Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re probably aware of the drawn out beginning-of-the-end of bite-size rapper T.I. and singer/reality star Tiny’s marriage. This heartbreaking deterioration of their relationship is being played out publicly, both in social media as well as their reality TV show Family Values, and it’s very difficult to watch. Watching one of hip hop’s favorite couples fall apart has a lot of fans extremely disappointed. However, with every experience comes lessons we can take with us in moving forward. Here are a few lessons that stand out to me in this relationship/marital drama.
1. WHEN YOUR PARTNER SHOWS YOU WHO THEY ARE… BELIEVE THEM.
Maya Angelou spoke it best with her famous quote, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” Sure, you have the good qualities that make you fall in love with your partner, but it’s important to pay just as much attention to the red flags that pop up. Anyone that keeps up T.I. And Tiny’s tumultuous relationship can see that there were obvious long-term cheating and control issues. It’s much easier to remove yourself from a toxic relationship in the beginning when you first notice the unhealthy habits, as opposed to once you’re deeply invested or in love.
If someone is showing you that they have cheating and controlling ways, do yourself a favor and avoid getting seriously involved or involved at all. Knowing those things about someone and getting involved with them anyway is basically signing yourself up for heartbreak and dysfunction.
2. IF HE SAYS YOUR MARRIAGE OR A RELATIONSHIP IS A “DISTRACTION”, IT WAS PROBABLY NEVER A TOP PRIORITY.
T.I. recently did an interview where called his marriage to Tiny a “distraction”, a slap in the face that stung women everywhere. What’s crazy is that T.I. actually saw nothing wrong with that disrespectful statement, even when Tiny tried to explain why it wasn’t okay. In life we have priorities, things that that are very significant to us. Most people hold marriage as one of those things once they make that major step.
The priorities we choose then become our focus. A priority cannot be a distraction. If someone makes you feel that their relationship with you is an inconvenience or a distraction, it’s clear you’re not very high on their priority list. Don’t ever let anyone make you feel that you’re an obstacle to their happiness or success. And if they do, don’t be afraid to remove yourself so that they no longer have that excuse to fall back on.
3. BEING THE “MAIN CHICK” IS NOT WINNING.
It’s a debate prior generations have had for ages. The wife or girlfriend thinks she’s “winning” because she has the title and all the benefits, and the other woman (or women) who feel they’re “winning” because they get the benefits without having to commit and be the one getting cheated on. The truth is… the only winner in a love triangle is the guy playing the heck out of all the women involved, because he’s getting the best of both world with little to no consequences.
There’s nothing to be proud of while being someone’s “main” woman, because that simply means that there are other women in the picture. Accepting and claiming the “main” position is acknowledging that your man or husband cheats, and that you’re willing to accept that as long as you’re in the top spot. There’s no “winning” in that. You’re simply sharing your man/ husband and lowering yourself to take “Ls” with the side chicks who are used to taking them.
4. ENTERTAINING THE OTHER WOMAN PUBLICLY IS A WASTE OF TIME AND A LOSS OF POWER.
Although many may not admit it, we know how it feels when the other woman is discovered, and what’s even worse is when she decides to begin making it known or deliberately be disrespectful. The first thought is to want to put her in her place, but the truth is she should be the least of your worries. The problem is your man/husband that gave her the position to fill in the first place.
Don’t waste time arguing back and forth or stepping out of character to retaliate against a woman that obviously has no respect for herself as it is. Don’t hand over your power by allowing her behavior to tap into your emotions and cause a reaction. If you feel you absolutely have to talk to her, do so in a mature and private manner, never publicly. When you make your relationship drama public, it only makes things much worse by making the other woman feel empowered, and by making you appear foolish. Don’t give the other woman any more attention than she deserves, and don’t give the world a front row seat to all your relationship issues.
5. LOVE YOURSELF, BEFORE AND ABOVE ALL ELSE.
When you truly learn to love all that you are and understand how valuable you are, you begin to settle a lot less. You begin to tolerate less mistreatment and surround yourself with those that know your worth also. Sometimes we get so caught up in wanting love and someone by our side that we neglect ourselves to get and maintain that. A lack of true self love is the reason many people are involved in unhealthy/toxic relationships today. You have to remember that self love has to successfully exist before you can truly maintain a successful relationship with anyone else.
6. LOVE DOESN’T HURT OR MAKE YOU COMPROMISE YOUR VALUES/MORALS.
You may see all the memes online that give you the idea that you have to go through storms and pain before can experience happiness, but that’s completely misleading. Love doesn’t make you feel like crap or break you. It’s not supposed to be a game of pain and pleasure. It’s not manipulation, control or convincing yourself that adding another partner into the equation will make everything OK or improve things. Never allow anyone to make you feel that compromising your values or morals is showing love and loyalty. And never allow anyone to make you feel that you have to add someone to your bedroom activities like you aren’t enough for them intimately.
7. INVESTMENT DOESN’T GUARANTEE OBLIGATION.
If you’ve followed Tiny and T.I. for a long time, you know that Tiny was famous when T.I. was just an up and coming artist, and she played a large part financially in helping him to become the popular rapper we know today. Tiny invested in her partner, even setting her own endeavors aside to help build her man’s career and lifestyle, something that she continued to do well into the marriage, holding him down as a true “ride or die” partner. However, she was still cheated on, disrespected and the marriage is still on its way to being over.
It doesn’t matter how much time or money you invest in a person. If that person is not as emotionally invested in you, no amount of sacrifice or financial support will make them remain if they don’t want to. And even if they do remain for those benefits, they’re not going to necessarily feel obligated to be faithful simply because you’ve financed them. This is a growing problem these days because there is a drastic increase in women that are financing men, trying to buy love and time in order to have someone by their side, while opportunistic men are taking advantage of this “sponsoring” and moving on when they’re able to find someone else to conveniently use.
8. HISTORY DOES NOT EQUAL HEALTHY.
Its difficult to imagine starting over with someone new when you’ve been with someone for years. Many hang on to toxic relationships due to history and the hope that things will change for the better, or at the least go back to the happier times once had. The trouble with allowing history to be the reason you stay is that most toxic partners see this weakness and use it as a green light to continue disrespecting the relationship. They know that you’re desperate to hang on, and they see that there’s no real consequences for their behavior. Don’t let the thought of how long you’ve been involved with someone blind you to how much you’ve been through or how much you’ve been hurt by this person. Always choose healthy over history when deciding if your relationship or marriage is good for you. Having a “ride or die” title in a toxic relationship is simply saying you’re willing to settle for whatever treatment you get for as long as you need to. You get nothing but heartache hanging on to what hurts you for the sake of it being long term.