Whether Blue Therapy is a piece of fact or fiction, the cultural relevance of the online miniseries cannot be denied. Blue Therapy uses the context of a “therapy session” to address the issues plaguing modern relationships. No stranger to “trash” guilt pleasure like entertainment, Blue Therapy and provides a reflection of modern relationships and attempts to marry 2nd generational.
Jamel & Deborah: The topics tackled in the therapy include conflicting priorities, trust and control issues
Paul & Chioma: The topics tackled in the therapy include Paul’s controlling nature, lack of romance and intimacy, different preferences.
Issue 1: You Want to Spend But I Want to Save
If you’re unaware of the situation, Deborah wants her partner Jamel to take her on expensive holidays, fancy restaurants and shower her with luxury presents because that is what she expects from her partner and that is the experience Jamel provided in the preliminary stages of the relationship. I do agree with Deborah, in the fact that if you set a precedence at the beginning of the relationship, there is an expectation that the same standard will be continued throughout the relationship. I can attest to the fact that no woman wants to be stuck in a relationship with a partner who’s too “comfortable” and ceased all the romantic gestures (e.g. dates and presents) because they feel there’s no longer a reason to chase you. However, I believe if you see a future with someone you must understand there are natural eb and flows in finances, workloads and availability. As cliché as it sounds saving is literally short term pain for long term gain. Consequently, temporary sacrifice is needed and I feel like Deborah is showing her age and the understandable differences in priorities. Deborah is still in “Aayyyyyyyyy” stage of her 20s when you can afford to flirt with overdraft because you have no responsibilities or major financial obligations – late 20s are a different prerogative. Jamel is thinking long term about building credit and saving for a deposit, whereas Deborah is trying to do image gang and replicate a lifestyle she’s only seen on social media.
Issue 2: I Don’t Trust You, Your Phone or Your Clubhouse
Deborah has a recurring issue with Jamel regarding his phone activity specifically why does he have so many girls on his phone, why can’t she go through his phone and why he is always on his phone. Central to her trust issues is the belief that he’s acting disrespectful online and entertaining girls on social media. Jamel has explained to Deborah that he utilises social media as a
business avenue and the majority of his clients are women and he works off word of mouth therefore he needs to establish a good rapport with his clients. However, accusations of “shadiness” and trust issues continue to plague their relationship. In the first episode she hinted at issues regarding infidelity with the guys she’s dated in the past. Also, as the sessions unravel, we learn more about Jamel’s questionable actions e.g. leaving the room to answer a phone call and booking an Afronation ticket despite previously communicating the fact that he’s not going. However, Deborah’s resorting to social media stalking, requests for locations, popping up and demands to go through his phone is a massive cause for concern. As a partner, it’s an unstated rule that the pacification of certain insecurities is needed, but the transference of emotional baggage from one relationship to the next with no attempt to rectify those insecurities is unhealthy. Personally, I think if you have to endure all that “higgardy hagger” you should just break up. If I have to play Detective Cluedo in order to feel safe and secure in my relationship, or morph into James Bond to maintain some privacy, I’d respectfully log out. Does the fact that Jamel admitted to cheating with his ex – ironically the one female acquaintance – she was okay with him actually being in contact with change my opinion – my answer is no. If your intuition is causing you to doubt your partner to the severity where you’re having to randomly “pop up”, ask to share his location or want to snoop through their phone, then sis it’s time to terminate the relationship. Although I boast about having a degree in “preeing”, I have never cyberstalked, “pop up” or tried to look through my partner’s phone. Firstly, because I feel like I would be wasting my time, secondly because I wouldn’t want my partner to reciprocate the nonsense.
Issue 3: You’re Too Controlling
The issue of control and wanting to be the alpha individual within the relationship was present in both couples. In my opinion the whole concept of one person leading (the alpha) and the other following (beta) is antiquated because traditional gender roles no longer exist, it doesn’t foster independent fulfilment and as we see in Blue Therapy, the potential for resentment is real. At the heart of Deborah’s control issues was her desire to control Jamel’s time – specifically Jamel’s time away from her. She wanted to control the amount of time he spent on Clubhouse; control his reply time; control the time he spent working with clients as well as control his client base. This can be partly attributed to the aforementioned trust issues, as a method to stop her from getting hurt. Nonetheless I think it’s wotless behaviour to be with someone you feel you have to puppet to be happy and it’s incredibly unhealthy be with anyone who wants to exert excessive amounts of control over your life. Despite her actions not being definitively abusive, it sets the tone for a toxic or co-dependent relationship. I empathise with Deborah not feeling like a priority in her relationship, but there needs to be less wilfulness towards compromise and communication.
From my perspective Paul’s control issues stem from his desire to manage every aspect in his life and his perception as Chioma as a cog in his life. Paul tried to control Chioma’s online persona, diet and who she conducted business with. His need to control every situation had penetrated into the bedroom, which sadly according to Chioma, is the only penetration happening in that household. The only thing sadder than scheduling sex, is scheduling sex and still not getting sex. Moreover, under the guise of support and motivation he monitors and micromanages whether she has completed her monthly tasks. I understand the intensely patriarchal, biblical infused culture from which Paul and Chioma originates and thus the expectation from a woman to submit to the man as the head of the household, however his level of micromanaging appeared to be overbearing Chioma, the first step towards a toxic potentially abusive relationship.
Concluding Thoughts: Both relationships have fatal issues centred upon control, trust and conflicting personality types. If you’re in a relationship akin to the ones portrayed, break up because in my opinion it’s not worth prolonging the inevitable. I’m a pro therapy in all forms (i.e. individual, couple, family and group) and frequently preach the power of therapy, however in these relationships it feels redundant. With the amount of red flagrant red flags, these relationships feel like we’re stuck watching a Tyler Perry movie .