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OK first of all, any man who hits --drinking or not--doesn't deserve to be with you! Drinking brings out the REAL man inside. It isn't to blame for the abuse. How many people do you know who are funny or silly or romantic when they drink? Drinking releases your inhibitions and allows you to give in to the things that you keep control of when you're sober--just watch someone at any bar on Friday night start dancing and coming on to every person of the opposite sex. If he hits when he drinks it's because he has those feelings inside him but keeps control of it when he's sober. This also means that he can LOSE that control if pushed too hard! That being said, I think you need to end the relationship with him BEFORE you begin the next one. You've implied that sex hasn't happened yet between you and your friend which is good--that way you will never have to explain that to your children or lie to them. I advise you to take it slow with your friend. Remember, sometime back when you first started going with your boyfriend, you felt this way about him too. If it's real, it will stand the test of time. Get out of this relationship first and then move on to the new one.
Your first step is most likely going to be a restraining order against him. It sounds like he has a pretty bad temper and because he has made threats against you, you need to protect yourself and your children. If possible, move in with family or somewhere he won't know where you are. He will have the right to see the children but I strongly recommend that you have someone else drop them off or meet him and pick them up again. Do you have any witnesses to the abuse or threats? Document EVERYTHING! Everytime he says something to you or threatens you in any way, write it down. Take note of the date, time, where you were, what was said, who might have overheard or witnessed. EVERYTHING. It will all come in handy if it does come to a court battle. Is he on the children's birth certificates? I assume he is. You're going to want to get child support ordered from him so you're going to need a lawyer. If you can't afford one, try Legal Aid.
I hope this helps. I also hope you didn't take offense to anything I said...I only mean to help not to criticize.
First off, I don't have any children so I can't put myself in your shoes but my STBX told me (lied to me) and said he was ready for a family so we tried for a year (hence why I am on here lol) and when I found out he was having an affair I felt like he not only took our marriage away (which I loved being married) but he took my chances of having a child away and that hurt worse than having a child because I was (and am in some ways) still in that mind-set, which didn't help that when I got down about the TTC process he would buy me baby items and leave me little notes and he was very involved in the process. So even though I don't have children, I can see how bad it hurts.
What you have to ask yourself is, is it worth it? I would think about that every second of every day because it sounds like you've stayed because of money and because there was no other reason to really leave. But he doesn't love you, even if he says he does, with the way he's treated you, that's a lie. I came from a very abusive and very controlling marriage (which I am only starting to see what everyone has been telling me) but I stayed because I like the idea of being with someone. Someone to come home to, someone to go shopping with, someone to go out with, someone to spend the holidays with, someone to make me laugh, someone to spend my life with. But when it is only one sided it really isn't real. I was always waiting for him, it ranged from everything from just waiting for him to come home (he never came home on time, and I'm not talking a little late, I'm talking HOURS), waiting for him to "grow up", waiting for him to do his chores (he wouldn't even take the trash), waiting for him to do everything. I just wanted him so badly to love me the way I loved him and it never happened. I can tell you that there is no greater pain that having the indescribable yearning in your heart, hoping that some day he'll do something and it will change, no matter what it may be. And him disrespecting you is a joke, it really is because if I were you I would rather be alone than to ever be in the situation like I was in, which is a little like yours. All you guys are doing is passing and repassing, because if you two really got down to the knitty gritty, all you'd probably do is just argue.
But I've loved one other person before, I had an affair as well about 3 years ago but when I came clean to my STBX he asked me to stay and I did. I made the wrong choice. I have never felt that kind of love before, like the kind that makes you feel like your chest is going to explode and it really didn't matter to me if he and I had to live under a bridge, I was so in love that it didn't matter. He was a friend of my STBX's so I had known him about 4 years and we had been seeing each other for almost 2 years but I thought that once I told my husband and he asked me to stay that my marriage must be the real deal. I thought if he could love me after something like that, it was real. Na. He just wasn't ready to be alone yet because a year later (this past Jan) he said he wanted a divorce--out of the blue! But if I could go back, I would do things differently and I think if you and your friend have been "together" for 10 years, this is your breaking point with him. I don't know how long your friend will just want to be the "other man" in your life and nothing hurts worse than 1.) being used (which is basically what you'll be doing to him) and 2.) seeing the person that you honestly deep down love with someone else and knowing they are happy. I think your friend deserves that, even if it isn't with you.
