Saturday, January 23, 2021

The Journal of Steffanie Rivers: Love is … the 80-20 Rule

Steffanie Rivers
Steffanie Rivers

*Ask anybody if they have a list of requirements they look for in a significant other, and most people will admit they don’t just have a list – they have it memorized.

And since life experience has taught us that nobody is perfect, there is no prince/princess charming and relationships require compromise, somebody created the 80-20 rule: If you find someone who has 80 percent of the attributes you require in a significant other don’t drop them because they don’t have the other 20 percent of the ‘must haves’ on your list. If you find someone with the other twenty percent they probably won’t have the 80 percent you left behind.

So when I read that Mara Brock Akil knew about her husband’s ten-year long extra-marital affair with the same woman I asked myself ‘Why would someone as accomplished as she is allow that to happen for so long?’

Akil is the creator of popular television shows including Girlfriends, The Game and Being Mary Jane. She and her husband, Salim, are credited for creating the show Love Is…‘ that recently was canceled by OWN because of abuse allegations and the law suit against Salim by the other woman who also claimed she is the real creator of Love Is.

The Akils have been married nearly twenty years. Their creativity and writing skills seem to complement each other. When you find someone who shares your world view and supports your career goals half the relationship battle is won. Anybody can make a mistake, but maintaining a ten years long sexual relationship with someone other than your wife is akin to finding that 20 percent that was missing in the 80 percent your wife brought to the table.

I’ve never met the Akils, but here’s what I surmised based on what I know about the pieces of their puzzle: Salim’s affair started around the time Mara got pregnant with the couple’s youngest son who will be ten years old next year. After ten years of marriage and one son at that time – and one on the way – Mara was as committed to their relationship as anyone could be. Salim was her 80 percent guy. The missing 20 percent most likely included his sexual appetite that she didn’t want to deal with. Maybe he wanted Mara to do things she wasn’t willing to do – such as allow him to pee in her mouth, but I digress. So maybe, to keep Salim from sleeping around all over town, the husband and wife agreed that Salim could have just one other woman to fulfill his freaky side gigs. Instead of giving up on her 80 percent guy, maybe Mara negotiated with Salim about the other 2o percent. He gets what he wants and she gets time off. In public they present the traditional family unit image. Behind the scenes could it be compromise is what makes their relationship work?

Judging from some of the comments on the blogs most people claim they would not tolerate a husband who wants a hall pass for one hour hour, let alone ten years! But you have to consider the big picture. What would you be willing to tolerate to keep a relationship in tact with your 80 percenter? Many of us put up with bad behavior from people who fall way short of being Mr. or Ms. Right! I’m talking lying, cheating, substance abuse and criminal activity.

I’m not saying I would tolerate infidelity. I’m not saying you should tolerate it either. I’m just saying if two people have an agreement about their sexual behavior outside the relationship should that be considered infidelity? If a man fulfills all your relationship requirements except one or two it’s not wise to cut off your nose to spite your face. Remember nobody’s perfect, including you. Your love is…not what somebody else says it is. Your love is…what you and your significant other agree that it is.

Steffanie is a freelance journalist living in the Dallas, TX metroplex. Email your questions, comments and speaking inquiries at [email protected].

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