lost enough.”
The nightmare wasn’t over for this couple. Another inconceivable event rocked their world.
“He said, ‘I’m sorry. I don’t know what’s wrong with me’ and started crying, and I just hung up the phone.”
“You get, for Richie, this is a double loss?” Dr. Phil asks Tiffany. “Someone has victimized his daughter, and he also lost his father.”
Tiffany admits she was focused on protecting their daughter at all costs. She says she’s tried to put herself in Richie’s shoes but admits maybe she didn’t try hard enough.
Dr. Phil tells her that because her husband grieves differently than her doesn’t mean he’s not hurting. He says the whole family has to heal from their traumas.
“Don’t let the legacy of Mikey be to look down and see his mother cry every day of her life.”
Tiffany tells Richie, “I want you to understand that I can’t be as strong as you. I just want normal back. It’s going to take a long time to get there, but I want to be back to being the mom that I was, making my kids laugh, making my husband laugh, because I’m not that person right now. But I want our marriage to work.”
Dr. Phil encourages her, “Look at him and say, ‘We are not going to quit on each other or our family.’”
“We are not going to quit on each other or our family,” she says.
Richie stands and embraces his wife.
A Rocky Start
Ashley and Erin say their seven-year marriage has been on the brink of divorce since the beginning. Find out the decision they made that did more harm than good.
“He had physical needs I couldn’t always take care of.”
Erin was so upset after discovering Ashley’s betrayal, that he says he became depressed. Although they found out Ashley was pregnant with their second baby, Erin moved out. They’ve been separated for six months and now have a 6-week-old baby.
“The past six months have been an emotional rollercoaster,” Ashley says.
“Every few weeks or so, I’ll try to move back in, see what we can do to work on it,” Erin says. “We’ll have sex and basically, it dies from there.”
“He says he just can’t let go of what I did,” Ashley says. “And he believes that I damaged him so deeply that he’s incapable of being the husband who I need him to be.”
“I would like to see her change, but at this point, the trust is so far gone, it’s hard to even look at her anymore,” Erin says.
Onstage, Dr. Phil asks, “Can we all agree that this open marriage idea doesn’t work?”
The couple agrees, although they disagree on whose idea it was. Erin says the idea came from Ashley during one of their counseling sessions. “She was drained by my sex drive and getting my needs met,” he says.
Ashley says it was her husband’s idea. “He’s right in that he has high sex drive and needs, and he felt I was being burdened with having to meet those needs sexually,” she says.
“So, this was your gift to her,” Dr. Phil says to Erin. He says he doesn’t believe that Erin’s affairs before they opened their marriage were just emotional. Dr. Phil asks him, “So, you’re done? She catches you six times cheating. You catch her once cheating on you, and you’re like, ‘I’m out’?”
Erin says when Ashley became pregnant with their second child, they had to take a paternity test because of her infidelity. “It was the straw that broke the camel’s back. It’s just so hard for me to get over,” he says.
“It’s really hard to take back stupid,” Dr. Phil says. “When you go make a decision to get in an open marriage, that’s just stupid!” He continues, “So, when guys get together and make a stupid decision, and then get mad at each other for what happens within that stupid decision, that just seems unfair.”
“For you to be judging her harshly is a little hypocritical.”
Dr. Phil urges the couple to give his plan 90 days, and if at the end of that they decide they can’t stay married, then they can shift their focus to co-parenting their children without conflict. Ashley and Erin agree.