As someone who found herself captivated by season one of “Love & Hip Hop Atlanta,” I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t anxious for the premiere of season 2 this coming Monday. Like other fans of the show, I’ve been watching the super trailers promoting the return of some of the series’ most ratchet of characters, which of course includes Mimi Faust, Joseline Hernandez and the one and only Stevie J. At the conclusion of last season, it seemed as though Mimi was finally moving on from Stevie, and the love triangle between them was finally over. But as we see from some clips for the upcoming season, that may not be entirely true.
Even though it seems Mimi has moved on and found a new man, she has said in recent interviews that she can’t quite shake Stevie and that a part of her will always love him because of their 15-plus year history and because they have a daughter together. And Stevie J recently revealed that he loves and wants them both. I can see Stevie wanting his cake and eating it too, but after that revelation, I don’t see how either woman would want to deal with that. From Mimi’s standpoint, once Joseline was in the picture, I don’t understand how she could stay wrapped up in this love triangle as long as she did, but like most men and women who find themselves in this situation, sometimes it’s not about wanting to hold on to the love you share with the primary person at the center of the relationship (Stevie), it’s about wanting to “win” and beat out the “other” person (Joseline). The sad part is, sometimes the lines get blurred and it’s hard to figure out if you are indeed the main woman, or the “other” woman — especially if the man is sending mixed messages and leading you on.
Since the relationship between Mimi and Stevie has been on and off again for 15 years, it’s safe to say that she feels she is the “main woman,” so from Mimi’s standpoint, I understand wanting to try to fight and save the relationship. She has a lot of love and time invested, and any time a couple shares a child, I don’t feel anyone is necessarily wrong for wanting to salvage the relationship in order to keep the family together. However at some point you have to know when enough is enough and it’s time to throw in the towel, especially if you are being disrespected in the process. No matter how much a person wants to save a failing relationship, once a third party enters the picture, it’s time to consider your own feelings of self worth and not make yourself the victim anymore. This goes for the “other” woman as well.
Giving Joseline and other “other” women the benefit of the doubt, most women (and men) find themselves as the “third wheel” by accident. Maybe it’s because the primary person lied about their relationship status, or downplayed his or her relationship. Other times, the third party may have full knowledge that the primary person is in a relationship, but has somehow convinced herself that they are justified in continuing a relationship with the primary person anyway. If there is a strong attraction there, as well as a deep emotional attachment – whether it happened instantly or gradually, through deceit or full knowledge – everyone involved in a love triangle has a decision to make before they get to a dangerous place. The reality is each person is essentially satisfying their own needs and getting their own fulfillment without regard for anyone else – even if it’s only temporary. While Stevie J may look like the selfish one in this scenario, the women are just as selfish as he is because they are choosing to stay with a man who has told them both that they’re just passengers on his bus. He hasn’t made these women victims – they’re victimizing themselves.
The best thing to do for all involved is to really take stock of what it is that’s missing from their lives that landed them in a love triangle in the first place. The primary person, or the cheater, should be honest about what’s missing from the relationship that caused him or her to stray. This isn’t to justify his actions, but simply to communicate to his partner that either he is dissatisfied with the relationship or can’t fully commit to one person so that she has the choice to leave or stay. He or she must also be honest and selfless enough to end the relationship before bringing another person into it.
The partner, once he or she finds out that a third party has entered into the relationship, must be honest about why he or she would stay in such a disrespectful situation. Do you want to “win” or “beat” the other person, simply because you were there first? Or do you honestly feel that you and the primary person can actually heal after you’ve discovered an affair? Sometimes women feel that the affair can help shed light on what was wrong so they can fix things, when it fact, the plug should have been pulled on the dying relationship a long time ago…and now they’re just holding on because they’re afraid to be alone. So they stay and hope the “other woman” will go away nicely on her own.
Then there’s the “other woman,” the woman on the side who now feels vested and also wants to “win.” She too hopes to just “stick it out” and wait for the primary relationship to wrap up so that they can get on with their lives. But how often does that honestly happen? What the third party needs to understand is that usually, if he cheats with you, he’ll cheat on you as well. If you do “win” him, mainly because the main chick has decided to leave, is that how you really want to win? The novelty and newness of your affair will soon wear off, and you’ll be left wondering if you can trust the man that once cheating with you on someone else. Is it really worth it?
At the end of the day, it’s all about having self respect — no matter where you fall in the love triangle. How you got there doesn’t matter, intentional or not, but how you move forward is what will determine your character. Everyone in this situation has full control over their actions and behavior – and whether you’ve been cheated on, or are the person on the side, you can continue to make choices that will most likely lead to heartbreak, or you can step away from the love triangle and start a new life with someone more deserving of your affection. Everyone deserves to be loved and respected, but you can’t wait for someone to do that for you, and you certainly won’t find that with a borrowed lover. Love begins with self respect, and you’ll always come up empty if you sell yourself short.