Putting your heart on the line takes guts. Major guts. But then again, so does spending three weeks on a remote island with your ex. During the season finale of Ex Isle, we saw both of these risks culminate in some significant final decisions as each cast member decided who, if anyone, they would go home with. In light of everything they learned, they trusted their instincts to make their choices — a #RelationshipGoal that’s so much easier said than done. Because of their careful, honest, decision-making, nobody went home in tears.
Psychiatrist Dr. Ish Major, the relationship expert who helped guide each of the former couples to this point, says he was overwhelmingly pleased with the choices that were made. But he adds an important caveat: ultimately, there is no wrong choice.
“You just have to make your choices with the best information you have at the time,” he says. “You’ll know immediately if it was the right choice based on how you feel.”
It’s hard to understand the feeling Dr. Ish is describing if you’ve never experienced it yourself. But look to the couples for example – when all was said and done, nearly every cast member was visibly relieved when they announced their future plans and listened to their partner’s intentions. Antonio and Ashley revealed to one another that they both wished to leave Ex Isle alone. Each of them were firm in their decision and sure that it was the right one. On the other hand, Brittany and Lucas were relieved to learn they each wanted to explore unresolved feelings with one another.
“The fact that they actually acknowledged there were still feelings there was a positive step for them,” Dr. Ish says of Brittany and Lucas, the only pair who came to the island together and also left together. Is it happily ever after? Probably not. But they broke out of their cycle of dependence and dismissal of one another — a dynamic they hoped would just resolve itself.
“Continuing the situation and hoping it gets better is the worst thing you can do,” says Dr. Ish. “You can’t let it go on if nobody’s progressing.”
That’s a sentiment Sean took very seriously, deciding once and for all he would be parting ways with Samantha. She, on the other hand, attempted a last-ditch effort to walk away with him.
Maybe Samantha was trusting her gut. Or maybe it was just wishful thinking.
“You can make your choice and hope for the best,” says Dr. Ish, validating Samantha’s feelings. “But the biggest part of trusting your gut involves a survival instinct. It’s that little voice in your head that, the more you listen to it, the louder it gets. At some point, you just have to look at the evidence. For Samantha, that evidence included the time Sean burned their marriage certificate, or the time he told her to kill herself. Sean couldn’t love her because he couldn’t love himself, and she needed to let him go.”
As we saw throughout the season, major relationship decisions come from a tricky place: the intersection of an emotional place and an rational, informed place. But, remembering that you always have the ability to decide is empowering.
“Life and relationships are not just things that happen to you,” Dr. Ish leaves us with. “The choices you make are based on how you feel about yourself.”