Porsha Williams and her fiancé Dennis McKinley returned to therapy on Sunday’s episode of The Real Housewives of Atlanta to discuss their intimacy issues in the wake of his shocking affair.
In an emotional chat with Dr. Sherry Blake, the couple — who had only recently gotten back together and re-engaged after their headline-making split — opened up about their disconnect in the bedroom, with Williams revealing that she’s been closed off to McKinley’s sexual advances since she learned that he had cheated on him while she was pregnant with their daughter Philar Jhena (now 10 months old).
“When we are up and moving about the house, when we are like that, we are pretty much exactly the way we were before,” said Williams, 38. “But when we go into our room? Literally since he put the ring back on my finger … um … it’s lik e… I don’t know. It’s like a mental block … I don’t really know how to say it … “
“For some reason when we get in the room and the light is turned off, I feel … it doesn’t feel right anymore,” she continued. “I love Dennis, but there is a block because of the hurt.”
She added: “I don’t think he gets how much I loved him wholeheartedly, so to share any of that is just really really hard for me to get over. Just for you to put your body next to someone is just something that is hurtful, you know what I’m saying?”
Williams said she was worried her reluctance could push McKinley, 43, away — and into the arms of someone else.
The two dated for a year before getting engaged in September 2019, just two months after Williams learned she was pregnant with their daughter. And while their love was strong, as seen on their own Bravo spinoff, McKinley’s affair totally came out of the blue — leaving Williams insecure he would do it again.
“I’m also fearful ’cause women feel like we have to hold on to a man, and that is always in my mind,” Williams told McKinley. “That if I tell you exactly how I feel about the intimacy, that you’ll be like, ‘Oh hell, this about to be a whole year. She about to not have sex with me. Let me go figure something else out.’ So I just don’t know how to tell you this.”
“On one hand, I have to get comfortable to open my body up to him,” she explained to audiences. “But on the other hand, an intimacy issue can cause him to do the very thing that hurt me before, which is cheat. So I’m having to double trust him at the same time. Which is tough.”
McKinley said Williams’ closed attitude toward him has been “a lot” to handle.
“I’m not the only one who has got to do some work,” he said. “We’ve talked about me and me and me and me and me for the longest, but that is a good example that Porsha also has to do some work. Like, I can’t read her mind.”
He also criticized Williams for “grinding” him, or drilling him with non-stop questions.
But Dr. Sherry reframed that for McKinley. “You understand why she’s asking? Because you will have to be totally transparent. And you may have to answer the same question 10 times. That is for her healing,” the therapist said. “You have to be patient and ask her, ‘What is it you need at this moment to feel safe?’ I understand this is heavy, but it’s necessary.”
“Dennis is strong, too,” Dr. Sherry told Williams. “He’s here because he wants an honest relationship. And when you rebuild, sometimes even sex and intimacy is shattered. So we’re rebuilding.”
In the end, Williams acknowledged that she was ready to do the work, telling McKinley, “I’m bringing it this up to you because it’s something that I now have to deal with.”
“I feel like we’ve been doing good with the cards that we’ve been dealt,” she said. “First of all and foremost, I have never been cheated on in a serious relationship before. I don’t know what the road to forgiveness looks like. I’m just in the middle of this right now.”
“That’s something that we have to figure out together,” McKinley told her.
Since then, it appears the two have been doing just that.
During a December 2019 visit to Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, Williams said that they were a work in progress. She had similar things to say in January when she stopped by the same show, just as photos surfaced of McKinley out with a group of women at an Atlanta diner at 4. a.m.
“We’re working on our relationship. I think every relationship is a work in progress. We have a daughter together. Just pray for us. You know, you pray for yourselves? Add us in there too, baby,” she told Cohen. “Can y’all just continue to comment and speculate and let me just figure out my life? I’m figuring out my life.”
None of that seems to have slowed down Williams’ plan to get married. She told Cohen in December that while the two “don’t have a set date yet,” the wedding “will be next year.”
The Real Housewives of Atlanta airs Sundays (8 p.m. ET) on Bravo.