When someone knows, they just know. People share the stories that lead them to realize it was time to get out a relationship. Whether it was a romantic relationship or friendship, see the warning signs people saw when they learned it was time to get out. Content has been edited for clarity.
“Children Are The Wife’s Responsibility”
“When I had my first child, the pregnancy wasn’t a surprise or an accident. We talked and planned. He got a little overbearing during the pregnancy, like insisting on so many different things for the baby, without even discussing it with me. I put it down to new dad nerves, and not knowing any better. I figured he just wanted to be involved.
Turns out that was only the tip of the iceberg. He believed that children were completely and totally a wife’s responsibility. He wouldn’t change a diaper. He wouldn’t pick up the baby when it cried. No way would he get up in the middle of the night. He expected me to work a full-time job, plus do all the childcare.
At that point, I was confused and appalled but I told myself he just needed time to adjust.
I realized how delusional I was when the baby got sick while he was on a fishing trip. The doctors thought baby had meningitis. So not just sick, but life-threatening sick. I called and asked him to come home. He refused. He’d paid for two more days of fishing. He didn’t want to lose the money. That’s when I knew I had to get out of the relationship, and I took our baby and left him.”
Ended With A Restraining Order
“About a year and a half into our marriage, he received some paperwork from court as some girl was claiming he was her baby’s daddy and wanted child support. This came as a rather huge shock to me because I was his first girlfriend and he was supposedly still pure when we met (age 18) and this kid was already a couple of years old. Come to find out, he had been in and out of rehab and mental hospitals before we met. He had several instances of blacking out on heavy substances, and waking up with random girls and no clothes. He had fathered a couple of children, picked up some STDs and only been clean a few months when we met.
At some point after this he started drinking heavily, using rent money for parties for his military buddies (he had joined the army right after we were married), and I’m pretty sure started using again as he would brag about getting out of or around his physicals and pee tests. He finally snapped one day and assaulted me. He got me in some kind of headlock wrestling move thing, threw me around the bedroom a bit, then attempted to set me on fire with a can of hairspray and a lighter. I was able to get away but he ended up locking himself in the bathroom with a butcher knife, slashing the shower curtain to bits and yelling that he was going to kill himself and everyone would know that I had done it. I noped out of there and police took him to base. I got a restraining order, packed all my stuff and moved back home. Filed for divorce and never saw him again.
You may wonder how all of his history stayed so well hidden? This was back before the internet was a household thing so no electronic trail to check out. All the time I knew him, none of his parents or friends ever said a word. I guess the only red flag was his parents weren’t the greatest people and were happy to be done with him. He was also so nice and loving and a good person when we were dating. I’m not sure how I would have found any of this short of a background check, and apparently the Army didn’t care about any of it either. We were both REALLY young and naive and stupid. Don’t get married at 19!”
On Tonight’s Episode Of Hoarders
“My husband is a hoarder. His brother and sister are too, much worse levels than he is so far. Their houses should have been my first clues to what he would eventually struggle with, but I was naive then and saw hoarding as laziness and apathy, rather than the symptom of mental illness that it is. They are all products of abject poverty, the likes of which I had no real concept going in.
His sister’s place wasn’t so bad back then, but she and her husband have since filed for bankruptcy, had their home foreclosed upon, and were forced to move into a tiny place, and since then the Goodwill shopping has gotten out of control. She is currently mad at me because I am refusing to come and help her eradicate a bed bug problem, but that’s a whole other story. The gist of it is that I warned her about some house guests being previous non-compliant clients of mine, offered preventative sprays and other ways to help prevent the problem, but she refused and became defensive and lied to me. Now I’m refusing to help out of equal parts spite and refusing to enable her.
My husband’s hoarding started out innocently enough. He was put on a medication that caused some weight gain. Got some new clothes, but held on to the old ones for when he lost the weight again. A few more pounds gained, another wardrobe, and the originals are still in the back of our closet somewhere, taking up space.
