By Tonya Carter
Gerald was a new barber in Chicago, originally from New Orleans; he worked in the barbershop located inside my family’s building.
Gerald was sexy; funny and talented. After a few months of visiting the barbershop to collect rent from the owner, Gerald asked me out.
One day Gerald asked me, “Where’s all your money? Your fam owns property, but your crib is kinda small.”
I explained the expenses of owning commercial property—taxes, upkeep, utilities, deadbeat tenants--and then dividing my profit with my two co-owners, meant I wasn't wealthy.
Gerald was disappointed by my un-flashy middle class lifestyle but he liked that I owned my home. Three months later, we were married—against my mother’s wishes.
I was so blinded by the courthouse wedding that I missed all the red flags.
Such as, why hadn’t Gerald married anyone before? Why doesn’t he have kids? Why did he flee NOLA to build a new life in Chicago?
But I wanted to believe Gerald’s fairytale; he never married because he was waiting to find me. Gerald said that he wanted to wait a few years before we brought kids in the picture “so we could enjoy each other,” and I agreed.
While I managed my family’s two properties, Gerald elevated his barbershop skills to include Afro toupee installs. He made a few viral videos and older men paid him $300 a visit.
One month after we married, Gerald announced he wanted to open his own barbershop in Atlanta.
I was nervous about the move, but Gerald was excited. He flew to Atlanta to set up his business and said I should join him after I sold the house.
But Gerald accidentally left his laptop behind.
The laptop was connected to an email address I’d never seen before, and his FB messenger.
WHEW CHILE. My husband was a scammer.
The laptop revealed Gerald was a liar and a user who never loved me. Gerald already had another girlfriend, (Michelle, a publicist), and a condo waiting for him in Atlanta.
That’s why our s3x was passionless. That’s why he didn’t want kids.
Gerald married me because initially, he wanted me to transfer my commercial property to him, but when he realized my mom and aunt were co-owners, he knew it couldn’t be done.
So his Plan B was to marry me, get me to sell my house, and take the proceeds to open a barbershop in Atlanta.
My chest…I could feel my heart breaking. I did an ugly cry for most of the night.
While I sobbed, Gerald’s laptop was spilling the tea; I could see him plotting on me in real-time.
Gerald’s girlfriend Michelle started a group chat with him and his sister and warned them NOT to post any pictures of Gerald’s welcome to ATL party on social media, “until the funds from the property sale are deposited.”
Wow. My sister-in-law was in FULL SUPPORT of Gerald scamming me for his new life with Michelle.
I told my mother everything. She called my aunt and they gave me the name of a ruthless divorce attorney.
“He abandoned the marriage,” she said. “He never intended to live with you and he’s committing financial fraud against you. Your marriage is invalid.”
We screen-captured the FB messages and the texts of Gerald encouraging me to sell my property and give the funds to him.
My lawyer made a list of everything I brought to the marriage: My house. My bank account. My iPhones. “The phone service contract is in your name?,” she laughed. “Oh, he f*cked up.”
Paperwork was filed.
I took my house off the market. I bought new locks and changed my alarm password. I drained my bank account (Gerald had the debit card) and opened a new account at a different bank.
I ignored Gerald’s frantic calls and texts; and then I terminated his phone service.
Gerald called me from Michelle’s phone. “Hey did you cancel the debit card? Did you cut off my phone? You robbing me?!!”
Me: “Call my attorney.”
Gerald: “All my people got that number!”
Michelle: “B!tch…Watch me buy him a new phone!”
Me: “He still can’t get his old number back cuz I own it.”
Gerald—and Michelle—called me everything but a Child of God, but I won this round.
Thanks to Gerald’s laptop, the invalid marriage is ending and my tiny home and bank account are secured.
Meanwhile, the laptop is still telling Gerald’s secrets: He’s been in Atlanta for only a few weeks, and he’s already sliding into other women’s DMs, looking to scam and replace Michelle.
Michelle, if you’re reading this, girl you better watch your money.
God bless. 😘