28 People Reveal the Moment They Knew Their Marriage Was Over

Michele Zipp | Nov 14, 2018 Love & Sex
28 People Reveal the Moment They Knew Their Marriage Was Over
Image: mofles/iStock

bride groom divorce cake

There is often a lot of shame when it comes to divorce. We contend with most of society's view that marriage means forever, and couples should do everything to make it work. Women who have been divorced have often felt this way, too. Sometimes "everything" just is not enough and things do not work, no matter how hard two people may try. These 28 people bravely and openly shared the moment they knew their marriage was over. These revelations are really powerful -- and show just how strong the spirit of resilience and self-worth can be. Divorce is not easy, but it can help to know that other people are dealing with similar situations. 

One can easily feel the heartbreak, the pain, but also the release of those feelings -- the empowerment and new light that comes to shine within each person who shares a story. After all, leaving the bad to welcome the good is never a terrible thing. There are many turning points one reaches when going through a divorce, but the most significant mile-marker? The moment a person is honest and full acknowledges it's time to call things off. 

There are tales of infidelity, abuse, emptiness, and loss of connection. Some were drama-filled moments, while others were a slow, painful burn. Many may even read these stories and see something that sounds a lot like his or her own divorce or marriage. It's in these words from other people that we know we are not alone and we shouldn't feel shame. Marriages sometimes end ... and that just means there is a new beginning. 

*Some people chose to use an alias.

  • Silence

    man and woman on opposite sides of bench

    "We had been in a pretty terrible place for a long time and I kept asking him to go to couples therapy with me for years. One day, while our very young children were playing outside and we were in the kitchen, I looked at him straight in the eyes and very clearly said, 'We are in crisis. We need help. If we don't go see a therapist, we will end up divorcing.' He looked at me, didn't say a word, and went outside to mow the lawn. As I sobbed in my kitchen, I knew that was it." -- Rachel

  • The Coldness

    love puzzle

    "When I was crying and saying, 'I'll do anything, I just want to make it work, I love you, I'll do anything,' and he just stayed silent and cold and maybe a little teary but basically had no response." -- Ellen

  • Unwilling

    marriage couple photograph in half

    "When he said he would do anything to make it work ... except go to marriage counseling or therapy. He said it was for the weak. I knew then. Apparently he wouldn't do anything." -- Laurie

  • Abuse

    scissors and paper couple

    "Husband #1: When he was physically abusive and broke my phone so I couldn't call for help.  
    Husband #2: When I found a keylogger on my computer because he thought I was cheating on him (I wasn't)." -- Sarah

  • Awakening

    wedding ring divorce

    "When he went out without me ... again ... and it didn't hurt." -- Angie

    More from CafeMom: 17 Moms Share the One Piece of Dating Advice They Wish Their Daughters Would Listen To

  • Change

    woman taking off wedding ring

    "When I didn't feel the need to argue or fight about anything ... didn't feel anything for him at all. He wasn't worth the energy because I knew it was over. I also knew when I looked at my daughters, and knew I didn't want them to see or accept it was OK to be treated the way I was treated. I wanted to model something better for them." -- Sandy

  • Light Bulb Moment

    love in sand

    "I knew it was over when I saw the movie Chasing Amy. There's this scene where Ben Affleck is by himself in the rain and what's-her-name has run away and then she runs back and the noise he makes when he kisses her? I'd never heard that noise from my husband. Just ... I mean ... That was like a light going on in my head: This was not a marriage. It was a friendship." -- Amy

  • Caught

    line feet

    "When I was flying home from visiting my family -- he couldn't come with me and the kids. He 'forgot' to pick us up at the airport. We had to take a bus home and when we got in, there was another woman there with him." -- Jen

  • Differences

    couple with backs to each other

    "After about six years of marriage, I realized that we were too different and that the gap would never get smaller, only bigger. We were raised in different family types; we had different opinions, morals, and priorities. At first I thought we could make it because we loved each other regardless of our differences, but really we were just not meant to be. We tried to force it and that's never going to work out. I don't regret it though because we had our beautiful twins. It was a learning experience, I guess." -- Amber

  • Infidelity

    we're through text

    "May 20-something, 2 a.m., 9-month-old baby sleeping in the next room:

    Me: Where were you and who were you with?

    Him: Who do you think I was with?

    Me: Natalia.

    Him: Yup, and I've been f*cking her since December."

