Relationships can be fun and exciting until one or both of the people involved decides it isn’t anymore. Sometimes relationships turn violent or have cases of infidelity. People share what pushed them over the edge to file a divorce from their spouse. Content has been edited for clarity.
Too Many Red Flags
“I had an arranged marriage upon my parents’ wishes, came to the States, and started my Ph.D. The way I was taught and have seen with my parents was that when you love someone and show it, they will reciprocate that love. Now, when I look back, I realize how naive that thinking was.
I knew I was not happy and wanted to separate in 2015.
I could not exactly pinpoint what was wrong, but living with my ex-husband was exhausting both emotionally and physically. He told me what I could and could not wear and did not like when I went out with friends. I did not grow up that way, and I felt trapped. I am an extrovert, and all that social energy I had drove me crazy.
He told me that we should give it six more months and that we would both try harder to make it work. I was not very sure of it because I had already been with him three and a half years at that point and it was enough time to know about a person.
Incident 1: We were flying back from New York and I puked before the flight with my head outside the rental car. My ex was mad I ruined the car and was anxious to get to the airport, which I understand. We landed, came home, and I went straight to the kitchen to make dinner at 11:30 that night. Never did he once ask how I was doing. Some empathy would have been nice.
Incident 2: My mom sent us Indian pickles, which I packed in mason jars and stored in the fridge. I made fried rice for dinner, put it in a bowl, and handed it to him in his home office. I was leaning against the kitchen counter, eating dinner while watching a movie on my iPad. He asked me if I could give him the new pickles, and I told him I didn’t know.
He shouted at me saying since I was the one who packed, I should’ve known. I had no energy to fight with him, so I searched and handed him what he asked.
Instead of saying thank you, he said, ‘Don’t give me such irresponsible answers.’
That’s when I truly realized, how much ever I do, he would never respect me.
I started looking at my relationship from the outside. A week later, I did not let him touch me, and he told me that he’d give me 1000 bucks to completely move out of state.
I simply said, ‘Okay,’ and moved out the following week.
I moved out and faced a ton of financial hardships going through the divorce, but I am glad to have done it.
My friend once told me, ‘It’s the indifference that hurts,’ and that couldn’t be truer than in my case.”
Letting Go And Living Life
“We were in our 20’s when we wed. We paid for the wedding on our own. No parents to give us anything. No money for a honeymoon. We moved to California due to his military orders, I worked, and he worked. No children. But, for 14 years, without fail, he would tell me he wanted a divorce. No money problems, no bedroom problems, and no arguments. We always had a blast together.
But, every year, he would tell me he wanted a divorce. I worked out. He worked out. But, he thought he wasn’t attractive. I married him for his heart, not looks. I loved him. So, I was always confused as to why he wanted a divorce. After he asked me for a divorce, he would go away for half a day or sometimes a whole day. Then he would come home and cry and beg me to forget about it.
Then for the next 364 days, we enjoyed each other, mostly. But, sometimes there were parties we went to. Very little drinking happened because kids, family, and close friends were around. However, more often than not, a woman would come to me to yell at me and demand that I make my husband stop flirting with her.
She would threaten to tell her husband. You just can’t even imagine the humiliation I felt. But, I swallowed my feelings and behaved confidently. You know, fake it till you make it. In my case, fake it till they leave you alone. Imagine having strangers yell at you for what someone else did to them. This was a constant, so I got fed up.
I would say, ‘First, I will ask you to change your tone with me because I won’t tolerate being yelled at.’
Then I would say, ‘Second, I have been married for years, and every time I tell my husband to stop flirting with another woman, he accuses me of being jealous. I can assure you that anyone who looks like me could never be jealous of any other woman.’
I continued and said, ‘Third, I am asking you to please tell your husband. Maybe your husband can beat my husband up, and then he will surely leave you alone.’
The constant flirting on top of the yearly request for a divorce was awful. It was horrible having the rug pulled right under me for no reason. It caused so much confusion. Then I got angry. It took a while, but I started to get fed up with my husband’s behavior.
Anyway, after we had been married 14 years, I decided that if he ever asked me for another divorce I would divorce him. Well, as he had done in the past, he asked me for divorce again. I finally divorced him.
Then he started to follow me around. He was constantly having breakdowns in front of our friends, behaving as if I wronged him. Fast forward ten years, and I learned he was bipolar (annual) and had never been diagnosed. I wish him well wherever he is.
Also, I am thankful every day that I survived the toxic relationship. So, I am very happy to say that in 2018 I met the man I ended up marrying on 10/10/2020. Letting go is the best thing you can ever do.”
