They say love is blind, but sometimes you need to take those blinders off to see the truth. These people didn't realize until too late that their significant other was just the devil in disguise.
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"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 backward, 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 about how we were feeling.
Fast forward to the first 6 years of our marriage. We barely mess around or have 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.
I want to do counseling, but then he switches for a little bit and I think we are okay. I think he does that on purpose so he doesn't have to talk about his feelings. Or he says the sweetest thing and it just makes my wall that I've been building against him just fall. If he just didn't love me anymore, it would make it easier. I can't just leave without trying. God, I just want to be with the man I thought I married, not this robot."
"It started when she got pregnant. We discussed abortion 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 the police and say it was me abusing her. I was never arrested, but it was still too much of a hassle.
Our son was born and it didn't stop, who knew? I'd almost argue that 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 substance abuse were brought up but she still got custody of our son. She later ended up in detox for substance abuse and then attempted suicide, but she still has custody."
"He was a chameleon.
We dated all through college and he seemed like a great guy. We had an awesome group of friends, the same interests, his family was amazing. In four years we never had an argument.
I thought our communication was perfect. He could be a little jealous, but it seemed endearing at the time.
He proposed, I waited for him through Ranger school, and we got married shortly after he completed. We were babies - I was 21, he was 22.
His first duty station was on the other side of the country, and when we got there - it was all new people and he changed completely. What I had loved about him was the personality he picked up from hanging around other people I enjoyed; it wasn't him at all.
He didn't want me to work, wouldn't live on post, wouldn't let me be involved. I was a stay at home wife but he didn't even have kids yet. For the first six months, I didn't have a car, no internet access, and we lived thirty miles from post. I was literally by myself all day. He was obsessed with the idea that I might cheat on him if I made new friends, expected dinner to be on the table when he got home, wouldn't even let me go to the bathroom by myself. He would follow me into the room, sit on the edge of the tub, and wait.
His first deployment was sixteen months long. I moved home because I knew no one where we lived (imagine that). He would call me twice a day, which, if you're deployed is no easy feat. He expected a complete recap of every second of my day but refused to talk about his time. All I had done was sleep for half of those phone calls, but he wanted me to carry on a one-sided conversation for him.
Some of his fraternity brothers came to visit me one time, took me out to dinner. He called while we were eating and I put it on speaker (this was pre-FaceTime) so excited that he could talk to his buddies. He lost it, screaming that he couldn't believe I was out with anyone - even though this was a group of his closest friends, who he had made a promise to check on me while he was gone.
When he got home, he started drinking heavily, became more controlling, started verbally abusing me. He would hang out with his soldiers instead of with me, disappear for days at a time. There were many occasions when I would have to physically fight his keys away from him because he wanted to drive while drinking to who knows where. I was 5'6" and a hundred and twenty pounds, he was easily twice my size.
He volunteered for a second deployment against my wishes, fourteen months this time, and when he returned the control issues became impossible standards. He accused me of cheating non-stop, would drag me to the bedroom and forcibly assault me if I wasn't receptive to his advances, and once he broke a locked bedroom door down when I was trying to escape from him.
It happened by slow degrees. Small changes which went from an incredible relationship to an abusive one. I woke up one day, looked at my bruises in the mirror, and realized I didn't know or like who I was anymore.
During our divorce, he was sure to slander me to everyone who would listen. I was a lying, cheating wench and the worst wife imaginable. During our separation I found out he had been cheating on me our entire relationship, sleeping with random women he picked up at bars.
My emotional scars are a lot deeper than my physical ones. I survived him, I escaped him, but since he's the military hero, I'm the one that was painted as the terrible wife and that's tough to swallow."
"We met when I was 16 and he was 25. We lived together a number of years before we got married. We went together really well and I thought it was a good match. Almost the day after we were married, his family decided to set rules (he bought the house that we all lived in, it was large enough and we had the basement suite). We weren't allowed out after a certain time, his mother and father could berate me as much as they pleased and he himself became very controlling. I wasn't allowed to finish school or work and he would use these to mock and guilt me after saying I was a burden and a leech - a golddigger. They all decided for me that I would have his children and we would all stay in the house together. Soon after I was taken off birth control and I was no longer allowed out of the house without an escort, I wasn't even allowed to see my mother more than once a week. Everyone thought we were the perfect couple but I was isolated and after my mom moved away, I had no one to turn to. He gained a lot of weight and started to tell me how fat and unattractive I was, he started looking at a lot of ads for Asian women, he brought over 'friends for me' (16-year-old girls) he met on Myspace and then would drool over them.
I never had his baby, we were married when I was 19 and I was gone by 25. I ran away in the middle of the night. I never tried to get alimony or spousal support, I left all of my belongings behind. He still has made the process of divorce difficult and I am almost 31 now, it's finally going through. He still lives in the basement.
I had no freaking idea what I was walking into and I lived with them all for years before the control started. It was unbelievable how fast they changed."
