Marriage is a commitment; it takes effort to make it work. However, for some people there is unfortunately a pivotal moment where they know there is absolutely nothing else they can do. These users have shared the heartbreaking moment they realized their marriage was doomed.
Content has been edited for clarity.
"I knew my marriage was doomed when my husband’s behavior started affecting our adult son. We had been married 25 years. Married late. Second marriage for both. I was 42. He was 37. We ended up having two sons. One when I was 43. The second son when I was 45.
He had never lived a family life before and I think he struggled with that. He was adopted at three months and his adoptive father died suddenly when he was 21 months old. He left his first wife when his daughter was 8 months old. Took her to visit her parents and then told her he was leaving them there. He had been on his own, living the bachelor life for 10 years. We dated three years before we got married. I had two sons from my first marriage of 20 years. They were 12 and 17 years old.
He had made sounds of his unhappiness. Flirtations with ladies at his workout club. Talking about moving out. The third 'flirtation' was the last straw.
I found out our son had seen him out in public with his lady friend at Panera. This son suffers from depression and anxiety. He was with his girlfriend when he spotted his dad. He came home and blasted his old man. Husband told him to talk to me. He said nothing for 7 months. Then he came and said he was SO depressed. When I asked why, he insisted on showing me a photo on his phone of his married lady friend who now did not want to see him anymore. I processed this for about a week. I had been spending part of each week at my second son’s house helping with his 3-year-old and 1-year-old sons after I retired at 65. This son set up a Valentine’s Day lunch for me with all of his brothers. The love just took my breath away.
On the way back, the third son told me he had known for 7 months and had told his dad to talk to me. That evening, I sat in the playroom floor at my second son’s house and cried and told him I knew I would be committing financial suicide, but I had to leave. In the next two weeks, my third son, who lived with us, spent every night sleeping on the love seat in the living room and I slept on the sofa. He is a tall kid– over 6'2". We moved into an apartment after two weeks. Leaving behind a house I had half paid for. We had just paid off the mortgage that fall. Our apartment was the building next to my stepdaughter and her daughter. I usually picked her up from school one afternoon each week so her mom could work late. God has been good.
After 15 months at the apartment, I started living alone for the first time in my life at almost 70 years old. I am 71 now. I was able to purchase a nice home 10 minutes from my grandsons. They are now 4 and 6 years old. The little one was diagnosed with autism the week my four sons moved my furniture into this house. I am 35 minutes from my other 3 sons in different directions. My ex is 2 hours away; as is my stepdaughter. She and I have stayed family. My ex could be very cruel. I believe he has one or more personality disorders. The fact that his behavior was not just hurting me but my son was the moment I knew I had to leave."
"When I found my husband cheating with the neighbor.
I knew we had little issues and arguments from time to time like any couple, but I didn't realize we were doomed. I thought things were going okay. I guess I was wrong.
He cheated with the neighbor who has 4 kids by 4 different men and custody of only 2 of those children. She had a substance problem and just not who I would imagine he would ever mess with. Again I was wrong.
We were trying to have a baby and after 2 years of trying, nothing ever happened. So I thought perhaps because she does have kids he wanted that. It completely ripped my heart from my chest seeing him hold her daughter and put her inside the car to buckle her up. After they were caught and I kicked him out, they didn't try to hide their relationship. He didn't care whatsoever the pain he was putting me through.
Now I'm going through a divorce and had to move for my own sanity. I couldn't continue seeing them together as I would come and go from my apartment. I'm still confused I don't understand any of it. I'm still in shock, but I'm trying to pick up the pieces and move forward with my life."
"My daughter Tina came to me one day and said we need to talk. She had been out with friends. We live in the outer suburbs and they had gone into the main city downtown for dinner with her boyfriend on a double date.
They had finished their meal when my daughter sees her mom, my wife Michelle, dolled-up for the evening with a well-dressed man about our age.
Tina had the presence of mind to get a photo, but asked her girlfriend's boyfriend to get a closer shot by walking past them with the video running on the phone.
By the time he crossed past them, Michelle was seated with one hand clasped with his across the table.
The look in her eyes was the same hunger I recall she had with me when we first met. I thought we had a healthy, loving marriage. Clearly, I was mistaken. I was reeling.
