The decision to get married is one of the most serious choices a person can make in their life—but the decision to end a marriage can at times be even more so. When two people look each other in the eye and say “I do,” they are pledging a lifelong commitment to one another. But things don’t always end up going according to plan…
From infidelity to personality clashes (and everything in between), here are 42 very personal examples of how long-term marriages ultimately ended in divorce.
1. You’ll Pay For This!
The beginning of the end of my marriage was when my husband tried to kill me. For a while, he’d had a mistress with an insatiable appetite for lousy, overpriced mall jewelry and lingerie designed to impress a 400-pound sack of crap such as herself. I knew her quite well. She was a con artist and not a very nice person.
My husband took out credit cards and store accounts in my name and drained his entire retirement account for this bum. At a certain point, my credit was so trashed that he couldn’t do any more damage to it even if he actively wanted to, so he decided to arrange to have me killed before I could find out about it and divorce him. Luckily, I found out in time to prevent it from happening.
I am still suffering from the consequences of his actions to this day. I still have a garnishment that I can’t afford to fight for about $8K ($1K per month), plus another $16K in various stages of collection. On top of all that, the loser didn’t pay his spousal support, so I can’t even afford a lawyer to challenge any of this stuff in court.
Needless to say, I left him because I found this whole thing very impolite!
2. What Goes Down Must Come Up
My husband’s parents got a divorce after many, many years of marriage. He said he knew that his parents weren’t really happy for a long time. He also said they went to family therapy together at one point, but ultimately chose to part ways once both of their kids were out of the house. As soon as my husband (the younger of the two) went off to the Army, they divorced, and both later married other people.
In the years that followed, these two could never get along for anything. They absolutely HATED each other. At our wedding, we had to take separate family pictures with the dad and his new wife and then with the mom and my sister-in-law. It was insane! Cut to about two years after our wedding. Out of the blue, I get a phone call one day from my father in-law’s wife of 10 years.
She is in hysterics. She had caught him in bed…with my mother-in-law! My husband would not believe it until he talked to his father and confirmed that this had indeed taken place. That was over 10 years ago. Shortly after that incident, my in-laws both divorced their new partners and they have been back together with each other ever since.
My mother-in-law now has all of their old family pictures up on display everywhere, and just acts like the divorce never happened. If you met them and saw them together today, you would have no reason to doubt that they had simply been together for over four decades like any other couple their age!
3. On-Again, Off-Again
Well, funny story. My parents were high school sweethearts and were married for 22 years. Then, they got divorced when I was six years old. My dad remarried and had another kid, then got divorced again. My mom never did. Fast forward about 30 years. I got married. My parents were in the same room for the first time in 30 years…and I couldn’t believe what happened. They were flirting with each other like teenagers!
I have video of it. It really is pretty amusing to watch (until I remember it’s my parents). They have been “dating” again ever since I got married. That was more than five years ago. They are virtually living together, and both of them think it’s funny to allude to their sex life around me so that I’ll be embarrassed—which still works, despite my age.
4. Nothing Grand About This
My grandparents got a divorce after more than 30 years of marriage. They met in the early 1950s in a really small town. They were both about 19 or 20 years old at the time and they got married just two years later. That was just the way things were done back then. They had a pretty traditional marriage with seven children.
I think that, over the years, my grandmother “grew up” in a sense and became more independent, while my grandfather really just wanted a traditional stay-at-home wife. When the kids were old enough, she got a job as a secretary. She had lots of friends and a social circle. Meanwhile, my grandfather pretty much just worked, came home, and watched TV every day.
In his 50s, he had a fall where he broke his back and couldn’t work anymore. He really stopped doing much of anything after that. He just sat on the couch all day chain-smoking cigars and watching TV. He was also becoming more and more of a hoarder as he got older. I think even before this point, they had already started to feel more like roommates than spouses.
Eventually, grandma had just had enough of him. She filed for divorce. He had a hard time accepting that. He was supposed to be staying with one of his adult kids, while his other kids were working on purchasing a small house for him in the neighborhood where a few of his kids and grandkids lived.
Nevertheless, he kept breaking back into the house he had lived in with my grandma. She confronted him during one of these break-ins and, tragically, he killed her. I think he was probably depressed through much of his life but, because he grew up with that small-town 1950s mentality, he was just taught to bury it down.
