Issa, Lawrence and The Five Real AF Stages of a Messy Breakup

The highly anticipated season 2 finale of Insecure left us with one key takeaway. Issa and Lawrence are truly over. The rollercoaster ride of emotions and poor decisions, on many sides, culminated with a much overdue conversation where Lawrence finally owns up to his role in the demise of their relationship. This dialogue was essential for both of them to move on. Swiss psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross introduced the world to the five stages of grief in her 1969 book On Death and Dying. These five stages detail the emotions we experience when dealing with loss, the loss of a five year relationship in Issa and Lawrence’s case. Both men and women feel these emotions, though Issa and Lawrence didn’t necessarily experience them in the same order.

Stage 1 Denial: Lawrence stayed in this stage the longest. Denial allows us to ration our grief, allowing in only as much as we can handle. Lawrence, unable to face the fact that his actions contributed to the demise of their relationship, blames Issa 100% until episode 5 “Hella Shook” where Derrick tells Lawrence the unfiltered truth. “Honestly, this ain’t all on Issa” Issa’s denial showed itself in episode 1 “Hella Great” in the form of a house party/reconciliation gone wrong. Issa planned a wine down while simultaneously inviting Lawrence over to her place pick up mail. In Issa’s mind Lawrence would come over, see her living her best life, and immediately realize he cannot live without her. Of Course none of it worked out the way she planned. Which leads perfectly into the next stage.

Stage 2 Relapse: Fear of withdrawal leads to relapse. At the conclusion of “Hella Great” we saw Issa and Lawrence’s fear of fully withdrawing from their relationship get the best of them. They slept together without addressing any of the grief that they’ve put each other through. Blinded by their emotions, they gave into the comfort of being together again, albeit briefly. Unfortunately this relapse only caused more confusion for Issa and Lawrence as the season progressed. Lawrence sleeping with Issa, while he was still sleeping with Tasha, was one of the post breakup decisions that eventually ignited Issa’s anger.

Stage 3 Anger: We were all glued to the TV when Issa and Lawrence let each other have it in episode 7 “Hella Disrespectful”. They both let hurtful words fly and though it may have been cringe worthy to watch, it was the blow up they needed to have. Anger is empowering. The rage allowed Issa, who is typically passive aggressive, to finally confront Lawrence with the catalyst for their demise. Resentment from his 2 years of unemployment. Lawrence on the other hand used his anger to finally open up and be vulnerable about his scars from the breakup. Namely the fear that Issa may have been stepping out throughout their whole relationship.

Stage 4 Depression: Depression manifests itself in many forms such as overeating, alcoholism, and substance abuse. Issa and Lawrence’s drug of choice was sex. After their split, both Issa and Lawrence engaged or attempted to engage in casual sex as a way to circumvent their grief. Lawrence’s entire relationship with Tasha was predicated on sex as was Issa’s situation with Eddie aka Neighbor Bae. While sex can provide some instant gratification, both Issa and Lawrence had sobering moments of feeling used. In “Hella LA” Lawrence was relegated as a sexual object in his threesome with the liquor store Beckies. In “Hella Disrespectful” Issa is left feeling disposable after her fallacio  “accident” with Daniel.

Stage 5 Acceptance: Lawrence and Issa have straddled that thin line between love and hate all season. Dealing with their grief has been all kinds of messy. Their last conversation was not. It was the mature and introspective dialogue that could’ve salvaged their relationship had it happened sooner. Both parties claimed responsibility and offered apologies for their shortcomings. In the end we are left feeling somewhat conflicted by a daydream of what could have been Lawrence and Issa’s future together, had they been able to work things out. The bittersweet montage ends and in real life Lawrence tells Issa goodbye, presumably closing their chapter together forever. Season 2 has reached it’s conclusion with Issa and Lawrence deciding to be apart. The emotional Issa/Lawrence montage have some people still holding out hope that the duo will rekindle the flame in season 3. But if the final shot of the episode and Issa Rae’s tweets are indication, her character is ready to move on.