'What are we going to do?' Tina asks. 'What's your plan?'
Tina confessed she followed Michelle's lover across and down the street to his offices. He was a leasing manager for many downtown properties, one of which was Michelle's office building. Not hard to connect the dots here.
I felt like I needed to do something in Tina’s direction since this would be a huge impact and I didn’t want to leave her feeling alone, so I shared what I planned to do.
Where Tina went to college, four hours away, was sprawled but modern, with lots of nice places to live within an hour or less of the college. I could lease an apartment for a few years, be nearer to her than I am now, so she wouldn’t have to travel so far to make a visit to me. The new job had regular travel. I wasn't looking forward to getting back on the road– I'd spent a few years already as a road warrior and didn't miss it, but the potential money was like picking fruit off trees. I could increase my lot considerably.
I sent Tina back to college and planned my exit. I set all this in motion over the following two weeks. Michelle could not have been more oblivious. She was glowing with joy every day, and our intimacy surprisingly went through the roof.
Meanwhile, I had squared away a new place to live, accepted the new position, and would start within a couple of weeks. Michelle knew nothing about it, as far as I knew.
Then, it gets weird.
I get this email from her with the subject 'Please don't leave me.'
Well, this is interesting. She knows that I know? Did Tina tell her?
And when I pop it open, it starts out with a desperate plea for us to stay together. It was essentially an abbreviated diary of all the things we'd done together during and since college, and various interludes with more romantic meaning to her. With each diary entry, she expressed her deep affection, and said things like, 'didn't this mean something to you?'
Problem was, I wasn't all that far into the diary before I realized something was off. The dates were wrong. The places were wrong. Some places I'd never been to. Experiences I'd never had. Like she was living a parallel life in an alternative universe.
I went back to the top and re-read it in this context. It started out 'when we met that day at the coffee shop' - but I had been introduced to her by a friend on the intramural fields. Not a coffee shop. Who was this intended for?
Time for a little FBI work. I discovered some interesting things about her lover, Tom. He went to the same University as she and I (we met in college) and the years of attendance overlapped. He graduated before either of us, and received his masters at the same college. It means he stayed around after graduation. Near her.
She spoke of their first night together after a spontaneous meeting at a coffee shop across the street from the campus. I recalled the time frame – our first big fight. We were apart for a week and got back together. Apparently that's when her relationship with Tom started and she had kept it in the shadows ever since. His LinkedIn profile showed he had lived within the same locale as us all our married life.
I still recall when we moved to our current home, halfway across the country. Michelle was depressed for months. She would have 'episodes of happy' - and according to the diary. These were times when Tom flew out to visit as he was making arrangements to follow her to this area. Her depression wasn't from missing friends in our former locale, but from longing for him.
Learning all this had me in a total funk. It's hard to describe.
She's smart, and clearly diabolical, but it got a lot worse.
Michelle and I had a ton of problems getting pregnant. We went from one infertility specialist to another. She would come back from the doc's office and say they were starting a new protocol for this or that, being as aggressive as possible. They had both of us on meds to boost our fertility and after five years of this, Tina popped out. We didn't expect to have any more children as Tina was hard enough to pull off.
But all this time, Michelle had been jumping in the hay with Tom, and was using birth control to avoid pregnancy. In her diary she essentially confessed to faking all the trips to the doctor as a smokescreen. When the pill stopped working for her, she had a bunch of side effects. She got pregnant with one of his kids and aborted it.
I would find out later she aborted five babies and every one of them were conceived on boundaries of us having intimacy. But because she was also doing it with Tom, she could not be sure who the father was and she didn't want a kid in our house as living, breathing evidence of an affair.
I asked her later if any of these kids could have been one of ours, and she said she didn't know, but aborted it anyway. There were ways to find out of course, but she didn't bother with it.
I think back to all the times we prayed together for children. Even in the evenings, she would sit in a chair and howl in tears for not being able to have a baby – all the while she was flushing our 'family' down the toilet. Literally throwing our children in the trash.
This wasn't completely evident in the email I was reading, but enough was there to raise the questions I needed to ask. And I did, over the time since the divorce.
It occurred to me that this email wasn't sent to me intentionally. Duh.
