Why You Really, Really Shouldn't Do What Shiv And Tom Did In The Latest Succession Episode
Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) and his wife Shiv (Sarah Snook).
Warning: there are major spoilers for Succession’s latest episode in this article.
There’s no denying it – Succession’sTom and Shiv are probably one of TV’s least compatible couples.
Over the course of the series, viewers have watched the characters’ chaotic relationship unfold in the messiest way possible after they were pulled into a reluctant marriage which didn’t seem to suit either of them.
They finally separated at the start of the current season, but fans never got to see them actually address their many problems.
That is, until the most recent episode, when they flirted with the idea of getting back together before descending into a brutal and explosive argument in episode seven.
Their furious exchange drew plenty of reactions on Twitter, with some saying how cathartic it was to witness and others noting how such raw emotions ring true during messy break-ups.
Up there with Sopranos “Whitecaps” as the most gutrenching divorce scenes I’ve ever seen. I’m going through my 2nd divorce now and the raw emotions ring so true.
— remnanttexan (@remnanttexan) May 8, 2023
That Shiv vs. Tom fight was... WOW. It was just so... cathartic. Shiv was finally honest with Tom, and Tom finally told Shiv everything she *needed* to hear about herself. It was brilliant. #Succession
— The Temptress of Waikiki (@Ms_PaulaEssi) May 8, 2023
Now, Succession offers us plenty of guidance on how not to handle adult relationships – e.g. don’t constantly criticise your kids, put money before connection or send anyone unsolicited nudes.
But, what about getting into a slanging match with your ex? Can it really help you get closure? Or are you just destined to feel rotten afterwards? We asked the experts.
A big old ‘showdown’ is probably a bad idea
It might feel like getting it all off your chest is the only way to relieve the pain of a relationship breaking down, but it’s not.
Jessica Alderson, relationship expert and co-founder of the dating app So Synced, told HuffPost UK: “While it’s understandable to want closure after a relationship ends or to express certain emotions to an ex, it’s important to do so in a way that is respectful and productive.”
Alderson continued: “In some cases, a showdown with an ex can perpetuate negative patterns in the relationship, making it harder to move on.”
And she definitely recommends not having a shout-off in front of other people.
“Confronting an ex in public may feel satisfying in the moment, but it’s unlikely to lead to a productive conversation,” the expert said. “The intensity of the emotions involved and having an audience present can make it difficult to communicate effectively, leading to even more hurt and misunderstandings.”
If you approach your ex to discuss your relationship, it’s important to bear in mind that it may not turn out the way you expect.Jessica Alderson, relationship expert
Do you need to have a conversation, at least?
Sometimes it feels impossible to get over a relationship until you’ve let the other person know how they really made you feel. So can it be worth talking to your former flame about the breakdown and where it all went wrong?
Alderson explained: “Closure can be a powerful step to moving on, but both parties have to be willing to approach the situation in the right way.“It’s unlikely that having a public showdown will bring the sense of peace that most people are seeking.
“If you approach your ex to discuss your relationship, it’s important to bear in mind that it may not turn out the way you expect.
“Ultimately, it’s up to the individual to decide whether they are prepared to take that risk, but it’s possible that seeking closure can lead to more harm than good.”
She said it’s worth having a “considerate, two-way conversation with your ex” though.
“It can be healthy to express your emotions, even anger to an extent, but you should be mindful of your ex’s boundaries during the process,” Alderson added.
Mairead Molloy, relationship psychologist and global director at Berkeley International also told HuffPost UK: “If you had the kind of relationship that wasn’t fiery, then consider talking with your ex.
“Being honest with each other about why it didn’t work out and confirming that you are moving on can really help to put a true end to that chapter of your life.”
Try not to get into a slanging match with your ex, even if it's tempting.
When is staying silent the best route?
Some people opt for a clean break once their relationship is officially over (much like Shiv said she wanted at the start of season four).
Molloy also warned that for most people, “communication with your ex for closure is not really beneficial to either of you”.
She advised: “I always thing being silent is much more powerful.
“Staying silent will help you feel empowered. You are taking charge and showing them that you are out there and capable of life without them. It is also very frustrating for them – but whichever way your relationship ended, silence is golden and it puts and keeps you in control.”
She also warned that you “might feel worse by getting into a big confrontation”, especially if you had an unhealthy or abusive relationship.
Instead, focus on self-growth, seeing a therapist or doing what you love, she advised. After all, since when did we look to the Roys for relationship advice?
Succession is next available to watch in the UK on Monday 15 May.