I lived that story with my first husband (well, a similar story). My ex was an abusive alcoholic drug addict. I was at the top of the stairs when he came out of the bathroom after an hour and I told him, while I was pregnant with our second child, if he did not stop I’d take the children and leave. He threaten to kill me if I took his kids away and being at the top of the stairs, he could have easily killed my unborn child and me. He didn’t and I left when the younger one was 6 months old (3 years of marriage roughly). I ended up with full custody after bouncing with my sons from shelter to shelter from SW Missouri to St. Louis, to Alton IL and back to St. Louis where I was granted the divorce and full custody, with a full order of protection still enforced. I returned to my home town with my sons, where my mother was living, which was where I started.
There’s more to the story, but I navigated all of that, because you can’t work while living in a shelter (women’s shelters), but you still have to feed your babies, go to court, and other things during that time. A year or more of that living and finally getting our day in court, which he never showed. It wasn’t easy, but I had to navigate all that you mentioned and child support enforcement. Never got a plug nickel of child support out of him. He owes us enough to send them both to a couple years of college, if not more, but my sons are grown now. One turned out much like myself and the other is much like his father, as though it is genetic.
Allegedly, he admitted to this dude called King that he hurt me and several years later, he said I was the first person who treated him like a human being, yet he treated me like dirt. I accepted his amends, but I never looked back and neither did his older son.
I’m remarried for seven years now to a decent guy. He’s not perfect, but what human is? He’s definitely not abusive or a drug addict or an alcoholic. My ex hasn’t bother my sons and me for over two years now. My sons don’t know if he’s dead or alive- one doesn’t care and the other fears he is- you can guess which one doesn’t care and which fears.
It’s true though- you don’t really know a person until you live with them.