His first wife never allowed him to buy anything nice for himself, particularly clothing, out of the fear that it would make him more attractive to other women. One thing he desperately wanted but was never allowed was a really nice coat. He now owns at least 30 of varying sizes and styles, and I have forbidden him to buy any more until he culls his collection down to less than 10. He hasn’t bought anymore in over a year.
Another item of great desire for him was a motorcycle. He finally owns one that runs and that he rides regularly, but before that was purchased, four fixer uppers were purchased. Two have been sold, but two remain in perpetual states of disassembly. I’m certain that one would never recover all the original parts to put either of them back together again.
His two sons from his first marriage lived with us, but eventually moved out and started their own lives. One of their bedrooms is now so overtaken with junk that all you can do is stand at the doorway and look in. Boxes and bags of things that my husband is saving for those boys, despite the fact that they have told him a dozen times to trash it. Totes and boxes of shoes that our younger children have outgrown, and shoes that neither he or I wear anymore, once destined for the Goodwill. Piles of random stuff brought home from his maintenance job, like a huge box full of smoke detectors, 16 bathroom vent fans, 5 gallon buckets full of leftover chemicals for stripping and waxing floors. A giant tote full of old prescription medication. Furniture we intended to throw out. A couple each of broken TVs, DVD players, outdated gaming consoles. An entire box full of cords. Half a dozen hobbies, started and then abandoned. And then, when the clutter starts to creep out into the rest of the house, I will collect it in boxes and bins and toss those back there too.
I kept our house largely in check up until last year, when I suffered a setback in my own clinical depression. The more things started to take over, the more overwhelming I found the task of containing it all, and so I balked. Things got out of control. We got mice.
I have since recovered for the most part, but the idea of reigning this house back in is… daunting, to say the least. My husband and I have worked on it together, sometimes accomplishing an amazing amount of purging. Other times, we get busy (we both work full time, often pulling several hours worth of OT every week), or we find ourselves otherwise engaged (my dad’s house flooded last month while he was away on a business trip, so it was up to us to do the cleanup), and it seems like in no time, we’re right back to where we started. We have purged everything back down to the one back bedroom and our closet, even having gotten our outside shed cleaned out and organized. But these rooms are, organically, the root of the problem, and thus, the hardest for him to deal with.
I wish I could say that I take this all in stride and deal with it wonderfully. I do not. I am short-tempered with him when he drags his feet on dealing with it. I get downright angry when he insists that we should be getting rid of my or our young kids’ things. I lose a lot of sleep at night, hearing these mice run up and down our air ducts. I feel guilt for allowing it to go unchecked for that period of time, and for letting this become the normal for my kids. I feel shame at the thought of my family and friends seeing my house like this. And, always, I wonder what’s gonna happen the next time my depression gets the best of me. And at times I feel like I need to get out.
He is in therapy. We all are. He is on medication. We will have to see what the future holds for our relationship.”
Cute But Psycho
“I got kicked out of my house for renting out a room to people online, and manipulative coworker invited me to live with her. A month into it, we end up hooking up. Just like everyone said, bad idea. I ended up falling for her, and you could just look at this chick and tell she was trouble. Ended up getting together officially, and she said, ‘We can be together, but I’m still going to do whatever I want.’ I was blinded by how interesting and fun she was, so I went along with it like a mule chasing a carrot on a string. She ended up having all guy friends, texted them all day and night, would then delete the texts. An old flame brought her home from our company Christmas party because she drank too much, ended up trying to hook up him, but he shut her down and came back and told the whole party, and again she looked thirsty. Anytime you confronted her about any of it, she’d YELL like the toddler of a banshee until volume trumped your logic. She ended up punching me like 10 times one night and went to jail. Needless to say, we aren’t together anymore.”
