The Real Housewives of Atlanta is one of my guilty pleasures favorite Sunday night indulgences. If you’ve been watching this season thus far, then you’re familiar with Porsha and Kordell Stewart. Porsha, as most of us viewers know, is awesomely dumb. My favorite quote of hers is, “There’s 265 days in the year.” After a while, episodes started showing more of her husband, Kordell, and their relationship started to make sense. It seems his philosophy is, the dimmer they are, the easier to control.

In recent episodes, the other ladies have been pointing out that it appears as if Porsha is being controlled (a point that Porsha denies), and I agree. But I also disagree with how the ladies have been handling the situation. On one hand, it’s frustrating to see a woman who has goals in life being restricted by a caveman who wants nothing more for her to than to be barefoot and pregnant and treating him like a king. But then it’s like, you can’t really tell a grownup what to do.

So, here are five lessons Kordell and Porsha’s relationship have taught me about love.

1. Having a penis doesn’t give a man the right to be treated like a king. Catering goes both ways, and you have to give what you want in return. If what you put out is genuine, then you will get that back twofold. When I was a housewife by default, I cooked and cleaned at home because I wanted to, and because it made sense since I was home most of the time while Mr. Rocque went to work. I didn’t do it because that’s what women are supposed to do. I was also encouraged to focus on my personal passions, which I did because that’s what love does. Some people should get over themselves and their rigid gender roles.

2. Cavemen still exist. It’s one thing to give your woman the option to stay home if you have it like that, and if she so chooses. But demanding that she stay home and do nothing but make you her moon and sun isn’t progressive. What about goals and extracurricular activities outside of “wifely duties?” Everyone gets married thinking that they’ll be married forever, but sometimes life happens. And if in the event of a split, both parties should have something going that can transfer to independence.

3. I am thankful that I married a man who doesn’t treat me like either of the above. I’m free to pursue my interests within reason and to express my ideas without ridicule, and it feels wonderful. I’ve been in the opposite situation. A college boyfriend once told me that at some point, we’d get married, and live on a farm like his very traditional parents did. In other words, he’d bring home the bacon while I reared the children (he wanted 10) and took care of home. **Blankest of all stares.** Clearly we didn’t make it… thank God for growth.

4. Stay out of grown folks’ business. It’s understandable to be concerned about a friend in a stressful situation, but you can’t make them see something they’re not ready to. Growing up, I’ve witnessed women close to me go through similar situations, and heard chatter from adults about how said woman couldn’t work, and that she was being controlled because she wasn’t allowed to make her own money (or at least have her own hobbies). And I’ve witnessed the falling outs that followed whenever said oppressed woman was confronted. Truth is, most people will get defensive about their situation before acquiescing to what might actually be valid concerns. It’s up to them to decide what they want to do to make some changes, if they ever plan to change it. And that happens when they’re ready.

5. There’s no right or wrong way to be in love. What works for some won’t work for everyone. That’s why it’s important to have a good grip on the person you’re dating before getting as serious as marriage or even moving in together. Because chances are, some of their more extreme philosophies and beliefs that may have disturbed you in the beginning won’t change.

What do you think should be done in the case of a friend in a controlling relationship? 

Mr. and Mrs. Rocque are the couple formerly known as Anslem Samuel and Starrene Rhett, New York-based journalists who found love in between bylines. Follow the newlyweds’ musings of a marriage in progress here, on Twitter and via their joint blog.