Future would rather that Ciara be alone, miserable and unsuccessful — so that he wouldn’t feel so threatened by his own mediocrity or loneliness.

(Content warning: domestic abuse, stalking)

I had an ex who was kind of like Future. He wasn’t good to me. He was all kinds of wrong. He made me feel like I wasn’t good enough for him or anyone else. He messed with my sense of self-worth and I almost believed him because gaslighting and emotional abuse are powerful.

Future, like so many cishet men, only feels powerful and relevant if he can hurt the women around him. There isn’t much about Future that is remotely interesting right now, whereas Ciara is out there living a beautiful life with her husband, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. They’re awaiting the birth of their baby while Wilson proves that fatherhood is a nurturing and beautiful journey beyond biological ties.

Men like Future are so beholden to their own toxic masculinity that they see women as extensions of themselves, rather than people with their own levels of complexity and right to autonomy and self-fulfillment. Future would rather that Ciara be alone, miserable and unsuccessful — so that he wouldn’t feel so threatened by his own mediocrity or loneliness.

This isn’t a stretch or an exaggeration on my part. On the opening track of his new album, HNDRXX, Future uses the one thing insecure men use when people stop paying attention to them: sexist double standards. On “My Collection,” Future raps about Ciara’s former relationships  He also goes on to claim that Ciara and Wilson began seeing each other prior to her breakup with Future:

“She told me she was an angel
She fucked two rappers and three singers
She got a few athletes on speed dial
I’m tryna get the case dismissed before I see trial
And these codeine handles ain’t got nothin’ to do with my lil’ child.”

He then echoes the same toxic and abusive behavior so many cishet men do, which is that they see women as their literal property once we fuck them: “Even if I hit you once, you part of my collection.”

Related: Caping for Chris Brown Won’t Make Him Love You

Much like Chris Brown telling Karrueche Tran that if he can’t have her, nobody can, Future’s unwillingness to let go of Ciara is a product of toxic masculinity. He embodies the false and detrimental idea that men are inherently violent, controlling and dependent on demonizing any feminine aspects of themselves and the agency of any woman they have a relationship with.

This ongoing feud went from being a two-sided petty fight to a one-sided drag. For reference, it is February 2017 and Ciara and Future broke up in August 2014.

Ciara, a recording artist and dancer since 2004, is definable by her own career, and her success was accomplished without Future’s music. I still own a hard copy of her debut album, Goodies, and I sure as fuck enjoy seeing her happy and thriving as she dances to Whitney around in her house, pregnant and glowing. But men like Future feel threatened by any independent success that women achieve, so they try to claim parts of it — and if they can’t, they use misogyny to tear women down.

I’m exhausted by Future. It’s exhausting to see a man dedicate so much of his time to dissing the mother of his child. It’s terrifying to see how so many men identify with Future and think Ciara deserves to be miserable simply because she found her own happiness instead of withering away once Future decided he couldn’t commit to her and their child. The misogynoir, the sexist double standards and the angry-fanboys caping for this man are all exhausting.

Let Ciara and her babies be. She deserves it.

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