A divorce is typically not decided in that one blow-out moment. It is more than often a pool of little problems that pile up over time, ‘til the couple cannot take the unhappiness, the pain, the melancholy any longer. But once the dust settles and the person sees in retrospect, they can identify that very moment when they realized that they were in a failing marriage, a leaking ship that was designed to sink.
Of course, this need not be true for everyone. Some couples examine their failed marriage for years and still fall short of understanding where things went wrong. But there are others who, generally, after sufficient time has passed and with therapy coming to their aid, can identify the very second when they realized that their marriage had taken a turn, a turn for the worse. Some, luckily, use it to rectify their marriage problems. While others find an answer to why what happened, happened.
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NLT spoke with 15 women about their moment of recognition. These brave women told us about the exact instant and the incident which led to their separation. These stories are heart-breaking, raw, and unvarnished truths, and we really respect these women for sharing their most intimate moments of sorrow with us.
The day I returned from the hospital after our second son was born, I felt that something had changed. I needed some help to get our kids into the car while returning from the park. I was still recovering from a C-section, you know. But my husband just sat there in the driver’s seat, refusing to even look at me as I put my first son and the baby’s pram in the back seat, with the baby still in my arms. When we came back home, I opened up to him about how I had just felt to know if I was over-reacting. He bluntly retorted, “If this is how it’s going to be, I think it’s not working between us anymore!” It felt like he was waiting for me to confront him so that he could say those words. It was in that moment that I realized that my marriage is over.
We had gone to Hawaii for my 40th birthday. We were so happy, or at least I thought we were. One day, when I returned from the beach early, I saw him tuck something hurriedly in the backpack. When I asked what it was, he just shrugged saying that it was a gift for a friend. I kept asking him about the friend and as to why he was cramming the gift into the backpack, hiding it from me. Eventually he told me that it was a present for the other woman. I could hear something shatter in me that day.
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My husband had a drinking habit and I was aware of it before we got married. He never misbehaved with me and would keep his business out of the house. However, as days passed, alcohol got the better of him. I had to send him to a rehab for a year. When he returned, he seemed to be a changed man. But that was only for a week. His inebriation resumed and I knew that it wasn’t financially or emotionally possible for me to take care of a man who didn’t want to get better.
I think my moment of realization came when someone said negative things about me in front of him, but he didn’t bother defending me. To my horror, I wasn’t surprised!
The day he called me a bitch in front of his parents, I guess that was the beginning of the end. My parents will be celebrating their 30th this year. The one thing that I have learnt from them about marriage is that it is grounded in mutual respect. Once that evades the relationship, nothing can keep it from falling on its face.
I knew mine was a failing marriage the day my husband returned from his year-long sabbatical. He was not himself. Distance had creeped into us emotionally as well. I remember sitting with him, watching our 6-year-old play in the park, when he said the strangest thing to me. He said, “I can’t believe I used to enjoy doing this thing once.” That was it. I saw that our marriage was sure to fail.
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When my husband and I were driving to our in-laws for dinner. That is when the word “divorce” first popped in my head. However, I hesitated talking to him about it. We lasted for 5 more years, went on to have a baby girl, went through 3 years of counseling, but something had cracked that night, and I knew.
Suggested read: 12 heartbreaking signs of a failing marriage
After my ex returned home from the first session of individual therapy to save our marriage, he said, “I don’t think it’s worth it.” It took 2 more years for things to really boil up, but when I look at that moment in retrospect, I know that was it.”
My first husband had gone to a different city for a business trip. He called up to say he was returning on that day, 3 days before his scheduled arrival. I wasn’t happy. I can’t say why but I felt like there was an elephant sitting on my chest. I felt that things would go back to normal once again and that was dreadful. I blamed myself for feeling that way. But you can’t force happiness on yourself, can you? We parted ways after a year.
My ex-husband was a writer. It was a passage in his book that told me he wasn’t happy with the marriage and saw it as a bondage that was stopping him from “having fun.” The passage read, “I took the car up the Alps and speeded through those snowy mountains. With the roof down and that music blasting from the system, I had a revelation. In that moment, I was happy. More than because of the whole experience, it was because she wasn’t with me. She couldn’t ask me to turn the music down or put up the roof or drive slow. I was my own master.” I didn’t want him to be stuck with someone he thought was his “master” and not his wife and partner.
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I knew I was in a failing marriage the day I got on the computer and to my shock, saw a copy of a signed lease for a new house. My husband had bought a house for the woman he was seeing and was planning to move out soon. I hadn’t seen that coming.
I actually figured out that our marriage wouldn’t last the test of time while I was talking to my friend over lunch. She was lavishly praising her husband for how caring and understanding he was. She went on to say that she knew he would always have her back and it was evident from her tone that she wasn’t exaggerating. It suddenly hit me that all I got from my man was disdain, disrespect, and indifference. We separated after a few years.
You might find this silly, but the heart-breaking revelation for me was the day I was returning from work and thought to myself, if this truck crashes into my car, I won’t have to go home! It was something so out of the blue! In that moment, I had given myself a wakeup call: I would rather be dead than go home to my husband (now ex).
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Although I was still madly in love with him, I saw that my needs were simply not met. I tried being patient and understanding, but more than often, I found myself looking after his needs and pushing mine on the back burner. This is not healthy for any relationship and there comes a time when you cannot take it anymore. I needed to respect my wishes and needs.
Suggested read: 12 heartbreaking signs your marriage is over
My ex was quite the ladies’ man. I should have realized that for a man like him, being faithful in a monogamous marriage was out of the question. Each time I caught him in a doubtful situation, he would beg forgiveness. Eventually, this reached a point where I couldn’t take it anymore. He was sleeping with my best friend, the woman I would discuss all my problems with. It took me 6 years after that to feel like myself again.
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