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. I trusted him and he had earned my trust over the years. But the day that he left and everything else fell apart, I had to rewind, inspect and investigate. So, until I can get past that, I was going to be investigating moving forward. And I didn’t want to do that. I’d rather be by myself and have peace of mind than to be chasing behind somebody.
That’s just what the truth is, no matter how hurtful it is. I’m not going to be the one checking up. I just can’t.
I already did that. I hired a private investigator. That’s how I learned he was seeing someone else. And he ended up telling me, ‘I was talking to her as a friend about some things that were happening here at the house.’
You weren’t even talking to me about the issues that were happening at the house! Did she tell you to come back and talk to your wife? What was she telling you for two years? And you got so comfortable where it was so easy for you to get up and leave. So she served her purpose, right?
But I don’t fault anybody but he and I. Whoever he’s seeing now, whoever he was seeing when he first left, bottom line they didn’t lay down or make a promise to me. It was on us. Our bad.
I’d rather be by myself and have peace of mind.
Now, he comes around to see the kids. I never changed the locks on him. I wanted him to see the kids. He doesn’t take them to his house. They don’t visit with him. Not because I’ve said so. I’ve packed bags. But, he don’t do that.
Wherever he lives, it’s peaceful or whatever. He’s living his life. For a while, I looked at myself like I was the side chick with the babies. But I’m like no, I’m not going to feel that vibe anymore because I’m not the side chick. I am the wife. My children were planned. They are loved. And from the womb to the tomb, I am their mother. So he doesn’t have to take them with him. I just want him to see them.
He comes here three times a week. But our relationship is non-existent. Our house is big enough for him to be in one part and me to be in another. I stay out of his way for the 3-4 hours that he’s here.
I still haven’t made peace with what’s happened. I didn’t want any parts of it. I want my husband and my kids in the same house, us tearing down statistics, and building a legacy of what real love, life, and lessons look like. Now, I don’t have that opportunity currently. That’s the reason why I don’t speak to him.
I tell him still, throughout everything, I love you. I just don’t like you. I may come and give him a kiss on the forehead, go back in my room and not speak to him for another three weeks. The truth of the matter is, I really still do love him. I’ve had him in my life for 26 years. That’s not going anywhere. He is my only husband and the only father of my kids and I always wanted him to be that.
In my head and in my heart, that’s still my husband. But I know I have to get past that.
I think that if I ever really worked on the marriage, we could reconcile but do I ever want to be that vulnerable again? I would have work on myself and then work things out with him. And that’s just too much work to think about right now.
Would I like, in some fairy tale land, for us to get back together and live out our golden years, him die in my arms, and all that bullshit? Yeah, I would. That’s the honest truth. But there’s so much work to be done that I might just be too stubborn.
Do I ever want to be that vulnerable again?
Right now, I’m focused on my healing. And my healing looks like helping other women. I want to teach entrepreneur women how to build a business that is profitable and able to secure the bag so that if they hit a road bump in life, they can still support their family and community, without a husband. That’s my calling and my why because it happened to me. So I’ve developed courses and bootcamps to help women do that.
We all have lost love at some point. And we all should be self-sufficient.
When all of this was happening with my husband, there was one time I went to Target and I couldn’t do a purchase that was $23. I was trying to buy stuff for my kids and I had less than $7 to my name when I was used to having six figures in the bank. Assets were frozen. There were things we couldn’t touch initially. So I had to create other streams of income and I want to teach other women to do that.
In terms of my relationship with him, ideally, in the future would be me healing and getting to a place where we can be taking vacations with our new significant others and it’s all cherries, peaches, and plums. I’m okay with that.
You can learn more about Monique and her courses for female entrepreneurs via her Instagram page, @moniquejackson1 or website www.moniquejackson.com