Fox Family Lawyers
Cynthia Moseley Fox
Attorney at Law
7751 Carondelet Avenue,
Suite 700
Clayton, Missouri 63105
(St. Louis)

Bradley’s Sad Tale: When Love Is Not Enough

I am often asked how to assess whether a marriage can be saved. Even though this question falls more within the expertise of marital counselors, I have thought about this, but have never come up with any unassailable criteria.


That changed a few days ago, when “Bradley” came to my office. His story is, at various parts, humorous in the retelling, but also sad because it proves that undying love and faithfulness isn’t always enough.


Bradley arrived late in the day, coming straight from his job as a custodian. His head was heavily bandaged, concealing what Bradley said were 11 surgical staples holding together various sections of his scalp. He brought with him multiple criminal citations for aggravated assault and various related charges, and an “ex parte order” restraining him from setting foot in his marital residence.


I judge that Bradley is only a little bit past 30, but his appearance, bandaged head not included, is of someone where life has begun to gain the upper hand, the present circumstances being a good example. He has been married to “Sophie” for a little less than 5 years. He is Sophie’s second husband, and although he didn’t say, I think she is his first wife.


It seems that things had not been going well and that the marriage had been troubled for much of its length. According to Bradley, Sophie has been constantly critical of him and has told him on several occasions that she “never loved him”, marrying him only so she wouldn’t be lonely. Bradley believes his wife suffers from mental illness and he excuses her outbursts of nastiness as symptomatic.


Sophie brought three children into the marriage and has since had another with Bradley. For reasons not shared with me, Sophie has never worked outside the home…. perhaps due to the illness, perhaps because competent child care was unaffordable…so Bradley has been the family’s sole support and everyone has apparently made due on his modest salary. (Sophie’s “ex” has never paid child support.) They have even purchased a small house.


Bradley did admit to having a problem with depression, though.


Two weeks ago, things took a decided turn for the worse. Sophie’s ex-husband had moved in, at Sophie’s invitation and without Bradley’s permission or knowledge. He was just there one evening watching television when Bradley arrived home from work. The “ex” had been out of work for several weeks, lost his home and forced to live with his parents, and Sophie took pity on him and moved him into the spare bedroom.


Bradley acknowledged that he wasn’t happy with the situation, but with his customary forbearance, accepted the new arrangement until the “ex” could get back on his feet. The apparent tipping point came several days later when Sophie moved her former mate into a small room immediately adjoining and connected to their bedroom. “It was like he was sleeping in a closet just off our bedroom”, is Bradley’s description.


That’s when the “Popeye effect” overtook Bradley. He had stood all he could; he could stand no more. Bradley initiated evictions proceedings without the formality of the sheriff. As Bradley is removing the ex-husband from the house, the “ex” reacts violently and Sophie comes to her husband’s aid…husband #1!


A melee ensued. In short order, the police are on the scene, citations issued…Bradley’s the only one charged… and head staples applied. His wife then obtains the order throwing him out of his house.


So, what does Bradley want me to do? Well, he’d like me to help him with the criminal charges. He hopes I can get the ex-spouse evicted. But most of all, Bradley wants me to get the ex parte order lifted so he can go back home and patch things up with Sophie.


Sadly, I can’t take the now homeless Bradley’s case. I am already booked for another trial on his court date, and I don’t handle criminal matters. However, I provide him with a list of attorneys and an office and telephone to use for contacting them.


I also share with Bradley the one hard and fast criteria I now have for determining that a marriage can’t be saved: When your husband or wife invites his/her ex-spouse to live with you, it is time to move on and never look back. I hope Bradley takes this to heart.