Sister Wives Recap: Meet Cheryl
This week on Sister Wives Meri met with a woman named Cheryl in Georgia to discuss how they were both catfished and Mariah made a huge announcement.
The great thing about living in a polygamous cul-de-sac was that when you needed to have a stern discussion with your husband and his other wife about your catfishing misery they were always readily available for a meeting. Meri, who had just dusted off all the tchotchkes in her overly furnished dining room called Kody to inform him of vacation plans to Georgia. She found someone online who had also fallen prey to the same catfisher and needed to meet with her to put together the remaining pieces of the make believe love affair puzzle.
Kody supported this trip because he wanted the catfisher to disappear and if she needed to talk it out with another lady friend it would be good for her, for him, and the rest of the 76 family members. “Good for you. That sounds like a good idea. Thanks for sharing your life,” Robyn said with the enthusiasm of someone on their way to colostomy appointment.
Meri was happy to meet Cheryl, not just because she also enjoyed a blousy top and chunky heels, but also because she felt less idiotic for believing in a relationship with a woman posing as a man. If Cheryl also thought she was in a loving relationship with someone she never met in person then she wasn’t as crazy as Robyn made her believe.
Sam, Meri explained, was a southern gentleman who suddenly had a keen interest in the family’s polygamy inspired jewelry business. He was kind and caring and jazzed about a charm bracelet and necklace business inspired by plural marriage relationships. “At first I thought he was a friend,” Meri explained, “but then he kept insisting I fork over the My Sister’s Keepers business plans.” Despite her immediate concern she asked him to sign a non-disclosure agreement despite never meeting him in person. In retrospect she noted it was odd he signed that document with two names, Sam and Lindsay.
NOW I GET IT
“Did Sam have leukemia?” Cheryl asked. “Yes, and his gal pal Lindsay had colon cancer,” Meri laughed. It was important for Sam that Meri knew his friend Lindsay, which also gave her a moment of pause. I thought you wanted to be involved in my necklace business, why do I care about your friend with colon cancer? It wasn’t until she took a one-day trip to Florida with Lindsay that she began to understand she was being scammed. Wait a minute, why do you have two phones? Now, hang on a second, I only get text messages from Sam when you are using your phone. You can’t pull the wool over my eyes, that’s not what happens when you have colon cancer!
“I remember she turned to me in the car and raised her voice,” Meri explained. “Are you trying to tell me that you think my best friend is lying to you?” Lindsay replied with the tone of someone about to strangle you. Meri pulled over to a rest stop so she could walk off the betrayal. She was then flooded with texts from her make believe friend Sam, the southern man with whom she had spent in an emotional affair. She had fallen in love with a lady with a deep voice.
Cheryl’s kids were smarter than both of them. “Remember when I used to talk to that man Sam?” Cheryl asked her kids. “You mean the lady?” they replied. “Only a lady would avoid meeting in person, obviously.” Cheryl brushed her long hair out of her face and looked at the ceiling. “Yeah, I guess you are right, kids.”
IT NEVER CROSSED MY MIND
Even though Cheryl warned her early on that she was being used, that she never Sam never met her in person, and he seemed to have prolific knowledge of menstruation issues and the Anne of Green Gables series, Meri still could not believe Sam was a woman. “It never crossed my mind,” Meri answered. “I don’t know how she could make her voice sound so much like a man,” Meri explained unfamiliar with theater programs at local community colleges or of people diagnosed with multiple personality disorders.
Meri also believed Sam and Lindsay (she still did not grasp they were the same people) were tracking her. Somehow they knew where she went grocery shopping or if she was getting new highlights or a spray tan. “I remembered when I went for walks I would take one ear bud out because I needed to be ready in case I got pounced. I half-listened to Kody. I slept beside a baseball bat,” she explained. It wasn’t until Sam told her Lindsay (his other personality) died and then came back to life that she started to count their relationship.
Cheryl and Meri met with a therapist to better understand why a woman posing as a man targeted them. Cheryl joined a dating site and explained things quickly escalated. Sam had pretended he was moving to Miami so they could build a life together and proved it to her not by meeting with her for dinner or sending her a copy of his driver’s license, but by having a Miami cell phone number. They both wondered how they could have been targeted. “Did Nancy (Meri’s other therapist in Utah) tell you I am in a polygamous marriage?” Meri asked. “I mean I was until I got a divorce for family restructuring reasons,” she added. The therapist tried hard not to slam her head against the side table.
Meri was hopeful this experience would bring her closer to Kody who later explained had felt disconnected from her for the last 11 years. Meri acknowledged that many of their relationship problems had less to do with the fact he was also married to three other women but to their personalities. The other wives were saddened to hear Meri kept this love affair private. “I thought we were close,” Janelle said of the woman Kody married before her.
To cap off the trip Meri broke her Mormon values by going to a winery and guzzling bottles of Riesling.
Upon her return Meri and Kody met with their family therapist to discuss her trip. He understood she needed to meet with Cheryl in the same way someone from Alcoholic Anonymous needs to meet in a non descript building at the same time every week, she needed a support group. Although he grimaced and sweat beads formed around the thinning part of his hairline he was happy for Meri. Maybe they would never actually have sex again, but at least she would be nicer to be around. He would never love her the way he loved Robyn, but at least she wasn’t giving their financial information to a stranger.
In therapy Meri also revealed that the catfisher used the photo of an actor on the television series Pan Am to make her believe he was a man.
In related fake news Mykelti forced her bridesmaids to make and then carry plastic flower bouquets. Mykelti’s sister put it best. “I think they seem more like friends,” said Gwendolyn. Christine had the same secret concern. Did they want to get married because they want to bone or because they both like to camp and want someone to go hiking with on the weekends? “They are very affectionate,” Isabel noted, “in fact I didn’t know what a French kiss was until they showed me.”
Back at home Mariah flung through the front door of Christine’s house requesting a meeting with all the parents. “I have something I need to tell you and I have to do it now!” They all worried this meant she would be getting married. They had already spent enough of the cash from their reserve to pay for two weddings that year. “I am not engaged,” Mariah answered. They had suspected she would tell them about her course work or moving to Las Vegas to begin a doctoral program. “I haven’t even applied yet,” Mariah answered forgetting Kody had 18 other children he parented. “Thank God,” Kody whispered to the wall. “I’m gay!’ she blurted. Meri, who had been coping with an emotional affair with what turned out to be a woman sat frozen in her Living Spaces chair.
Meri has problems accepting Mariah who has taken a job as a roadie for the Indigo Girls.