Married at First Sight season 12 alum Ryan Oubre is finally speaking out about the difficult decision to divorce his now ex-wife Clara Berghaus.
According to People, Oubre, who proudly sported pro-Black paraphernalia throughout his stint on the show, penned and published a lengthy and candid social media post about his experience on Wednesday. There, he revealed the struggles he endured both on and off-camera during the season and the immense cultural differences, contradictions and misconceptions he dealt with during his brief marriage to Berghaus, who is white.
For context, the two strangers-turned-life-partners wed during season 12 of the reality series and were one of three couples to stay together during the finale, but announced their divorce a mere two months after the season’s reunion aired back in May. (At the time of this post, only one of season 12's couples remain married.)
“I’ve had several months to reflect on a very challenging moment in my life. Being a part of the show has taught me more about myself than I could have ever imagined. I’ve weighed the options of addressing the circumstances or choosing to continue to remain silent. I’ve decided to share my thoughts,” Oubre began. “I first want to say I’m not here to debate anyone’s feelings or emotions. You are allowed to feel the way you do—going through a divorce (not to mention a public one) is tough. The only advice I would give is [to] ask yourself ‘why do I feel this way?’ It’s exhausting and I get annoyed when my therapist does it but I normally come around and feel better about doing the work to understand.
“Secondly I hope you never have to experience a divorce, but if you do, you have the courage to do so with what you feel is right after taking time to come to peace with that decision,” she continued. “How someone chooses to express emotions from that decision, although different than how I choose to do so, is understandable and OK. We all process events in our lives differently.”
What I can no longer sit idly by for is untruthful statements to be continuously made about my family and friends. With that being said: getting married to a stranger is indescribable—words won’t ever describe it well. On one hand you fully trust the process and those involved and [on] the other, you think through what if this doesn’t work out. I’ve always lived my life knowing you can always go back to where you were if it doesn’t work out. The first thing I want to address. You can’t truly be open to marry another race and not want to marry their culture (or at least at the minimum understand it). The Black experience and Black culture are not monolithic, there’s no one size fits all shoe. It’s ever-evolving and changing with time. What I can say is: walking into a family gathering and not speaking to anyone and scrolling through your phone will never fly and declining food (outside of a food allergy or avoidance) because you don’t like the way it looks won’t help either. My brother is pescatarian and my sister in law doesn’t eat pork and we’ve made every family gathering work just fine.
By marrying into a different race/culture you inherently adopt parts of their identity. Most importantly, your kids 100% will, and your kids will need you to help navigate it. They’ll need you to help teach, train, and understand as best you can - a systematically racist system. Choosing not to attempt to understand and educate yourself is a red flag. To give context with this: Why am I driven? Why do I try to carry myself a certain way? Why do I not get upset or not fight? Why is purpose so important to me? Why did I ask my wife what motivates her? Because for 100s of years Black people couldn’t answer these questions. Black people couldn’t “do whatever they wanted”. I can’t afford to have a bad day at work or get upset and be labeled “the angry black guy”. I can’t waste opportunities that my parents labored so hard to provide. Because generations ago, my ancestors were born into the whip and died under the whip dreaming of what I may become. Because BIPOC aren’t afforded second chances all that often—we almost have to be...perfect. So that representation of me and understanding of what that representation means on a TV screen is important and it should be important to my partner.
As the show progressed, and we continued to have more conversations around this - my fear of not being understood was happening. While I intentionally avoided having such a complex conversation on camera, it was being discussed privately. I hoped the time away from the cameras would help make things better as we all deserve time to change and grow. This conversation started months before a final decision was made and over months of post-show marriage counseling. Please do not read this as an accusation of racism. It undoubtedly and most certainly is not. It’s entirely possible (all too often) to not be racist, while still being completely unaware. lIl repeat: I don’t believe this to be an example of racism but more so blinded unawareness that is all too common. I will always appreciate the basic understanding of what is right and wrong but to fully comprehend right and wrong, we have to understand their root causes. Failing to learn history will only cause you to repeat it. What it is though: it’s an example of not understanding Black America. Something that is all too real in day-to-day life. Posting black squares and saying Black Lives Matter isn’t enough in understanding the experience and what the weight of history means every single day. And not only for you but for your children. I and many others stand on the backs of giants and I’ll never forget the sacrifices of those who came before me.
It’s also not understanding that you, as non-Black person, will raise Black children one day and you’ll have to explain experiences that you yourself never went through. You’ll have to have the empathy, compassion, and mindset shift to attempt to understand nothing you’ve ever personally been through. In short—you need to at-least attempt to understand the culture you married into. We avoided having these conversations on camera as I knew this was a complex topic and did not want it to seem as I was weaponizing the camera against her. I will own that—I intentionally derailed conversations or avoided them because I knew where it would go. We had enough of them off camera to know how it would go on camera. To truly have a vulnerable and open conversation about this—a camera in your face and the uncertainty of editing looming isn’t the way to do it. I elected to try and handle it on my own vs. create uncomfortable positions for entertainment purposes. In today’s climate, I didn’t feel comfortable letting a blurb or flat statement define someone’s holistic thought process.
Oubre concluded: “I choose to address this not only for myself but hopefully for another experience that sparks a conversation outside of the reality TV show sphere. If there’s something I have enjoyed is when a married couple with more wisdom about relationships than I’ll ever have, let’s me know a conversation or an idea we brought up on the show helped them in their journey. That’s something I underestimated in the power of TV. I made a promise to Clara’s parents to be respectful of their daughter regardless of outcome and I intend to keep doing so.”
Oubre’s post is printed in full on his Instagram page, where he has welcomed questions and comments.