The problem with rose-colored glasses is that all the red flags just look like flags. -- BoJack Horseman
She Never Stopped Being Able To Party
“My ex, when we first started going out, would have a little too much to drink every few months. She would say each time, as I was holding her over the toilet, “Never again.”
Well, about 10 years later it was still happening. She ended up meeting some girlfriends that were all of the same well-lubricated frame of mind. Things got very messy after that and I felt that I was no longer an equal partner, but a babysitter. When that happens, there really is no way of coming back.”
“It Was All For Show. I Was A Trophy.”
“The pictures. We had to take a million freaking pictures of us doing stuff, any stuff.
Everything was on social media with a picture, every post was ‘my marine…’ Every conversation was about her being a Marine girlfriend, etc.
It was all for show. I was a trophy.
When we got married she quit going to school and quit her well-paying job. When she’d meet people and they asked what she did she said she was a military wife, etc.
We divorced and she has a kid now and everything is about being a mom. She just changed situations as far as I can tell.”
Marriage Brought Out The Best In Her
“I had an opposite experience. She showed GREEN flags after marriage.
Prior to marriage, she was very meek with anyone other than me. Her parents were very strict so even as an adult she was too afraid to tell them we were even engaged. What they said went even though we were living together ‘as roommates. More than once she called their house to let them know she was going out as if she wasn’t allowed to otherwise.
There were issues with a few friends that clashed with me (they were pretty toxic and I don’t placate that type of behavior so I’m not always well received – doesn’t bother me) and I saw her comforting people who were treating _her _poorly after we clashed over it more than once. She’s a bleeding heart and couldn’t stand to see people upset even when the anger was caused by their own misdeeds. I felt like she didn’t always have my back, but I never thought it was something I needed, and I would always have hers.
She let people walk all over her while I’m the first person to put my foot down. In that aspect, we were the most different.
Before marriage, she also had a huge amount of medical issues and I was more than willing to accept a life of working to keep her alive, and supporting her as a stay at home wife when she got too sick.
Then we got married, and she changed.
I think she finally saw us as a package deal. While my girlfriend was meek and weak my wife became outspoken not only socially but politically. She started calling me on my BS (something I appreciate greatly – I like learning about things I can work on), but would absolutely slay people who weren’t treating us well. We ended a lot of friendships that weren’t healthy and were stringing along because of her bleeding heart after the wedding. It was like she was a Phoenix rising from the ashes of crap friends.
She is still medically frail but I think she sees a future to fight for now. The fact that I make more than her isn’t just a fact now, it’s a challenge.
She wants to be the breadwinner so that I can quit my job and go back to my career in art (I did great but the market was so unpredictable I needed to leave my dream for stability).
She is still beautiful, caring, and gentle, but since being married that caring aspect includes caring for herself. She doesn’t let anyone dictate her life (especially her parents) and because of that, she has healthier relationships with everyone, including me.
I would also like to state that once she knew she locked me down she opened her own kink floodgates and sex has never been the same. We do things to each other that most churches won’t even preach against in sermons because they’re ashamed to discuss the acts.
That ring and those vows somehow told her she was worthy of self-respect and self-expression. I love her.”
Your Words Don’t Matter Because You’re A Civilian
“Yes, I ignored some pretty big red flags and to this day I am not sure why I went ahead with the marriage. The first that I thought of was ignoring the fact that he was texting this one girl and lying about it. The texts didn’t seem too crazy (at first) but he would still lie and say things like I wasn’t texting her or i just had a question about work. Then I also ignored when leading up to the wedding and him leaving for boot camp, he seemed to just not care anymore. He was already starting to get too big of a head because he had lost so much weight. Then on our wedding day he ignored me pretty much the entire reception. His excuse was I want to hang out with my friends because I am leaving for boot camp in three days. I should’ve just annulled the marriage right there, but I stuck around for another year and a half and it only got worse. Found girls clothes in our room after visiting my family in our home state and then coming back to our appt. He would tell me my opinions didn’t matter because I was nothing but a civilian. Ended after a year and a half of marriage. He still tells people I left him because he was deploying and I didn’t want to wait for him. 6 years later and I am much happier than I was then.”
