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The Love Island final is now just days away, but after 40 days isolated in the Majorcan villa, the cracks are starting to show for even the strongest couples.
While Jake Cornish and Liberty Poole have been together from the outset – even becoming boyfriend and girlfriend very early on in the season – things are starting to go awry for the pair, with Liberty now doubting Jake’s intentions.
Watch a video of one awkward moment between them, below:
Things became rocky after the grim Movie Night challenge, in which Liberty saw Jake telling the other Islanders he didn’t want to “rip her clothes off” at the start of their journey.
Some viewers were left particularly unimpressed as they watched Jake's bizarre actions during this moment.
And their concerns were matched by psychotherapist and relationship expert Sally Baker, who has deemed his behaviour “controlling” and “dangerous” after seeing the scenes play out last night.
“Jake’s eye has been on the prize from the very beginning,” she says, in a chat with Tyla. “He’s not authentic".
Sally cites the recent incident where Jake takes Liberty away from her pal Kaz as particularly troubling.
While the other Islanders crowded round Kaz and hugged her tightly following the happy news, Liberty said she was “desperate” to “go and give Kaz a cuddle”, only for Jake to take her to the other side of the villa and ask her to wait.
And as Jake reminded her that they’re “on a TV show”, viewers were left feeling even less convinced about the water engineer's feelings, and whether they were genuine.
“Jake likes to pull the strings and he likes to take control,” Sally says. “It feels as if he’s forensically studied previous series of Love Island and is just playing things out.
“He’s made a connection with a girl really early on, and he’s stuck with her. But his heart is not in it. It just never feels real.
“Controlling behaviour is very dangerous. When someone is trying to control a relationship, it comes from a place of vulnerability, as if they know something is off kilter.
"You can be your most liberated and most free with people that you trust. I think that feeds in to view that Jake isn’t authentic, so he’s trying to control the outcome all of the time, and he’s trying to control Liberty.”
Sally also cites Jake’s behaviour in Casa Amor as evidence of his need to control situations. While he may have stayed faithful to Liberty, he was one of the main facilitators in getting the boys to stray from their partners.
“Not enough has been made of Jake’s behaviour in Casa Amor,” Sally says. “He really lived vicariously through the other boys.
"Like a feeder, he fed the boys the encouragement to get with other girls, while he could go back to Liberty and act as if he kept his nose clean.”
It’s the perceived inequalities of affection between Jake and Liberty that Sally believes is the most problematic, though.
In the preview for Friday night’s episode, we see Jake trying to reassure Liberty that he fancies her by telling her: “You’re my girlfriend.”
But as Sally rightly points out, the affirmation of their relationship doesn’t quite equate to Liberty being reassured about her insecurities.
Instead, he dangles their pairing in front of her, a tasty morsel of the further commitment and acceptance Liberty is looking for.
“He emotionally throws her around like a rag doll,” she says. “When Jake says, you’re my girlfriend, it sounds like a life sentence, it feels like a shackle. She doesn’t feel safe, she doesn’t feel reassured, she doesn’t feel lifted up and loved.
“At the start of a relationship, you’re at your most romantic. When you’re in your honeymoon phase, you shower them with affection.
“But Jake only gives Liberty enough to hold her interest. ‘You’re my girlfriend’ is all he offers her. Jake has had so many opportunities to put all her insecurities at rest by just saying, ‘I love you.’
"He won’t say it. He’ll say you’re my girlfriend but he won’t say I love you. Because there’s a part of him that knows he’s not being true.”
Whether you agree with Sally or not about Jake’s actions, she does urge viewers to act if they believe they’re in a controlling relationship themselves.
“I’d advise to get complete clarity on your relationship,” Sally says. “Become a detective of your own relationship to find out exactly what your dynamic is.
"Start being observant and stop being hopeful that he’ll say I love you or that things will change. Have a realistic appraisal of what is going on."
Love Island continues weeknights and Sundays from 9pm on ITV2 and the ITV Hub. Episodes are available the next day on BritBox.
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