Just because two people get married doesn't mean they'll stay together forever. Unfortunately, divorces are pretty common. Although, it can be difficult to pinpoint the reason why a relationship ended. However, these people knew exactly what caused their relationship to end.
People on Quora share the moment they knew they needed to divorce their partner. Content has been edited for clarity.
“He Looked Genuinely Confused”
“I was diagnosed with cancer at a relatively young age. My mother had died of cancer when I was 15, and my husband knew I was terribly afraid of dying young as well.
I opted to immediately and aggressively treat my cancer. Through the advances in oncology that had been made since her death and the skill of my surgeon and doctors, 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. The behavior was extremely hurtful at a time when I needed him most. On the day before my surgery, 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.
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.
One day I sat him down for a serious discussion, letting him know that 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 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 feelbad.’ And shrugged. He 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.”
He Was A Toxic Influence
“At first, little things he did annoy me. 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 disagreed with him. He refused to allow me to work, disabling my car so I couldn’t leave and controlled my access to money.
Still, I really 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. He quit working, for months at a time, yet squandered what little money we had on his hobbies, 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.
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.’
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.”
“I Realized I’d Made A Huge Mistake”
“We were at our children’s end of year circus arts performance.
We packed ourselves into the car to go to a small indoor arena, where we see our three daughters do their end of year performance. While we knew this ‘arena’ was an evangelical church hall, we were surprised to find the hall packed to the rafters. Turned out our kids’ circus acts were just one part of an end of year evangelical church service. It was a big deal.
Evangelical ‘happy-clappy’ church services are not something I go out of my way to attend, but frankly, the performers put on a great show.
During the service, my ex-wife and her sister constantly cackled and giggled about how stupid the whole thing was, making rude remarks about the women’s frocks, how off-tune their voices were, and how some worshipers were, in their opinion, embarrassing themselves.
I was so revolted by her attitude and behavior that night that I moved to another seat, on the pretext of better positioning myself to photograph our kids.
My reservations about the woman I’d married crystallized. I realized I’d made a massive, huge mistake.
I should have left her that night. I but like a coward I didn’t. The marriage dragged on for another three years. My mistake, compounded by my ponderous response, has proven to be catastrophic for myself, my children, and in all honesty, my ex-wife.”
He Was Entitled To Nothing
“My husband stopped being physically affectionate after I had our daughter. I blamed it on the weight I had gained during pregnancy. Then he started coming home too late from night school and staying out until 3 a.m. with female classmates.
I would also notice that 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 5 a.m. I never knew if he was actually 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 had passed away recently and a good portion of the money in our account was from my father’s estate.
I was scared 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 that I had moved the money he was enraged. He felt that he was entitled to half of everything, even my inheritance.
My husband and I separated. He got his own apartment and petitioned for his mother to come from Jamaica and live with him. She moved into my husband’s apartment and brought her 2-year-old grandson. My husband has told me that if we are to reconcile, I will have to accept that his mother will be living in our home at least six months out of the year.”
“I Think I Was Shocked”
“In the seventh year of marriage about 32 years ago, my wife and I were in the office of our fifth couples therapist. During that visit, the therapist was curious about what we needed from each other, about why we were in his office. He looked to the two of us and asked what might be the ONE thing we wanted from each other, and asked my wife to go first. She rattled off a list of heinous character traits that I suffered from, like how I should get a thicker skin, how I was too sensitive and I was too clingy and how she felt like I was suffocating her. She said that I was too nice to my friends (too nice!), that I shouldn’t have to go out of my way for them. She said she was from the big city and was tough, while I was from a small town and a softie. After she was done, I felt like a 96-lb mama’s boy who lost his dog and his favorite marble.
‘How about you? What would you want from her?’
So I said that I’ve been apologizing for the last seven years for things I think I’ve done, but mostly for things I haven’t done. I know I’m not perfect, but odds are she did at least one thing to be sorry for in the last seven years. For once, I’d like to get a sincere apology from her.
So the therapist looks at her. She turns to me and says: ‘I’m sorry … for the way you feel.;
I think I was shocked. I think I laughed, nervously, because of the absurdity of the situation and how hopeless and pathetic the relationship was.
I knew then that it was time to file for divorce.”
Twenty-Five Years Of Unhappiness
“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 a number of 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 really 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 and had no idea how I’d start over. So I did it.
We separated for about five months five years into our marriage. It was his idea to get back together and he suggested a ‘second honeymoon’ trip to Niagara Falls. Our second night there, he told me getting together was a mistake and he wanted a separation.
