The saga of the Merrifields and Roberta is one of the most compelling elements of TLC’s Seeking Sister Wives. It’s been a rocky few years to potentially get Roberta, who lives in Brazil, to come live with the Merrifields in Colorado. Now that they’re finally meeting up with Roberta in her home country with a translator, Roberta has some tough questions for Dannielle that probably should have been discussed before now.
In the first scene of tonight’s episode Roberta takes Garrick and Dannielle to the beach after she spent the night with Garrick. She’s not intereted in Garrick right now, though, she wanted a quiet place to talk to Dannielle. Roberta asks Garrick to please leave them alone, so he wanders off towards the waves.
Now that Roberta is alone with Dannielle and their translator, she gets right to the heart of things. “Since the beginning you said you were too jealous,” Roberta begins. “That you don’t exist in his heart anymore. I want to know that you aren’t just doing this for Garrick because I would never be able to forgive myself.” She goes on to ask that she wants to know that including Roberta, or any other woman, in her marriage was her idea.
The translator gets the gist of what Roberta says, but leaves off the bit about Dannielle’s worries that she doesn’t “exist in his heart anymore.”
Roberta and Dannielle turn to look each other in the eyes, and Dannielle admits that it was “very hard” for her when she and Garrick first decided to start looking for another wife. She tears up, and then clarifies that the first trip to see Roberta was “very hard.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?” Roberta asks.
“Strong sister!” Dannielle says, referencing the way they refer to each other.
“You can open up to me and tell me everything you’re feeling,” Roberta tells Dannielle.
“I know,” Dannielle says, then adds “I know now.”
Roberta goes on to tell Dannielle that she wouldn’t ever want to join their family if she knew Dannielle didn’t truly want it. “I want it,” Dannielle reassures her.
Roberta then gets off her chest that it was very hard for her when Garrick was courting a new woman, Lea, earlier in the season. Lea seemed to viewers to be a plant for the show, but it’s not clear that Roberta knew that, especially with all their communication issues.
In interview, which is not heavily charged with emotion like in the scene at the beach, Dannielle says she was shocked that Roberta was hurt about them dating someone else. She explains that Roberta was telling them that she wasn’t going to come to Colorado because she needed to care for her sick mother.
Dannielle very calmly states that “this is when Garrick and I decided to start dating again.” From the start it seemed that Dannielle would glow when they discussed that pursuing Lea, who lived in California, was making Roberta jealous. Now, she again brings up that Roberta is jealous and insecure.
Dannielle also brings this sentiment with Roberta. “I thought Husband (Garrick) said that you were comfortable about dating.”
Roberta says this isn’t true. She wasn’t ever comfortable with the notion of them dating another potential wife before she had even joined them in the U.S. Roberta tells the cameras while alone on the beach that she was shocked when she woke up one day and Garrick informed her that another woman was joining their family.
Dannielle concludes the conversation by telling Roberta that she had her back and apologizes if she ever made her feel like she didn’t care about her feelings.
Dannielle later has a breakdown while talking to the cameras on the beach. She says she feels like Roberta is sending mixed messages and contemplates that if she had said no to adding to the family then Roberta wouldn’t be here right now. She says she needs a break and “can’t handle this right now” before starting to cry.
Garrick and Dannielle Merrifield decided to live a plural lifestyle a few years ago because Garrick thought God called them to do so. Soon after that, they met Roberta Rodrigues, a Brazilian citizen, online.
Since Roberta would have to immigrate to the United States to join the Merrifield family, Garrick persuaded Dannielle to legally divorce him in December 2019.
So far it’s been quite a struggle to get Roberta over the United States, and the COVID-19 pandemic made things even harder. Still, they were able to meet up with Roberta, who they affectionately call “Bert” several times. During a trip to Cabo, Mexico with Dannielle’s parents, Garrick and Roberta tried for a baby.
They were unsuccessful in conceiving, but Garrick is determined to have a baby with Roberta no matter the circumstances. Dannielle was worried about the implications of having a child with Roberta if she has not permanently relocated to the United States. Now that they have met up with Roberta in Brazil, they’ve found out that she feels the same way.
In many ways this Brazil trip has been a huge eye-opener for the family becuase they’ve barely communicated with each other in over a year. Roberta often isn’t available to talk to them because she says she has spotty cell service. When she does communicate with them, Garrick is moved to tears.
Another roadblock to their communciation is language. Roberta speaks barely any English, and Garrick and Dannielle seem to speak even less Portuguese. Without a translator around like they have in their current trip, they can hardly carry a conversation.