Why Sonja & Dorinda's Fight On 'Real Housewives Of New York' Is Majorly Missing The Point

Heidi Gutman/Bravo

Real Housewives Of New York has the highest number of Housewives that actually aren’t housewives — none of the women are married right now, making them markedly not housewives. They are, though, pretty real. So real, that they talk about everything, from their jobs to their insecurities to their property values to, if you’re Sonja and Dorinda, their pasts. Sonja and Dorinda fought on Real Housewives Of New York, and it was hard to watch — the screaming, the crying, and the finger pointing. And it all started with a little comment about the past. Even though both women fought hard — very hard — what they were fighting about totally missed the point.

We’re only a handful of episodes into the season, and Sonja is not doing herself any favors. Despite assertions that she’s got it all together again, Sonja has talked badly about Tinsley, Dorinda, Luann, Ramona… well, it’s easier to ask who she hasn’t spoken badly about this season so far — just Bethenny, really. So far. We still have like 20 episodes to go. In any case, Sonja is also known for talking about all the time that she and her ex spent in Gstaad with updos and on yachts in the Mediterranean and the like. She got divorced 15 years ago. Dorinda also speaks of her late husband, Richard, a lot, just in light conversation, and that’s where this whole thing blew up. At a brunch at Luann’s, Sonja compared her marriage and divorce to Dorinda’s and it was like someone turned on the gas and lit a match.

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Sonja’s biggest mistake was trying to talk about her marriage and split in relation to Dorinda’s, because Dorinda was right about one of the points she made in a one-on-one interview — a divorce is sad, but being widowed is a tragedy. Dorinda would still be with Richard, she says, if he hadn’t died, whereas who knows if Sonja would be with her ex, John Adams Morgan? It’s obviously a topic the women are passionate about, and low blows were exchanged. The other women at brunch had no way of stopping it, and it all ended with Dorinda telling Sonja that they would never speak again.

Both of the women have suffered immeasurable traumas. They may be well off and mildly famous now, but it’s not like Sonja’s or Dorinda’s lives have been easy. They both lost partners, they both found themselves unmoored by tragic circumstances. Divorce is not death, but it is sad, and Sonja can be sad about the relationship that she had with her ex-husband. Dorinda’s life changed the moment that Richard died, and she’ll be forever changed by it. Why is there a need to compare each other’s grief, to try and quantify and see if one person was more hurt and devastated than the other? People’s pain is their own, and until you’re in someone else’s shoes, it’s impossible to tell them how to feel or try and feel it for yourself. You can only survive your own tragedies, and it's only possible to go forth by putting them in the past.

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That’s the point that Sonja and Dorinda are missing. They’ve been friends for years, and now, bolstered by poorly thought out words and hurt feelings, they’re at risk of complete destroying their friendship. Both women say that the other should move on, but they would do so much better to just understand that they have some similar experiences and let the other live. No one has a monopoly on pain. At the end of the day, Dorinda and Sonja can use their shared traumas to bond themselves together on Real Housewives Of New York — not break themselves apart. Maybe, someday, they'll be able to move forward together, too.