In search of one woman
In a packed convention hall, a woman stood up in front of thousands of strangers and painfully admitted that her husband is a cheater and that they may not make it to their next wedding anniversary. I nearly cried. The crowd nearly crucified her.
She was among the crowd that gathered to hear me and my fellow panelists at the Circle of Sisters Expo in New York on Saturday. The panel (“Black Men Reveal“) was billed as “an insider’s guide to what every man is thinking and what every woman wants to know.” My fellow panelists were singer Eric Benet, actor Gbenga Akinnagbe, and radio host Lenny Green. Tamar Braxton (in her unique style) moderated the discussion before opening it up to audience questions. There were questions about dating, sex, finances, having friends of the opposite sex, and of course, cheating.
This particular woman asked: “when is enough enough for a man?” She wanted to know when has a man had enough women and variety to get it out of his system and is able to be faithful to one woman. She soon admitted that she’s considering divorcing her husband of 11 years because of his cheating.
The woman clearly was in pain. And, to be so open and honest in a crowd of strangers suggests the woman was desperate for counsel, or guidance, or maybe just support.
If there were voices of support in the crowd of almost exclusively women, they were hard to hear. Instead, the crowd shouted her down and anyone who dared give an answer other than, “leave him!” She tried to explain the circumstances, including the fact that they have kids and that her husband wants to try to work things out. She thought she owed it to her family to have a conversation about trying to make it work. The crowd was having none of that.
In my regular #Sundayservice tweets this morning, I shared this nugget from my pastor: don’t judge people by their (bad) choices if you don’t understand the reasons for the choices they make. You could argue that perhaps this venue wasn’t ideal for her to seek help for such a personal issue. Or, you could argue that for a black woman in need of support, being surrounded by other black women was the ideal place for her to be. Either way, she deserved a lot more sympathy and respect and at least a modicum of understanding.
I never got a real chance to answer the woman’s questions. None of us really did. And, I wasn’t able to connect with her after the event. If you were at the Circle of Sisters event Saturday and know the woman I’m talking about, can you please let me know how to get in touch with her? Or, please tell her to get in touch with me. I’d like to respond fully to the questions she had, but I’d also like to simply lend support without judging her. I’m sure she gets enough of that. She got too much of it on Saturday.