On October 12th, I filed for divorce. This was a long time coming, but the end was abrupt and traumatizing. My (soon to be ex) husband had been changing for years. He went from kind and fun to sullen and mean. I kept trying to do more, to be more, to achieve more in the hopes that he would notice and be proud of me. But what actually happened is that he resented my success and felt like I was doing it to put him down. It was insane how different our views of our lives looked and how different we viewed our need for growth.

When we got together 12 years ago, I thought that Mr. Cereal was funny and sweet and super smart, and he WAS. He was great for the first four years or so of our relationship. When LeLe was born, he was so into her and loved her so much. But by the time Little Bug was born, there was a significant shift in how he interacted with me and the kids. I was exhausted all the time because Little Bug never slept, and he was not helping in a way that I needed. I was not able to communicate what I actually needed from him, other than to say that I needed more help and more sleep. This shift from a team to individuals really began to emerge during Little Bug’s first year. By year 7 of our marriage, I was struggling and it got way worse with my second pregnancy loss.

I knew I always wanted 3 kids. I came from a family of four kids and I loved having a big family. I was ready once Little Bug was almost two to start trying again, but Mr. Cereal was 100% against a third baby. We accidentally got pregnant when I switched birth control methods. I felt like this was a sign, one that the universe was telling me that a third child was supposed to be a part of our family. When I told Mr. Cereal, he responded by telling me that if he had a choice, he would choose for me NOT to be pregnant. Two days later I miscarried and it was beyond devastating. I was alone in my grief and that simple comment from him compounded my grief in a really powerful and awful way.

From that point forward, I started investing in my career to ensure that we were in a place financially that would remain comfortable. Mr. Cereal never had jobs that were financially stable, but I planned around this and was able to build up my career so that it didn’t matter. I carried the insurance through my job, so he was able to take positions in brewing that worked for him and I was proud of him. It was fun being the brewer’s wife, until it wasn’t. I was the person who took off every no school day, every sick kid day, and all of my free days were with the kids doing errands, etc. I scheduled all appointments, all meetings related to school, and I was navigating my daughter’s mental health issues mostly alone. I felt like I was the only person who cared in our relationship and about our kids. It was mentally and emotionally exhausting and I was sad most of the time.

And then Covid happened. And I was stuck at home all.the.time with the kids. Mr. Cereal left for work everyday while I stayed at home with the kids trying to get their virtual school to work, monitoring their schoolwork, trying to do my own work, and trying to navigate my first year in a doctoral program. When Mr. Cereal would come home from work, he would immediately go to the couch in the living room and stay there on his phone for the rest of the night. This scenario repeated over and over again. I asked for more help, I asked for more attention, for more anything.


In July of last year, I met with a lawyer to get more information about what divorce would look like. I spent hours talking to my friends about how miserable I was. I met with my therapist every week for months trying to figure out what to do. Finally, in December, he came home drunk from work and started a fight with me. I sent the kids downstairs and told him calmly that I wanted a divorce. He cried, told me it was my fault, etc. We agreed to get through the holidays and discuss it again afterwards. By mid-January, we talked again and he agreed to go to therapy (individual) and to meet with his doctor about his medications. It was clear that he had been severely depressed for months (if not years) and I knew that the fun person I married still existed in him somewhere. And for a few months, it really did get better. We were both trying and being careful with each other. I would report back to my therapist that it seemed ok, but that I was cautious. Until April when I told him I knew I wanted to stay married. And suddenly, it shifted again. He withdrew again and I could see that he was going back into a depression. I tried to pull him back out; I told him I was worried and that I wanted to make sure he was ok. This pattern continued for several months until the end of August.

In August, we celebrated our ten year wedding anniversary. I found a perfect gift, made reservations at the same restaurant we went to after we got married in the courthouse ten years prior. He didn’t even get me a card and told me he was annoyed that I made our anniversary dinner on his birthday. I turned inward and didn’t know what to do. We ended up going to dinner on a different night and it was awkward and pretty uncomfortable. And then in the first week in September, the kids started school at a new school. Their first day was on a Wednesday and Mr. Cereal texted me to tell me he was going to meet up with a friend and go disc golfing. At 6, he called me to tell me he was drunk and was going to stay downtown at a hotel. I had previously requested that he not come home drunk anymore because it scared me and the kids. At midnight, there was a knock at my door and when I got downstairs, there was a police officer outside. He brought Mr. Cereal inside and he was very clearly extremely drunk and had been arrested. It was the most terrifying moment of my life. Initially, I thought that the police officer was there to tell me he was dead.

That night was horrific. Mr. Cereal was combative, angry, aggressive, and scary. I was desperate to not have the kids wake up and witness this, and the result was me spending the rest of the night completely awake making sure that the kids were safe. The next morning I got them dressed and out of there, and then spent that night at a friend’s house. The day after that, I asked Mr. Cereal to leave the house and not come back. I agreed to go to counseling with him, and in one of those sessions I learned that he was drinking everyday at work and then driving home. Drinking had always been a point of contention in our relationship as I was not a drinker and he was the opposite. Our counselor told him that she believed that he was an alcoholic, and up until that point, I had not considered this. But it is entirely true and has been true for our 12 year relationship. Instances of him getting black out drunk were many, and each time I verbalized my fear and discomfort with those situations but was made to feel like I was overreacting. It was incredibly confusing.

The day I signed the papers to file for divorce was one of relief. I didn’t feel sad or angry, I just felt free. I knew that I was making the best decision for myself and for my kids. We are now navigating this new normal. He is in an alcohol recovery program and will be required to continue to have parenting time with the kids. I encourage the kids to ask questions if they want and to talk to me if they are sad or confused or angry about the situation. I moved into a new house that I love and in general, I just feel better.

This whole experience really messed with me mentally, emotionally, and physically. The stress was incredible and affected my work and my schooling and every single other aspect of my life. At this point, I am trying to get back to some kind of a normal day to day life, but I still feel like I am struggling mentally. My brain is foggy a lot of the time, and I think that is mostly due to long term trauma. I have been trying to survive for the last 3 years and it broke me. I am not as organized as I once was, I struggle to make decisions and I am just not as on top of things as I used to be. But I am also really happy to no longer be living in a situation that is always tense. I love coming home to my house and having it be a happy and joyful place. And I am, for once, excited about what might come next.