You ask why a woman stays or why she would confide in a casual friend rather than to family & close friends.
I can only state my case. I stood because I had 2 small children. I stopped working, ay his request, to be a SAHM. I stood because I had 2 small kids & zero income. He would get visitations & he drank...ALOT. Would any of you trust your babies to a drunk? You hope & pray things get better & he stops drinking. If you confide in family & close friends you will forever taint their view of him. If the situation does improve, he changes the relationship with your family and friends will never be the same. Telling someone not that close to you helps you get it off your chest. My EX did close off any relationship I had with my female friends.
My now 30 year old son can describe in detail the day he began hating his father and he was just 5 at the time. He moved in with my parents when he was 13 to get away from his father. He told me straight out he was afraid of what he might do to him. My son and I never lost our relationship. Towards the end of my marriage, after a broken ankle & me finding out about his affair with the wife of a couple we were friends with, my 2 sons took me to task & said you either leave him now or we are both gone; you choose us or him. My kids came first & they gave me the strength to leave & start my life over after 25 years. I slowly got back in touch with my friends & together they helped me deal with life. My family, other than my Mom, stood on the sidelines & basically never had my back. My brothers, sister, aunts, uncles, cousins did nothing to help, support or defend me. It took ALOT of years of therapy for me to forgive them & allow them a limited part of my life but I won't ever forget. THAT IS WHY WOMEN DON'T CONFIDE IN FAMILY & FRIENDS.
He has forever changed who I am & I do have trouble allowing many people to get close.
Oh gosh, Bunny, I just read 'back' … I am so so so sorry. And as others have said, I am so glad you found the courage with the help of your sons, to get OUT.