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USA Insider Temptation Island

Is It Ever OK to Out Your Partner Like [Spoiler] Did in the Temptation Island Season 5 Premiere?

One person broke their partner's trust in the Season 5 premiere of Temptation Island, but not in the way you think they would.

By Tyler McCarthy
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The premiere of Temptation Island Season 5 seemed like a cavalcade of non-stop relationship drama as viewers were introduced to both the singles and the couples, the latter of whom are all rife with relationship issues they’re hoping to settle. However, Christopher Wells and Marisela Figueroa's couples tiff stood out among the rest. 

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Watch Temptation Island on the USA app and Peacock.

SPOILER ALERT for the Premiere of Temptation Island Season 5

Toward the end of the premiere episode, Christopher and Marisela were sitting down with the singles and discussing what they want in the future. As he’s explaining why he isn’t ready for kids, he noted Marisela wants something else before she’s ready to settle down. Immediately she stares daggers at him and he announces he’s moving off the subject. To break the tension, she tells him he can say what he was going to say. Immediately, he revealed that she was interested in having a relationship with a woman. 

Although Marisela consented to air the moment, she later confessed it was something that gave her pause since her family does not yet know. More to the point, she got emotional as she realized Chris was oversharing and telling a deeply personal secret about her in order to communicate and connect with other women.

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While Chris’ approach to Marisela’s coming out was clearly problematic, they’re far from the only couple who have to navigate the dynamics of one partner coming out as a member of the LGBTQ+ community. While each person’s coming out journey is unique to them, there’s one pretty universal constant all partners should know: Don’t out another person.  

“Trust is foundational to any healthy relationship. It's really hard to go much further without good trust. So, when you have someone's trust breached at all in a relationship… It's a very difficult thing to repair,” Melanie Wilcox, a licensed psychologist and professor at Augusta University, told USA Insider. 

“It’s not impossible, but difficult,” she continued. “But given the stakes, given how personal the nature of something like choosing to disclose one’s sexual orientation [is], we're not just talking about a breach of trust. We're talking, ‘My partner has made a choice to divulge something about me that I trusted them with that's deeply personal that can have harmful consequences to me if it's shared.’”

Although you can’t put a secret like that back in the vault, Wilcox, whose specialties include working with LGBTQIA individuals, said it’s not impossible for couples to move forward from something like this. As a couple, they need to figure out how to repair the trust that was violated. It’s not dissimilar from infidelity. However, it takes a lot of hard work. As for Chris’ insecurities about his partner being attracted to more than one gender, that’s more complicated. 

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In the episode, Chris noted he’s worried about the implications of dating a bisexual or pansexual woman and feels she wants something he’ll never be able to provide. Wilcox notes that’s not an unusual anxiety to have, but not founded in reality.

“Unfortunately, I think that's a common worry in these situations. One of the biggest reasons is that there are a lot of untrue and harmful stereotypes of bisexual and pansexual individuals having to do with things like promiscuity. The idea that someone who's bisexual or pansexual is going to be more likely to cheat,” Wilcox explained. “I know sometimes it sort of feels like that's just the math on it, right? Like, that's that many more people in the world that you could potentially cheat with or want something else from.”

She added: “I can't stress enough, these are not OK ways to understand bisexuality or pansexuality, but they're common, harmful stereotypes and that stuff can sort of subtly feed into how we might react when we learn that a partner is bi or pansexual.” 

Overcoming those stereotypes is part of the individual work she suggests all partners do when they need to work through a potentially relationship-ruining event like this.

So, what do you do if your partner comes out to you as bi or pansexual (besides ensuring that secret is theirs to tell, of course)? Simple, just ask. Wilcox says there’s no secret to supporting your partner when they come out other than simply being supportive, which can be as simple as asking them what they need or want from you at that moment. As for the other person's insecurities, there will be a time to bring them up, but it is not when your partner comes out.

With a little personal introspection, one may find they don't need to bring it up at all. Wilcox points out that coming out to your partner is a huge sign of trust and, in its way, commitment. So the idea that coming out is a confession that they need something beyond what you can offer is more often than not the exact opposite of what’s going on.

“It says something about the trust that they do have for you when they share it with you,” Wilcox concluded. “So, experience that as a positive thing for your relationship, that they are trusting you with this, and respond as such by honoring the importance of that disclosure.” 

New episodes of Temptation Island air Wednesdays at 9/8c on USA Network and the next day on Peacock

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