On Owning Your Partner And Why I Had To Unfollow Him On Instagram

November 18, 2014  |  

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I know people generally regard the Smith family as weird. And I know the recent interview Willow and Jaden just did with the New York Times, won’t make things any better. But I can’t help but dig them. Yeah, Willow and Jaden are certainly different. There’s no denying that. But they also have a freedom that most teenagers–and hell even most adults–will never know. And while people are always pointing at Will and Jada as if they’ve screwed up, I think some of their philosophies have actually been rather helpful.

And not just for their children either, I know they’ve helped me.

Last year, as is always the case, the issue of Will and Jada’s presumably open marriage came up once again. And finally, in a statement Jada said, “Will can do whatever he wants…” 

It didn’t help quell the rumors. Instead, for the people who believed the two had an open marriage, it confirmed it. And in an attempt to clarify, Jada took to her Facebook page, (which is full of gems by the way), to expound.

Do we believe loving someone means owning them? Do we believe that ownership is the reason someone should “behave”? Do we believe that all the expectations, conditions, and underlying threats of “you better act right or else” keep one honest and true? Do we believe that we can have meaningful relationships with people who have not defined nor live by the integrity of his or her higher self? What of unconditional love? Or does love look like, feel like, and operate as enslavement? Do we believe that the more control we put on someone the safer we are? What of TRUST and LOVE?

Should we be married to individuals who can not be responsible for themselves and their families within their freedom? Should we be in relationships with individuals who we can not entrust to their own values, integrity, and LOVE…for us???

Here is how I will change my statement…Will and I BOTH can do WHATEVER we want, because we TRUST each other to do so. This does NOT mean we have an open relationship…this means we have a GROWN one.

I read this last year. And even though I didn’t think it was a lesson I needed to learn at the time, it stuck with me. Because, unbeknownst to me, I would need it later.

For years I’d been in a situationship. Everything kept us from being together in an official capacity. I mean everything: age, timing, distance, lack of trust, immaturity (on his part), dishonesty (on my part) and then eventually brokenness (on both of our parts). And so, after many years, the situationship ended…again. And though there was friendly-ish communication on social media afterward, this time the permanency felt more real.

But you know, matters of the heart. You can know something is over and still care and still want to know how that person is doing, what’s going on in their life. So even though I knew it was over, I decided I would be mature enough to continue following him on social media, or the one social media outlet I still followed him on: Instagram.

I could write a whole anthology on the ways in which social media can bring madness and mayhem into the very palm of your hand.

And that’s exactly what happened.

At first it was all good, I’d like the comical posts, pictures of his adorable niece, inspirational messages, life goal progress. All of that. I was so mature I had to commend myself.

And then the new boo started making appearances. At first I was lying to myself. ‘Oh, maybe she’s a friend.’  But it wasn’t long before there was a picture that was just to obvious to ignore. And when I saw it, I was shocked. Not at the relationship or the declaration of the relationship but my response to it.

I happen to know of the new boo. I went to high school with her. And though we were far from close, I always assumed she was a nice person. She always had a smile on her face and struck me as having a positive spirit.

But seeing that same smiling face on his page, I could literally feel the bile in my stomach rising up, my skin heating up and my lips turning up in both disgust and to keep any vomit from seeping out.

Just as my head was about to start spinning in Exorcist fashion, Jada’s words came back to me, with an explicit instruction from God:

“Veronica, you don’t own him. She’s a nice girl and he has every right to move on with his life. And if you can’t be happy for him, then you need to unfollow his page.” 

I am one of thee nosiest people in the world; and it pained me to do so, but I started unfollowing him instantly.

That was real maturity.

So Jada’s words resonate with me. So many times in marriages, relationships and even situationships we feel, even if we don’t admit it to ourselves, that we own the person. We like to put pretend stipulations on what they can and can’t do, forgetting the very real fact that we all have our own autonomy and can all do whatever we want.

I know some of you will read Jada’s comments and interpret them to mean that she allows Will to sleep with other women.

I don’t see it that way.

Jada acknowledges that in her mortality, she is not enough to stop Will from doing whatever he wants to do. He’s a grown man, with free will…and in his profession, plenty of access. People say it all the time, if a man is going to cheat on you, he’ll find a way.

But being that she truly knows Will and subsequently married him because she knows him, she trusts that he won’t do certain things. And it’s not because she wields any power or control over him. It’s because she trusts and believes in his own integrity and the decisions he’s made for his own life.

I’ll say that again. Decisions he made for himself, not because she’ll leave him or divorce him or step out too, but because these are the principals that are important to him as an individual, principals which she just so happens to benefit from as his wife and mother of his children.

All that relationship advice we consume about how to keep a man and how to make sure he stays faithful, have all been simplified by Jada’s words.

Instead of playing power games, learning a new move in the bedroom, giving ultimatums, sneaking through his stuff, or asking to smell his dick, choose to be with, surround yourself and even have children with men, women, people who not only possess their own sense of integrity and accountability but can actually prove they live by it. You and your relationship will be happier for it.

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