For most of her 23-year marriage, Carrie supported the family while Matt "chased his dreams" and "ran around like a 15-year-old."
As he got older, he became distant and started criticizing everything she did and how she looked. He would call her names.
"He once said I was the fattest mom on the block. I figured he was going through a midlife crisis. I thought I would let him figure it out."
And then, one Saturday morning, she was doing the laundry and found a Ferris wheel ticket in the pocket of Matt's pants. It said the holder could view his picture online.
She followed the instructions and saw a picture of Matt with his arm around a woman.
"I went into shock. Then I woke him up. At first, he said they were handing out the tickets at the concert he was at."
When she told him about the photo, he changed his story. He claimed they were part of a group and the others didn't want their pictures taken.
Carrie didn't believe him. She started looking for evidence of infidelity. She found an empty shoe box and receipts for a shirt and flowers.
"He had no money for groceries or to help with the kids, but he could buy new clothes and flowers and go to a carnival."
Carrie confronted Matt. "After much discussion, we decided to separate. But he claimed he wanted to work things out."
One night, as Carrie was walking to her yoga class, she saw Matt's truck pull up in front of a neighborhood tavern. A woman got out and went into the bar.
"I confronted him and then walked into the bar and confronted her. I said, 'Do you know who I am? Do you understand I have children? Do you know that I live a few blocks away?' Then I walked out, crying my eyes out and literally shaking."
One of Carrie's friends happened to be driving by and stayed with her till she quieted down.
"Then I calmly walked in the house, packed up everything that belonged to him and put it on the porch. This was the beginning of the end."
Carrie says she was able to get through with the support of her family, friends and co-workers. She moved so her children "didn't have to see their dad's truck parked at a bar 24/7 when he had no time for them."
After she moved, she lost over 50 pounds and got a new job. She goes to counseling once a week, and she and her children attend family counseling.
"I won't say this has been easy, because it hasn't, but I've found peace. There's a lot to be said for peace and karma. Did I mention karma?"
Carrie has advice for anyone going through a divorce:
Get tested to be sure you don't have an STD. Get counseling for you and your children. There are many agencies that have sliding scales based on income. Take time for yourself. Take care of yourself. Exercise. Find a hobby. Lean on family and friends. File divorce and child support orders with the state. In case of nonpayment, they can garnish wages, suspend driver's licenses and put a lien on property. Whether you're religious or not, pray for strength, wisdom and peace.
Has your relationship been tested? Did it pass? Send your tale, along with your questions, problems and rants to [email protected] And check out my e-books, "Dear Cheryl: Advice from Tales from the Front" and "I'll Call You. Not."