This about sums it up…the marriage, that is.

I thought that I would share an excerpt (revised to omit names, exact dates, and locations) from the Custody Worksheet that I have been working on.  Below is one question (and answer) out of the many, many questions of the 28 page document.  This question was difficult for me, as many of them were.  I chose to share this one because it doesn’t deal with the specifics of my children.  It mostly deals with me.  In the document, I tried to only list dates and facts.  Below I have expanded it a bit to include some of my thoughts.

How do you sum up a 13 year marriage?  How can you possibly list all of the craziness that went on…finding him peeing in a closet or passed out in the yard…his verbal attacks…his lies about money and drinking and women…his broken promises?

Write a history of your relationship with your ex-spouse up through the present date.  Begin with your dating relationship.  Emphasize any and all important events or episodes.

Our courtship was a whirlwind. We started dating in December 1993, in our early twenties.  Within two years, we moved to the big city together, got engaged, then married in August 1995.

Five months after we were married, I received notices from our bank about checks returned for insufficient funds.  My husband had received a cashier’s check from a Bookie for gambling winnings, which he cashed.  The cashier’s check stated it was void if it was an amount over $300, which it was.  Therefore, the bank withdrew the funds from our checking account.  My husband stated that he had made a mistake and he would never gamble again.  I believed him.

Our oldest son was born in 1997 and we quickly relocated back to our small town near our family.  Our youngest son was born the following year.  During my pregnancy with our youngest son, we helped my mother-in-law move and leave her husband.  By the time we arrived home, her husband had discovered the move and left a message on our answering machine.  He told me that my marriage was not perfect and that my husband had a gambling problem and borrowed $7,000 from his aunt, along with borrowing money from his mother and father.  He further referenced a night that they were visiting us in the city when I was pregnant.  They went to a bar with my husband’s friend and sister.  Since I was pregnant, I stayed home with my mother-in-law.   His message said that they ended the night early because his friend caught my husband kissing his sister.  Both my husband and mother-in-law denied these allegations and stated that it was just the ramblings of an angry man.  I believed them.

Late in my pregnancy with our youngest son, my husband played softball weekly with co-workers.  After the games, the team often went to a bar to drink.  My husband often did not return home until after the bar closed.  One night when I could not reach him by cellphone, I called my mother to come to the house to sit with our oldest son, who was asleep, and I waddled into the bar to tell my husband that it was time to come home.  He was drunk and refused.  I told him that he could either come home now or give me his house key.  He gave me his house key.  I forgave him. 

During the year after our second son was born, there were many strange occurrences with money.  I found a bank loan payment receipt.  When I confronted my husband about the receipt, he told me that he co-signed on a loan for his father to help them out.  I was furious.  We had two babies and we were not in the position to help out our family members.  I blamed his father.

When we purchased our house in 1999, I was told that we could get the loan, but only if my husband’s name was not anywhere on the loan.  I was naive and did not look for the letter that referenced my husband’s credit.  I simply brushed it off, thinking that it was probably from debts that he had in college.  I trusted him.

In 2000, I discovered that my husband, in fact, did have a gambling problem.  [See post about the gambling discovery here.]  A bank called me regarding late payments on two loans.  I was unaware of the loans.  His mother told me the truth about his gambling troubles and upon questioning others, I learned that my husband had depleted our savings account and accumulated significant debts.  We separated only briefly.  I changed the bank accounts and restricted his access to cash, while we tried to pay off the debts.  The debt was difficult to handle, and the truck that he re-financed without my knowledge was re-possessed.  His mother paid off the loan to get the truck back.  I thought that we could handle it.  He would handle it.

My husband stopped gambling to my knowledge, but the drinking continued. I remember having plans to eat pizza and watch movies with my sister and her husband, but my husband didn’t come home.  My sister was worried, and I will never forget the look on her face when I told her that “sometimes he doesn’t come home.”

One night when he came home late, he was aggressive and blocking my path.  I threatened to call the police.  He dared me to hit him.  He dared me to call the police.  I dialed 911, but I hung up the phone.  Two female officers responded to the call anyway.  They encouraged my husband to sleep on the couch and leave me alone.  He threatened to leave the house, but they advised against it, since he was drinking.

Another night, when the boys were still babies, they both had colds and trouble sleeping.  My husband was not home to help as he was at a bar, so I put them in their car seats and drove them around town to put them to sleep.  When I returned home, my husband home – drunk and incoherent.  He was in our bedroom on his hands and knees on the floor of our bedroom.  He was naked and peeing in my shoes.  [See my post about this fun night here.]  I was becoming angry and disappointed in him.

