We are all still processing this past weekend’s episode of 90 Day Fiance: The Other Way. It was a lot.
One major moment of change came from Nicole Sherbiny and Mahmoud Elsherbiny.
Nicole did what many viewers had almost ruled out for her: she stood up for herself.
She told Mahmoud that maybe it was time for her to return to the United States. That wasn’t all, of course. And Mahmoud? He was pissed.
As Season 4, Episode 12 began Nicole and Mahmoud’s segment, Nicole was wearing one of the best shirts that we’ve ever seen.
(Gabriel Paboga has been nailing the shirt game this season, but Nicole won this round)
After demonstrating that she can now light Mahmoud’s mom’s unnerving gas stove (she has to light it manually, with a match), she reflected to the camera about how she passed up on a friendship.
Previously, Nicole had made friends with Nouran Salah. Nouran is an Egyptian woman and a Muslim, but — like countless other Muslim women around the world and in Egypt, lives her life differently than Mahmoud would like.
However, Nicole is seemingly so determined to make this marriage work at the cost of her own happiness that she didn’t really follow up much on that friendship.
Mahmoud was happy. He didn’t like Nouran.
In Mahmoud’s eyes, Nicole only needs to be “friends” with family. So he asked Fatima to come over.
Fatima is his sister-in-law. She is also a fellow immigrant to Egypt.
Mahmoud hoped that Nicole would feel more at home in Egypt if she could better navigate the country, and asked Fatima to take her out shopping. Running grocery errands with your sister-in-law isn’t a normal social outing, but maybe that’s what Mahmoud thinks that women do for “fun.”
The thing is that Nicole doesn’t really know how to shop in Egypt. And, frankly, a lot of Americans would be in the same boat.
It’s an open market. Nicole has been to Farmer’s Markets in the US, but this is so different. There were live chickens. Also, Nicole kept hearing prices that sound (to an American) like really good deals, but Fatima would say that they were too expensive. Different economies are different.
Meanwhile, Nicole once again pointed out that she felt overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle and all of the noise. She has clear and (for many) relatable sensory issues.
Back at Mahmoud’s mother’s house, Nicole and Fatima sat down to have a serious chat.
This is when Nicole opened up about her desire to return to America. She had been in Egypt for months, but nothing had improved. (Nothing had improved because she and Mahmoud simply … did not discuss their problems)
But Nicole wanted to leave Egypt, not her husband. Yes, really. Unfortunately, she wanted to bring him with him.
This is when Nicole revealed that she had previously applied for a spousal visa (not a K-1 visa, which is for a fiance) for Mahmoud.
They don’t know when it might come in. There could be any number of delays. But she hoped to use this backup plan.
Fatima seemed stunned by Nicole’s plan. She wondered if Mahmoud would be happy with the move, if he would agree to it. And she also noted to the camera that this move likely wouldn’t fix all of their problems.
Fatima is a real sweetheart, and fully acknowledged that what Nicole and Mahmoud decide to do is not up to her.
(We could all take a lesson from her)
Meanwhile, Mahmoud decided to take Nicole to get a pet. Specifically, a cat.
Nicole had previously expressed a desire to get a pet. Presumably, she didn’t mean wanting to get one while they still just have the one bedroom in Mahmoud’s mother’s home.
Mahmoud does not like dogs, he explained.
So, a cat it was. A cat, he said, he could tolerate.
However, Nicole — who had not yet told him of her desire to return home — balked at the idea.
She loves cats, but it would be an irresponsible time to get a cat.
So, instead, she sat down with Mahmoud and told him that she would like to leave Egypt.
Nicole knew that this would be difficult news. But, this time, her departure wouldn’t be a separation.
She asked Mahmoud — who already felt angry and upset (despite, you know, being the source of almost all of her unhappiness in Egypt) — if he would come with her.
Mahmoud admitted that he felt anxious about the idea. And neither of them knew when his visa might arrive.
As 90 Day Fiance fans are aware, sometimes visas have unexpected delays. Sometimes, applicants receive rejections. They can be very clear or somewhat mysterious.
Nicole pushed past the concern about the timing of the visa. What mattered more was his choice.
If and when the visa arrived, would Mahmoud try out living in the United States with Nicole?
He was unsure. Mahmoud loves Egypt, and did not know whether he would ever feel at home in the United States.
But the one thing that they know for sure is that Nicole does not feel at home in Egypt. So . . . he said that he’d think about it.
(Of course, Nicole’s issues aren’t really with Egypt, but with Mahmoud. Will it take a joint move to America for her to see that her problems came with her? Or will he clean up his act?)