I've never been a big Wendy Williams fan. I must admit, however, that I have much more respect for her now that she's left her cheating ex-husband. There are many women (and unfortunately many black women) who allow themselves to be so enthralled in a man, that they will still remain by his side regardless of how he treats them. I once knew a woman who stayed with her husband even upon finding out that he had had a child with another woman. Instead of moving on and refusing to take the disrespect, she chose to stay with the man and help him raise his children (even though he stepped out on her to have those children). Wendy Williams, on the other hand, finally decided enough is enough and I admire that.
Listen, I'm not judging anyone. If you, as an individual, choose to stay with your man even after he's disrespected you by cheating, then that's your decision. However, when this decision is repeatedly chosen by collectives of black women, that's when I know there's a problem.
1. Never Love Anyone More Than You Love Yourself (This Includes Your Children)
Wendy Williams recently did a radio interview with Andy Cohen, in which she revealed that she was aware of Kevin Hunter’s infidelities throughout their marriage which spanned over two decades. In the interview we learn that although Wendy knew she was dealing with a cheater, her decision to ultimately stay in the marriage was made for the sake of her son who was still in school at the time.
Andy Cohen asked her, "You knew about this double life?", to which Wendy Williams admitted, “I knew about a lot of things, for years."
Here we see an example of a black woman placing the needs of her child before hers. If I know anything about parents, it's that they're usually horrible liars/actors. Although I can only speculate, I'd be willing to bet that Wendy's son has known about (or at least suspected) about the infidelity for a long time. The implications of this are huge, because it means that he likely grew up watching his father mistreat and disrespect his mother by stepping out on her with another woman. How is that setting a good example of what love and family should look like? I'm not intending to blame the victim here (the person at fault has always been and will always be Wendy's ex-husband). However, we need to be willing to call out this pattern of women remaining with their unfaithful or abusive partners for the "sake of the family".
Moreover, I actually would argue that children do better when raised in a loving home where both of the parents are genuinely happy--not where the parents are hiding behind a façade of happiness.
2. Consistent Disrespect Should ALWAYS Be A Deal-Breaker
Black women have a habit of putting everyone before us and prioritizing the needs of others over ourselves. Sometimes I wonder when we'll get the memo that we're living in a cut-throat world. For black women the simple truth is this: we get anywhere by placing everyone else before ourselves. There's a way to prioritize yourself and your needs without being selfish.
While story is Wendy Williams leaving her husband in 2019 is a good story and a catchy headline, it could've been an even better story if she'd left her husband as soon as she realized he was being unfaithful. From what I've read in the tabloids, what truly pushed Wendy Williams to finally leave her husband was the baby that he had on the side. In short, she put up with the cheating for years because she had a son with him. The fact that her husband had so little respect for her that he got another woman pregnant? That was the dealbreaker for her.
This truth reminds me of why it's so important that black women raise our standards. Infidelity is infidelity, regardless of whether there's a baby or child involved. If a man steps out of your relationship, it's a sign that he doesn't value you, your relationship and in some cases, it could even mean that he doesn't mind placing your health in jeopardy. The idea that a woman "holding a man down" even while he cheats and makes a fool out of her is not honorable and it shouldn't be celebrated.
Likewise, how many times have you seen a man stay with his wife after discovering she's been unfaithful? Men are very territorial and the majority of them aren't okay with sharing the women they love. We women ought to take a note from men and be more selective about choosing partners and willing to leave our partners if they don't show us the respect that we so truly deserve.
A lot of us clearly need to do a lot of individual work on our self-esteem, before entering into relationships and partnering up. You can't love or value anyone else until you truly come to love, value and respect yourself. This means setting boundaries for the type of treatment you will put up with and never allowing yourself to be taken advantage of.
Grace is a freelance writer and blogger from Canada. Her work has been featured on HerCampus, 21Ninety, Read Unwritten. She is a voracious reader, a dog-lover and a self-professed pop culture junkie. Her other hobbies include watching sappy romantic comedies, consuming too many strawberry-filled doughnuts and people-watching. Grace currently attends university, where she is working towards a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Pre-Law.