In December 2002, we attended a neighborhood Christmas party.  I left the party early with the boys, but my husband remained.  The next day, I took our youngest son (then 4) to the hospital for a ruptured Baker’s Cyst on the back of his knee.  My husband did not go.  He slept all day.  Later I learned that he had left the party the night before with a friend, but when they ran out of alcohol, they returned to the home where the party was located.  All of the guests had gone. They opened the garage door with the car opener in the homeowner’s car, and entered the home in search of leftover alcohol.  The police were called, but my husband and his friend left prior to their arrival.  I was embarrassed by him.

There were many instances of late night drinking and coming home after the bars closed, sometimes passing out in his truck in the driveway.  We sold our house and moved in with my mother in April 2004 to cover what was remaining of the gambling debt and start rebuilding savings.  Once we moved, the overnight drinking escalated and he no longer returned home when the bars closed, claiming that he went out for breakfast with friends.  More of his time was unaccounted for.  I started to withdraw from him.

On a weekday morning in April 2005, when it was time to take our boys to school, I was still unable to locate my husband after a night of drinking.  I contacted his family and friends.  They contacted the police station and hospitals.  Finally, I received a call from his friend that said that he finally answered his phone and that he was safe, although he never admitted where he was.  He blamed our living arrangements.  I was becoming desperate to figure out how to make him happy and I no longer knew myself.

In July 2005, we purchased a new house.  The drinking binges did not diminish.  He spent many nights drinking in bars, claiming that it was necessary for his job at a Beer Distributor.  [See my post about figuring out that he was an alcoholic here.]  By this time, I felt helpless.  I never felt like I was good enough and I hated myself.

In September 2005, two days before the evacuation for Hurricane Rita, my husband once again stayed out in a bar until 2:00am.  When he came home, he was drunk and we argued. It became physical.  He restrained me on the bed.  He was straddling my abdomen, holding my arms against the bed at my triceps.  His face was centimeters from my face.  I was panicked and bit his nose in an attempt to get him off of me.  He punched me with his fist above my right temple in my hairline.  It immediately caused a knot the size of a half of a golf ball.  My head throbbed.  He sat outside the bathroom door so that I could not leave the house to seek medical treatment.  He claimed that it was my fault for biting him.  Within 24 hours, the swelling caused a black eye and the bruises on my left arm became noticeable.  The city called for an evacuation from the hurricane and I left with the kids.  He remained.  I promised myself that it was over and I would be strong, but facing the devastation of that storm alone was too much for me.  I was weak.

In October 2006, we again briefly separated because of the drinking.  I couldn’t take it any more.  He went to stay with his friend, but after a while, I believed that he wanted to change.  He returned home the week before Thanksgiving, but the drinking and periods of unaccountable time did not diminish.  He started traveling “for work,” although he often could not account for his hotel or location.  He added a password to his cell phone and he only used his work email account.  I nearly drove myself crazy trying to decipher between the lies and truth and right and wrong.

By February 2007, I fully suspected that he was having an affair.  I suggested that we take a trip for the Valentine’s Day weekend.  He refused and said that he had to go out-of-town for work.  Again, he did not know what hotel he would be staying at, and I was unable to reach him on his cell phone.  I was heartbroken and I knew that the writing was on the wall.  I was frightened and I blamed myself.

In March 2007, he bought an expensive truck, stating that he needed it for work purposes and for safety on the road.  I was perplexed by the extravagant purchase that I had to sign for, since our marriage seemed to be falling apart.  I thought that it, by chance, meant that he was in it forever and these were merely just bumps in the road. Then he took $1,000 out of our bank account to install a custom sound system.  Two weeks later a check also cleared the bank for another $1,000 paid to a company to install the system.  Two amounts withdrawn for one purpose.  Duplicate.  My husband was unable to explain the original cash withdrawal. He fumbled around about where the money went.  I suspected that he was gambling again.

In May 2007, I was on a field trip with my oldest son’s class.   His friend’s ex-wife (the man he stayed with during our separation) was also on the trip with their daughter.  She asked if my husband had told me about scaring her girls.  She explained that my husband had gone to his friend’s house and did not know that the girls were there.  They called her to come over.  When she got there, my husband was at the house with a blonde woman named ____ that drove a _______.  I confronted my husband, but he said that the girl was there to meet his friend for a date and he was only there to get clothes for his friend and let her in.  [I later discovered that this was the girl that he was having an affair with and moved in with after the marriage ended.]

In June 2007, I asked my husband if there was any hope for our marriage.  He had become increasingly angry and secretive and mean.  He said that we had two choices:  pretend and stick it out for the kids or get a divorce.  I didn’t want to be with someone who had to pretend to love me so I filed for divorce.  I immediately panicked and refused to have him served with papers.  I changed my mind and wanted to make it work.  I decided not to tell him.  Pretend that it didn’t happen.

