As Told To…

This is the story of Arnette, 52, she is  a recently divorced, mother of three.

I met my husband, Anthony James*, when we were in high school. I’d been dating someone else since junior high, a nice guy who I’m still friends with to this day. But then I met AJ. He was the captain of the football team and he was fine. I was the prom queen so it made sense. He was so sweet. He’d take me wherever I wanted to go and spent a lot of time with me. For birthdays and holidays, he went all out. He bought the best gifts. I was happy and in love so when he asked me to marry him, I didn’t think about saying anything but ‘yes!’

After we were engaged, I was at AJ’s family’s house one time and his brother’s wife was there. This was the first time I’d met her. I said, “Hello” and she responded, “You sure you want to marry into this family?” I didn’t know what to say because that wasn’t the answer I was expecting. Then she added, “The James men make great boyfriends, but they’re lousy husbands.”

I wish I’d listened to her.

There was never a time my husband didn’t cheat on me. I knew every time he did it. I thought about leaving plenty of times. He made good money, but that’s not why I stayed. (I’ve always worked and made good money too.) We had a family (two daughters and a son) by the time I realized his whoring wasn’t some passing phase he’d grow out of. I stayed for my kids, which in retrospect did more harm than good. They had all of their needs met and most of their wants. I love the holidays and Christmas at our house was always a big affair. We had a nice home too that I put a lot of work into. (Anthony paid the mortgage on the house, but I made it a home.) I liked having my own family and taking care of them.

I wasn’t a perfect wife. But I was all of that eighty percent I was supposed to be. I cooked, I cleaned, I kept a house. After we’d been married ten years and my husband still went to the club every Friday and Saturday night, I pressed his clothes so he’d look good. When he got so lazy that he didn’t feel like cutting the grass, I got out there and pushed the lawn mower around an acre of grass to keep our property up. When his mother died and one his bitches showed up at the funeral, I didn’t say a word. The man’s mama was gone, I didn’t want to upset him further. I made a lot of mistakes in my marriage. But nobody can ever say I was a bad wife.

I did leave him once. And I took the kids with me. I’d come home from work and he was in the living room hungry and watching TV. I told him I was going to take a load of clothes downstairs and put them in the washer, then I’d come back up and make his dinner. I went down the hall to the bedroom to get the laundry and when I passed by the phone, I heard a voice say, “pick it up.” I thought I was going crazy and kept walking. When I was about to pass it again on the way back, the voice said it again. And then again. It cursed at me the third time, so I picked up the phone. The line was ringing, then a woman answered. She sounded real young.

“Hey baby, how you doing?” my husband asked her.

She practically purred back to him. There was no doubt in my mind that she was sleeping with AJ. I’m washing his dirty draws and about to fix his dinner and he’s calling some woman from my house?! I couldn’t believe he’d be so disrespectful. I hung up the phone then because I was starting to hyperventilate.

I didn’t know what else to do so I went to the basement with the clothes. I don’t drink much, maybe some wine here and there, but that day I poured myself a glass of brandy to calm myself down. When I was composed, I went back upstairs and asked Tony who was on the phone. He’d hung up by then.

He barely looked at me. “No one.”

I told him what I heard and he brushed me off like I was nothing. Like I wasn’t his wife of over 15 years by then. So I threw the brandy glass at him. It shattered on the wall and the glass cut his arm bad. There was blood everywhere. It got all over my oldest daughter’s books and she wouldn’t take them to school after that.

I was hysterical. A crying, puffy mess. But I packed the kids in the car (my oldest was 13 or so) and we went to a motel. There, I left the kids in the car and walked in the lobby to get the room. The woman behind the desk saw me walk in and just asked, “you have kids?”

I told her how many. She reached behind her and got a key, then gave it to me. “Come on back and we’ll talk after you get them settled,” she said.

I went back to the lobby and before I even told her what happened, she started telling me that the same thing had happened to her the month before. And she’d left too. I didn’t have to say a word. My whole story was written on my face. I went back to him the next day and she didn’t charge me for the night. I never even gave her my credit card.

I confronted my husband again when I got home. He stood at the top of the steps and confessed he’d been cheating on me. I think I was more pissed that he told me. I mean everybody knows you’re supposed to deny everything. Did he not even have enough respect for me to lie about his bitches? I don’t know why he told me. But I know why I stayed. I didn’t have any place to go.

