Melanie Wolff’s Divorce Story

Colorado Divorce Overview

Melanie Wolff opens the door to her three-row SUV, climbs inside, and tosses her iPhone on the passenger seat. She checks on the kids in the rearview mirror to make sure they’re buckled in and ready. A McDonald’s bag is still sitting on the passenger seat. Her husband, Eric, left it there. He used her car to take the kids to school, for once.

The sight of the bag makes her angry again. Eric and Melanie recently had a fight, because on the rare occasions when Eric actually helped with the kids, he always bought fast foods and junky snacks. They talked about it many times and Eric knew how important healthy foods for the kids meant to her. No matter what, he did what was easiest.

Even after Melanie dropped the kids off, she doesn’t feel any better about the situation. Instead, she has to deal with trash in the car and lingering smell of fried foods. Her stomach churns. Her face feels hot. She grips the steering wheel harder.

Why are these weekend trips with the boys more important than helping me take the kids to school and their games and classes?

The worst part, she thinks to herself, is that he always assumes she will take care of things for him. She spends the weekend taking care of the kids and picking up the house while he goes off on one of his weekend trips with his buddies. It happens so often now; Melanie doesn’t even bother to ask where or who is going.

Still, she wonders, “Why are these weekend trips with the boys more important than helping me take the kids to school and their games and classes?” Melanie feels a twinge of guilt because she had a girlfriend weekend recently too. She doesn’t know how much it cost, but she deserved it without a doubt.

Nonetheless, her weekend away had been the first in years. And he hadn’t really taken care of the kids by himself while she was gone. His parents had swept in to save the day.

She tried her best to be a great wife

For years Melanie did her best to be a great wife. Now, she focuses all her energy on the children because almost every conversation with Eric turns into an argument. Afterwards, the house feels heavy and depressing. It’s just easier to avoid him now. That’s not very hard. Eric pours his energy into his job. She suspects it’s his way of dealing with the tension at home. Melanie hopes he is actually working instead of sneaking around with someone else.

Sometimes she wakes up when he comes home, but not very often. She is so tired from taking care of the kids and the house that she falls into bed every night. If she does wake up, nothing happens; he slides into the bed, turns his back on her, and doesn’t say a word.

“Why don’t you and dad like each other anymore?”

More often, he falls asleep on the sofa watching television. She knows he drinks alone in front of the TV almost every night. There are empty bottles of tequila or beer cans stashed in a corner of the garage. He’s tired, testy, and hungover far too often these days. His hair is turning grey and getting thinner every day. He looks ragged in the mornings while Melanie rushes to get the kids out the door on time.

When she does need to talk to him, it is about who can handle what and when, but nothing more. The kids notice things aren’t good too. One night, Melanie’s oldest asked, “Why don’t you and dad like each other anymore?”

The last time she saw him, Eric told her he was going away again. The corner of his mouth turned up slightly as if to say, “What are you going to do about?” Melanie shrugged and turned away. There was no point in saying anything.

Marriage Counseling Did Not Help

Today, she’s on her way to a marriage counseling session. She starts the car again and Katy Perry’s voice grabs your attention. “I used to bite my tongue and hold my breath. Scared to rock the boat and make a mess, so I sat quietly, agreed politely. I guess that I forgot I had a choice. I let you push me past the breaking point.”

Tears well up in her eyes. Melanie turns up the volume. As Perry sings the chorus, she sits at the traffic light belting it out. “Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh, ‘cause I am a champion, and you’re gonna hear me roar. Louder, louder than a lion, you’re gonna hear me roar.

Melanie reaches the low-slung office building of the counselor, pulls into a spot, wipes her eyes, and switches off the car. She doesn’t want to go inside, but she’s giving it another shot. Last session Eric was fifteen minutes late and then sat in his chair staring out the window. He barely spoke.

She is led into the office and the counselor greets her. She keeps glancing at the wall clock. The tension is thick. Ten minutes later, Eric arrives without an apology. Melanie’s face turns red again.

When the counselor asks what is creating the tension in the room, Melanie’s emotions erupt. Tears cascade down her face as she tells the counselor that Eric is never home and indifferent to her and the kids. Melanie can see Eric rolling his eyes as she pours her heart out.

Eric Hires a Divorce Lawyer

After she finishes with her rant, Eric announces that he hired a divorce lawyer earlier that day. Melanie’s first thought is about the kids and their well-being. The next thing that pops into her head is, “How did we get to this point? We used to get along so well.” She never thought they would end up like this.

Melanie realizes she’s resentful too. How could he have the upper hand again? She decides no matter what she is going to make sure he takes care of the kids and her. Divorce is the obvious next step, but there’s a lump in her stomach as she thinks about what’s to come.

After the session, Melanie can’t face going back to an empty house. She drives to the supermarket to pick up a few things for dinner but sits in the car after she manages to find a parking spot.

What about my parents and friends? How will everyone react?

She pulls out her phone to check her messages. She checks Facebook and a picture comes up of the family from a long time ago. Everyone looks happy. Melanie starts crying. She is already trying to figure out what she will say to the kids. What about my parents and friends? How will everyone react?

Melanie is Overcome with Anxiety

There’s a panicky feeling fluttering beneath the surface too. Melanie realizes she doesn’t know much about what Eric and her own. She is overcome with anxiety and questions. “Will the kids and her be able to stay in the house? Will we need to move? Will I get enough money? What about college for the kids? How on earth can I manage all of this when Eric handled all the finances? Is there someone else?

She is exhausted and scared but determined. She will get through this, but she realizes she needs to act if she wants to secure a future for herself and the kids.

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