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Often, things get lost in translation on 90 Day Fiance.
But on Season 5, Episode 12 of 90 Day Fiance: Before The 90 Days, multiple couples took steps to remedy that.
Mike’s attempt to get clear communication with Ximena included a friend translating … but everyone was horrified by what Ximena had to say.
Ben and Mahogany made use of a new, faster translation app, leading to their first “real” conversation in person, but neither of them liked the results.
A nervous Gino met Jasmine’s mother, who was not exactly blown away by her daughter’s much-older boyfriend.
Usman came clean to Kimberly about Zara, including how recently it had ended. It did not go well.
And Memphis and Hamza visited a translator who helped them understand each other, perhpas for the first time since they met.
Mike Berk and Ximena Cuellar
Right on the heels of telling Mike that she isn’t in love with him, Ximena is trying to clarify … or possibly walk back … her words. In her mind, “love” is a big word and takes a long time to feel, and they would need to live together for a while before she can be “in love” with him. Strange words for a fiancee to voice.
Ximena says that she’s overwhelmed by doubts
Contrary to Mike’s previous visit, right now, it seems like the only thing that she can do is fixate upon Mike’s habits, from showering her with affection to looking at her to stopping eating when she’s done eating to burping.
So … what changed?
Ximena explains to the camera that she has no idea what happened, really. She was so in love with Mike during his last visit (that’s pretty easy to believe, because she’s showing that she clearly can’t fake it when she doesn’t like someone) and now she’s not.
Mike has a lot of rejection to process
After appearing to scroll through his phone just for an excuse to look away from the camera while he (probably) cries, Mike composes himself and tells the camera that she’s not feeling great and, right now, he feels like just heading home. That sounds like a good idea.
Mike phones a friend
Remember John, the buddy who went with Mike to go shopping before he took his first trip to Colombia? Well, John (and his fiancee, Nelcy) are clearly good friends to Mike, and John gives him some solid advice here — it sounds like he’s being used, and that’s not what love is. If Mike wants to be used for money, John suggests, he can get that at home in New York. This cheers up Mike, who takes it as a lighthearted way of conveying advice, but many viewers have expressed similar sentiments on social media: if Mike isn’t getting the love that he hoped for from Ximena, he could get a more satisfying arrangement without any long flights with someone else.
Mike and Ximena need a real talk with a real translator
Because Nelcy is fluent in Spanish (and English), she can speak to Mike and Ximena and help convey what they are each saying. Of course, she’s also not a neutral party, because she is Mike’s friend. Ximena is continuing her weird sullen-teen-with-a-bad-attitude vibe, which would be understandable if she were an actual teen and not a grown woman with children.
Ximena does NOT like her fiance looking at her!
Not for the first time or the last time, Ximena complains about how Mike will sometimes look at her adoringly. There are definitely instances when people can very justifiably be creeped out by being stared at, but what’s odd here is that these two are already engaged. Another odd thing is that most people would break up with someone if they felt this strongly, but Ximena has not.
Nelcy asks a very smart question
After translating for the two of them (who don’t tell us anything that we didn’t already know), Nelcy asks Ximena — who, to think, almost didn’t participate in this — what exactly she likes about Mike. That is such a good opportunity for positive communication.
Instead, Ximena launches into a list of things she can’t stand
I have to say, as a person who is easily disgusted (especially when it comes to bodily functions), even I can’t understand Ximena’s revulsion about burping. Maybe editors are scrubbing Mike’s footage so that we don’t see this “constant” belching that haunts Ximena, but it’s a normal part of digestion, it is honestly the preferable and more polite way for someone to expel gas, and Mike is also vacationing in Colombia where he is certainly eating very different foods than he normally does. Anyway, that’s not the real point, but it’s worth mentioning.
Ximena says that Mike has “thousands of things that are degenerate” about him. Now, we’re sure that some of the nuance of what she’s saying was lost in translation, and perhaps she is using a common expression in Colombia, but there’s no version of this that isn’t super harsh.
It gets worse, somehow
Ximena, who had initially been reluctant to even speak, seemingly cannot stop herself from griping about everything about Mike. At this point, it’s impressive that Nelcy can keep a straight face. It seems like Ximena detests Mike so much that everything that he does enrages and annoys her. That’s not relationship material.
Nelcy has another question
Feeling the way that she does, does Ximena regret or feel guilty for all of the money that Mike has spent on her?
Ximena has no problem with THAT part of Mike
She also details how much Mike has spent — not just buying her furniture but financially supporting her and her kids so that she doesn’t have to work, paying her rent and more. This was more than Nelcy knew about.
Nelcy speaks to Mike
She hopes that he stops paying for everything for Ximena, because he is not being appreciated.
To be blunt …
Mike needed to hear it: Ximena has expressed total disgust for him. Nelcy also notes that when she gave Ximena the opportunity to list what she likes about him, she did the opposite.
A crestfallen Mike tells Ximena that he hopes that they can be friends
Their segment ends on a cliffhanger, as Ximena asks Mike if he’s breaking up with her.
