#RHONY, Psychology, public figures, Reality TV

#RHONY: “Third Wife Syndrome”

I cannot take credit for the above title, but it was explained to me regarding some dynamics on Real Housewives of New York.

Third Wife Syndrome is not necessarily about literally being a third wife. However, it’s about one who glamorizes a past marriage, putting a sheen on it that was lacking during the actual relationship…and during the subsequent muddy divorce.

The “syndrome” may also include clinging to a title — i.e. Sonja’s obsession with the Morgan name and Luann De Lesseps calling herself “The Countess” despite being long-divorced from the Count (and having survived “It’s Not About Tom” D’Agastino following other post-divorce relationships).

In the cases of Sonja and Luann, by all appearances their famous ex husbands have thoroughly moved on. However, these ladies seem to live in and lust for the glory days of their prior unions (Luann desiring the royalty attached to the “Countess” moniker rather than the Count himself, who reportedly ran off with an Ethiopian princess). These relationships appear far grander in the rearview mirror than they actually were.

Sonja’s marital demise was allegedly more sordid and salacious than she lets on. She claims it was a beautiful marriage, but if you’ve read RHONY cast mate Carole Radziwill’s most recent blog posts on BravoTV.com, or googled Ms. Tremont Morgan (Do so!), you’ll get some insight into the real story.

Housewife Dorinda Medley has tweeted, without mincing snark, that the current Mrs. Morgan (who is allegedly Sonja’s former bestie!) might not be so thrilled with Sonja’s recent statements idealizing her marriage with Mr. M…

Or the fact that Sonja talks about carrying on the family name through her business ventures (rather than focusing on having her daughter, a Morgan by blood, carry it on). I only regret that I never got to purchase a Morgan Toaster Oven to see how it stacks up to the old gadget in my kitchen. You know, the one that I abandon for the more high tech microwave. We all have our greater loves in life…But I digress.

Average folks like me have no problem saying we are publicists or writers, lawyers, doctors, gardeners, stay-at-home mothers, bloggers, job seekers, what have you….but when you are a hostess or a nurse and you’ve struck gold and married more in a minute than you would have made in a lifetime, it’s difficult letting a trumped up title go.

In fact, it’s easy to understand why one might glorify a union that irreparably shattered. I feel bad for Sonja because I get the sense that she is constantly plagued by What Ifs. I think she looks back now and has mentally applied a lacquered coating on that period with Mr. M. She thinks it was never actually half as bad as it was, and had she only done things differently….

I’m speculating, but based on her behavior this season, it gels.

We saw Dorinda explode when Sonja made her divorce out to be worse than Dorinda having buried a husband. On social media, people argued that a divorce can feel like a death. Some were annoyed with Dorinda for minimizing Sonja’s pain. However, I’m #TeamDorinda on this one. Dorinda actually divorced her husband Ralph around the same time Sonja divorced Mr. Morgan, a little known fact. Dorinda was fortunate enough to meet and marry the love of her life, Richard Medley, after that divorce from Ralph. As Carole mentions in her blog, we rarely hear a word about Ralph from Dorinda.

In fairness to Sonja however, people say that the best way to get over someone is by getting under someone new. As the Samantha Jones character of this franchise, Sonja Morgan has bedded numerous men, but it doesn’t seem that any of them have truly captivated her or have come close to being a “Mr. Right.” Getting under someone for Sonja would mean fully getting under….their spell, being totally and indisputably in love.

From everything she has conveyed on RHONY, Sonja is not ready for that and for the give and take that a serious relationship requires. But perhaps once this time comes for her – if she is ready for it any time soon- we’ll see a new Sonja who is realistic about the past and what to expect from the future. Perhaps we’ll see a Sonja who fully gets that her husband didn’t die prematurely during the happy days of a marriage (and regrets comparing her situation to Dorinda’s), but that bad things happened requiring them to part.

There are other Mrs. Morgans as Sonja was actually her ex’s FOURTH wife. (Regardless, I liked the term “Third Wife Syndrome” that has a certain ring to it.) There are the Mrs. Morgans who divorced Sonja’s Mr. M and there is also the woman who is currently married to him. My advice to Sonja is to remove herself from the Mrs. Morgan Club and leave the handling of that legendary last name to her daughter. She could then forge ahead anew with ventures under the Tremont name.

To paraphrase a popular Israeli expression: You change your name, you change your luck.

Incidentally, Tremont Toasters has a very nice ring to it.

Standard
Bravo TV, Reality TV

#RHONY Touching Base with Tinsley Mortimer

**From my Huffington Post archive, 8/24/17

Tinsley Mortimer is the most recent addition to the cast of Real Housewives of New York (RHONY). Currently airing its three-part reunion, the franchise offered an epic season filled with drama, drunken shenanigans, developing friendships and relationships and the dissolution of others. I recall briefly connecting with Tinsley when she was on the CW’s “reality show” High Society (you’ll see below why Reality Show is in quotes). The bubbly blonde, no stranger to the gossip columns in the early 2000s, reentered New York society via her Bravo debut this season after experiencing public humiliation – and a mugshot she wouldn’t let us forget about!