Notebook Of Lies
“I knew what time and even where she was when she logged into any of my social accounts. Not once did I ever bring it up in our 13 month relationship. However I was always curious how she knew my password and why she always went on it, I had nothing to hide, though, so I didn’t mind. One day, somehow we got into a conversation where she said she has caught me in some lies, I’m not sure what she was talking about, but my life is a little weird so I believe her that I may have said a few white lies in the beginning of the relationship. I ask have you ever lied to me, she replied no. I ask, ‘Have you ever went onto any of my personal stuff without my permission?’ She says, ‘No, I don’t even know your passwords to your accounts except your phone,’ which made me curious what else she was lying about
After this talk I had with her, we continued our relationship for about another three months. She just kept lying to me. I wrote all the lies she said to me in a notebook and gave it to her when we broke up. The biggest lie that she told was when her father found out we where intimate ( he very very very against it), she told her father she didn’t want to do it. She had asked me tell her father that she was correct. To basically have me admit to assault. I told her no way and that I would tell her dad everything, about how she was lying. She got extremely angry, but no way am I going to jail for something that did not happen. Well we broke up, she was obviously very angry at me. I sent snaps of our chats and stuff to her dad as proof I did not assault his daughter. Then I gave her the note book and told her I knew all her lies. We then blocked each other and have not talked at all. Although somehow we have the same class together at uni. We don’t talk tho and sit on other sides of the room. Glad I got out of that.”
It’s Been Years
“Wife had a serious mental illness. We struggled for years to get her the kind of help she needed. Countless psychiatrists, hospitalizations, medication changes, etc. Nothing seemed to help for very long.
It was indescribably stressful for me personally. Medical bills piled up and I had issues keeping a job because she would call me several times a day screaming and crying.
One day when I doing some spring cleaning, I discovered an old 20 oz soda bottle that was full to the top with pills hidden in a closet.
It turned out, she hadn’t been taking her medicine for years.”
“Not years into the relationship, but for about 4 months I thought my ex was receiving chemotherapy for cancer. She made me believe that her last boyfriend beat and assaulted her (putting on fake black eyes) while we were dating. She pretended that her family was extremely wealthy, and that she made a lot of money working for Goldman Sachs. At one point she gifted me a BMW (which I drove around town for 3 weeks not knowing it was stolen) after duping the dealership with fake wire transfer confirmation documents. She also ‘bought’ a 2 million dollar house for a month the same way and got me involved in helping her do inspections and reviewing paperwork and contracts.
She was extremely good at lying and manipulating. I finally found out when I noticed that her black eye from the alleged assault oddly changed colors one morning after she was in the bathroom. Went to the bathroom, grabbed her makeup brush and rubbed it on my palm and what do you know… looked just like her black eye. Months later, I would get collection calls from hospitals saying that I need to pay my wife’s medical bills. Apparently she used my name, address and social (which she must of found from my room) and put me down as spouse. I heard that she used these hospital bills to make up more fake illness stories to other people. She asked me to take a prank photo with a wedding ring to send to her mom out of fun. It wasn’t until after that this ‘prank’ is probably something she used to tell elaborate engagement story about us.
Later I found out that she had done this to two other guys before me and one other guy right after and probably countless others. Her mom and sister confirmed all the lies after I confronted them and they said that this is what she does. When I asked why the heck did you guys not tell me anything, the said well we thought you were a good guy and could change her. About a year later I got a call from her step-dad (who married her mom a year prior to when we met and was the only person in that family that was shocked when I told them what happened) and apparently her mom did the same thing to him.
I use to be the most trusting and naive person. Now I am the most skeptical person. The one thing I hate about this is that because of how convincing she made the assault and assault story up that I find myself disagreeing with ‘believe the victim’ value in the current debate. I don’t know. Never thought such pathological liars existed.”
“My ex was a bed wetter. Found out about a year and some months after he moved in. It was definitely odd but it happened so infrequently and I kinda just would feel bad for him since he’d get so embarrassed. The real issue was when it started happening super often more towards the end. We hadn’t been doing well and I think he had a lot of stressors which triggered the bed wetting. Another thing to mention is that bed wetting in late teens/young adult men isn’t as uncommon as you might thing but there’s medication you can take to prevent it. All you need to do is see a doctor and get your prescription. After months of asking him to see a doctor, he finally went but never bothered picking up his medication.