He Stole And Manipulated His Way Through Life
“Red flags are something you don’t pay attention to until it’s too late.
My ex husband had all the red flags of a sociopath. He would test to see how far he could go with making things up. And he learned what he could do to cover them up. He would use flowers or spend money on me to hide things he was doing. I learned what I was and wasn’t allowed to say in public (example- none of his friends knew he had a 12 year old child). I spent little time with friends and family because he would convince me that they weren’t supportive or make up things that I would believe because I trusted him. I left my career because he convinced me his pursuit was more important. Lots of things happened over the 10 years we were together. Most of them now I know were just lies to get him to where he wanted to be in life.
In the end, he had a 6 month affair. And the flags were all there. But after years of being manipulated I didn’t know what to believe. He managed to date her and then move to be with her on my dime by convincing me it had to do with his job. I even paid his rent for the first couple of months in hope he would come back. He manipulated everyone around him including his friends and even his boss. Now he is a person I don’t even recognize because he’s taken on the personality of his girlfriend. I feel bad for her because the same thing is happening to her but in a way I feel like she deserves it.
If you’re looking for an outline of what to look for I would say: 1- have you given up something you love for that person? 2- do gifts tend to arrive after something you weren’t quite sure was the truth? 3- do you feel like you’re begging the person to stay with you all the time? 4- do you find yourself above and beyond to please someone just for their affection?
Relationships should be relatively easy. Sure there will be fights and times where you aren’t sure. But if you’re giving up your values or your personality it’s time to go.”
“I Feel Like We Are Roommates”
“I’ve been married to my husband for 6 years, dated for 4. When dating, we would be affectionate. That’s how I felt loved. Once we got engaged, he started retreating backwards. Showing less affection, more quiet and distant. I just thought it was cold feet. If he wanted out, he could have said something. We have always been incredibly open and honest on how we were feeling.
Fast forward to the first 6 years of our marriage. There’s barely any sex or any form of affection, and not from the lack of trying on my end. When I cry, he shows no emotion. Doesn’t even try and comfort me in the slightest. I have to tell him to give me a hug. We have been together for 10 years! You’d think he’d know by now. He’s always on his phone, out at his friends place playing video games, or sleeping. I feel like we are roommates. God, I just want to he held frequently with the man I thought I was marrying!
It’s hard when you think the signs are just from cold feet, but it’s the truth coming out.”
7 Years, Brain Cancer, And Learning To Love A New Person
“We had been together for 7 years and living together ever since his first round of surgeries before his cancer came back. After the first resection surgery he recovered remarkably fast and had zero side effects. After recovering he even got a BS degree in Civil Engineering and was working towards his professional engineering license. I was in school on track for a PhD in a STEM field. Fast forward 6 years, and an annual MRI showed that the cancer was back and my husband needed it to be removed ASAP. We scheduled the surgery to happen 2 months after we found out it had come back.
The next 19 months were pure chaos. The only recourse for this kind of cancer was through surgical resection due to its location on the brain stem. In a short 19 month time frame (in no particular order), my husband had 4 resection surgeries, 1 emergency surgery that arose from a complication from one of the resections, and 30 treatments of IMRT radiation. The radiation happened between resections 2 and 3. It was hell for him. It didn’t help stop the cancer from growing, and my husband had two more resections and an emergency surgery after the radiation was complete.
During this time I got pregnant and had a baby boy. Trying for a baby was a contingency plan if the cancer ever came back. We wanted kids but we wanted to wait until we were graduated and settled into our careers, but if my husband needed more surgery we agreed to try for a baby before surgery. We had one month to try and were totally surprised when we conceived. Our son gave my husband the strength to fight this cancer and the motivation to focus on his recovery.
After each surgery the side effects got worse. Remember I said he had zero side effects when the cancer was first diagnosed and resected. Now that he was in his 30s rather than his 20s, his recovery time was a lot slower. Between those 5 surgeries and 30 treatments of radiation, I had to help my husband relearn how to walk and talk again (with inpatient and outpatient help, of course). As a matter of fact, our son and him learned to walk at the same time. It was an emotionally happy and proud time for us all!
