(Opinion) By now, you may have heard about the ongoing love triangle between Chris Brown, his most recent ex-girlfriend Karrueche Tran and his megastar ex-girlfriend Rihanna. Three years ago, Brown and Rihanna were just another wide-eyed, young Hollywood couple in love. However, once he physically assaulted her after one of Clive Davis’s legendary pre-Grammy parties back in 2009, the couple ended up going their separate ways. Fast forward to present day and judging by their recent sightings together, neither Brown nor Rihanna seem to have gotten over each other.
Love triangles are never easy. Throw in an infamous case of domestic violence, two gorgeous and successful recording artists that the public wants to root for and a “regular” girl, and you have a recipe for sensationalism at its finest. While love triangles may be something of a norm in today’s dating world, is it healthy for one to string along two people or be strung along by a sometimes partner, sometimes friend?
The easy answer to that question is, “no.” In this situation, it’s magnified by the fact that there are two people who have been bound together by a horrific event that happened the last time they dated. The pictures of Rihanna’s face after the Grammy award winning artist physically assaulted her three years ago exposed a troubling and violent backstory to the seemingly happy couple’s relationship. Even with the public violence that occurred against her, reportedly she was open to working on the relationship with her ex almost immediately.
Given all that transpired between these two back in 2009, you may be asking, “Why would Rihanna entertain rekindling a relationship with Chris Brown?” It has been reported that Rihanna witnessed her own mother abused by her father and that Brown saw his mother abused at the hands of his stepfather. Those reports may lend clues to why both Brown and Rihanna are drawn back to each other. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, men who witness domestic violence as children are twice as likely to commit violence against their partners in adulthood than boys who do not witness such violence. Additionally, countless studies conclude that victims of domestic violence return to their abusers several times before finally leaving the relationship for good. The reasons victims return range from financial dependence on the abuser to fear of losing their children or raising children alone after a nasty divorce or custody battle.
The traditional reasons a woman (or man) might return to their abuser do not seem to apply in this case. Rihanna is successful in her career so money is not a driving force for reconciliation. Children, pressure from family or friends and other commonplace reasons victims return to their abusers don’t seem to apply in this case either. So, why would someone in Rihanna’s position think to give the man who her attacked her another chance?
It’s simple. Rihanna, like most of us in love, has hope. According to a 2008 article featured on Psychology Today’s website, many women stay in abusive relationships because they have a strong emotional attachment to the abuser. It is safe to conclude that Rihanna may hope this time will be different. She may hope that the years have given them both a chance to mature and do things better. It’s safe to say that their fans have hope too. We hope this time they can have a great relationship and that even if it doesn’t stand the test of time, we hope it won’t go the way of 2009. However, as Chris Brown is proving with this current love triangle, time elapsed does not automatically equal maturity gained. It was mature of him to break up with Karrueche because he wanted to pursue a friendship with Rihanna. But, as he’s bounced from New York parties with Rihanna back to the West Coast to chill with Karrueche all in the same weekend, it’s clear that he still has a lot of maturing to do before he can step into a serious relationship.
Instead of standing by and waiting for Chris Brown to make his final choice, both women would do well to exit this love triangle before emotions get out of control and tempers flare. Deciding how to navigate the dating world usually does produce some mistakes and each member of this triangle is young and seemingly short on relationship experience. Ultimately, this love tripod needs one less leg in order for a healthy relationship to flourish. Who should it be?