On the night of my birthday, 2 days before I broke up with him, he didn’t come downstairs to sing happy birthday with my family. He didn’t get me a gift either. Almost like he forgot but he definitely knew it was my birthday. He wrote me a note saying he wanted to fix things but I had really just had enough at that point. We still slept on the same bed that night but he ended up wetting the bed. That was the last straw for me. I told him he needed to go stay at his mom’s place for the weekend but when he came back Sunday night, I had all his things packed up and ready to go.”
“My husband claims that he hears voices and sees ‘shadow people.’ Even when we first started dating, he told me about how his mom had a paranormal team come over to her house with a minister to bless it and try to figure out who was ‘haunting’ it. I’m into ghost shows and visiting haunted places, so it was pretty neat at the time. I’m also a strong skeptic, but it’s fun to play along!
But then the minister kept coming over regularly to cleanse the house. And I realized that he and his mom really and truly believe that several spirits are haunting her house, including her parents and Native Americans that were buried on the land.
One time in particular, the minister came over to do her cleanse. My husband’s daughter was taking a nap in the guest room while we did some ceremony outside. All of a sudden, my husband said he felt like he needed to check on his daughter. He ran into the house and we followed him. When we found him, he was white as a sheet and shaking. He said he found the door to the room closed when it was open before and said that he heard a low voice whispering in the room. He said he opened the door and felt an energy rush past him. It was kind of like, ‘Oooh, how spooky!’ at the time, but later on I realized that he really and truly believed that happened.
About a year and a half later, we were at a karaoke party at a friend’s house, and he was being really quiet and focused on a hallway near the living room. I asked him what was up, and he casually said he was seeing shadow people walking into the rooms. I just kind of nodded and told him that that was extra creepy because I didn’t know what else to say.
Within the last couple of weeks, I’ve noticed that he started shutting the door to his daughter’s bedroom at night (she’s only with us on weekends, but the cats like sleeping in her bed). I asked him why he was doing that a few days ago, and he said he felt like something was watching him from outside though the window at night. There is more that I don’t even have time to write.
He refuses to see doctors, and I honestly try not to think about any of these things because it scares me, and sometimes I think I need to get out.”
Sometimes They Never Learn
“After several years together, my ex told me nonchalantly one evening that he stole $500 from one of his best friends because he ‘really needed it.’ This ex was a college educated person trying to get into dental, medical, or pharmacy school. Not only was there no reason for this person to steal their friends’ money, I didn’t understand how someone could do that and feel no remorse whatsoever, especially to someone they considered a good friend. It was at that moment that I seriously began to believe I had given my trust and love to a total sociopath. It was the catalyst that pushed me out of the relationship.
I found out later that while I was working on a degree in another city, he found dates on Tinder, spinning lies about being in med school and owning a luxury condo overlooking the Wisconsin state capitol. He’d take girls for rides on my motorcycle and bring them back to the condo I owned; I don’t know who or how many, but a neighbor specifically went out of their way to tell me what was going on. One of his Tinder dates was with a good friend’s best friend, and I heard through her the lies about being rich and working in medicine. A high school classmate of his texted me to warn me the same things; he hit on a girl at a reunion by saying he was in med school at Wisconsin, but the girl was actually in med school at Wisconsin and promptly told everyone about the exchange. When I went to kick him out of the condo, he told me that his mother had turned into a raging substance abuser and that kicking him out would mean he couldn’t take care of her anymore.
He stole a whole bunch of stuff from me, some of which he still has. And, after all of it, he had the gall to text and ask if he could manage my finances for me at his new job in– believe it or not– wealth management. I guarantee you he’s stealing from every one of his clients. But, when he said he stole from his friend, it really changed my opinion that he wasn’t just an insecure millennial trying to find his way between college and the real world.”