The last two resection surgeries left him with a side effect called an acquired brain injury. He also has severe visual disabilities due to the surgeon disrupting the 3rd and 4th cranial nerves in an aggressive attempt to get all of the cancer out. My husband can no long look up or down nor open his eyes. He must use his forehead muscles to be able to open his eyelids slightly. His pupils are different size dilations, and this damage is permanent.
The visual disabilities were a cakewalk as compared to the brain injury. The brain injury transformed my type A, empathetic, highly trained engineer of a husband into an angry child with absolutely no empathy and A LOT of anger. It’s been almost 2 years since he was formally diagnosed with a moderate brain injury. He is an entirely different person now. He has different interests, different tastes in clothes, food, etc, and requires so much sleep because of the damage to his brain. He didn’t ask for this to happen; he just wanted to survive the cancer so he could be there for his son.
As of today he’s made a lot of progress. He can function independently at home and is the caretaker of our 2.5 year old son while I work to support us. Our roles have changed 180 degrees, and he still struggles with empathy. He is now permanently disabled due to his visual and cognitive disabilities from his brain injury.
Most days are difficult because I’m still grieving the husband I once had. However just because it is difficult doesn’t mean I’m giving up on him. We go to counseling (individual and marriage) and brain injury support groups. We attend a local church, which saved my sanity. I have single handedly built a support network that is made of my husband’s medical doctors, our friends, our church family, and the few DNA family members and friends who have stuck around through this life change.
The sad part is that my husband’s entire family (brothers, mother, father, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc) have ostracized us from the family. They have chosen to avoid and deny the situation because it’s too difficult for them. That hurt a lot because my husband and I were very close to his DNA family for many years before the brain cancer came back. I am estranged from my family and have been for years and his family knew that. So I was left alone to handle my husband’s rehabilitation and long term recovery. It was the hardest and darkest time of my life. I’m happy to say that our family of choice is better than what we had in our DNA family.
I love my husband and I will always be there for him. I take my wedding vows seriously. He needs love and support, not avoidance and denial. He’s made a lot of progress in the past couple of years. I’m proud of him! Most days are hard but some days are good. I’m still getting to know this new husband of mine. We take life one day at a time and things are finally looking up for us.
There’s a lot more to this situation, but I’ve already written a book! Hope someone will read this and be encouraged.”
You Cannot Change Who They Are
“I doubt this will reach many people but it may help someone. I wasn’t married but my now ex and I dated for six years.
I thought I would get past her being a mean person. She said that her past boyfriend had a large impact on her and that she was mean to people now because of it. She had a malicious mindset where if someone hurt her it was her job to hurt them back (which was me more often than not)
If someone has a PERSONALITY that you don’t like — get out. They won’t change. That’s who they are. It will only get worse, and you’ll be miserable.
I want to reinforce that they won’t change. I’m serious, there’s no maybe they will maybe they won’t, that person will not change. Habits? you can work through those — that’s a lot to put on yourself to take that on but it can happen if they want to. But personality? No, that’s going to be them until the day you die.”
She Hit Him, And Then Called The Cops!
“It started when she got pregnant. We discussed other options, but decided against it. So, she essentially had me on the hook and she knew it. Slapping, kicking, throwing stuff, you name it. Any time she was unhappy about anything it was blamed on me and retribution was usually physical. Of course, she blamed it on being pregnant.
She would call police and say it was me abusing her. I was never arrested, but it was still a hell of a hassle. Tip- don’t talk to police. Ever.
Our son was born and it didn’t stop, who knew? I’d almost argue it got worse. Finally one night she went too far. I made the grave mistake of making some food after our son was put to bed and scraped two plates together. She marched into the kitchen, punched me in the nose for being ‘too loud’, then called the police when I refused to leave. Cops came and arrested her (after laughing at me). She got a slap on the wrist; 6 months court supervision and anger management.
She admitted that she had a problem and begged for one more chance. I believe in redemption if one really wants it, so I stayed. Things got better! For about a year.
