• As Told To Veronica Wells-Puoane

Why I Left: I Can't Trust Him Anymore

Photo by Jessica Felicio on Unsplash/ Illustration by Veronica Wells-Puoane

We met when I was really young. I had just started working in the entertainment industry at 19. I was taking college classes but I needed a job that was going to be easy money and keep me in the know. So I went and started working at the Bel Age Hotel in West Hollywood.

My husband was the director of engineering there and was in charge of all this renovation. So that’s where we met. We were friends first. We weren't really coworkers because he was on the executive board where I was a new entry type of person.

The dating experience was good. It was really good. We dated for almost ten years before we got married. I had actually stopped keeping count because I wasn’t the chick who was like, ‘I need to be married.’ I had everything else with him. We had a strong courtship, a strong friendship, we had bought property together. We were living together.

He went through the rain, the lightening, the thunderstorms, everything with me because he was eight years older than me. He had already been married once. He had a kid already. He was already in that mode. He wanted to continue that and I wasn’t interested in having kids or necessarily being a wife right then.

I always wanted to be a wife and mother but I met him when I was so young. So I thought, ‘By the time I’m 25, I’ll be ready…By the time I’m 28, I’ll be ready.’ I had this timeline in my head.

I wasn’t the chick who was like, ‘I need to be married.’

But all in six months my life changed. My grandmother was diagnosed with cancer in December and by May she was dead. And this was the person I loved the most in the world.

My husband and I were on a hiatus at that point. We had broken up because he had given me an ultimatum about being married and starting a family.

I just wasn’t there. Mainly because I thought I was going to have to be perfect in my marriage. There was an image that I thought that a wife and mother should be. I got these messages pulling apart what I saw on tv, what I saw my mom do and not do, what my favorite auntie did, pictures in a magazine. All of these things told me lies of what I had to be in order to be her, instead of just being her.

Ultimately, when I realized that life could change that quickly, I thought, ‘I can’t keep on waiting another two years for this to happen or another two years for that to happen. If this man loves me and I love him and we’ve been living as so, then we might as well make it so.’

Six weeks after my grandmother died, I was pregnant. On purpose. We got back together and it was like no more turning back.

You just know when you know. It was time to make some real life decisions, grow the

hell up and stop running from the thoughts of being perfect, or traditional, or being anything else than what I am.

Still, after I got married those pressures didn’t go away. But he had a forgiving, understanding, and a patient love. I realize now in hindsight, I probably took a little advantage of that love.

I’m not confrontational and neither is he. We would both kind of be like, ‘I’m cool if you cool.’ And that was to a fault.

There were days when I put pressure on myself. I’m not a celebrity but I have celebrity clients and I have been on tv. We filmed in my house. We had children on tv. My last son was born on television. So there were whispers in my ear from my subconscious. But the real me would stand up for that girl and say, ‘Well, no she doesn’t. This is real. And there’s somebody else living just like this or worse or somebody wishing they could get to this level. You don’t have to be, do, and say.’

A lot of it was for the outside world and not necessarily what mattered to he and I.

If I have to be honest with you, I might not have shared my struggles with the pressure I was putting on myself. He also didn’t share his expectations of what he thought our marriage should have been. We didn’t have the dialogue. I think that dialogue would have saved us from where we ultimately ended up.

I’m not confrontational and neither is he.

After over a decade of marriage, he left. That was two years ago now. There was no announcement. There was nothing. When he walked out the door, I had no idea that was the last time he would be in the house. There was no conversation about it. It wasn’t like we had some turbulent marriage, where we were arguing and he didn’t come home at night.

That’s what I mean when I said he wasn’t confrontational and I wasn’t confrontational. And if we had spoken more about the pressure of what society says a marriage should be and balance that with what we say we really want, if we were vocal about that, I would have understood a little bit more about where he was coming from before we got here.

I didn’t understand where he was, to the point where I was oblivious to the fact that he was unhappy. I think that he didn’t know how to process his unhappiness either. And his only answer was I’m walking out this door and I’m not packing anything. I’m not taking a tv off the wall, I’m not going to make it a big deal.

When I talked to him eventually, he didn’t know it was going to go that far. He didn’t know if he was leaving to clear his head for the day or whatever. It was just a regular Sunday. He left with what was on his back.

When he returned 12 days later, he wasn’t coming back to live. He came back because my son had gotten sick and was in the hospital.

When he walked back into our home, he was not wearing his ring. I asked him, ‘Where’s your ring?’ He said it was in the car.

That’s when I knew, I knew, I knew.

There was no announcement. There was nothing.

Over the course of those 12 days he was gone, I was angry. I had a son that was here sick. I couldn’t move the way that I normally move. So I thought, ‘What the fuck is up with my life equity? Where am I valued? What’s happening? He gets to go and keep moving while I am stuck?’

My husband leaves. My son gets sick and it changed the whole structure of my life. I had to take care of my son 24 hours a day. And now my husband has bailed out. He can still work, still socialize with his friends. But I’m a nurse and a mother 24 hours a day and still dealing with the debris of my kids not knowing what the hell was going on with me and their dad.

The first couple of days, they didn’t know anything. He would go out of town for work pretty often. But as time went on, they asked, ‘Where is dad? When is he coming back?’ I’d tell them, ‘He’s going to come back.’ Because I didn’t know what to say at that point.

Then I just created my own narrative. I started telling my girlfriends, 'This MFer left.' I didn’t even want to hear what the hell he had to say. Because if you can do this, then ain’t no telling. Where is the reasoning behind this?

I’m a mom and I’m stuck and you get to run away. So I couldn’t see or hear what he had to say. And it made it worse. Because when a woman’s scorned…

I went to the mountain top and started telling all of our friends and some of our family. That made it even harder for him to even think about coming back because now he’s embarrassed. But I didn’t care at that point.

He never wanted to go too much into why he left anyway. He thought we could just move on and start talking about how we’d co-parent.

I told him it doesn’t go like that. I’m here with the kids and I’m still your wife. We made a promise to each other.

If you can do this, then ain’t no telling.

At one point, I feel like he was trying to say he wanted to maybe come back home but I was making that hard because at that point, it was a trust issue. I thought if you can just walk out like this, you can’t just come back whenever. You did this to me in my forties. You can’t do this to me when I’m in my sixties, the kids are grown and I’ve given you that much more of my life.

I didn’t like him. I was mad. So unless he was coming to really kiss ass and make this right, then no.

I never wanted to be in a situation where I had to second guess the man that I was with.