"The biggest one for me was finding a wrapper in the trash when I picked up a shampoo bottle for reading material while taking a dump. It was only my fiancée and I living there and we didn't use rubbers. I was heartbroken and when I confronted her later that day she told me that she found one while cleaning our 'adult drawer' and wondered if she could put her foot in it.
At the time it seemed to be a perfectly reasonable explanation, or I was just so afraid of the truth and heartbreak that I desperately wanted to believe something that wouldn't be painful. We married a year later, and after 5 months of marriage, I caught her in a web of lies that led to a coworkers house. Even after getting upset with her and telling her it was over, I had a change of heart and asked her to see a marriage counselor with me. She refused and left me for my coworker.
This was 12 years ago (before smartphones, hence the shampoo bottle), and while it was horrible at the time I'm fine now. Actually trying the marriage thing for a 2nd time this August. We've been together for 10 years and things are great. The coworker my ex left me for ended up getting her pregnant and after they got married he beat her and they were divorced shortly after. She got married to another guy, had another kid, got beaten and divorced again. She's currently on her 4th marriage with a guy who looks like a recovered addict. I wouldn't have wished what's happened to her on her at any point, but it was sort of helpful in that I wasn't as much a part of the problem as I had convinced myself of."
"When we started dating, we would drink and stay up late watching movies and fool around all the time. We would go out to eat sushi when we could but we didn't have a ton of money to do other things. I've always been really into music and she was a professional singer at a Vegas show at the time. Her schedule meant she was always up late, sleeping in the morning.
After about a year she would go to a church occasionally (maybe once a month) as she grew up Catholic and had that Catholic guilt. She had lost her job at the show by now and was working a job that was a little more normal on hours. I've always been a night owl. Around this time my friends would invite us out to concerts on occassion. She never wanted to go, but she was always telling me I should go.
Everything was really good still. We decided to get married and she wanted to move away from Vegas. I wanted to go to the west coast, she back to the midwest where she's from. I ended up agreeing that the midwest would be fine in case we ever had a family.
So we got here and all of a sudden she gets really involved in her sister's church, like really involved. Then it starts where she compares me to her sister's husband who also goes to church a lot and is very conservative. I chalk it up to being in a new place and hope it'll pass.
We get married and our relationship gets more and more stressful. She wants a house now like what her sister has. We can't afford one, but we get a cheap one. I work hard at my job and start to climb the ladder. There's a great music scene here and I find a good job, but she never wants to go to any shows with me. Then her sister had a daughter. She decides that it's time for us to have a child since she is older than me and her window is closing. More and more, she volunteers for church activities and joins the choir, then leads it.
Were in a place now where she thinks I'm not good enough because I like to do the things I did when we met, and she is at church twice or 3 times a week, and I resent her for it. I feel like I've done everything for her and she hasn't given much to me. I wish I hadn't moved to the midwest cuz it sucks, and I resent that she insisted we live here. The church thing sucks too because she knew I didn't believe in that stuff when we met. The comparison aspect against her sister's life and the church things were the little red flags that I didn't see - had I only known."
"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."
"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 the 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."
"Dad was a perfect gentleman, then came the wedding night. He had had a lot to drink and Mum was just trying to put him to bed and he says to her 'shut up wench, I own you now.' I would've left there and then, got an annulment. Mum stayed and 2 years later had my brother, 2 years after that she had me, 5 years later and after a lot of emotional and physical abuse (staying 'for the kids'), my brother says to her 'do we have to live with Dad, he scares me.' We packed up everything the next day while he was at work and left. She's now been happily married to my stepdad for the last 10+ years while my Dad is a lonely pathetic arsehole living by himself in a crappy block of granny flats who hasn't seen either of his kids in 15+ years."
"Yeah, she was really worried about some of my female friends stealing me away from her, to the point of not allowing me to interact with them. 'It's not that I don't trust you, it's that I don't trust her!'
Yeah, she cheated on me."
"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 apartment. 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."
"I wondered why his first ex-wife was happy to walk away and never contact him again, taking just a Honda and $8,000 while he kept the 5 bedroom home, 2 cars and a boat. The only information I could get out of him about her was 'she's crazy' or 'mentally unstable.' He loved bemoaning about how hard HE worked and how difficult HIS job was, how hard it was to work for HIS boss, while his ex-wife was 'lazy' and 'didn't want to work up to her potential.' He liked to make fun of her low paying job (she didn't have a degree but he did), how he worked so hard and made the most money, so everything was his. When I asked about her reasons for leaving, he shrugged and said, 'She didn't like the way I talked to her.'
I naively thought he'd be different with me.
I ignored the fact that while we were living together prior to marriage, I'd be walking on eggshells because he'd be so angry after work. If the house was a mess when he got home, he'd be particularly unhappy. The anger would get worse throughout the evening as he drank (his abusive dad drank himself to death when he was 15). He was incredibly demeaning to customer service reps on the phone, wait staff, retail workers, etc if he didn't get his way.
