While we wait out this whole corona-thing, I'm doing my part to save the world by social distancing with my snacky snacks and catching up on Insecure's season 4. So far we're only two episodes into the long-awaited new season and Issa has already found herself in a situation.
awkward issa rae GIF by Insecure on HBOGiphy
Here's the rundown, filled with spoilers if you're already not caught up…
Issa unknowingly befriended Lawrence's new girlfriend, Condola and they started working closely together. Eventually, they realized that Issa's ex bae and Condola's new bae are the same bae, but they forge on with their work friendship sans the initial awkwardness. After addressing the elephant in the room aka cracking a few light-hearted jokes about Lawrence, it now seems like the two ladies may be forming a real friendship. Issa even goes as far to say, "I LOVE Condola!"
Issa is so supportive 😂 #InsecureHBOpic.twitter.com/JXRJga7tnl
— insecurehbo (@insecurehbo) April 20, 2020
SN:Issa's bestie Molly made it clear that she thinks their "friendship" is a very bad idea.
Like I said, a situation. Since the relationship themes in the cult-show reflect our real-lives (you know, outside of quarantine) all too well, I wondered how I would handle this, well, situation. I hold my female friendships near and dear. Lucky for me, I tend to befriend folks easily, and often approach possible friendship matches like a pro Pokémon player—gotta catch 'em all. So, I'd try my best to not let a little thing like a guy get in the way. After all, one woman's ex is another woman's husband. But not all exes are the same. There's one very important factor to remember here: Issa and Lawrence were together for FIVE YEARS.
They lived together, experienced growth together and were (maybe still are) in love with each other. I was in a roller coaster of a relationship for seven years, and while I may have never accidentally befriended my ex's girlfriend, I would not knowingly venture down that road for sanity's sake. Put in Issa's shoes, I would keep the working relationship with Condola since it seems to be going well, but keep it moving in the other direction when it came to anything personal. I don't need a constant reminder of a relationship I said "thank you, next" to and unfortunately my new gal pal is too deeply intertwined with someone who was meant to stay in my past.
But that's just me! I avoid anything that has even the potential of drama to develop. However, I love to watch the messiness play out on-screen and will definitely pull up seat to hear juicy real-life tales that mimic Issa's. So, I reached out to Insecure fans to ask them:
Could you be friends with your ex's new bae?
"I’m Mature Enough To Handle It"
"I would def be friends with my ex's new bae. I think once you are a woman of a particular age, we don't have time for the childish games. Adults should be able to get along, be cordial and especially get money. My motto would be money over everything because the men will come and go. Also, he is an ex for a reason so sis HAVE AT HIM! That connection could be a divine one and letting ego and pettiness get in the way could burn the bridge. At the end of the day this all boils down to maturity. How mature are you to handle this? And as for me I believe I'm mature enough to handle it." –LaToya Newton, 40, TheAnalogGirl.com
"Don't Force It."
"If I meet a smart, kind woman and we get along, I consider that a win. If I come to find out she's my old bae's new bae, I still would be friendly, but the extent of our friendship will differ based on my comfort and friendship level with old bae. Sometimes relationships end and that's OK, but I don't want to be forced to hang out with someone I no longer want in my life." –Brittiany Cierra, 33, Founder, Cur8ted Media
"Possibly. Maybe. But I Need Boundaries."
"I guess it depends on how the relationship ended. If it was an amicable break-up, then I would consider, but there would be boundaries on how we conduct our friendship." –Kateri Fischer, On-Air Scheduling Coordinator
"We Could Be Friends. I Just Doubt We Would Be Friends."
"I could definitely be friends with my ex's new girlfriend. I haven't met an ex that I want back yet. Maybe some love lost, but never any hate gained. I honestly do come out of every relationship feeling as though I gave it my best, so I have zero regrets and few reservations in the end.
"Now, realistically, could my ex be friends with me? Let alone, could his new girl be friends with me? Doubt it. It's as simple as this. While I may have far fewer desire to have that old thang back, I can't say the same for all of my exes. That's not to boast or brag, that's just my truth. But I've noticed that, while I have a bit more control over my feelings (or lack thereof) post-breakup, that hasn't always been the case for my exes.
"With that said, there are way too many emotional factors on all ends to consider. The chances of everyone being on the same page, are slim to none." –Soraya "Sojo," Digital Director + Personality
"God Is Still Working On Me."
"I've never had a situation like this happen to me (thank God), but I'm pretty sure I would not be able to befriend my ex's new boo. Especially, if the ex and I were together for a significant amount of time (like Issa and Lawrence were). Truthfully, I'd have a hard-enough time getting to a place where l was cool with my ex again, so the new boo is a no-go. Kudos to the folks that are mature enough to handle something like this, because I most certainly am not. God is still working on me. (Laughs)" – Tiffany, 29, Fine Artist
"It Would Never Go Beyond A Surface Relationship."
"Honestly speaking, a friendship with my ex's new girlfriend would never be something I could start. The friendship wouldn't be genuine because I wouldn't want to discuss her relationship and she wouldn't feel comfortable confiding in me like she would with a friend. It would be a surface relationship, and those aren't worth even having if you can avoid them." –Kim C., 30, Marketing Manager
"Not Accepting Additional Soul Ties."
"...another woman's treasure right! (Laughs) I couldn't be friends. However, I would be super cordial. If I found out she was dating my ex like Issa did, I would make it work for the duration of the project; especially if she's a sweet person. However, my ex is my ex for a reason, and I don't need any additional soul ties." –Marie Lewis, Social Media Manager
"Wondering About Their Pillow Talk Would Drive Me Crazy."