In Sickness And In Health No Longer Applies
“I became ill at a relatively young age. My mother died of illness when I was 15, and my husband knew I was afraid of dying young as well.
Unlike my mother, who pursued several pseudoscientific treatments before finally opting for normal treatments, I opted to immediately and aggressively treat my illness. I escaped with a minor scar and a new daily prescription.
During the time between my diagnosis and subsequent treatment, my husband of nine years withdrew from me completely. I believe to this day that he was protecting himself emotionally against the possibility of losing me, among other things. However, the behavior was extremely hurtful at a time when I needed him most. On the day before my procedure, he went so far as to say that my needing transportation to the hospital was inconvenient for him, and then immediately went to take a nap when I burst into tears in disbelief.
I woke him up and expressed that I needed to cry and be comforted. He did come through, although somewhat reluctantly. At the time, the mere fact that I had to explicitly ask for what seemed to me to be a basic relationship need was a bit shocking, but I put that aside to focus on getting well.
Fast forward many months ahead. My physical scar was healing, but I found that very simple disagreements or discussions with my husband now tended to veer into a territory that was far nastier than I had ever experienced with him. Often, he would say something quite cutting and then abruptly excuse himself and go to sleep. Meanwhile, I would be up all night, upset not just because of what was said, but because it seemed not to bother him at all.
I sat him down for a serious discussion, letting him know I felt our marriage was at a breaking point. I described to him my feelings of abandonment, betrayal, and loss during my illness, my hurt and anger that he had treated me as an inconvenience rather than a partner, friend, and lover. He listened intently and nodded to indicate that he understood what I was saying.
At the end of my long, eventually tearful monologue, he took a deep breath, looked at me, and said, ‘Well, I’m sorry… but I don’t feel bad.’
He shrugged and looked genuinely confused.
Although it took several months after that encounter for me to move decisively to end things, that was the moment my marriage revealed itself as irretrievably broken.”
You Can Walk!
“I dated my previous husband for seven years before we got married, and somewhere deep down inside, I knew I made the wrong decision to marry him.
One evening, I got home from work, and he started complaining (again) about how I worked late and did not have time to cook for him during the week. I should mention he used to get home four hours earlier than me and did absolutely nothing every day, even his work was a joke. The fight got ugly, and because of the stress, I started feeling bad. He wouldn’t stop yelling at me. The fight got so bad that at one point, I started having problems breathing and felt something weird in my chest. I asked him to call the ambulance because I had a history of asthma.
His answer was, ‘No. If I call the ambulance, they might think it is some kind of domestic violence, and I might be in trouble.’
I called the ambulance by myself when he was in the bathroom. We went to the hospital together, and of course, he seemed so worried in front of the doctors. I remember the doctors telling me I had a mild panic attack. The doctors asked me reasons why, and when I let them know, they just said that all marriages had their fights and that he seemed a nice man and I should go back home with him, which I did.
On the way back, I expected him to call us a taxi because it was winter. I only had a sweater on, and I was not feeling well either. Well, what he did was ask me if I had money to pay for the cab, which I did not because I did not have my wallet with me. He took my phone away so I couldn’t call anybody, and told me I had to walk home as punishment for calling the ambulance. He wanted me to reflect on the fact another person who needed that ambulance might have died.
The second instance was pretty easy. When I was too afraid of what I might do to myself and what he might do to me, I could not stand up from a bench in the park and head home. I stayed there for hours and only returned to take my clothes when he was working and never went back.
It took me more than two years to recover and have a healthy relationship. I still have times I am afraid to say what’s on my mind so as not to offend my partner or my friends for that matter. Getting out of an abusive relationship is hard, but healing from one is even harder, and that road is made of days we can get up, go to work, and pretend to function normally until we finally do.
But I am proud of myself. If I have a bad day, I always remind myself it is way better than one of the good days back then.”
“It wasn’t just one thing. It was a lot of little things which kept piling up until I felt like I was being buried alive.
First, my husband stopped being physically affectionate after I had our daughter. I blamed it on how I looked after pregnancy. Then he started coming home late from night school and staying out until three in the morning with female classmates.
I would also notice how when I went to work, he would use Skype to video chat with women. I had a new baby, but between my husband being gone at work all day and class all night, I felt like a single parent.
My husband started driving for Lyft and coming home at five in the morning. I never knew if he was working or using Lyft as an excuse to stay out with women.