About four weeks later I discovered that I was pregnant – it had to be from the first night of our so-called second honeymoon because after the second night we didn’t sleep together again.
When I told him I was pregnant, he pressured me to abort. I’d had two previous abortions, once before we were married and once after. I absolutely refused to consider that again.
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 violence – 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.”
“Had To File To Protect Myself”
“The evening my husband attended our daughter’s 7th-grade music concert, bombed out of his mind, was the day I realized my marriage was over. By this time I had already been battling his heavy drinking for the last 12 years.
I spent the entire evening trying to keep him quiet and prevent him from disrupting the entire concert. He wouldn’t stop hissing in anger in my ear, and I couldn’t enjoy any of my daughter’s performance. When the concert was finished, he demanded that my daughter get in the car immediately so we could leave. I thought we had finally turned a corner with his sobriety, but there was that nasty, mean, and vicious drinker again.
It would take me six years to finally come to terms that it was okay for me to file for divorce.
As much as I hated giving up on him and our marriage, I had to file for divorce in order to protect myself and my daughter.”
Questioning Her Choice
“The signs were there from the beginning: the joking about how his bosses would have to get him a girlfriend for him to stay, his recollection of having arguments with his ex and going to work to escape her craziness.
I thought nothing of it, surely I was better company than the bosses who didn’t appreciate him and what he brought to the table. They underpaid him, constantly questioned his actions, inconvenienced us time and time again.
He was the epitome of a good man. Hard worker, never took sick days, rarely took vacations, smart, funny, easy to relate to, and a problem solver the likes of which I’ve never seen.
But eventually, I guess the ‘new’ faded, and he went back to being a workaholic and incredibly negative in his outlook on life. He’d spend more and more time on company projects, would come home after 12-hour days and complain about work; how his employees were useless, but because they wouldn’t pay above minimum wage they couldn’t attract anyone with a work ethic. They kept people on the payroll even when they broke the rules – smoking pot on the job, lying about where they were, lying about what they’d done, physical and vocal altercations in front of customers.
He’d come home so tired that he would take a nap on the sofa, wake up for dinner, and another nap, then go to bed. It was an effort to get him interested in me; there were excuses about being tired, aches, and pains, cramps in his legs and feet. About 5 years in, I was relegated to hugs and a peck on the cheek, and I needed more than that.
The neighborhood we lived in started going downhill and I wanted to move, but he cautioned against it – our situation would have become even worse – was his explanation. Plus we’d put so much work into the house, maybe when the real estate market rebounded…
I moved out for a short period of time, and the promises started coming. Thinking that things would be different, I moved back in. There was cheating involved on my part, but we moved past that – or so I thought. We spent more time together, and he made an effort to be more positive. But slowly we crept back to negativity.
Four more years go by. I was diagnosed with Stage III cancer on my chest, metastasized with 9/15 lymph nodes involved. He was there for me when I woke up from my mastectomy, held my hand through the chemo, shaved my head when my hair started falling out, all through radiation treatments and reconstruction surgeries.
He’s also complaining about how the company can’t get things done without him there, employees and customers calling constantly for assistance, emails, text messages. Working extra hours to ‘make up’ for the days he isn’t there, and now we’re down to maybe a hug a week.
Finally, something snapped. I couldn’t take the feeling like I was a burden he had to bear, while he was unhappy about work and his own physical ailments that he wouldn’t get fixed.
When faced with my own mortality, things suddenly become more clear to me. I needed to surround myself with more positive people, in a less stressful town if I was to have any chance at happiness.
I told him this on our 10th wedding anniversary, in a restaurant. I chose the public venue because I didn’t want to argue. The date just happened to be when it all came home to me that this was not where I needed to be for the sake of my mental health.
It was an amicable divorce, no kids, property was easily divided with barely any controversy. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about him and hope he’s ok.
Then I recall every phone call after I moved, how I came away feeling like the weight of the world was on my shoulders, that I couldn’t fix the problems that he’s told me about, and how he always put work first.
In moments where I’m feeling especially pitiful, I wonder if I’ve made the right decision.”
“I Was Stunned”
“I found him cheating on me when I discovered I was pregnant. Even though I did not make a scene and waited to hear his side of the story, that’s when everything started falling apart. He took total advantage of the fact that I gave him a chance.
When time passed, and when he knew well I couldn’t do anything with what had happened, he started showing his true colors. All the while, I was at my mother’s place during my pregnancy. He’d drop by once a month. He started demanding money from my parents in a more polished way. And their family even sold my jewelry to buy land without my knowledge. To top it all off, his parents are literally the worst people I’ve ever met.
