Fans of Bravo’s Real Housewives of Atlanta are finally exhaling now that Kenya Moore officially called it quits with her ex, Matt Jordan. The couple had a crazy yo-yo cycle where neither could quite let go despite Matt’s destructive outbursts (damaging her property), and her consistent drama. And while it’s clear that Kenya is absolutely not responsible for Matt’s behavior—like breaking windows in her home and punching walls—what is she responsible for?
Introspection is needed after every relationship—even when you think someone else was the bad guy or gal. Why? Well, being happy isn’t about finding the perfect man or woman who will do everything in his or her power to please you. It’s really about learning how to deal with your own issues and triggers, so you’re not just giving what you “think” is right and makes you feel safe, but actually being a good partner (read: not bring too much of our issues to the table).
What’s the key to being in a good partnership? Well, you both have to work on your ish. And… let’s say you think you’re already perfect and did absolutely nothing wrong in your last crazy relationship, that means you have even more stuff to work on (healthy, happy people don’t linger in dysfunction).
So yes, when it comes to the Moore/Jordan saga, Matt exhibited alarming habits that were easily identifiable. But it’s also important to not let Kenya off the hook because his issues seemingly trumped hers. Both parties exhibited unhealthy behaviors that will only create another poor relationship dynamic elsewhere. Here are some things Kenya may want to work on while Matt’s working out his issues:
Feelings around being in control. Matt has repeatedly shared that he felt Kenya was manipulative in their relationship. We’ve seen her shut down or redirect conversations that moved to topics she didn’t like. We’ve also seen her needle cast mates and past beaus when trying to get a particular outcome. Unfortunately, while being a boss may have helped Kenya professionally, trying to heavily dictate or manipulate an outcome doesn’t work in personal matters where give and take is required. The question is what does Kenya feel like she’ll lose if things aren’t said and done her way?
Feelings of abandonment. One of Kenya’s most endearing scenes was in a prior season where she opened up to cast mate, Cynthia Bailey, about how important their friendship has been to her. She’s also shared the painful stories about her mother’s abandonment and challenges with her father. It’s easy to see why she’d have a hard time letting go of Matt, a man who acted like her biggest fan during courtship. Loss is harder for folks whose primary relationships have been fractured. That type of vulnerability requires the person to be more mindful of creating a reciprocal bond, setting up healthy boundaries and limited co-dependence.
Feeling life stage anxiety. As you age, your peer set naturally goes through various life stage changes, and angst can occur if you feel like you’re missing out. Watching your friends mature in their careers, get married or have children can be bittersweet when your waiting for your turn. It’s important to talk about your fears/regrets/hurt and make a proactive choice to actualize your goals. In the Moore/Jordan saga, we see Kenya throwing out how many men are after her and Matt questioning where are they? It’s no secret that Kenya wants to get married and perhaps have little ones. It’s easy to see why she’d be nervous about starting over, but those kinds of fears must be balanced against the realities of the present relationship offers.
S. Tia Brown is the lifestyle director at EBONY magazine and licensed therapist. She also happens to believe in love and the promise that it gives. Follow her @tiabrowntalks.