Poor Meri. Now, we see the sad downside of life as a sister wife. Despite all that talk about a big, loving family, Meri is so lonely and isolated that she’s lured into an online affair that turns terrifying.
No, Kody Brown: no one man can satisfy four different sister wives. It’s physically and emotionally impossible — that’s clear — and so it really isn’t too surprising when Meri makes a teary confession in the May 8 premiere of Sister Wives that she felt so deeply and utterly alone with daughter Mariah, 20, away at college that Meri became enmeshed in a complicated “friendship” with “a man” online.
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As if that wasn’t bad enough — was it a form of cheating on Kody? — it turned out that the man that Meri had been talking to online and by text and phone turned out to be a woman. Meri had been “catfished”, and her “catfisher” had lured her in with friendship and then love. “I started talking to this person [online]. I was in a weird place, trying to figure out my own happiness. We were becoming friends and laughing and he was saying all the right things,” Meri finally confessed during a family therapy session. “He started saying he had love for me…and when he started to say ‘love’, it was flattering.”
Meri’s “catfisher” introduced her to other “friends” online, so the lonely sister wife mistakenly started to believe that she actually had a group of much-needed new friends. But these all turned out to be the invention of the one woman who had targeted her. When Meri began to catch on that she had been tricked, and demanded that her online guy friend meet her in person, her catfisher grew vicious. “He verbally abused me and threatened me — ‘I will ruin your life, I will ruin your family’,” she ‘fessed up on the show, about the threats she had received. Meri also became paranoid that her catfisher was bugging her phone and listening in to her conversations; that “he” was tracking her. “He” started to blackmail her — threatening to go public with everything he knew about her.
But here’s the sad fact: Meri was so alone and lonely inside her big house on the little cul de sac where all the sister wives lived that she was vulnerable — the perfect target for a catfisher. The other three wives still had several children at home. Robyn was pregnant with her second baby — a girl — by Kody. And Kody was still crazy busy in his manic routine of trying to husband four wives and be father to 17 children.
No one could understand what was going on with the increasingly distant Meri. “I’d known for a while that something was going on — she kept saying, ‘I’m trapped’,” and then she would cry,” recalls clueless Kody. Robyn thought that Meri wanted to leave the family. But here’s the bottom line: Meri’s fate as the first sister wife in the family, with only one child, has been that she’s been going through “empty nesterhood” without a partner to share it.
She admitted that she’d been holed up at home, alone, and didn’t want to intrude on her other sister wives and Kody. “I didn’t want to overstep my bounds and interrupt your time together,” she said. Jeez, sharing a husband four ways is really a drag. Strangely, even when Kody was spending his allotted time with Mariah, he had no idea about what she was going through. “I felt like I was kicked to the curb when you were making ‘friends’ and then ‘enemies’ with these bad people. I was never included…you kept it quiet from me,” Kody complained. “I thought you just wanted to be out of your relationship with me.”
Well, maybe Meri should really think about that. Hooray for you, Meri, for finally getting up the guts to put some blame where it needed to go: on your polygamist husband. “I was angry at you, Kody, because if you and I had taken better care of our relationship, then I would’t have been in such a vulnerable place and been open to other friendships that led to such deception,” Meri rightly pointed out. Fortunately, Meri’s sister wives, led by Robyn, offered up support — we “need to make a deal, not to shut each other out” — and Kody was all about hugs. “I’m sorry, Meri, that this happened to you. We’ll be there for you,” he promised. “It will be OK.”
I sure hope so. The life of a sister wife beyond childbearing time is clearly a lonely and confusing.
Hollywoodlifers, did you feel for Meri — could you see why she’d be an easy target for a cruel catfisher? Let me know.