We started fighting a lot, and my husband would often threaten to move out. That’s when I decided to remove my money from our joint bank account. My father passed away recently, and a good portion of the money in our bank account was from my father’s estate.
I was scared that my husband would try to take the money, so I opened an account that was only in my name. I transferred all the money that had belonged to my father and half of what my husband and I had saved together to my new bank account. When my husband found out I moved the money, he grew angry. He thought half of everything, even my inheritance belonged to him.
My husband and I separated. He got his apartment and petitioned for his mother to come from Jamaica and live with him. She moved into my husband’s apartment and brought her two-year-old grandson. My husband has told me that if we are to reconcile, I would need to accept that his mother will be living in our home at least six months out of the year.
I haven’t even touched on some other issues, like my husband’s jealousy and possessiveness.
He routinely went through my text messages. Then he read all of my old messages on social media accounts. He tried to blame me and shame me for things that happened in my past before we married. Whenever I brought up something he did recently to upset me, he tried to use my past to justify his inappropriate behavior.
I decided it was time to get a divorce when I realized my husband was oblivious to the pain he caused me. I spent more time hurting and angry than happy because I didn’t feel loved or supported in the relationship.
Oh, and I paid for our wedding myself, but after eight years of marriage, he never thought to buy me an engagement ring.”
The Last Straw
“At first, little things annoyed me, and I never considered getting divorced. Over time, his behavior, meanness, inconsiderate behavior, violence, and cruelty continued to increase, both in severity and frequency. I became increasingly frightened, and at times fearful of saying anything, about anything because I had no idea what might trigger his abusive behavior.
Still, I didn’t consider getting divorced. My life seemed like it consisted of one disappointment after another, two steps backward for every step forward. He gradually caused my friends and support system to disappear, forbidding me to have any contact with anyone he didn’t like, which was anyone who ever disagreed with him. He refused to allow me to work, disabled my car so I couldn’t leave and controlled my access to money.
Still, I didn’t think about getting a divorce. He destroyed so many things in fits of anger. He punched holes in walls and broke windows and mirrors on cars. Then he quit working, for months at a time, yet squandered what little money we had on his hobbies- fish tanks and pew pews, while I wore hand-me-down underwear given to me by his mother.
These horrible behaviors, in retrospect, should have caused me to think seriously about getting divorced, but I still didn’t consider it. On several occasions, he threatened to end my life in numerous ways.
He continually falsely accused me of fooling around with other men, but I didn’t think about getting divorced. He got a job working ten-hour days, four days a week, and I physically dreaded him returning home for three consecutive days. Our dog would run away and hide when he came home from work. I finally began to think that maybe, when our youngest child was 21, I would divorce him. Then I thought I might do it when the youngest turned 18. Sixteen. Fifteen. Ten.
Then one day, I saw my eldest son, who was five years old, outside hitting a little girl.
I rushed out and told him to never hit a girl, and he told me, ‘It’s ok to hit her. She’s only a girl.’
This was the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back. Instantly, I realized that if I didn’t divorce him, sooner rather than later, my children would grow up and become abusers or victims of abuse, and I couldn’t live with that thought.
In that instant, my fears about supporting myself and my four children alone essentially disappeared, even though I had doubts about whether or not I would succeed. I realized living in poverty but in peace, was preferable to living in fear or having my children’s future happiness destroyed, by them learning how to become horrible people through their father’s example.”
And That Was That
“I had been in the Air Force for about 18 years and had never served a remote overseas tour (that’s an assignment to a remote location where you can’t take your family). I talked to one of the assignment techs at headquarters, and he told me if I didn’t volunteer for a remote tour, I could expect to have them assign me to one within a year.
Rather than ending up on one of the Aleutian islands or somewhere equally unpleasant, I decided to take the initiative to volunteer for a 12-month tour to Korea. I had never been to Asia and always wanted to see that part of the world. They selected me for a tour at Osan Air Base in Korea.
My wife didn’t want me to go, and it angered her that I had volunteered for the assignment. She refused to accept if I didn’t volunteer I’d be sent someplace of the Air Force’s choosing.
Things between my wife and I had been rocky for a while and were particularly bad when I finally left for Korea.
My last words to her before I boarded the plane were, ‘I hope you’re still here when I come back.’
I left her and our two children living in Air Force housing at Pope Air Force Base in North Carolina. Except for a small allowance for myself, my entire paycheck was going to her. I made sure they had a nice home, a nice car, and all the bills were taken care of.
Still, she decided she was leaving me. I asked her to wait until I returned so we could go to counseling, or whatever it would take to save our marriage. Then I pointed out how I wasn’t around to get on her nerves, and she had nothing to lose by waiting. I could not change her mind.