I’m not sure that they ever really loved each other, but they had a marriage of convenience that worked out for some time. He was pretty detached from raising the kids and, when he no longer felt useful, he just quickly unraveled. It’s too bad, because he lived for over 10 more years in prison. He could have had a relationship with his grandkids, but one impulsive act crushed that opportunity forever.
I always felt robbed of having a relationship with either of those grandparents.
5. The Feeling Is Mutual
A friend of mine was married for nearly thirty years, with two kids. As she put it, they had been “playing divorce chicken for a decade” before they finally went through with it. For all those years, they knew that they weren’t happy, yet there simply weren’t any concrete reasons to get divorced in all that time. They never fought, and actually got along very well. They just weren’t in love anymore.
A few years ago, they finally decided it was time. They went out for drinks one evening and hashed out how to divide up their assets. They agreed on a fifty-fifty split. They got a lawyer to make everything legit and, a few months later, they got divorced. The ex-husband rented out a house just a few blocks away from where they had always lived, so that the kids could easily walk back and forth between mom’s and dad’s places.
About six months after the divorce was finalized, the ex-husband set his ex-wife up with a new boyfriend. They now go on double dates, and even go to parent-teacher conferences together. It is bizarre.
6. Never Alone
What made me decide to get a divorce after many years of marriage was going through therapy. It totally changed my perspective on the situation I was in. After more than a decade of being miserable, I finally sought help for the first time. As soon as I was able to finally talk about my marriage openly, I quickly realized that I needed to get the heck out.
At the end of the day, I stayed in a lousy marriage because the thought of “being alone” scared me. Through therapy, I was clued in about how many wonderfully supportive friends and family members I would have if I just reached out to them. That was when I finally understood that although I wasn’t going to be in a romantic relationship anymore, I wasn’t going to be alone either.
7. Back to the Old Drawing Board
My parents split up recently after nearly 30 years of marriage. My dad had always been a jerk—so when they finally divorced when I was 18, it was no surprise. He had been cheating for years and I think that he was the one who finally asked for it. I think my mom stayed with him for all that time because she simply couldn’t afford to start her life all over again from scratch. She spent her best years putting my dad through school, and wasn’t highly educated herself.
She had no other family members around or anyone who could help her, either. There were definitely some confidence issues that kept her around for that long, even though she knew all along that she deserved better.
8. Turning the Tables
A friend of mine’s parents got divorced when she was in high school. They had been together for nearly 20 years, but they argued constantly. After they got divorced, her dad bought the other half of the duplex they had lived in and became best friends with her mom. They went out to dinner several nights a week, never fought over what to do with the kids, and helped each other with their bills. They just dated other people too.
My friend said she wishes that they would have gotten along like that years ago.
9. Second Time’s the Charm
My parents got divorced after 22 years of marriage when my mother cheated. My dad felt bad and hurt, but acknowledged that he might have been part of the problem due to his emotional distance. So, he wanted to work through the issues with therapy and stuff. She agreed to try and work through them as well—but it was all lies. She cheated again a week later.
The divorce was messy…
10. An Insatiable Thirst for Disaster
My current girlfriend got divorced after 20 years of marriage. About 10 years in, her husband started to drink more and more as time went on. She picked up the slack and tried everything she possibly could to turn their fortunes around. She worked her butt off for seven years trying to address his drinking problem, because “my husband was my best friend, and you don’t abandon your best friend when they are in trouble.”
She tried all she could, but he just drank more and more in spite of her best efforts. By the end of it, he had devolved into a shell of a mean man and she left as soon as their youngest child was old enough to drive. She was extremely sad over the whole thing. He died a mere 120 days after the divorce became final. Now she lives with constant feelings of guilt, even all these years later.
11. Good Things Come to Those Who Wait
After about 25 years of marriage, I finally decided that I couldn’t take it anymore and started the divorce process a few years back. I quickly realized the various complications that would come along with this process, so I decided to suck it up for a few more years for the sake of the kids. I had planned on restarting the process as soon as they all moved out—but I never expected what happened next.
To my surprise, I ended up falling in love with my wife all over again once the kids moved out. I never followed through with the divorce. The lesson I learned is that all relationships go through cycles. I’m so glad that I stuck it out in the end.
12. Emotional Roller Coaster
My parents used to yell at each other and fight a lot. It got pretty bad and my mom eventually decided to get a divorce after 20 years of marriage and three children. My dad was devastated. He’s a hard-working, traditional kind of man who has trouble expressing his love and feelings for his family out loud. His way of showing it was always by working like a dog to provide for us.
