HBO’s breakout hit TV show Insecure is back for another season and the Internet is back at with the #TeamLawrence vs #TeamIssa and now #TeamTasha debates. On one hand you have the sistas who see themselves in Issa and Lawerence’s relationship. They were there to hold a man down even when he was broke and broken, but when things didn’t improve, they acted on their feelings in a passive-aggressive way, and did something that damaged the relationship beyond repair. These sistas cry foul and claim men at *ish because Lawerence was unable to forgive Issa and instead of talking it out, got his ego (and something else) stroked with a rebound romp in the sheets with Tasha.
#TeamLawrence folks claim that women don’t know how to support a man when he’s down. Lawrence was just depressed, they said, and Black women just don’t know how to stand by their king when he’s acting like a pauper. When a woman cheat on a man, they claim, his ego is bruised and he needs to find a woman who can love him through his ups and downs.
Now this season shows the aftermath of both of their decisions, including an awkward “let’s hook up but we aren’t gonna talk about what it means naw I’m not getting back together with you” moment. It’s all a big, hot mess.
I get why it’s causing such a buzz. But everyone is talking about this relationship from the perspective of their own experiences. I want change the conversation and offer another perspective as a dating coach and one of the top relationship experts for professional Black women.
#TruthBomb: Issa and Lawrence didn’t have to breakup if they knew these 3 things:
- Awareness about your attachment style will keep you from “acting out”
Authors Amir Levine, M.D. and Rachel S. F. Heller, M.A. say attachment theory can explain how we connect with another person and how we define love.
For example, the anxious attachment style is characterized by an intense drive to become connected to your partner early on in a relationship. With this relationship style, you feel anxious at the slightest sign that your partner doesn’t want to be close to you and you spend a lot of time overthinking every little thing!
On the other hand, a person who is avoidant desires intimacy but feels suffocated when someone gets too close to and will suddenly pull away. When there are relationship problems, instead of talking it out, they act out, transferring feelings of anger, guilt and/or fear onto their partners, even using an affair to end a relationship instead of being direct about her needs.
Both of these styles create insecurity in a relationship and cause each person to act out to reestablish contact with the partner and get their needs met. Levine and Heller give several examples of acting out including:
- Obsessively calling, texting, or stalking someone on social media or in real life to try to reconnect
- Withdrawing: sulking, shutting down, ignoring phone calls or attempts to talk
- Tit for tat: tracking how long it takes for him to call you back and then doing the same thing to them; waiting for them to make the first move, or apologize first before having a talk about what happened (and usually no one does!)
- Contempt: rolling your eyes, turning away from your partner when they talk, getting up and walking out, getting violent.
- Threatening to leave: Saying things like this, “I can’t do this anymore, I’ll leave you, this isn’t working out,” but you want him to stop you from leaving.
- Manipulation: pretending you have plans or are too busy to talk or go out
- Trying to make him feel jealous by flirting with someone else or getting together with an ex, or going out with friends where you know there will be singles or telling your partner about someone who tried to holla at you.
Acting out continues even after the relationship is over and causes the heartache and longing that can get you stuck in an on again, off again relationship.
I see this going on with Issa and Lawrence and chances are it’s happening in your relationships whenever you have a breakdown. Understanding your attachment style can help you realize that some of your relationship problems are a result of you not knowing how to communicate about your feelings and needs.
2. All relationship problems aren’t created equal
All relationships have problems, so you shouldn’t break up just because you have intense conflict with each other. You need wisdom to discern the difference between solvable and unsolvable problems and deal with them BEFORE they turn into emergencies.
Solvable problems are usually about a specific situation or an emotional need that’s not being met. For example, Lawrence’s depression over his failed business caused him to sit on the couch and withdraw from the relationship. He wasn’t meeting Issa’s needs anymore. Issa’s problem was she didn’t know how to talk directly with him and make a request about what she needed in a way that Lawrence could hear. Neither of them knew how to be vulnerable with each other so they can speak their truth and stay connected while they figured things out.
This problem turned into unsolvable problems. These are problems that are deal breakers such as abuse, addictions, disrespectful behaviors, infidelity, lifestyle and compatibility issues and emotional unavailability, just to name a few.
Some unsolvable problems can be handled through compromise or counseling, but most are a sign that you can’t move forward in a relationship.
Issa and Lawrence didn’t know how to deal with their solvable problems and that turned their molehills into mountains!
3. It takes a village to make a relationship work
I’ve noticed something with our folk: We tend to turn to faith, family/friends or figuring things out on our own when we face relationship problems. We rarely turn to experts who can give us tools to heal our individual issues and create relationships that last. In fact, we seem to be ashamed of needing help!
I also noticed that neither Issa nor Lawrence have a squad who can help them through their problems with real help, because these friends don’t know what they’re doing in dating either! Lawrence seems particularly lonely when he’s in his dark space and he gets horrible advice while in a strip club that makes him act in a way that puts the nail in the coffin for his relationship with Issa.
If you want to make a relationship last, you need a village filled with supportive friends, family, mentors and experts who can guide you through the rough times.
Issa’s and Lawrence’s story doesn’t have to be your story. You can save a relationship by applying the 3 tips I’ve shared with you.
Question: Who’s in your village? Who do you turn to during relationship drama?