She packed up the kids and everything we owned to move up to Ohio to take up with her high school sweetheart. I don’t claim our breakup was entirely her fault even though she initiated it. I hold my share of responsibility for the events leading up to her leaving. But I never cheated on her.
Later, she asked if we could get back together. I had forgiven her, but my trust in her had died. For me, without trust, no relationship is possible. So we divorced. And that was that.”
Niagara Fall-ing Out Of Love
“My first husband was my first boyfriend. We met in high school, and we were both each other’s first. That in and of itself isn’t a bad thing; I know several people happily married to their first partner.
I didn’t so much choose wrong as that I just let it happen. Many years later, I realized that what I wanted was to be of his family, not that I wanted him specifically. But I wasn’t aware of that then.
I remember, as our wedding day approached, I felt a little panicky about what I was doing. But I’d given up my job and my apartment so I had no idea how I’d start over. So I married him.
Five years into our marriage, we separated for about five months. It was his idea to get back together, and he suggested a ‘second honeymoon’ trip to Niagara Falls. On our second night there, he told me getting together was a mistake, and he wanted a separation.
About four weeks later, I discovered I was pregnant. It had to be from the first night of our so-called second honeymoon.
By the time I found out I was pregnant, he moved out. Looking back, it was clear he’d been making plans before our trip, which made taking the trip even more surprising. But I digress.
When I told him I was pregnant, he pressured me to terminate. I refused to consider that option.
To cut to the end, we ended up having four children and staying married, mostly unhappily, for nearly 25 years. I think the length was mostly due to my fear of how my children and I would survive.
But the misery got worse and worse, seriously aggravated by our oldest daughter’s serious mental health issues.
That unhappiness finally culminated in three episodes of physical harm. There was one against our oldest daughter, one against our only son, and one against me. All these happened in about a five or six-week period.
To this day, part of me a glad he raised his fist because it took that for me to say enough.”
Wise Words From The Children
“I had been unhappy in my marriage for years but was determined to stick it out for the kids as long as I could. I knew he loved the kids, but as they grew, he became more combative with them. He couldn’t tolerate them correcting him, or having their own opinions.
He would be okay to live with as long as everything was going well, but if any problems arose, he became impossible. Then he would go into a diatribe against me, in front of the kids. It could never be just ‘stuff happens.’ It had to be somebody’s fault, and it was never going to be his.
As my daughter got older, she became angrier at these rants. By age 12, she finally began to join in the argument, telling him to lay off me, that he wasn’t being fair. One night at dinner, it got really bad and he called her a cow. She ran upstairs to her room, and my son (two years younger) went after her.
My ex got up and started to go upstairs. I was afraid he was going to hit her. He was so furious. He wasn’t generally physically abusive but had resorted to spanking on occasion. I stood on the stairs, blocked his way, and told him if he came any further, I was going to call the police. I said I really didn’t want to do that because it would be horrible, messy, and embarrassing. But I meant it, and I think he could tell. He backed off and sulked away.
A little later, I went upstairs to check on the kids, and they were both in her room crying.
One of them said, ‘Why don’t you just divorce him?’
That was the point that I knew that although divorce might hurt the kids, staying was worse.”
What Was I Supposed To Do?
“We were two dumb kids when we met. We each had more than our fair share of family dysfunctions to overcome.
Despite being proudly different than our families, we remained blind to our own set of dysfunctions. To sum it up, and as history would later prove, I wasn’t right for her, and she wasn’t fit to be in a relationship with anyone.
Our dating relationship and our 14-year marriage were filled with hardship and disaster. I don’t know why I held on so long. She was never happy or faithful, but for some strange reason, she didn’t want to be the one to end the relationship. I, on the other hand, was too insecure and needy to let go of her.
It all came to a head one day after her last affair.
She admitted everything to me, she wanted to keep our marriage, and I was willing to forgive her. We wrestled with how to make this work and how to go forward for a little over a week. We tried talking about her unfaithfulness, and then she said something to me that was the final straw.
She said, ‘What was I supposed to do, stay in a sucky marriage?’
It’s not so much what she said. It was how she said it. She felt absolutely no remorse for cheating on me. She felt justified in doing it. It was precisely at that moment when I was done. For the first time since I met her, I was able to let go. Somehow through the years, I grew. Then I was no longer insecure and needy.
I was finally able to see my marriage as the hopeless cause that it was. Then I packed my stuff, moved out, and never looked back.”