It’s been a long winter without them. But just in time for the snow, The Only Way Is Essex finally returned to our screens.
There are more than a few new faces but it looks as though little has changed, with Lydia and Arg’s relationship once again on the rocks.
Lydia opened up about her troubles with Arg to Lauren Goodger, saying: ‘Me and James have obviously always had our problems and our issues. We always argue about the stupidest things.
‘But every time I see him and my hearts crumbles and I love him so much. James never admits something is wrong, he’ll always be in denial about it like everything is fine.’
‘We’ve had this amazing experience, and amazing adventure together, but a second part of me is like can you really be this unhappy’
Lauren replied: ‘You stay in an unhappy relationship because you love someone. But you have to think: Is love enough?’
Gratefully, Lydia thanked her friend, saying: ‘It was good to talk to Lauren. I think she’s been in a similar situation. People don’t understand.’
Arg meanwhile unburdened himself to Lydia’s mother Debbie.
Red-eyed, he gulped: ‘I do really want to see her Debbie. It’s her 21st birthday and I haven’t given her anything yet. What are you doing for her birthday?’
Debbie replied that she was taking Lydia for a ‘girly meal’ to a brasserie.
She continued: ‘You know I’m always here for you no matter what. I think of you like my son, you’ve been part of this family for three or four years.’
‘I know how much you love my daughter, and as a mother that’s always what you want. But if you love her that much you have to give her space.’
‘Lydia’s been with you since she was seventeen, she was a child when she met you. I think she needs to find herself, but she can’t do that without space.’
Arg sobbed: ‘I thought we’d move in together, and if that went well we’d get engaged and then be married in a few years.’
Debbie sighed: ‘Life never goes to plan James, does it,’ before embracing him with a warm hug.
It wasn’t long before Lydia had a similar conversation with her mother.
Debbie’s answer was much the same as the one she had given Arg, as she said: ‘He does smother you, he is very obsessed with you. He is emotionally draining. I’m not having a go of him, that’s his personality, but it wears you out. I think he’s clinging onto the fact that you still love him.’
Clearly torn, Lydia said: ‘I do still love him. I don’t want to talk about it. I don’t want to hear about James, I feel so guilty, I don’t want to hear that I’m making someone I love unhappy.’
Debbie answered: ‘It’s very clear we both love each other very much ‘
Arg also confided in pal Mario, who agreed ‘a bit of time apart might do you good.’
Things came to a head during Lydia’s birthday celebrations, when an attempt from Arg to come to a peaceful agreement resulted only in tears from Lydia.
Arg turned up uninvited to Lydia’s ‘girly’ birthday meal, where he was met with a frosty reception.
Ignoring Lauren’s attempts to dissuade him from joining in, Arg said: ‘I know you’re all having a girl’s evening and you’ve all had a few drinks.’
‘But we’ve been on and off for four years, and it’s your 21st so I wanted to come and give you your present’
When Lauren tried again to interrupt, Arg snapped: ‘If I really wanted to take relationship advice from someone it wouldn’t be from you.’
He gave Lydia a blue box wrapped with a silver ribbon, saying ‘I know that’s something you’ve wanted for a long time.’
He then bent to kiss a sobbing Lydia on the cheek, saying: ‘When you’re ready you’re ready. I’m not going to pester you any more.’
Debbie tried to defend Arg, saying ‘if he wants to come and give her a present that’s his business.’
Lucy Mecklenburgh argued: ‘No that’s what I hate, he says he wants to give her space, but this isn’t space.’
Lydia chimed in: ‘I think she’s talking more sense than you are mum.’
See what happens next Wednesday @ 10pm on ITV2