Our first child was born with significant medical and special needs, and we both agreed I would stay home to take care of him. Over the years his treatment of me got worse, though he was smart enough to never touch me during one of his rages. It's pretty sad when you WISHED your husband would just freaking HIT you so you can leave. He treated the kids ok when they were little, though he never really participated in their physical care, that was my job since he worked. I stayed for them. But when the kids got older and more defiant, his anger started being directed towards them. I stayed even though there were times he'd terrify them during his rages, screaming, swearing, kicking and throwing things, and then blaming them for his behavior. When my kids started getting violent at school, suffering panic attacks, getting violent with me and one another, and my daughter started urinating in her room and other inappropriate hiding places, I had enough. I put them in counseling and filed for divorce.
As we know, support is calculated using a formula. As expected, he didn't think I deserved that, so he drained the bank accounts, lawyered up, and retained experts that said I should be earning $50,000 a year (even though I've been home for 15 years, never finished my degree, and never made more than $35,000) and that they will be subtracting that amount per year from the support the state says he owes me. I was not to receive any cash or help with attorney fees. He was to receive the family home. I was court-ordered to NOT finish my degree but to go back to work immediately. I was told to take their offer or I'd be taken to trial, which I couldn't afford because I had no job and now no money, so I settled.
To top it all off, in the court documents he called me 'mentally unstable' and 'depressed' and used my uncle's suicide (he was a Vietnam vet) as an example of a 'family history' of 'mental instability.' During mediation, he denied his treatment of me and the kids and called me a 'professional liar.' He likes to hand me support checks in front of the kids so that they think dad is 'helping' me. My son asked recently 'is dad still helping you with money?' as if his father is doing something noble. My son also commented that his dad said he 'didn't understand why I wasn't finishing my degree' and that he 'didn't think I was really trying to find a job.' I've finally gotten a job now, but I'm making $15 an hour because I'M STARTING OVER AND NO ONE WANTS TO HIRE A MIDDLE-AGED SINGLE MOM WITH NO DEGREE AND HASN'T WORKED IN 15 YEARS.
I walked away with less than I deserved, like his first wife, just so I could be AWAY from him. EVERYTHING he has done or said since I filed has only confirmed I made the right choice in leaving."
"When we first started dating his ex was still living in the same house. I was and still am a trusting person. He (after we'd been dating for about six weeks and had gotten pretty serious) admitted to sleeping with his ex when we'd first started dating. He never put his foot down when it came to her when she was getting kicked out (like he wouldn't stop her from coming into what was then our home after sane hours to 'get her stuff'). I'd catch him in lies, small ones at first, then the verbal abuse started. Small stuff like what I now know is 'gaslighting'. He'd dismiss my feelings or complaints saying that I'd either not gotten enough sleep or what have you, that I was overreacting or something.
This year we'll have been married four years but as it stands, I am not attracted to him and don't feel that 'spark' between us anymore because of all of the obstacles he put in between us and kept putting in between us no matter how many promises/how many times I forgave him. We even went to couples therapy and when the therapist told him he was toxic and needed to really change how he handles our relationship if he didn't want to hurt me, he agreed and then refused to ever go back.
He also claims he's never been a 'freaky person' but in the beginning of the relationship, we messed around a lot (not so much anymore). Then I found out he was watching adult films a lot (even at work) and it was only a big deal because he told me I had to stop watching adult films because he considered it an act of infidelity. Also one day I had to rush to the hospital because my dad had had two big strokes, he wasn't answering my calls and I later found out he was watching adult films on the very phone I was calling him on, just not answering me electing to instead jerk it.
At this point, it's more the animals we have together and my ailing health that keeps me here. His verbal abuse escalated to physical on three separate occasions. I have pictures and actual video proof of the abuse, so I guess now it's just getting the backbone to get out of this and get a good lawyer."
"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."
"My wife (soon to be ex) was very possessive of me and my time. She expected me to choose her over other things, including friends and family. I fully believe that couples should be committed to the other, so I went along. However, she never really reciprocated. There is something called 'love bombing,' where a person puts all of their energies into you and I think that's what made her so attractive to me - she made me feel good about myself. I wrote off her clinginess to insecurity that I felt would go away eventually. After all, I'm a boss and compassionate, I can fix anything, right?
We had good times, to be sure, but when the kids came along, the attention went their way. She's a ball of anxiety and it just too much to deal with. About 3 years ago, I sat her down and said we were in trouble and needed to go to counseling. She said 'no.' Instead, she poured all of her energies into a friendship she had recently made with the mother of friends of our kids. It got to the point that I accused her of having an affair with this other woman (her unusual behaviors with her phone were only one of many indicators something might be up). She denied. A year after the accusations, I discovered she had been reading books about lesbianism (specifically being in love with a woman while married) since before the accusation. She denies to this day. Quite frankly, it's possible nothing was up, but I'll never fully believe it and need out. She won't give up this friendship, either.
So here I am, more than a year after asking for the divorce and she's still saying she'll work on things (now she will, riiiiiigggghhhht). Of course, sleeping together is pretty much off the table (not on the bed, either). I don't want to be the guy that tries to diagnose his spouse as a way of abdicating any responsibility, but I feel this is a case of narcissism."