Then I came home early from work once and she was home also even though she was supposed to be at work. She seemed very nervous and then I found men’s deodorant and boxer briefs, both of which weren’t mine. I confronted her, she was caught, and she tried to get physical, then thought better of it.
I left and only returned to get my stuff. In court, her domestic abuse and former drug issues were brought up but she got custody of our son. She later ended up in detox for cocaine use and then attempted suicide, but she still has custody. I could talk about the court side for hours, but I’ll save it for another time.”
Family Influence, Pride, Ignorance Look Like Culture, Tradition And Ethics
“When I was dating my ex-wife, I was so in love that everything was justified or forgivable. I overlooked things like family influence, pride, ignorance, and zeal because to my smitten eyes it was just culture, tradition, ethics and virtue.
As our marriage progressed there was a lot of growth from both of us. I thought that the negative traits that hindered our relationship were dying. It’s what I wanted to believe.
When our son was born, all the issues of the past (controlling, distortion of facts, family interference) resurfaced.
My ex-was religious when we met but always drew virtue from her faith. She questioned her peers and family constantly. I loved this in her. I was agnostic (and still am) and so our faith was no issue to anyone but her family and peers. As our marriage progressed, she started to question her teaching and found people can be moral without a fear of God.
When my son was born and I was laid off, it put a lot of strain on both of us. Like a switch, my lack of employment was a failure of my drive. My failure of a drive was due to my weakness of character. My faith (lack of) was the root of it. Her family did nothing to hinder this as her culture and faith were now in the forefront and 11 years of being together were disregarded.
My marriage failed. I’m still working through it. I still wouldn’t change a thing as I have a son whom I love dearly but had I followed reason instead of my love, I would have seen the warning signs for what they were.
I can’t change time and maybe this is for the best, but I will say this. Never comprise your character and realize that even though you know someone, things can change.”
You Can’t Take That Long To Get Ready…When You Have Three Kids
“She’d always be dressing up and spends hours just throwing clothes on and off and in the bathroom getting ready, always making us late no matter how important it was to show up in time. She said she wanted to look good for me. Now I know it’s was always for herself and just trying to keep up with the Joneses.
What really sucks is now we have 3 little ones and all this time she’s spending in the bathroom takes a toll on dad watching them alone. Which in turn makes my daughter late for gymnastics. All this time I keep telling her she looks beautiful in jeans and a sweatshirt!”
A Neat Freak With A Dirty Past
“When I met my husband he was a bit of a neat freak, and that didn’t bother me but I later found out that it was because his first wife was verbally abusive (in my opinion). She’d make him feel worthless, call him stupid, ugly, etc. I guess he tried to please her by always having things just right.
She ended up cheating and leaving. He and I met shortly thereafter. Well I went the opposite direction, told him he’s perfect, just be yourself and don’t worry about being a neat freak etc.
He’s still my perfect guy almost 20 years later… but he doesn’t clean a single thing anymore and I almost regret talking him out of that behavior because it clearly wasn’t his natural tendency to be neat!
All’s well that ends well? :)”
She Would Tie Him Down To Scream At Him
“The biggest red flag was immediately after I proposed she said “Are you sure? Because I’m freaking crazy”, then laughed.
There is truth behind most humor. Later she was diagnosed with PTSD from a physically and mentally abusive relationship that she got into shortly after her father died relatively young and unexpectedly.
She has extensive professional experience caring for people with severe mental disorders and in retrospect, I felt like she knew how to mask her symptoms well. For example, she let on that she was capable of setting healthy boundaries for herself, and that she was emotionally strong and independent (I am attracted to both of those traits), but the opposite is true.
While she isn’t crazy (what does that really mean in any sort of constructive sense anyway), she masked or minimized a lot of issues she deals with at first, became dependent, and then physically aggressive and emotionally abusive towards me. After she physically restrained me and wouldn’t let me leave a room until she was done screaming at me, I told her physical aggression was a deal breaker, and said if she gets physical again it’s over. She told me she would get physically aggressive again (she sounded almost proud of it actually).
She did. I stayed true to my word. The divorce should be finalized next month.”