Jay Ellis' Insecure TV character Lawrence hasn't had the best luck with love.
His five-year relationship with girlfriend Issa (portrayed by show creator Issa Rae) ended after she cheated with an ex-fling, and his friends with benefits situationship with DomiNque Perry's character Tasha crashed and burned when she called him a "f--k n---a who thinks he's a good dude."
In preparation for season 3 of the HBO series, Ellis talked to ESSENCE about the worst Valentine's day he's ever had and how he hopes Lawrence will change his approach to love in the future.
"A worst Valentine's Day? I'm almost positive that it was definitely a pre-breakup day for a relationship that definitely was coming to an end," the 36-year-old shared. "I wasn't necessarily thinking about this day from the perspective of truly caring about her, it was just, 'Oh, let me just grab this real quick and just to make her happy.' Ultimately, I was in a mindset where I wasn't happy in that relationship and she probably wasn't happy in that relationship at that point. We're just going through the motions, half-assing it and doing it to do it. On Valentine's day, we ended up having this mad explosive [argument] as we pulled up to the restaurant to go to dinner and the next thing you know, I'm dropping her off at her place, I'm back at my place. Then, three or four hours later, we were on the phone like, "I'm sorry. I miss you. I love you. I didn't mean it that way. I didn't mean that.'"
While that Valentine's day or the relationship didn't exactly go as planned for the South Carolina native, he admits that as he's gotten older, he definitely appreciates Valentine's day for its sentiment.
"It's a day to actually really truly be with the person you love, and think about the person you love to show them gratitude, how happy you are to be a part of their life, and how happy you are that they're a part of your life. As I've gotten a little bit older, I've taken it a lot more seriously, especially because I spend so much time ripping and running, and I don't get a lot of moments to sit down, and just relax, and just connect, sometimes. To me, it's important in that way. I know I need a lot more of those days, it shouldn't just be Valentine's Day. But, I do think that there is, outside of the Hallmark business of it, I do think there is something important to be said for just remembering to have those moments."
As for Lawrence, Ellis hopes that, when it comes to love, his character takes a step back in his next relationship and does things with intention rather than to just "go through the motions".
"Be thoughtful…listen along the way, and pay attention," he added.