Why would she beg me not to leave her? And give a dissertation of points, any of which would be a good reason to leave her? At the end of it, the email said, 'Please call me, Tom. I'm desperate.'
Ohhhhhhh. This wasn't intended for me at all. She made a mistake. She may have already discovered it and was in damage control even now.
I copied the email contents to a Word document and set it back to 'unread' as though I hadn't seen it.
Michelle arrived at the house within an hour of sending the email. I greeted her cheerfully, but normally. I didn't want anything in my behavior to tip her on my knowledge. Apparently, it worked. Or she was too upset to care, or too upset to notice at all.
When she bounded into the room, I closed the email application. This was to make it look like I hadn't seen anything yet today. I was playing the deception game too. So weird.
She was breathless and jittery. She said she forgot her laptop and was just in-and-out of the house, how is your day, and all that. So here was her veiled reason for coming back to the house. Was she really there to attempt deleting or intercepting her email?
I was in our home office. She was standing at the office door with her laptop against her chest, but her eyes were bloodshot and her whole being was on fire with anxiety.
She bade farewell and then acted like she 'just remembered' something. Did I have the recipe she used for a dish she made some months back? She recalled I looked it up for her and sent it.
I vaguely recalled this. Her cleverness in being able to dredge this up from the past - as a veiled excuse to look at my devices - was so cunning I was impressed first, and disturbed later.
I recall the hairs on the back of my neck stood on end when she asked. Now that I knew she was using the request to deceive me, it was all I could do to keep my self control.
She asked for my phone and I slid it across the desk without looking up. I watched her in my peripheral vision– her anxiety escalated and she sighed. She used a subtle move to swipe and delete.
'You didn't delete anything did you?'
This startled her. She maintained character, but she was about to pop. Said she didn't 'find' what she was looking for.
Maybe it's on your laptop?
Wow. She made it sound so smooth. No wonder I didn’t have a clue about any of this, but it was like an out-of-body experience. Me looking on to myself and her, seeing her for what she was. Spine-tingling.
I told her I was in the middle of something and couldn't stop right now, but she begged. I told her to wait for a minute while I wrapped up a test. I stretched this moment for as long as I could. It was amazing, watching her in so much stress, wondering if any moment I would pop open the email.
Our plumber's name is Ted. We had a problem with the shower last week and he squared it away. I could not resist the next dialog.
'Looking for you,' I say.
I glanced up. Her face was pale, like she was about to red-out from the stress.
'He wanted to know if the shower was working fine for us.'
She jolted again. 'What?'
'The shower he fixed last week.'
She stared at me, 'You mean Ted?'
'Ted, right. The plumber. It's what I said.'
'No, you said-'
I didn't look up. It was as though she had a thousand rules in her head about never uttering 'that name' in my presence.
I told her my test was complete and slid the laptop to the desk corner. She spun it to face her and after a few seconds, sighed again.
I asked her if she found it. She said no, but maybe she could find it somewhere else. She was visibly relaxed now, as though all the anxiety had rushed from her head. Still the deceiver, she said, I sent you an email earlier today, did you get it?
I said no, what was it about? She said it was missing attachments, so just toss it and she would send a full copy later. She knew I would not remember it unless she mentioned it again, using my habits against me to weave more lies. What a piece of work.
But this is what I wanted. I didn't want her to know that I know. I have more time to prepare an exit now.
I checked the phone and laptop email. Her message was gone – she had deleted them, but I still had the text in that Word file.
I also know Tom has decided to move on, and she's not happy about it. The timing of all this could not be better. She's essentially been a lying witch for our entire marriage and I didn't want her to ride off into the sunset with Tom.
The more I thought about it, though, the more I wanted her and Tom together. Tom would be stuck with her. This was revenge at its finest.
Once my exit strategy was complete, I had divorce papers in-hand, everything squared-away to jump into my new life. My attorney had already greased-the-skids with the courts based on Michelle's email. She would get next to nothing. All I had to do was close it.
I cut a deal with a real-estate agent through my attorney to sell our house to a buyer, with the condition that we would have a month to move out after closing. They told me Michelle would have to participate in the closing, but she would get whatever size check was part of the divorce settlement, which was minimal. I didn't want the house on the market until the divorce was underway and the decree signed. No yard signs to tip my advantage.
