Over the past couple of months, we’ve been bombarded with images of insecure women in pop culture being glamourized for negative behavior in their relationships. There was the Mimi Faust, Joseline Hernandez and Stevie J love triangle, and the Evelyn Lozada/Chad Ochocinco saga. It’s obvious that Hernandez and Faust need some real life coaching and therapy sessions but until then, I digress.

Lozada recently sat with Iyanla Vanzant on OWN’s Fix My Life in an attempt to heal. The notorious incident with Chad Ochocinco came up in the midst of taping the special, so it was addressed but Vanzant’s style is to force the “victim” to take responsibility for their actions, which I love. The biggest lesson that I think we all should have taken away from this is that hall passes always fail. The people who get the passes always need another one, and then another one, and the people who give them do so from a delusional place in order to fulfill their own insecure desires to keep someone around just so that they can feel worthy or try to show that they’re being tough, which are obviously not healthy ways to build self-esteem (hence the key word being “self”).

I’ve never been in a situation as bad as any of those women but I have given people ‘hall passes’—not just romantically speaking, but also in friendships. As a result, life has taught me, as Iyanla Vanzant stated in said session with Lozada, that you teach people how to treat you. So in the case of the ‘hall pass,’ they always fail unless there is true reciprocation. Romantically speaking, unless you and your significant other agree to be polyamorous or swingers, then don’t pretend that you can handle infidelity by telling them it’s okay if they stray if it’s not.

It’s okay to be vulnerable and to set standards, because if you don’t stand for something then…you know the rest.

Have you ever attempted to give or use a  “hall pass” in a relationship? How did it work out?

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.