Months later, I gave birth to my darling girl. I spent some time at my mom’s place recovering. Once I got home, the nightmare started. He started abusing me, His parents also abused me, and his mother made me do all chores without considering I had just given birth. While this was going on, he started working late because of a ‘project,’ and then suddenly started packing to go out of town. Until then, I did not suspect anything weird going on.
Then, I found out he had been cheating on me. When I questioned him, he attacked me. I called my father for help, and he took my daughter and me home. When he reached me and saw my face, he had no clue and he was totally devastated.
When asked about his son’s behavior, his father told me, ‘He is a man, he will sleep with as many women as he wants and will beat you. No one can question him.’
I was stunned. Suddenly, I knew where his cheap behavior came from.”
His Dad And Step-Mom Are Terrible People
“My father this woman met when I was three, and moved in together when I was five. The first thing she said about me to him was ‘Your kid is weird.’ He was a little stung by the remark but thought nothing of it.
Fast-forward to year six. She was trying to talk to me and I had an issue with making eye contact at the time, it made me nervous. She had this insane belief that if someone isn’t making eye contact with you, they aren’t listening. She grabbed my face tightly, with my cheeks pinched between her thumb and fingers. I didn’t like this, so I pulled away and one of her artificial nails left a large deep gauge on my face, from the low area of my cheek to the bottom of my jaw. It bled. My dad came home and saw this, but no matter how many times she said it was an accident, she never apologized to me, and my dad told her to never touch me again.
You would think that was enough to make him divorce her, no? You thought wrong.
Year seven. On and off abuse goes on, mundane things like making me pick up crab apples all day in the 29-degree weather and the humidity, getting stung by wasps while she watches from the window, taking out the compost and almost throwing up every time, staying in my room to avoid any other conflict during the day. One school morning, my dad was preparing an apple for his own lunch. He asks her why she only ever talks to me when I’m doing something wrong. She says it’s because I never do anything right. This was strike two. He took the apple and hurtled it at the wall from the sheer anger he felt toward her, and he could find apple bits around the house over a year later. This was strike two.
Year 12. This was the big one. Not long after strike two, I wasn’t allowed to go back to the house she dwelled at on a regular day. So my dad would pick me up and we would buy something to eat and drop me back off at my mom’s place. I visited occasionally, but I just stayed in my room most of the time. By this point, she didn’t even want me at the dinner table because I was ‘too much of a disruption,’ or something of the like. I ate in my room. It’s also worth mentioning that somewhere along the line I came back to my mom’s house with a hand-shaped bruise on my forearm, and I was also told to pick food off the floor and eat it. My dad also had a child with this woman when I was eight going nine.
Thanksgiving 2015, we went to Sarnia. We were looking out on Port Huron where we could see the United States and the water was beautiful. Apparently, I was standing too close to the waters and she didn’t like this. I once again trespassed on this imaginary line she created but I couldn’t see, and her son was also allowed to cross it.
Eventually (but not long after) she said ‘Fine, jump in. I don’t care anymore.’
She went to the vehicle to light up a smoke. When she was done and came back to ridicule me, she told me ‘Sit your fat butt down on the bench.’
I was only 5?1 and 110lbs at the time, and she easily outweighed me by 40lbs only being two inches taller than me and not being fit at all. She proceeded to give me some kind of talking to about the matter. While this was happening, I assumed my dad was either taking care of my baby brother (now eight), or off somewhere else and not supervising this monster of a woman he was already familiar with. Eventually, my dad calls everyone into the car and can’t take it anymore. She continues berating me for between 20–40 minutes on our way back into our city. Then, she tells him to stop the car on the freeway and she tells me to get out of the car. I did, and my father also did. I don’t remember much about this, but my father later remarked at how surprised he was at my composure. He also says that he was seriously close to getting back in the car and leaving her behind in the bushes to walk home. I’m disappointed in him that he didn’t, frankly.
Now I’m seventeen and watching her kid with 50% of my time. He isn’t a bad kid, but the fact that she has to come here and pick him up aggregates me. He didn’t even want a kid, she did. She took everything from me, and I’ll never forgive her for it. I’m also never going to forgive my father for putting me through those nine years of a joke of a childhood. I don’t necessarily hate his guts, but I won’t forgive this. It’s one of his greatest mess-ups. He was supposed to protect me those years but more than anything he kept me there and what he did is nothing short of irresponsible, naive, and stupid.”