I also thought it would be best to include Tina on this final closure event, since she already knew.
I scheduled lunch with Michelle downtown and made a reservation at the same restaurant where Tina had caught her and Tom. I paid the owner an extra tip to have us seated at the same booth-table where Michelle and Tom had sat. The big moment came, and we went into the restaurant, and Michelle didn't seem concerned at all.
I had my iPad mini with me and set it to record video on its camera, and set it on its side at the end of the table. I wanted a memento of the whole event.
I said something about it being a nice restaurant, and had she ever been here? She said a couple of times, for lunch. Tina shows up and slides into the booth next to her, blocking her from being able to just slide out and walk away.
Michelle is startled and asked where she came from. 'Why aren't you at school?'
Tina whips-out her phone and says I remember this booth. I saw you in it a few weeks ago. Michelle stared at her. Tina played the video and Michelle froze.
I slid a printed copy of the email-to-Tom across the table. 'I finally received that email you were asking about.'
'Let me out!' She writhed, you know, like a snake.
Tina didn't move. 'No, Mom, this is an important meeting for all of us. You have to stay put.'
Michelle was about to object when I slid the divorce papers across the table. I told her the house goes on the market tomorrow and you'll get the portion allocated here.
Her eyes narrowed and she completely changed her demeanor. In fact, her personality changed into someone I'd never met. Downright spooky.
I later described this to my counselor and he wasn't surprised. He said she's been wearing a mask all this time and it's been undone. She has freedom to be herself now.
And the version sitting before me, I never would have married.
I told her about the paternity test, even though Tina was in college, and not really a part of custody issues, Tina didn't want to have anything to do with her.
I presented two court orders for her to have no contact with either of us, more than a restraining order. We could approach her, but she could not approach us. She would have to remove herself from a place where she encountered us and not enter a place if she knew we were there.
I also gave her permission to coordinate her coming to the house to get her things. Police officers would have to be present, so don't call on your way over, schedule a week in advance at least.
'I'll fight this.'
I told her, I hope you do - in fact I'm looking forward to it. The courts have a lot of precedent on this, so it will be futile, but you'll burn up whatever money you would've received, and a lot more. You will lose and walk away with even less than if you just signed it and walked away. I want you to beat your head against an expensive wall and walk away with less. Go for it.
I had an appointment with Tom one hour after our lunch meeting. Tina came with me. The appointment was for a different name, so he would not be tipped off. Tina came into his office first and he chatted with her like they were old friends. Quite the charmer.
I walked into the office and his whole body seemed to stiffen and get jittery. He was suddenly at a loss for words. He knew who I was, even though I should not know him.
I produced Michelle's email and slid it across the counter to him. 'I know everything.'
He set his jaw, and his jaw muscle throbbed. He stared at it. 'What now?'
I explained what had just happened in the restaurant. Tom confessed he had called it off with Michelle for good, but they had gotten back together, since they always do.
I told him I came by to say 'she’s all yours.' I pointed to Tina and said, and the paternity test says she’s all mine.
His face sank.
What was this? Had Michelle told him that Tina was his? That’s a twist - banging the wife of another man while he’s raising your daughter and putting her through school– heckuva deal.
Tina had heard enough and I could not imagine what staying longer would accomplish. I wished I hadn't come at all.
Once the smoke cleared, Michelle moved in with Tom. She was plainly wearing the same mask she wore with me, but was practiced at wearing it. No telling where Tom would end up in all this.
They deserve each other.
I'm with a great lady now. I waited to find someone who was genuine, and we're taking it slow. Not sure I'll ever marry again. After all, the marrying-thing is to raise a family. I'm past the age where this would amount to anything. Who wants to be in their sixties when their kid is graduating high school?
Tina and I have a great relationship. She's met a guy who clearly cares for her, and I don't see much of Michelle in her. Maybe she's naturally rebelling against her mother's ways?"
"The night before our wedding. To be honest though, the entire engagement I knew it wasn’t what I deserved but the heart wants what it wants. The wedding was more than I deserved, but really, the groom was the problem. Nearly every important moment of the planning was tainted by provoked fights and him telling me he didn’t really want to marry me, of course changing his mind hours later. I wanted to call it off but how could I tell my mom to flush her entire inheritance she spent on this, down the drain? We initially wanted to elope, being the young couple in love that we were, she pushed me to have the wedding of my (her) dreams… and the pressure of it all nearly broke us. I was very young (20) and easily persuaded then…sigh.
