Nikki Bella began exploring her fertility on the May 21 episode of Total Bellas, and it took a bit of a toll on her relationship with Artem Chigvintsev. Nikki was 35 years old when the episode was filmed (she’s now 36), and her doctor highly suggested that she freeze her eggs. She also explained that Nikki’s best option would actually be to freeze embryos (eggs that were already fertilized with sperm). However, Nikki was hesitant about using Artem’s sperm at this point in their relationship. “I don’t want to to have any influence from Artem or anyone else about freezing my eggs,” Nikki explained. “It’s about me as a woman and my body. I want to make those decisions on my own.”
She explained that she loved Artem, but she didn’t feel ready to have “frozen children” with him. “It’s being bound to someone forever,” she said. “I can’t do that.” Eventually, Nikki came to the final decision that she wanted to freeze her eggs on her own, and not make embryos with Artem. She knew she had to talk to him about it, though, and was worried about how he’d react. She wound up bringing the conversation up while they were grocery shopping, and it didn’t go great.
Artem made it clear to Nikki that he felt like it wasn’t fair that he wasn’t involved in the process at all, and let her know that she was making it seem like he didn’t have a say in the situation at all. “To me, decisions like this in a relationship shouldn’t be made by one person,” he admitted. “That’s what upsets me the most. When you say you don’t want to go into detail makes me feel like you don’t want to have the discussion.” In a confessional, he added, “It makes me feel like she doesn’t see this partnership going any farther than what it is and that’s a hard realization because I want more.” Nikki tried to assure Artem that she does she a future with him, but the conversation ended with him still being upset about not being included in her egg freezing conversation.
Nikki hoped that her sister, Brie Bella, would sympathize with her in the situation, but Brie was team Artem all the way. She told Nikki that it wasn’t fair for her to get drunk and “promise [Artem] the world,” but then decide she wasn’t ready for a future with him while sober. “He thinks he’s going to marry you,” Brie pointed out. “He thinks he’s going to have your babies. And you make him feel that way.” Nikki admitted that she did feel bad for putting Artem “on a roller coaster” in their relationship.
Eventually, Nikki and Artem had another conversation about the situation. He explained to her that he wasn’t necessarily upset about her decision — but just that she made it without him. “We are in a relationship and if it’s going to go anywhere, it’s important to talk about those things before making those decisions,” Artem explained. “Even if we came to the conclusion that you just freeze your eggs, I would be okay with it. I just want to participate.”
Nikki admitted that she was simply “scared” to bring up the conversation because she didn’t want to be pressured into making a decision she didn’t want to. Artem assured her that he would never put any pressure on her, and Nikki was so relieved. She wanted to make sure that Artem knew she was serious about their future, though, so she asked him to move in with her (for real, this time). Artem was thrilled that Nikki was finally ready to take this next step in their relationship, and he agreed.
At that point, Artem decided he wanted to take things a step further by going engagement ring shopping with Brie. Unfortunately, when he met up with the jeweler, he was in for quite a rude awakening when he heard the prices of the rings he was looking at. “Seeing what I can afford versus what I think she deserves is in a much different realm,” he admitted. We’ll have to see how it plays out when Total Bellas continues on Thursdays at 9:00 p.m. on E!