Ben Rathbun and Mahogany Roca
After his morning swim, Ben calls up his friend, Jason, to fill him in how things have been going. He gives a mostly honest account of what’s happened, starting by excitedly confirming that Mahogany is a real person.
And then he gets into Mahogany’s super fake apartment
Jason is understandably alarmed at Ben’s discoveries. Part of what has to be on his mind is that, if a guy as gullible as Ben is noticing this much, how many red flags are being missed entirely?
“Look for a pattern of deceit”
That extremely dramatic line isn’t bad advice — if Ben is dead set on continuing this ridiculous “relationship,” he should find out what other lies there are, just to know for sure.
Ben meets Mahogany’s friends
Mahogany has a lot to learn about Ben. Her parents met him. Now, her friends are meeting him, too. It’s unclear if she really wants their opinions, if they’re there as a buffer while she spends time with this much-much-much older man, or if they just wanted to be on TV.
It’s good that they came along, though …
Elizabeth tells the camera that she only recently learned that Ben even existed. Now, they’ve only been talking for three months, which already makes so much of their story ridiculous, but this also means that while Ben was telling his friends and his kids and his ex that he’s in love with a 24-year-old (who turns out to be 22), she wasn’t telling anyone. In fact, it’s pretty likely that her parents didn’t know about Ben, even if they didn’t admit it.
Elizabeth has some … concerns
Being old isn’t a crime and some very successful, healthy relationships have huge age gaps. But if it’s part of a pattern of dating barely legal girls, it’s creepy. If the older person has a child the age of the younger person, it’s creepy. Mahogany’s friends did not expect her to be “friends” with a guy over twice her age.
Ben asks Elizabeth and Anghy if they have any questions about Mahogany’s “boyfriend,” and her face really says it all. They were taken aback, too.
This is when Ben finds out that Mahogany told her friends that Ben is simply a “friend.”
While we’d never use that term unironically (“friendzoning” is a term used by toxic incel-type dudes to complain about how women they’re only nice to because they want sex don’t give them sex, just friendship), it does kind of apply here. Ben has been talking to Mahogany for months. In his mind, God wants her to bear his children one day. In her mind, he’s a friend.
Ben is confused
While Mahogany was clearly not referring to him as her “boyfriend” in their texts, them talking about things like potentially having children one day and what a good father he would be were, in his mind, the same as dating. (Once again, Ben grew up in a cult, and has never really experienced normal dating, even after leaving it)
Mahogany … just feels awkward
Ben invites her on a road trip, and she agrees, but the car ride is uncomfortable. Ben makes little comments about traffic lights and there are agonizing moments of silence.
Mahogany fills the void
She asks Ben what could be an honest theology question but also sounds like the sort of question that you’d ask a hardcore Christian if you want them to talk for ten minutes. Either way, it works, because the silence goes away as Ben begins referring to the garden of Gethsemane (albeit not by name) and so on. To Ben, this feels like a return to how they were via text messages.
The sand dunes are beautiful
Ben and Mahogany seem to have a lovely time playing in the sand (which of course is more finely ground than beach sand, due to wind) before settling down to dinner, which is when — using a new translation app that’s a good deal faster — they seem to have their first-ever serious talk.
Why did he assume that she was his girlfriend?
They spoke a lot about their values and what they want in the future, but Ben never asked her if she wanted to be his girlfriend. It’s weird and presumptuous. That’s not a modern thing, either — that would have been weird in the 1950s.
To her, it’s normal to talk about values BEFORE dating
Do you want kids, what do you believe in, and more — these are all topics to be covered early in a relationship to avoid later heartbreak. Now, no matter what Mahogany’s real angle is for all of this, that argument stands up … even if some of the “love” stuff in their chats seems a little relationship-y.
Ben tells her about his 27-year-old ex-fiancee
Wait a minute, so his first wife — the one from the cult — and he didn’t work out because they were in an oppressive cult and had to act perfect, and the second fiancee and he didn’t work out because she didn’t accept his children. Is Ben, Mahogany asks, saying that he is perfect and didn’t play a role in those breakups?
Ben gets weirdly defensive
He tells her that he doesn’t feel a need to justify his past, because it’s in the past. He totally shuts down their first-ever real conversation.
Gino Palazzolo and Jasmine Pineda
Gino is super nervous to meet Jasmine’s mother, for multiple reasons. Among them are that Jasmine puts a lot of stock into what her mother says. Also, Jasmine has warned Gino that she’s afraid that her mother will ask him to remove his hat if she says a prayer before they eat.
Jasmine’s mom is not overly impressed
Cecelia, who is soft-spoken and extremely controlled in ways that contrast with her vivacious and dramatic daughter, says that the age difference is impossible to miss. She even asks Jasmine and Gino about it and is not responsive about the answers. She does note that, when Jasmine was born, Gino was as old as Liz, Jasmine’s 18-year-old sister.
The hat stays ON during mealtime prayers
Gino’s hat has only left his head in the shower, in bed (with the lights out and the cameras gone), and that one time when Jasmine swiped it off of his head.