The night before the wedding we had our rehearsal dinner at the hotel we were to be married at the next morning. His best man didn’t 'get around' to throwing any type of bachelor party prior and convinced my fiancé they should celebrate that night.
I had a bad feeling about this. I often got this feeling his best man wanted to sabotage our relationship from the beginning. The best man and I were close friends first. Apparently he loved me, but I was always in love with my ex and chose that relationship over our friendship which understandably hurt him.
I voiced my concern that we all had to be up very early for our ceremony, wishing I could just tell him 'no.' I was clearly worried something would happen and our day would be ruined. I reluctantly told him to go have fun but asked that he walk me back to my room first to have our last unwed moment together and say goodnight. He was irritated by my request but agreed.
He became more and more irritated as he realized how far my room was from the courtyard. I remember feeling so hurt. Our last night together before husband and wife and he was angry to be with me. How did he not want to spend some last moments with his bride to be? What we were even doing here? I wasn’t one to stay quiet when I was hurt which 'caused' our problems. I spoke up about how he was making me feel. He blamed me that I was doing this on purpose to him to keep him from enjoying himself. We got into an argument that resulted in us screaming at each other, him ripping the lei off my neck and smashing my phone across the courtyard.
I spent the night before my wedding sobbing with my mom and best friend, feeling worthless and hatred for this person for the first time. My best friend assured me I didn’t have to go through with this, but the price tag guilted me that I did.
That night I received a call from him trying to apologize, I didn’t take the call.
I walked down the aisle the next morning angry. Knowing this all was the stupidest thing we could have ever done, but I loved that man more than myself and staring into his eyes at the altar melted me again. I subtly shook my head at him and he gave me eyes of remorse like he did so well.
We left for our honeymoon the next day, with only one working phone and we had the time of our life.
I think that night was the beginning of resentment I never could quite bury which only built from there.
Sadly, our roller coaster ride continued until we fatally crashed.
Divorce is almost final now, 10 years later. I still can’t get over my love for him even though the pain I feel from him and his insults is often unbearable. I don’t know that I’ll ever love again.
I am undoubtedly an active codependent, now in recovery. He seems to be a classic covert narcissist– I won’t say for 100% certain because I’m not licensed to… but the shoe fits… Perfectly.
He moved on quick and his new woman is head over heels for him. All too familiar. I wonder what the outcome will be… maybe them being older will yield better results."
"Her work closes at 9:00, and for the previous year or so she claimed to be cleaning it up with her boss, a woman, whom she didn't want to leave there alone.
Maybe she was there, but probably wasn't.
She stayed in her car texting someone for about 1 minute while I stood with the front door open. Unprecedented. Then she got out, smiled, and said, 'Hey.' Also, unprecedented. She'd become so cold and impersonal by that point, that I decided to respond in kind to illustrate the nature of what she had been doing, and just did. I said, 'Hey.'
I asked her if she had received my texts and links about the new houses. She said she had. Shocking because she hadn't returned a single message.
I knew it was doomed was when I told her that I'd found a new place for us to live and she asked, 'Can you afford it?'
Being a Russian, I hoped she had made a grammatical mistake, so I continued explaining. No, she didn't make a mistake. It was what I thought it was.
When I really, really knew she was living in a fantasy world and that I had no hope left was when she announced that she was leaving and that I'd known that for several months, which is why I had been so nice to her.
Nope. No clue.
I knew she was depressed and I loved her with all my soul, but I'd had no idea she'd actually leave.
I had said just two months prior, to my family, that whilst she was vacationing in Russia to visit her family, I slightly wondered if she would return. Turns out, I'm far wiser than I realized.
When was is actually doomed?
The day we were married. I married her, but she never really married me. I cannot tell you the number of bank accounts, internet searches in Russian, and unpaid bills I found after she left, all of which indicate that this was coming for a long time. I had zero idea.
Turns out that communication of truth went exclusively one way in my marriage to what I've come to believe is probably a 'Massage Therapist.'
What a joke. What an absolute joke.
Dang, I should get tested."