    -- Jen

  • Realizations

    couple drawn on chalkboard

    "I knew before I even walked down the aisle. I liked my husband and probably loved him, too, but not in a way that should have warranted our being married. I agreed to marry him and I regretted it instantly ... not because he wasn't/isn't a great man but I wasn't being honest with me. Three months later I had to ask him for a divorce and it crushed us both. Today we are very good friends but I remember that day (telling him I wanted a divorce) so vividly." -- Karen

  • Signs

    rope breaking

    "There were so many signs looking back. But I really knew when I got home from work and he was watching a movie (The Matrix) in our living room with a 'friend' in the dark. He was sitting on the couch; she was sitting on the floor between his knees. He followed me upstairs and wanted to know why I hadn't said hi to her." -- Julie

  • Awareness

    sidewalk crack with band aids

    "When I had the thought and awareness, 'I can't live the rest of my life like this.'" -- Joye

    More from CafeMom: 21 Women Confess Why They Stayed Married After He Cheated

  • No Intimacy

    footprint in snow

    "After seriously close to four years of no sex (does one time even count?), I took my husband to dinner for his birthday and as a surprise present I got us a hotel room, which he declined. The elephant in the room bore down upon my chest harder than it had ever done before and I just said 'This is over.'" -- Stephanie

  • Texts

    empty benches

    "First time I should have broken it off was right before I walked down the aisle and realized the only reason I was going through with it was for my soon-to-be stepdaughter who I loved dearly and knew would be crushed. The moment I actually did break it off was when my phone bill came in and I called to dispute charges (back in the days before unlimited texting). I was told one of our lines had gone over by thousands of messages, yet as far as I knew my soon-to-be ex hated to text. I guess since having a 19-year-old girlfriend he'd finally decided it was a cool way to communicate. Out the door his stuff went and I have never regretted it. I promised myself that my then-5-month-old wasn't going to grow up in a house filled with fighting, disrespect, and anger." -- Cara

  • Inner Peace

    woman looking at sunset

    "When I started taking yoga. As I started feeling better and happier within myself it became crystal clear where in my life I was not." -- Monica

    More from CafeMom: Women Are Cheating on Their Husbands More & They Aren't the Least Bit Ashamed

  • Meaning of Love

    woman walking alone on bridge

    "To put it simply and politely ... when I fully realized that we had two very different ideas about what love means, and that we would never be able to reconcile those views." -- Jenny

  • Growth

    woman looking at sunset

    "I knew the marriage was over when I said, 'If we're going to stay together, I'm going to need you to grow as a person' and he said, 'That's not going to happen.' There was a lot of context, of course, but that's when I knew." -- Fiona

  • Being Stuck

    heart water color

    "I knew when I realized I wanted to grow as a person and he was just stuck. And also when he'd go away for weeks or months at a time and I was excited for him to leave. And anxious as hell for his return. Then after I told him I wanted a divorce, he begged me to stay and offered me $500. What a joke, looking back." -- Amanda

  • Deepest Cut

    woman shadow in dark

    "When he said, 'I don't love you, no one loves you, you aren't meant to be loved.' There was nowhere left to go after that. I was sub-human. For all of the types of abuse there was, I think that singular remark was the deepest cut." -- Maura

  • Ungrateful 


    "I spent about 2 weeks writing a love letter for our 5-year V-day. Cotton paper, fountain pen and wax sealed, it looked like it was from the 1940s. I was told it was 'nice' and 'thanks.' Things already weren't great, but I knew that was it after that." -- poodenutt

  • A Heartbreaking Reality  


    "When I had to ask the question: 'Should I stop saying I love you so I don't feel like an ass when you don't say it back any more?'" -- derchad

  • An Irrational Response


    "When my now ex-husband told me that our son was a 'financial burden' in response to, 'Can you try to come home early this Saturday and go to the park with us?'"-- DaisyFayBuchanan

  • Nothing to Say

    looking at phones not talking

    "When we stopped talking to each other, because both of us no longer cared what the other had to say."-- lazycrazymind

  • A Sad Truth

    holding hands

    "When my 3-year-old daughter said, 'Mommy doesn't love you anymore,' and I knew it was true." -- thesink

  • An Irrational Thought


    "When I was driving home from work and thought, 'If that Mack Truck T-Bones me, I won't have to go home today.' It was totally out of the blue and very uncharacteristic for me to think anything like that. I gave myself my own wake-up call, that I would rather be killed/end up in the hospital than go home to my now ex." -- LoveBin

  • A Reason


    "I went to couples counseling because I desperately wanted a reason to stay." -- unholymackerel

  • Paranoia


    "When he kept taking his phone to the bathroom with him, even when he just went to take a shower. And being all-around paranoid if I was even near his cellphone." -- trollwizard7


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