I left him for good a couple months ago. We’d been married for 32 years and I hadn’t slept with him in ten. He came to me one day about half a year back and said the house was in foreclosure. What? The man’s paid the note and the utilities out of his check for years (I took care of the kids and running the house.) He’d never missed a payment in 20 years and he makes good money. Almost six figures and we live in the south where the cost of living is cheap compared to other places. He never had a problem paying it before. So why now?

He couldn’t give me a straight answer so I hired a private investigator. A couple weeks later, the PI told me my husband was cheating with some woman who was 32 years old. She was being born when I was being married. What’s worse is that my husband was paying the mortgage on her condo instead of paying our house note. I was baffled. What kind of nigg** pays his bitch’s mortgage but not his own? I realized then AJ’d lost his mind. He wasn’t just a whore. He was stupid. And so was I for staying with him all these years.

I didn’t leave right away. It took me a few months to find a house. I didn’t have much credit in my name and I had to get my money together. Turns out, I didn’t need credit. I told my realtor what happened and she got me a lease to own place on a brand new house based just on my driver’s license. God is good.

After I was gone, stories about my husband started coming out the woodwork. People knew he was cheating and they knew I knew, but since I hadn’t left, they didn’t want to upset me. But since I was gone, they figured it was high time I knew what they did. A woman at church, Olivia, told me that her hairdresser was going with my husband for awhile. Olivia was at the shop one day and the woman just told her flat out, “you know me and AJ are an item?” Olivia said her first thought was of my husband, but then she dismissed it because who would be that bold to tell a woman who knew the man’s wife that the man was cheating? Olivia dismissed it, then a few months later, the hairdresser called to say she’d opened up her own shop.

Olivia went to get her hair done one day and when she walked in, who was sitting up in the hair dresser’s chair with his leg over the side like he was king of the world? My husband. The hairdresser told Oliva that he, my husband, was responsible for her opening her own shop; AJ’d given her the money to do it. She was so pleased. And so was my husband. Then the hairdresser told Olivia that AJ was going to “leave his wife and come marry me.” Olivia had to tell her in un-Christian terms that wasn’t going to happen.

When I left, I left him more than half of everything we had. He has the house, the bedroom set, and everything that’s in the basement. I took the dining room table (which my mother gave me) so I’d have a place to eat, and the den furniture so I’d have a place to sit. Oh, and the curtains. They were new and they helped make that house a home. It wasn’t a home anymore so I took them with me and put them up in my new place. I wake up every morning on my box spring and mattress (I don’t have a bedroom set yet) in my small, but brand new house and I feel free for the first time in my adult life. After all I’ve been though, or put myself through (and this story just scratches the surface, there’s a whole lot more), however you see it, I’m happy now.

I’m not angry or bitter about my husband or my marriage. I don’t wish him any ill will, which surprises a lot of people. Sometimes I get upset. I mean, I worked hard for that house and now it’s in foreclosure because he’s making entrepreneurs out of other women, buying them businesses and property and increasing their net worth. Turns out AJ’s spent part of his pension too paying for all his bitches. I don’t talk to my children about that though. Their father did a lot of things wrong, but I don’t want to turn them against him or make them choose sides.

My sisters tell me I should have taken or better, kept, everything. Put AJ out and let him go live with one of his women. But I don’t want to do that. All that we acquired, we did together. He deserves half of that. And frankly, I don’t want anything that reminds me of him, including the house. I’m told I have a right to some of his pension, but I don’t even want it. I just want it to be over. I don’t want to be bothered with him in any way and I definitely don’t want to get into some nasty divorce. It’s just stuff and he can have— or sell off— all of it. My peace of mind is priceless and too, I know I have a lot of blessings coming and I don’t want to block them by being mean or vindictive to him.

AJ’s going to suffer a lot without my help, especially when the women he’s been whoring with find out he’s broke. My husband is an old man.  At almost 60, he’s bald, and so fat he walks with a limp. He’s not nearly as fine as he was when I found him. And now he’s broke too. These 30-something women don’t want him. They want his money. I don’t know how he can’t see that. And it’s going to be an ugly day for him when he figures that out.

*names have been changed


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