Actions speak louder than words. Case in point: Matt James and Michelle Young's "After The Final Rose" body language. During the March 15 "ATFR" special, Young told James that she was "not OK" when they first split. "I wasn't OK at all," she tearfully revealed. "And producers were in my room seeing how bad I was hurting, and I asked you for a conversation, and it was not a conversation where I was trying to change your trajectory or trying to change your mind or fight for you. It was a conversation so that I could have my inner peace when I left Pennsylvania. And you said no."
According to Traci Brown, body language expert and author of Persuasion Point: Body Language and Speech for Influence, Young was being totally genuine. "Her emotions are on her sleeve," Brown says of Young after watching their exchange. "She's mostly just sad and upset."
James responded to her genuine revelation with this seemingly heartfelt apology:
I just want to start by saying I'm sorry that you were going through that. There's no justification for why I didn't have that conversation and if I would have known that this is how you were feeling in that moment then I would have fought to have that conversation... just in terms of there being any doubt about how I felt about you, what I can tell you is that when you showed up when you did it was a breath of fresh air and I always tell people who ask that you weren't late, you were right on time.
I would just hope that you would know that I really did care about you and everything you had shared with me, and seeing your heart and the way that you carried yourself throughout the show and the emotional labor you took on and continue to take on as a Black woman in your position, and showing grace and composure through a lot of situations where I probably would have snapped — my respect and admiration for you is just through the roof. And again, if I could do it over again, I would have had that conversation with you knowing how you feel and all I can say now is, I'm sorry.
But, um, based on his body language, that apology was more complicated than it seemed. "He's holding back what he really wants to say, and we know that because he sucks his lips in over his teeth a couple of times," Brown says. "And he shrugged his shoulders when he said he has respect and admiration for her. That signals uncertainty, so there's probably not lots of either there." That said, Brown did say, "He does start to tear up a little at times, so there's some real pain there."
Whether the apology was sincere or not, Young seemed satisfied with what her ex had to say. "I care about you," she told him. "We went through a lot together. We laughed a lot together. And I'm a very forgiving person. I mean, you and me talking about it right now... I've honestly already put it down. And I'm not in love, like I was leaving the show, but it does help that what you felt for me was real, and what I was feeling — we were on the same page somewhat up until that point. I think that's what I was really struggling with the most, so I do appreciate that."
At one point in their conversation, Brown says Young didn't seem too pleased with what James was saying. "Clearly she wants something from what he's saying and isn't too happy about it," Brown says of the above image. "She's giving him her attention and he's more focused on the host. Both have a fair amount of anxiety and are working on calming themselves playing with their hands."
Confronting your ex on national television? Um, yeah. I could see how that would maybe be anxiety-inducing.
Traci Brown, body language expert and author of Persuasion Point: Body Language and Speech for Influence