Marriage is hard work, and it’s going to take a whole lot more than infidelity to make Tammy Rivera walk away from her marriage.
The Love and Hip-Hop Atlanta star, and wife of rapper Waka Flocka, touched a few nerves when she referred to women who leave their cheating husbands as “weak” in a recent interview. When the “Hard in Da Paint” rapper admitted earlier this year that he was responsible for infidelity in the marriage, fans were sure we’d witness the saga play out in a future episode of the reality show. We were sure an episode would ultimately end with Rivera drawing up some divorce papers for his dirty doggin’ behind before driving into the sunset in a pair of Prada aviators with Jazmine Sullivan’s “Brand New” blaring in the background. Only, that didn’t happen. Rivera decided that their marriage was strong enough to overcome infidelity and now she’s explaining why in a recent interview with BleuBombshell that’s getting some serious side-eye:
“He does anything for us. So, my mom always told me - you can find a man who can financially take care of you, you can find a man who might not be a cheater, might have it all together, might of grew up with a father in their household - but it’s hard to find real love and a person who genuinely loves you and who is willing to change. My husband was willing to change for his family, so why would I give up on my husband? I’m not that type. I think that’s weak of a woman to do that. It’s easier to walk away as opposed to speaking up! No we’re going to fight for this, we got married. My family is worth fighting for.”
Unfortunately, Rivera wasn’t met with the most understanding response, as fans on social media went in and took offense, not just to her taking her husband back, but shaming women who choose to walk away from relationships affected by infidelity:
Tammy Rivera took Waka back after he cheated on her multiple times and got the nerves to call women who want better "weak".— carter (@carter)1480698198.0
I don’t understand why people are taking Rivera’s opinions so personally. After recently entering my second year of marriage, I can attest to the fact that marriage, or any long-term relationship, will reveal the best and worst parts of a person. If you’re in it for the long haul, your union will have to be made of something that survives way more than whose dirty draws are on the floor, who drank the last of the milk, and a reality star’s standards for just what exactly makes a union strong. Rivera went on to clear up the reasons behind Flocka’s infidelity:
“Because my husband is a good man. He’s a great man, and I think in today’s society everything is so disposable. Times are not the same, women nowadays you know they say, 'Oh let me just do this, I can go out and find me another man, n*ggas ain’t nothing'. You know, all of that, and I get it. But then on the other side, you have men who aren’t growing up with fathers, not making excuses for men to cheat, but you have men who never seen what a household is supposed to look like – my husband was never in a married household. He didn’t know.”
If you’re able to get past what some refer to as Rivera’s divorcee shaming, you might have caught the truly insightful point that infidelity happens for a variety of reasons, and when it comes to committing your life to someone, it can't always be so cut and dry as chalking up a whole relationship as soon as it gets hard.
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The unfortunate truth is that many of us aren’t that different from Flocka and don’t know what healthy relationships look like. Have VH1 tell it and most relationships have us all breaking up brunch brawls between shade slinging mothers-in-law and getting pregnant or engaged every time the story lines of our lives get a little slow. In all actuality, healthy relationships look a little different on everyone.
A marriage will be filled with blowouts, breakdowns and boring nights that will all make you question everything and all will be completely normal.
Marriage is filled with quiet daily sacrifices, like just picking up the damn draws off the floor because it’s not even worth the argument. It’s also filled with big sacrifices, like couples who wait years to separate and fake a whole life of happiness because they don’t want their kids growing up in a broken home. Oh, and let’s not forget having kids in itself. If going from partners to parents doesn’t change your relationship, I don’t know what will.
I don’t think people should necessarily stay in unhealthy marriages in which neither partner is making an effort to improve, but according to the numbers, the divorce rate that peaked at about 40 percent for first marriages around 1980 has been declining since to about 30 percent in the early 2000s. Does that mean infidelity isn’t happening? Probably not, but I have never been a fan of the phrase, “Once a cheater, always a cheater.” Mostly because I have cheated in the past and been cheated on.
When I was in long-term relationship several years ago, I found myself at a point where the relationship had grown a little stale and I began to question exactly where it was going. I began to battle some insecurities and wonder what it was about me that wouldn’t make my boyfriend take things to the next level after dating for several years. Instead of communicating that to my partner, I started texting an ex who played right into my insecurity and told me everything I wanted to hear which eventually lead to us linking up for a few nights where we got to escape our boring lives and engage in a fantasy.
See, what people often overlook when it comes to infidelity is that it can be more about your relationship with yourself than what you have with your partner.
Did I love my boyfriend any less? Nope. Was I trying to end my current relationship and give things with my ex another try? Absolutely not. I was well aware that that relationship was best left in the past and didn’t want the headache of THAT whole situation again. But infidelity still happened and my partner and I were able to move past it by identifying what we both needed to work on in the relationship to prevent either of us from seeking those things outside of it.
Not every woman who walks away from a marriage with infidelity is weak, but marriage isn’t for the weak-willed.
I’ve had grandmothers and great-grandmothers who stayed in unhealthy marriages for the sake of the kids, to continue to be financially
supported, or sometimes simply just because they loved their husbands. Do I co-sign settling for unhappy marriages? No, but if I’m being honest, those women are some of the strongest women I know. And I can attest to the fact that truly loving someone is about loving all of them, indiscretions and all. The person you marry at 25 won’t be the same person at 45, and marriage is about making a commitment to love that person anyway because you commit to helping each other grow, learn, and be shaped by the experiences you agree to take on together.
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Does it mean you should work on your marriage regardless of the disrespect that may occur? I think that’s up to every woman to decide for herself. YOU have to wake up to that person every day and deal with them, not your Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook followers but YOU. Far too often we oversimplify love and relationships and look to “golden rules” to dictate what we do instead of focusing on what actually works for our individual situations. Marriage is hard, but that’s because love isn’t exactly easy and there’s strength to be found in both fighting for your relationship and choosing to walk away. Because as I know, and Rivera warns, you WILL have to fight even if it isn’t for all of social media to see:
“You only see what we allow you to see. That’s why so many people are so guarded with their relationship because they don’t want to be judged. But then when you do that, people say, 'oh well they’re not being real,' it’s not really like that. So then, once you open up and you tell, you know, okay this is what’s going on. And everyone has the same problems, no one on earth has never had someone who hurt them or who has had financial problems, who haven’t had infidelity problems.”