Can’t Raise A Man: Do You Complain About Your Man To His Mother?
**Warning**Includes Sweetie Pies spoilers.
If you are a fan of OWN Network’s Sweetie Pies, you know that last night Tim and Jenae’s relationship came to a dramatic end when Jenae officially ended their engagement. Although they have son “T.J” together, Tim and Jenae just can’t seem to get it together and have been living separately for the past two seasons. Tim has seemed to be distracted from the relationship for some time, proposing but never seeming to commit to planning a wedding. And Jenae seemed initially consumed by planning the perfect wedding instead of focusing on the legitimacy of their relationship.
Well last night, a sista lost it when she discovered Tim had hired a pretty, young assistant to help him with his duties running the restaurants. After using an overblown altercation between the new assistant and Jenae’s best friend, Monique (also Tim’s cousin) to confront her estranged fiance, Jenae ends up breaking down in in front of Tim complaining about why he never informed her about the assistant (technically none of her business since she doesn’t work for Sweetie Pies). It’s obvious Jenae feels threatened by the new assistant, but in the course of flipping out on Tim she also checks him on not be there for and their son as he should. Tim ends up walking out on the argument forcing Jenae to go crying to Momma Robbie, Tim’s mother, owner of Sweetie Pies and matriarch of the family. She cries to Robbie stating that Tim has “broken” her and leaves her engagement ring with her.
Besides the ladies of Sweetie Pies engaging in some predictable and (as much as I hate to say it) ratchet behavior, something else bothered me about last night’s show. Both Tim and Jenae seem to allow their parents to be way too involved in their relationship. It’s one of the relationship rules I am quick to remind people of when they need to get out a good rant about the frustrations of their relationship: You can’t complain to people about your partner, and then get defensive when they start complaining with you. I’m all about getting some good motherly advice, but during a particular scene when Tim goes to handle business while T.J. is suffering from pneumonia in the hospital, Jenae gets a little defensive when her mother starts to bad mouth Tim. One minute she says she focused on her son’s recovery and doesn’t want to talk about Tim, but as soon as she hears about an assistant she’s running from restaurant to restaurant to confront her. There seems to be whole lot of dishonesty on this show, with the cast themselves and one another.
It confuses me when women complain about a man’s inability to act like “a man”, but then run to his mother to tell on him whenever they can’t seem to solve those problems like he is a child. I am all for needing a little reinforcement some time, but adult relationships, especially marriage, are about sticking together and working on problems together. There’s no point in building a home together if whenever things get rough, you go running back to your parents. My mother always tells me this story of the early days of her and my father’s marriage. After moving in together shortly before, they had a huge argument and my father proceeded to pack his things and go to my grandmother’s house who lived a few blocks away. When they both calmed down and he returned she sat him down and told him, “If you are going to run home every time we have an argument, then you can stay there.” And from that day forward, whenever they argued they worked on their problems together, instead of calling their parents for back up. Period.
You have to consider the difficult position you place in-laws in when you constantly come complaining about their child. On one hand they want to support you, but on the other hand they have a certain loyalty to their son or daughter, even if they are fully aware they are in the wrong. It’s challenging and there are no easy answers.
Consider yourself blessed if you’re able to have an honest, close relationship with your in-laws; the more family you have to support your union, the merrier. But tread the fine line of how much you share, especially if you can’t handle advice you don’t want to hear. The man your mother-in-law raised is who attracted you in the first place, and if that man is who you really want you can’t treat him like a child by hoping telling on his mother on him constantly will get him to change.
Toya Sharee is a community health educator and parenting education coordinator who has a passion for helping young women build their self-esteem and make well-informed choices about their sexual health. She also advocates for women’s reproductive rights and blogs about everything from beauty to love and relationships. Follow her on Twitter @TheTrueTSharee or visit her blog, Bullets and Blessings.