That being said, with what I have been though. I would SO be gone! But I have been in some very difficult situations and I have heard so many other people tell me what they went through when they got a divorce, some of my mom's friends were together 15, 22, and 29 years!!! And then it just fell a part (which I don't think it was all of a sudden but someone finally got tired of it) and it made is so clear to me that there is no guarantee! Your children's father could come home tomorrow and leave you and you would have wasted all this time. You need to do what makes you happy because you are wasting your life for a very bad excuse, financial security. It is a smart reason and has valid points but in my personal opinion from my personal experiences, you're wasting your life. If I ever find someone I feel remotely the same to the man I was with years ago, I'm going for it because it doesn't matter, like I said you could spend 30 years with someone and divorce/break up can happen. My mom has told me don't think of your time as being wasted, but a learning experience.
Now to think with your head. The very first thing I would do is look around where you live for something like legal aide, I have it in my town and it is a program where a group of attorney's offer legal services for free or reduced fees based on your income. You need to get legal advice first, since there will be custody involved. Let me reiterate this, NO MATTER WHAT YOUR BF SAYS TO YOU, you need to get legal advice so you know the laws. It could be that the two of you can reach a decision without going before a judge, but there will have to be legal custody papers filed......now let me tell you why.
I work in law enforcement in Mobile, AL so what I am going to tell you could vary from state to state, city to city or even county to county but where I live even with legal custody drawn up, if you or your bf don't abide by the custody order, no police agency can remove the children from the parent's home. Each parent has legal rights to the children so if he doesn't bring the kids back, you have to go back to court and prove he won't give them back, prove he is not abiding by the order, and petition for the judge to issue a pickup order to the law enforcement agency where you live to remove the children. This is even if you have a custody agreement. The reason for this is that 1.) custody is a completely civil matter and a civil agreement, even signed by a judge 2.) each parent has rights to the children 3.) as law enforcement officers we can only go by word of mouth which is not proof. Sometimes there is a reason the child is with one parent and not another, there could be abuse by one parent, drug use, neglect, point being there might be an underlying reason. Any legal action has to come by the way of a judge, police agencies can only arrest people for not abiding by laws already set forth because arresting someone takes your civil liberties away, the only way to dispute or resolve something like custody is with a judge. A little confusing, I know but it is something I try to tell all moms because it is hard telling a parent when the other parent won't return children, I'm sorry but there's nothing we can do.
But thousands of people share custody and staying together for the reason you've given is not a good one and your children deserve their mother to be happy because they can sense something isn't right. Before you can love or care for anyone else in the world, you have to do it for yourself first. But long story short, if I were you, I would either think about counseling (but that may be a complete lose because there is no long term commitment to each other, even though you have children, the commitment is to the children, not to each other) but I would be gone. I would literally take my children and run (because that whole can't go remove children thing works both way but make sure you check with your law enforcement agency before you do that). I think the important things you need to make sure of if you're thinking about leaving is whether or not your other man loves your children and would provide for them. I've seen people where they love the person, but aren't really thrilled about the children. You need to make sure you have somewhere to live and a source of income. But the whole custody thing can be easily taken care of. But I learned the hard way that I will NEVER rely on a man to support me for any reason because that gives them control and in my situation my mother firmly believes that he intended to get me pregnant. I also took almost a year off from work and only started working because he was never home and he was furious. I actually had him sign a paper that he would stop being upset at me for working if by a certain date my father in law hadn't hired me (STBX's father owned a business & they bought a second location but it didn't work out). You can't allow yourself to be controlled because that can become a dangerous situation.