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He had asked me for a divorce, and I had fought for months to keep that from happening. I loved him, and I didn’t want our family to fall apart. I knew there was another woman, even though he wouldn’t admit it. He had never admitted to any of the others, why would he tell the truth this time?

I was annoyed by the irony of how he wanted to sign the divorce papers. He had dropped off the papers at the house for me to read them, but he didn’t want either of us to sign them until we were together. It was like he wanted it to be some kind of sick date! How romantic of him, right? Let’s get together as a couple and sign the divorce papers. Be still my heart!

I had been avoiding reading them until that day, trying to delay the inevitable. I knew there was nothing I could do. He’d made up his mind. But when I sat down to read them, I couldn’t believe my eyes! Here was my way out of this! The papers said that I was agreeing that our marriage was irreconcilable. The thing was, I didn’t belive our marriage WAS irreconcilable. I thought it could be saved. This was a legal document. I could not put my signature on a legal document that I didn’t agree with! So if I told him that I believed our marriage was worth saving, and I couldn’t sign the papers, maybe he would agree to work on it!

He came over that night, cheerful as could be, ready to have our special little night of writing off our marriage. I took a deep breath and told him I couldn’t sign the papers, explaining my reasons.

His rage was immediate. I saw his eyes go red and his lips swell up like they always did when he was ready to start punching things. I knew he’d had an anger management problem before we met. I’d read his homework from the court-appointed class that he’d had to take. I knew he’d lied on the homework, making things look less than they were. But he seemed to have learned from the class because he’d only ever thrown things before when he was mad at me. It had only happened a handful of times, but he would grab whatever was closest to him, throw it, and then stomp out of the house.

I had never worried about him actually hitting me.

But now he was on a rampage. His fury was terrifying. He punched his fist through a tv tray that was in the living room, completely destroying it. He took the little table that my dad had built when I was a child, that our daughter used to do puzzles and color, and smashed it into the floor. The corner of the little table was crushed, it dented the hardwood floor, then it bounced and hit the edge of our brand new tv. Thankfully, it didn’t hit the screen. But it left a permanent mark on the tv’s frame that I could never clean off, no matter how hard I scrubbed.

Then he crashed his way through the house and into our bedroom. I was even more terrified because our daughter and our foster daughter were asleep in the next room and I was so afraid he would wake them. I didn’t want them to see this side of him.

Once in our bedroom, my terror turned to horror as he grabbed the golf club he always kept next to the bed – for protection from intruders – and started swinging it around the room. He smashed the glass on the pictures hanging just a few feet away from my head. For the first time in our ten-year marriage, I was truly afraid that he might actually hit me. I stood there sobbing, pleading with him to calm down.

And that’s when I knew.

Our marriage could no longer be saved.

He had crossed a line that I was not willing to deal with.

Our marriage really was irreconcilable.

I told him I would sign the papers. As quickly as the rage had entered him, it was gone. We went into the kitchen where we sat down at the table and signed the papers. He hugged me, then left. I cleaned up the mess he had made, so the girls wouldn’t see it in the morning. Then I went to bed, where I cried myself to sleep.

It took me a few days to recover from the impact of seeing him so angry. I deeply mourned the end of the marriage we could have had.

But one day, about a week after signing the papers, I realized I was done. I no longer wanted anything to do with him. I was ready to move on and make a new life for myself.