"For me, it's a no. Not that we couldn't be cordial, but I don't want to consume my life with wondering what is being talked about during their pillow talk. Who wants to build a relationship with someone whose bae has a playbook to your love life? Just saying." –Tweety E., 20-Something, Writer
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Featured image via Insecure/HBO
Jazmine A. Ortiz is a creative born and raised in Bushwick, Brooklyn and currently living in Staten Island, NY. She started in the entertainment industry in 2012 and now works as a Lifestyle Editor where she explores everything from mental health to vegan foodie trends. For more on what she's doing in the digital space follow her on Instagram at @liddle_bitt.
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From Monogamy To Polyamory: 'I'm In An Asexual Poly Marriage With My Husband Of 7 Years'
Have you ever wondered what it's like to be asexual and in an open marriage? Relationship Coach Mikki Bey shared her first-hand experience with us as well as answered some of our burning questions.
Like a lot of people, Mikki met her now husband, Raheem Ali, online. As soon as they met, they instantly fell in love and got engaged on their first date. Just 90 days after they met, the couple tied the knot and have now been married for seven years. Raheem and Mikki aren’t your typical married couple, and despite being married for almost a decade, their marriage is anything but traditional. Mikki and Raheem have what she calls an "asexual polyamorous marriage."
Defining Her Sexuality
It wasn't until last summer that Mikki found the language to define her sexuality. "I didn't have the language for it until last summer," she explained to xoNecole. "Looking back, I just thought sex wasn't my thing. It was never enjoyable for me, and I'd go years without even noticing.”
Mikki always thought she was broken because she had no interest in sex. Mikki noticed after her friends came to visit and started discussing their sexual fantasies that she realized something was different about her. “At that point, I knew something was definitely different about me since I do not have sexual fantasies at all. It was truly news to me that people are at work thinking about sex! That was not my experience.” This led to Mikki researching asexuality, which she soon realized fit her to a T. “It felt like breathing new air when I was able to call it by name," said Mikki.
"Looking back, I just thought sex wasn't my thing. It was never enjoyable for me, and I'd go years without even noticing it."
Asexuality refers to people who experience little or no sexual attraction, experience attraction without acting on it sexually, or experience sexual attraction differently based on other factors. Like most things, asexuality falls on a spectrum and encompasses many other identities. It's important to remember, however, that attraction and action are not always synonymous: some asexuals may reject the idea of sexual contact, but others may be sex-neutral and engage in sexual activity.
It's possible that some asexuals will have sex with someone else despite not having a libido or masturbating, but others will have sex with a partner because it brings a sense of connection.
From a Traditional Marriage to Kitchen Table Polyamory
Although Mikki never really had a high sex drive, it wasn’t until after the birth of her son, that she noticed her sex drive took a real nosedive. “I never had a high sex drive, but about a year after my son was born, I realized I had zero desire. My husband has a high sex drive, and I knew that it would not be sustainable to not have sex in our marriage at that time.”
She was determined to find an alternative to divorce and stumbled upon a polyamory conversation on Clubhouse. Upon doing her own research, she brought up the idea to their husband, who was receptive. “It’s so interesting to me that people weigh sex so heavily in relationships when even if you are having a ton of sex, it’s still a very small percentage of the relationship activity," Mikki shared.
They chose polyamory because Mikki still wanted to be married, but she also wanted to make sure that Raheem was getting his individual needs and desires met, even if that meant meeting them with someone else. “I think that we have been programmed to think that our spouses need to be our 'everything.' We do not operate like that. There is no one way that fits all when it comes to relationships, despite what society may try to tell you. Their path to doing this thing called life together may be different from yours, but they found what works for them. We have chosen to design a marriage that works for us,” Mikki explained.
"We have chosen to design a marriage that works for us. We both consent to each of us having everything from casual sex partners to lifetime partners if it should go there. We believe love is abundant and do not limit ourselves or each other on how we express it."
She continued, “We both consent to each of us having everything from casual sexual partners to lifetime partners if it should get there. We believe love is abundant and do not limit ourselves or each other on how we express it. Our dynamic is parallel with kitchen table poly aspirations.”
Kitchen table polyamory (KTP) is a polyamorous relationship in which all participants are on friendly terms enough to share a meal at the kitchen table. Basically, it means you have some form of relationship with your partner’s other partner, whether as a group or individually. A lot of times, KTP relationships are highly personal and rooted in mutual respect, communication, and friendship.
Intimacy in an Asexual Polyamorous Marriage
Mikki says she and her husband, Raheem, still share intimate moments despite being in a polyamorous marriage. “Our intimacy is emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and physical, although non-sexual. We are intentional about date nights weekly, surprising and delighting each other daily, and most of all, we communicate our needs regularly. In my opinion, our intimacy is top-tier! I give my husband full-body massages, mani-pedis and make sure I am giving him small physical touches/kisses throughout the day. He is also very intentional about showing me his love and affection.”
Raheem and Mikki now use their lives as examples for others. On their website, thepolycouplenextdoor.com, they coach people interested in learning how to be consensually non-monogamous. “We are both relationship coaches. I specialized in emotional regulation, and Raheem specializes in communication and conflict resolution. The same tools we use in our marriage help our clients succeed in polyamory."
Mikki advises people who may be asexual or seeking non-monogamy to communicate their needs openly and to consider seeking sex therapy or intimacy coaching. Building a strong relationship with a non-sexual partner requires both empathy and compassion.
For more of Mikki, follow her on Instagram @getmikkibey. Follow the couple's platform on Instagram @thepolycouplenextdoor.
Featured image by skynesher/Getty Images