Although Tinsley is currently trotting the globe with steady beau Scott Kluth, she took time out of her busy schedule to answer questions for The Huffington Post. (Please note: This interview took place before the airing of Part 2 of the reunion when the ladies discussed voting – and not voting – in the last presidential election.)

You’re not a stranger to reality TV or the spotlight. Did taking part in this season of RHONY meet or exceed your expectations going in? How was this experience different (and BETTER, I’m greatly assuming) than High Society?

Taking part in this season of RHONY was a crazy, wild, tumultuous ride which exceeded my expectations on every front. These adjectives come to mind: hysterical, embarrassing, humiliating, frightening, and fun! Yes I’ve done TV before; however, I don’t think anything can prepare one for the rollercoaster called RHONY. If you can imagine getting ready for an event and the necessary preparations it takes…hair, make-up, clothing choices, etc., try having to do this almost every day! Now throw in dealing and interacting with some of the most confident and assertive ladies in New York, and you will have an idea of what it’s like to be on RHONY. This show is completely different from High Society, which was at times scripted. RHONY is an absolutely authentic depiction of a group of very strong, smart, tough, and opinionated New York women with varied and interesting pasts. Though our crazy behavior may seem unbelievable, everything you see is totally real.

Which of the ladies did you know before? How well did you actually know Sonja?

Sonja and I have been friends for fifteen years. She would chat with me at parties, she was always sweet to me. We reconnected a few years ago in Palm Beach, and she sometimes kindly called to check in on me. As for the other ladies, I occasionally ran into Luann at restaurants or functions in Palm Beach and I’ve run into a few of the other girls at events over the years.

You and Carol seem opposite in some ways. What is the key to the magic of this friendship? I love watching the two of you and to me, you guys seem like a great duo to hang out with.

I did not know Carole before the show so my friendship with her was unexpected and a nice surprise. Clearly, she is a girl with extraordinary intelligence, integrity, and character. She’s a very ‘cool’ chick and she could have looked at me in another light. Instead, she took the time to get to know me without any prejudice about my being a former ‘socialite.’ I think the ‘magic’ is the same as with any other good friendship…to be supportive, kind, and to have fun together.

 

You and Bethenny were a slow burn. Do you two hang out off camera now? Are you friends in real life?

 

The ridiculous story that Sonja leaked to Page Six really got to you. Are the two of you in a good place now? Do you have a friendship?

It wasn’t the Page Six piece itself that was so upsetting. It was the fact that someone I considered a friend would volunteer information to the press with the intent and purpose of making me look like someone I am not. So many untrue things have been written about me, particularly last year, so, of course, I am sensitive. I had just come out of an upsetting and humiliating experience and Sonja reached out to me when I was vulnerable. She generously offered me a safe haven that I could escape into and get my life back on track in NYC. I confided in Sonja, I trusted her, and she was the last person I thought would turn on me. I will always love her, however, for her extreme generosity in inviting me to stay with her. I sincerely hope we can repair our friendship, and I am confident we can.

 

What is it about Scott that makes him stand out and gives you more promise than previous relationships?

Scott is an amazing man. He comes from a strong family background and was raised with great morals, values, and integrity. He is incredibly brilliant, a self-made man, and a true gentleman. I so admire his work ethic and devotion to his business CouponCabin.com which he started when he was just 24. Scott’s authenticity and kindness is apparent to everyone. He’s really unlike any man I’ve ever known.

 

A bunch of us went back to binge the CW show High Society (shoutout to listeners of the Emotionally Broken Psychos Podcast and to Liz Bentley of EBP and host of Feathers in My Hair). Are you in touch with or do you have anything to do with any of the cast mates now?

I hope you enjoyed watching the show! I want to clear up a big misconception about “High Society” once and for all. The show wasn’t reality, it was satire. The producers initially wanted to film a docuseries that followed my real life. It was supposed to be called “Tinsleytown,” showing my life behind the red carpet and the glamour of New York as opposed to the glamour of Tinsletown or Hollywood. However, after my mom, sister and I signed on to do it, the producers decided to change the intent of the show. The entire storyline was altered to include feigned fights with “friends” who were not really my friends. We were placed in situations that were not real to us and that sometimes made us uncomfortable. Somehow the show turned into this satire on “high society” and how others might expect these people to behave. Other than my family, I don’t see any of the people who were in the cast.

You can catch up on past episodes of RHONY through the Bravo Now app and also On Demand. A brand new season is now airing Wednesday at 9/8c on Bravo.

 

Standard