Interview of Shan Boodram by Kim Koelmeyer
Shan (Boody) Boodram is a clinical sexologist, author and relationship expert. Her Youtube channel, containing sex ed, relationship advice and frank, open ended discussion about sex and relationships, has amassed over 200,000 subscribers. Her newest project has her hosting Facebook’s first live show ‘Make up or Break up,” wherein the Facebook community are given the opportunity to weigh in on a relationship on the rocks.
Could you give me a brief description of “Make up or Break up?”
It’s Facebook’s first live show on their new Watch platform. Each week a new couple who has come to a crossroad in their relationship come on the show to get the Facebook community’s opinion about the state of their relationship.You’ve mentioned that the show rests on the “wisdom of the crowd,” and that the majority opinion is often the correct one. But the thing that first struck me is that everyday situations and relationships would lack the mediation and expertise that you bring to the show, so social media or public opinion may not always make the most informed arbiters.
So what are some ways that partnerships can use social media or external opinions in a responsible, productive way?
I think social media can be used to get a clear- headed perspective if you’re sampling many opinions. I use polls ALL the time to determine a lot in my career because I do find it to be good advice when I’m not 100% on something – I think if you’re in the same place in your relationship it can be helpful in the same way. But a poll won’t give you people enough information, the show essentially is a 20- minute poll. Some of the couples on the show end up going against the final opinion of the group, since they feel their perception and feelings of the relationships is stronger than the majority.
How can relationships strike that balance between what they are feeling within the relationship, and what friends, family or other external opinions may be saying to the contrary?
I can only speak for myself and anecdotally on this but I do believe the couples who got a “break up” vote will eventually do just that. When I was in an awful relationship, I got SO MANY people telling me to call it quits but it took time. I knew they were right but it took time. Love is addictive and it can take a very long time to untangle yourself from someone. Getting advice from friends, family and in this case the Facebook community may not be the thing that sets people free but it definitely loosens the knot.
As a relationship expert, I imagine a lot of the couples you advise come to you, but have you had any experience in offering unsolicited advice to couples in your everyday life? How can everyday people breach that subject if they see a relationship that may be problematic or destructive to one or both parties in a respectful way? Is it our place at all?
Honestly I do EVERYTHING in my power not to offer unsolicited advice especially with friends and family. If someone I know comes to me to vent I let them, I choir their sentiment, validate their feelings and play devil’s advocate to try and see things from their partner’s side (even if my insides are screaming DUMP THEM!!!!). I’m not stronger than anyone’s addiction and I don’t try to be especially if they don’t ask, the most important thing I can do is ensure that they feel I’m a judgment-free and impartial person to talk to as they figure it out in their time.
What are some signs couples can look to to determine whether their problems outweigh their potential?
Do you pass the 80/20 rule? Happy, peaceful, inspired at least 80% of the time and struggling/sad for a max of 20%. Do they speak your love language – do you feel loved? Do you like them? Meaning if you didn’t love them would you genuinely like them Do you like yourself when you’re around them? Do you like the version of you that they bring out? Assess: has your career, friendships, hobbies, external responsibilities, faith suffered or improved within this romantic relationship.
What are the main issues you’ve found within modern relationships, especially considering the perforation of social media?
I think the problem is still the same: people get addicted to incompatible partners and take up the notion that “love is hard” as opposed to “this love is not right.”
I’m a writer for Ramona Magazine for Girls, a space where young girls and non- binary folk can collaborate, be empowered and have their voices heard. What advice would you have for young people that may be experiencing their first relationships?
Honestly I hate to be a broken record but I would explain how love works in the brain. I would play this video for them and hope that they understand that in many ways romantic feelings are like food cravings: just because you think about pizza all of the time doesn’t mean it’s healthy for you or that you and pizza are destined to be together.
Finally, what do you want people to take away from the show?
I want them to have that “me too” moment! When they see their own story or struggle in a very personal way then, like the guests, get to see their experience from a different perspective with fresh eyes.
You can catch “Make up or Break up” every Thursday on their Facebook Page.[share]