"Today I'm talking with a couple. Were calling Sandra and Tom Together. They're navigating a complicated relationship with Tom's ex wife Thomas X.. Were married for ten years before their divorce now. A few years later he shares custody of their kids ages eight ten and thirteen unsurprisingly. There are still hurt feelings between Tom and his ex wife and as a new step mom Sandra is now in the middle of it all. She's nervous that the tension is having a negative impact on the kids to better understand what Sandra has walked into. I begin by asking Tom to tell me more about his ex. And also about the story of their break-up I I got married really young Just turned eighteen. What I merely so and who was the? How did you know the woman? You married We're you know we're in neighboring towns. But they're small towns and knew each other grow growing up on and off you know and And so we were dating and we weren't dating for very long and she got pregnant and as happens a lot of the times in these type of communities and that kind of thing the right thing to do culturally socially is to get married and so we got married and so then we found ourselves You know a seventeen year old a nineteen year old with newborn baby I did what I thought was the to be a good man what you needed to do so I I dropped out of college got got a the best paint job I could. I'm really hard. Yeah it wasn't an ideal way to start a marriage relationship that's for sure Yeah it was. It was tough. It was really tough for her I think that there was just like she's she's a person who doesn't deal with shame. I mean who deals with shame really well but she really really kicks against that And so I think that I think it was a really hard and damaging experience for her and we were both kids so we didn't really know what was hard and damaging. After Tom got married things continued to go downhill. The family moved around a lot for his work and life got more stressful. Especially especially. After they had to Marquette's I was exhausted. I have been pushing harder than it ever push before I had been ignoring my stress more than ever been before a he had three kids three little kids and I am. I started drinking more than I'd ever done before to kind of kind of the blossomed into a real problem for me but did you. Did you come home. Drunk to drive. Drunk had it sorta come to a head. Yeah I think both of those things happen on a on a number of occasions and It's it's so clear looking back. Got It seeing how unhealthy. I was spiritually physically emotionally. All these different things During this time I think my wife was looking at me and thinking where in the world probably where in the world is going. I don't know what she was thinking thinking but I know she wasn't feeling supported or happy or PSA had it had this lead to the end of your marriage. There was there was a there was a friend. He's a guy that I spent a lot of time with. We probably. I'd probably saw him more than anybody else in. He went through a hard point. He went through a hard point in his marriage. I offered him a spare room at our house and he moved into our house and Kinda hung out with Salat and Then he started hanging out with my wife a lot and This was truly a kind of a blind moment for me because I didn't ensued coming even though some other people had raised concerns. I don't know for what reason I honestly did not see it. Sou- planet trip to go. See some friends in California which took the kids went down to California. Stay with them for a few days and and she had to fly back early so I drove the kids back up and we'd had some some close friends with US living with us at the at the time when I got when we got backup up she'd been up there a few days before I said well we got back up our friends who had been living with us. 'cause we had an apartment in the basement pulled me aside. They're like we need to talk to you about something and they said when you were gone with the kids we we definitely heard that she was with someone else When she was here that day before you And we think it's the sky. It's your friend Because we saw his car parked a couple of blocks down and then I went to night confronted her about it and her response was kind of like. Yeah so what what do you expect. You're not healthy. This is bad. I don't like it"