In July 2007, I decided that I was still committed to making the marriage work and making him happy.  I asked him if we could try to re-kindle what we had.  We agreed to go on a date.  I said that we could rent a hotel room or do anything fun that he wanted.  He chose to go to a casino.  He spent the night drinking and playing Black-Jack while I watched, and he withdrew money from the atm machine, spending the money that I had been saving to replace our front door.

Later that week, his friend saw the divorce filing on our County website, and my husband confronted me about it.  He was angry and could not believe that I would do such a thing, especially without telling him.  He moved out to live with his friend again in September 2007.  I pleaded to try to reconcile.  He spent Christmas with us at our house and he attended the boys’ baseball games, but he did not exercise any visitation with the boys.  He said it was because of his living conditions.  I thought that he just needed time to cool off.  He would come home, just like those other times.  In reality, he was spending his time with HER.

In February 2008, his affair became public knowledge. [See my post about the affair discovery here.]  He took her to his company convention soon after that.  Finally, this was the point that I realized that I was getting a divorce…only 8 months after I filed.  I was devastated and I became ill.  [See my post about the Divorce Diet here.]

In March 2008, he rented an apartment and spent large sums of our community funds to supposedly set up the apartment. His father called to ask if my husband had given me my portion of the funds from a timber sale at the lake house.  He said that he had regrettably written the check only to my husband instead of to the both of us.  I had no.  That same week, a check cleared the bank that was written to his grandmother.  When I asked her about it, she said that he was repaying a loan that she had given him.  She said that she was holding another check until a particular date to cash it.  I asked her not to cash the check as it was from our joint account and there would not be sufficient funds.  The sum of the amounts spent in March-April 2008 to set up his new life in an apartment were in excess of $10,000.  I opened a separate account to keep our funds separate and protect myself from his spending.

In April 2008, he started exercising visitation with the boys, even though, at times, I had to loan him money to be able to feed them over the weekend.  He did not pay child support as we did not have a temporary orders in place.  We met with an attorney to work out the details of the divorce, which was set for August 2008.  His biggest dispute was child support, offering to give up time with his kids if I would agree to reduce the child support.  Two weeks prior to our court date, he retained separate council to represent him in the divorce.  The divorce was finalized in August, which was 14 months, much drama, and significant sums of money later.  [See my post about the day of the divorce here.]

Well, I guess this just about sums it all up…the marriage, that is.  Er, the death of it.


  1. and I thought I had been through a lot of abuse in my marriage!! You are going to be all right!!! Onward & Upward. Ever forward!!!

    • I’m ready for it to be as it appears in this post…just an entry in the diary of my past. Although I didn’t write out the details, I can tell you that the memories of the feelings, like fear on the night I was trapped in the bathroom, came back as I answered questions in the Custody Worksheet. I know that the point of my blog (for me) is to put those feelings out there and work through them, but for now…for today…I could only write about the events, not the details. Not the fear. One day, though, I will because I think it is so important for people to see. I can’t answer the question about why I stayed in an abusive marriage. I wonder that all of the time. And then I turn around and wonder if I’m really just crazy. Was it all just normal and I make it sound worse than it was? Typical downplay by an abused woman. I don’t know why I stayed, just like I don’t know why the sky is blue. It just is. And I just did.

      • I understand that mentality perfectly. You did the right thing by getting out and away from that. It was only going to get worse. Hugs to you – and your boys.

  2. I am so sorry that you had to go thru this maddness. I mean I’m furious now that this person, could do all of this and not even bat an eye. I mean feel like getting in the car and going to find this person who I have never meet and don’t know and beating him to within an inch of his life. I know I have read most of the post you gave written but putting them all together makes it real! You deserve better. In my best Dr Phil voice “don’t settle for anymore assh_les”. If dude don’t have a good job, can’t pay his own way, can’t show you and your kids real respect, he is not the one!!!! Don’t feel guilty for nothing else, your ex does not deserve any kindness! F_ck him… No real man holds woman down then hits her in the face and says it your fault you got hit! I hope I never meet this sorry ass person. You are beautiful, smart and a great mom and role model. Don’t let anyone try to take that away from you. Fight for you and your kids. If you need help you have friends you can call or talk too! We are in your corner! #peoplethathavealwayshadyourback!

  3. Reading just the list of incidents brought back lots of painful memories, sounds, smells. Good for you for getting it all out there. I stayed because I thought surely people are basically good at heart. This man I loved was kind, thoughtful, loving. He’s not really like this. Except he was really like that. And one day the switch flipped.
    And what a stupid question to ask any person in a divorce. Like we are sooo happy to be breaking up our family, losing our dreams of watching the kids grow up together, facing the reality that our spouse hit us, or abused us, or the kids, or was just plain mean and evil.
    I will never understand the court system. I’m glad I’m out!

  4. I just want to give you a hug. And know that your life will get better.

Speak Your Mind