‘Struggle Love’. Many of us have heard the term before and should try to avoid it at all costs, but for those of us unfamiliar with the concept, what exactly is it?

According to a Black Doctor article, ‘struggle love’ is defined as “a relationship where one partner experiences long-term stress as a result of the other partner’s actions or inactions during their relationship.”

Examples of struggle love include cheaters who are supposed to be in monogamous relationships, people who ghost and return when they choose – only to ghost again, and any other relationship where one partner is waiting for the other partner to choose to respect and honor their relationship.

And then there are those “suckas” for love who let people make straight-up fools out of them — and on national television, at that!

Take, for example, Paige Banks and Chris Williams from Lifetime’s hit series, “Married at First Sight.” If you’re not familiar with the show, “Married at First Sight” is a reality show where couples are set up to be married.

The kicker? The couples don’t get to meet each other or see what they look like until the day of their wedding.

After the wedding, the couples get to know one another better on their one-week honeymoon.

From the ‘honeymoon’ stage, the couples return home to ‘reality’ to live together for another week and then must decide to stay together or get a divorce.

If you have not been watching the show, we warn you there will be spoilers here so continue on at your own risk.

Paige and Chris, who were the only Black couple on this season, had us cheering in our seats until we realized what we thought was a healthy representation of ‘Black Love’ quickly turned into a “match made from hell.”

For weeks, viewers have been taken on a rollercoaster ride since the day of the wedding when Chris said “oh S**t” when he saw Paige walking down the aisle for the very first time.

MAFS: Paige Wasn't Ready For This Process Either | MadameNoire

(Photo credit: Lifetime)

We, at first, thought he was happy to see what was before his eyes until he told the cameras that Paige was “not physically his type.” It was even more insulting as he told Paige’s bridesmaids that she is not a “trophy wife.”

If that wasn’t shocking enough, Chris still decided to move forward and consummate the marriage, only for Paige to be left emotionally drained after she discovered Chris was engaged to his now ex-fiancée just a few months before marrying her on the show.

If that is not enough, Chris confessed to Paige that his ex-fiancée is pregnant with his child, admitting that he was sleeping with both women at the same time.

Paige shocked the audience by saying she is committed to the marriage in spite of his revelations, and she believes it is ‘God ordained’ because of their passion for Christ.

The hurt in Paige’s eyes, however, told a different story and is a cautionary tale on why being a ‘ride or die’ is not always in the best interest of the woman.

The red flags were clear from the beginning.

Here are signs that women in particular can look out for to dodge manipulation, narcissism and avoid ‘struggle love’ as much as possible.

Controlling Behavior

We’ve seen throughout the show Chris’ controlling behavior, and his manipulation of Paige. If someone is trying to control how you move, your friends and who you are ‘allowed’ to talk to, that is a red flag that will just end up leaving you miserable.


Another example we saw in the show. Gas-lighting is a term described as a form of psychological abuse where a person or group makes someone question their sanity, perception of reality or memories.

They have no issues spending time without you

Ladies, if a man is okay leaving you alone for days or weeks on end, that is a huge red flag and will only leave you questioning your relationship.

They refuse to make your relationship public

This goes without saying. If someone is not ready to publicly claim you, your partner is not that serious about you and is potentially hiding you from his/her other dating options.


This is pretty self-explanatory. If they are cheating on you and you have concrete evidence, it may be best to walk away from the situation to avoid any more damage.

Have you ever experienced ‘struggle love’?

Watch the reality show couple during their therapy session…and consider yourself WARNED!