steffanie rivers

Steffanie Rivers

*My mother always said people will treat you the way you allow them to treat you. A person who doesn’t demand respect probably won’t get any.

The weakest child at school probably will get bullied; the meekest employee probably will get overlooked for promotions and the woman who knows her man knocked up another woman when they were supposed to be in a monogamous relationship, but accepts his behavior, is just asking for future heartache.

I’m not talking about something I heard. This is something I know from personal experience. But before I get to my story let’s continue with this one.

NBA Miami Heat baller Dwyane Wade and actress Gabrielle Union have been dating since 2009. That’s at least four years, long enough for them to know if they want to be together. So why haven’t they gotten married? Because Wade was married to another woman when he and Union started dating. Sure he was separated in the beginning, but legally unavailable nonetheless. His divorce from Siohvaughn Funches was finalized in 2010. And since then he has waged a public battle over child custody, child support and alimony payments. That’s problem number one. Even though Wade and Union presented themselves as a couple, he wasn’t legally available to commit to another relationship. But apparently Union was okay with that.

Now Wade claimed this new one-month old baby to which he admits paternity was conceived while taking “a break” from his relationship with Union. Why does a couple need “a break” from each other? Either you want to be together or you don’t! That’s problem number two.

Could it be someone might want “a break” so he can have unprotected sex with other women? Did it ever occur to him that while playing the field whatever he picked up would come back with him when he get back to home base? Either he didn’t weigh the consequences or he didn’t care. And therein lies the third problem.

If this is the type of behavior Wade displays before his marriage to Union it’s bound to be more of the same afterwards.  For four years he didn’t deem it necessary to propose marriage to Union. Now in the wake of the birth of an illegitimate child Wade pops the question? Was this engagement just a marketing ploy to soften the embarrassment of Wade’s disrespect  for his significant other? Maybe his ex-wife isn’t so crazy after all!

What about forgiveness, you might ask? I’m all for it. But to forgive doesn’t mean someone shouldn’t be held accountable for his actions. I’ve learned to forgive and still walk away. And I learned that the hard way.

I dated a man who I thought was in a mutually monogamous relationship with me, but that was not the case. And when I found out about his lies and extra-curricular activities I forgave him because love conquers all, right?

Wrong! He mistook my forgiveness as a sign that I loved him more than I loved myself. When the deceit continued I voted with my feet.

No matter how much you might love somebody, if he or she isn’t mature enough, ready to receive it and reciprocate you might as well be throwing your love into a trash can. The best thing to do is to realize the part you played (as an enabler), the signs you missed (because they were there), stop being a victim and move on to somebody who loves you in thought, word and deed. If somebody loves you he won’t make you choose between him and your self-respect.

Steffanie Rivers is a free-lance journalist living in the Dallas, Texas metroplex. Email her at [email protected] for comments, questions or speaking inquiries.