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‘Love Is Blind’ put infidelity front and center in wedding episode. Seeing that conversation on TV matters, experts say.

The impact of generational trauma was on display during the Love Is Blind Season 6 finale.

Clay Gravesande, who was engaged to Amber Desiree “AD” Smith, said no at the altar as it appeared the couple was ready to wed.

While AD said “I do,” Clay couldn’t meet her there. “AD, I love you. I don’t think it’s responsible for me to say ‘I do,’” he told her. “I know fully I’m not ready for marriage.”

His decision ran deep. Throughout the season, he talked about his concerns. He worried about being the best husband possible and didn’t want to cheat on his spouse. He opened up about how his fears were affected by his parents, Trevor and Margarita Gravesande.

He said his dad, who was married to his mom for almost 24 years before they divorced, cheated on her and even brought him on “infidelity trips” with him when he was a kid.

As Margarita and Trevor talked after Clay’s decision not to marry AD, a conversation unfolded that is rarely seen on a reality dating show between two people who weren’t contestants.

“Kids, when they grow up and see things, it’s like, ‘Is marriage for real? Or is marriage something that you get into and you lie and you deceive?’” Margarita said to Trevor. “And he took a lot of that to the altar with his decision.”

The candid conversation brought Trevor to tears and shined a light on how his actions affected his son’s issues with commitment.

Trevor talked about how his father was rarely in his life and how it affected him. Margarita was empathetic, saying she always forgave him for his infidelity, but the show also brought up new hurtful things that had happened in the past.

She said Clay wanting to go on Love Is Blind showed he wants to break the cycle but that it’s difficult for him.

“Tell him to meet somebody like you. I met you. You know. Tell him to meet somebody like his mom,” Trevor replied.

“Yeah, but you met me but you wasn’t good to me,” she said.

“In general, I think [this episode] will go a long way to humanizing cheaters and showing people the underlying reasons why some cheat so they can either get help for themselves or understand better why someone may have cheated on them,” Nicole Moore, a love-and-relationship coach, told Yahoo Entertainment. “It looks as if Clay was in the process of truly realizing how much he needed to heal from the influence of his father and I hope that others watching will be inspired to heal too.”

Saying no

After saying no at the altar, Clay approached AD in her dressing room to try to further explain why he wasn’t ready to get married and that his decision was a last-minute “game-time decision.” AD said she felt like a “sacrifice” who was “used” on his journey of self-actualization. In her on-camera interview, she said she didn’t regret saying “I do,” but she didn’t plan on continuing to date him despite his interest in continuing their relationship.

Jennifer Allen, who was an officiant on the Dallas-based Love Is Blind Season 3, says she wasn’t surprised Clay said no.

“It wasn’t too far-fetched, just simply because I feel like he kind of had this built-in crutch of, well, these are kind of some things that I’m working on,” she told Yahoo Entertainment.

Clay and AD before their wedding dayClay and AD before their wedding day

Clay and AD on a date on Love Is Blind. (©Netflix/Courtesy Everett Collection)

As a Black woman, Allen said watching the conversation that Trevor and Margarita had is “super important.”

“That whole ‘what happens in the house, stays in the house’ is a true thing [in] Black culture and it’s so crazy how, despite everybody growing up in different households, how we share so many of the same types of experiences,” she explained.

“Television truly does shape our perceptions and seeing Clay’s mom really let his dad know that he is partly responsible for Clay’s commitment issues will shape viewers’ awareness in a very positive way,” Moore said. “It was incredible to witness that Clay’s dad was somewhat unaware of the impact that bringing Clay along to witness his cheating had on Clay. I think that moment will resonate with viewers who are parents and spark some amazing conversations with their children to hopefully mitigate any negative impact that their relationship issues have had.”

Carrying pain from parents’ divorces

AD, whose parents also got divorced, expressed early on in the season that she had a habit of trying to fix men and needed to break it. She also said that Clay was the type of guy she’d usually date.

Clay was open about his concerns with infidelity. Not only was he capable of talking about it, he was self-aware about how difficult his parents’ marriage was for him and talked about having a lack of Black role models when it came to monogamy.

“Some people can read that as an attachment avoidance, his intimacy issues, he’s not ready. Some people see it as just good TV, because it’s kind of startling,” Tammy Nelson, a psychotherapist and relationship expert told Yahoo Entertainment. “He was acting in integrity, with his beliefs about how he could make a commitment that he believed in, like, ‘Don’t fake it.’”

AD and Clay in Love Is BlindAD and Clay in Love Is Blind

AD and Clay in Love Is Blind. (©Netflix/Courtesy Everett Collection)

Allen hopes Trevor and Margarita’s conversation opens the door for more families to address hurt.

“In this day and age, it is good to see an older couple who had been married for [24 years], where on the outside, someone else may have viewed that as a healthy, thriving marriage when in reality, not only was [Trevor] cheating, but he was taking his child with him to cheat on his mama,” Allen said. “It’s really important for people, whether you’re the man or the woman in the situation, or on whatever side of the infidelity … to see what it looks like when you allow somebody to speak the hurt that they have without you having a rebuttal.”

As the Love Is Blind cast prepares to reunite March 13, it looks like Clay and AD’s conversations are far from over.

Love Is Blind: The Reunion Season 6 streams March 13 at 9 p.m. ET on Neflix.

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