1. triangle - noun – a group of three; triad (dictionary.com)
2. triangling – verb – to form a triangle (my own created word)
This picture has been circulating on social media. I read a caption that said: Learning to be a player early punctuated by a smiley face emoticon. Some think it’s cute; not me.
A triangle has three sides. For the purpose of this blog, a triangle is three people involved in a relationship. Now, I don’t think that the children in this photo are in any type of “relationship”, but I do think that this picture speaks volumes on how we view relationships. The actions are indicative of what these children may do when they are old enough to date and/or marry. We are teaching children early that triangling is ok.
The little boy is situated between two girls. One of the girls has her arm possessively wrapped around him. The message is clear: He’s mine! Her back is to the other little girl, so she doesn’t even know that he is in a sense “playing her” because he’s not really all hers. The second little girl is content to hold his hand--to just be in the picture somewhere.
We teach boys how play between girls, and we support them. We lie and cover for them all the time. I know a woman who was dating a man. He took her to meet his father. Her guy said he and his father shared a house. One day, her guy dropped his checkbook in her car. When she looked at it, it had a man and woman’s name on it. She couldn’t believe that he was married, so she did a drive-by and found out that not only was he married, his wife was also pregnant. Why did the father lie for his son? The father claimed that he could see how much his son cared for this woman.
The second little girl is a side chick in training. I’ve said it a thousand times; sometimes the side chick gets put on blast unfairly. We teach them how to settle for second place and then we get mad when they do! I know women who tell their daughters and granddaughters that unless he’s married, no man is off limits. It doesn’t matter if he’s engaged or living with a woman, unless he’s said, I do, he’s fair game. This really makes me scratch my head because if he can’t be in a committed relationship before he ties the knot, how is he expected to do so once he gets married? How does a marriage license change behavior? I thought practice makes better.
And then there are those who think that to have a piece of man is better than to have no man at all. I’ve heard women say that there’s always one going out as another one is coming in, so it stands to reason that at some point, a woman is either going to be the one being cheated on or the one being cheated with. Is monogamy even realistic?
What’s problematic about the implications in this picture is that it encourages possessive and deceptive behaviors—neither of which are healthy. Triangling always goes bad because someone gets hurt—mentally, emotionally and/or physically. Sometimes triangles are deadly. I am still disturbed by a news story that happened a couple of years ago in Georgia. A man was having an affair with a woman. When the mistress found out that he was taking his wife on a trip, the mistress showed up at the house and kidnapped the wife at gun point. The mistress killed the wife and then turned the gun on herself.
A female who thinks a male belongs to her will stop at nothing to keep anyone from getting what she has because she has claimed ownership. (I know the same things applies to males, but we’re talking about women right now) A woman thinks that the paper, the baby, the fact that they live together, great sex or empty promises means that he belongs to her. Confronting another woman doesn’t change his behavior.
To be honest, I have don’t have answers to any of the questions I’ve raised. I’m trying to understand why we claim to hate triangling yet we encourage men and women to form these triads. Are love triangles par for the course? Do you think we encourage these types of relationships? What did you hear growing up that supported the idea of shared relationships? Share your thoughts in the comment section.