Splitting ALREADY TOWIE returns with a tearful start as Arg and Lydia's relationship is (again) on the brink of meltdown
It's been a long winter without them.
But tonight, The Only Way Is Essex finally returned to our screens.
And it looked 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.
Overwhelmed: Lydia Bright confided to Lauren Goodger at the start of the episode that she felt unhappy with Arg
Seeking advice: A miserable Arg visited Lydia's mother Debbie to talk about the relationship while Lydia chatted to Lauren
Tearily, she confessed: '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'
Sympathetic: Having had a similar experience with her ex Mark Wright, Lauren was all ears
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.
Feels lost: Having gone out with Arg on and off since she was 17, Lydia thinks she hasn't had the space to find herself
Supportive: Debbie said that Arg was like a son to her, but that is he loved Lydia he would give her the space she needed
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.'
Own plans: Debbie said that she had organised a girly meal at a brasserie for Lydia's 21st
Her turn: Lydia also confided in her mother that afternoon, and said that while she hated putting someone she loved through hell she needed time and space to make a decision
'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.'
Honest opinion: Debbie told Lydia that she felt Arg was obsessed with her, and clings to the fact that she loves him
Offering comfort: Debbie reassured Lydia that she wasn't being selfish, and that she loved her no matter what
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.'
Man to man: Arg had a brief chat with Mario Falcone, who said that it sounded to him as though the pair needed space
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.'
Unwelcome: Arg turned up uninvited to Lydia's girly birthday meal, where Lauren tried to persuade him to leave
Having fun: The girls had been enjoying their evening until Arg showed up
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.'
Took offense: Arg said that if he wanted relationship advice, he wouldn't take it from Lauren
'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.'
Made a speech: Arg addressed the table to explain why he felt he had to come
What's in the box Arg said his present was something that he knew Lydia had 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.'
Ruined her night: Lydia was very upset that Arg had turned up to her birthday meal after she had said that she needed space