A Happy Ending After a Bad Beginning and a Worse Middle
Matt's drinking and jealousy began while he and Tracee were dating and escalated after they were married. He accused her of flirting with everyone from his nephew to their pastor. He tried to isolate her from her friends and family.
Three years into their marriage, she got pregnant. "I gave birth to our son three months early because of the stress. The baby stayed in the hospital for three and a half months. I stayed in the hospital for two weeks after the birth.
"Matt said he wanted a DNA test because he didn't trust anyone, including me. He refused to come to the hospital and get me. My friend's husband took me home."
Matt lost his job a week after their son was released from the hospital. "That's when things got really bad. Matt wouldn't hold the baby or go to his therapy sessions. He hadn't visited him while he was in the hospital and wouldn't pay the bills."
Matt wasn't working, and he would sleep until 2 p.m. Then he'd go out and not return home till well after midnight. "He became increasingly verbally abusive. One night, he came home drunk at 1 a.m. The baby was sleeping and I was on the phone with a girlfriend. He accused me of being on the phone with another man. He snatched the phone out of the wall. I left the room. He followed me and pushed me to the floor.
"He jumped on top of me and had his knees on my shoulders so I couldn't move. He threatened to break my jaw. I told him if he hit me, he better make sure I never got up. He didn't hit me. He got up and stumbled into the bedroom. The next day, I put a three month deposit on an apartment, called my brothers and moved."
Tracee's divorce was final last year. She says her life now is "Great! I still have my full-time job with flexible hours, I'm back in school, and I bought a house. My son is doing well."
Matt continued to harass her for months after she left. "I changed my phone number and then he would call my job. He called me in July and threatened to come to my house and break the windows. I filed a police report.
"Eventually, he stopped calling. The last time I spoke to him, he claimed he stopped drinking and wanted to come over and see our son. But within 10 minutes of talking, I could tell he hadn't changed.
"He says he isn't remarried or seeing anyone. His driver's license has been revoked because of nonpayment of child support. He's not working and lives with one of his sisters. I believe he still drinks.
"I'm grateful I had the sense to leave before things became physical. There are many women who aren't as lucky as I've been. I was able to pack up and leave. I knew better. I didn't come from a broken or abusive home. My father treated my mom like a queen up until the day he died."
Did you ignore the warning signs that you were involved with a potentially dangerous person? Send your tale, along with your questions, problems and rants to firstname.lastname@example.org. And check out my e-books, "Dear Cheryl: Advice from Tales from the Front" and "I'll Call You. Not."