My mom is also a hard-working woman, but she was frequently upset that he would rather be working than spending time with us. I see where both of them were coming from. Anywho, the day my mom filed for divorce was the first time that I had EVER seen my dad cry. This guy could slice 1/4th of his finger off and barely bat an eyelash.
She basically ignored him whenever he came over to visit. Nevertheless, he always sent her whatever money he made. There was no coercion or anything, he just wanted to continue making sure that his kids were provided for. Fast forward four years to the day of my graduation from university. I only had two tickets, so I invited my parents (of course). I wasn’t sure how well they would get along and I frankly thought they would be bored. Heck, I originally wasn’t even going to attend!
But to my utter shock, they actually got to talking once they were stuck seated next to each other—and even ditched me to go to Chinatown together after the ceremony ended. I came home later that night to find my dad with his arm around my mom’s shoulder. I had NEVER seen that before in my life, and I was almost 22 years old at the time. He then announced to all of us in the room that “Your mom has decided to be my woman again.”
Both me and my brothers were completely floored. I never thought in my wildest imagination that this could have happened in a million years. They are now happily remarried and get along great. They even regularly go out on dates, which is weird but cute in my opinion. No one would have any clue that the two of them were ever divorced.
At the end of the day, I am glad that the divorce happened. As weird and crazy is it sounds, I think it saved their relationship in the long run.
13. Seeing Where She’s Coming From
My roommate’s wife left him after about 20 years of marriage. When he first moved in with me, he said he couldn’t figure out why it had happened. After living with him for six months, I’ve asked him to move out—and I can now easily give him a long list of reasons why people might not want to be around him.
He’s a closet alcoholic. He hides the bottles at the bottom of the recycling bin. He’s also insanely lazy. He doesn’t clean anything. He was unemployed for three years while married, yet never learned any basic household skills like cooking or cleaning. He was working 30 hours a week when he moved in, then asked for reduced hours because he couldn’t handle that much commitment.
He is now at 15 hours a week and says he’s looking for a new job because he can’t make ends meet on what he makes at this one. He stalks his daughters who don’t want to see him. The scary thing is that he doesn’t consider it stalking, because they’re his daughters. As far as I’m concerned, if people call you and request that you stop parking outside their homes and watching them because you’re not welcome, that’s stalking whether they’re your daughters or not.
Oh, and he sleeps more than my cat—but given what he’s like when he’s awake, I see that as his best feature. Yep, his wife had plenty of good reasons for leaving…
14. A Series of Delays
My parents were married for 25 years. By the end of the first year, my mom already knew that she wasn’t happy and wanted a divorce. Unfortunately, her parents, friends, and religious leaders all advised against it. Because of that, it took her many years to get to the point where she could accept that it wasn’t right to throw her life away any longer—and she finally made the difficult decision to move on.
15. You Had Your Chance
My parents got divorced after many years of marriage. To make a long story short, my dad cheated on my mom and decided to leave her for the other woman. They split up. My mom is now very happy. Meanwhile, my dad ended up splitting up with the other woman. Now he wants my mom back. Nope, she ain’t having it. Good for her, as far as I’m concerned!
16. A One-Woman Show
I left my husband after many years of marriage because of his lying, cheating, and generally being an all-around jerk. I brought our children up, worked four jobs, and never missed a school event of theirs in all those years. When the children finally grew up and left the house, I knew that I had earned my freedom.
If you ask him what was wrong, on the other hand, he would reply that I just kicked him out for no reason. Frankly, I should have done it when the children were tiny. The result would not have been that different, as I was the only one who raised and cared for the kids when they were growing up anyway. He was too busy screwing around at every available opportunity.
But want to know the worst part? He even once gave me an STD as a result of his affairs and didn’t even bother to tell me. He is not a nice man.
17. I’ve Got a Secret
My parents were together for almost 30 years…until my mother and I discovered that my father had secretly been married to another woman at the same time. Needless to say, we haven’t spoken to him since.
18. One Track Mind
I plan on getting a divorce in the near future. My husband has been surreptitiously going to strip clubs for years. He has also been stealing about $200 a week from my various bank accounts to fund these activities. He lost his job because he stopped even bothering to take it seriously. He was just spending all his time at strip clubs and did not seem to even care about anything else. We had young kids at the time, and so I stayed with him after he agreed to get some therapy.
He was never honest with the therapist. About a year ago, I learned that he was still maintaining his old habits. Plus texting strippers. My youngest kid graduates high school this year. I’ve done what’s best for everyone else for 20 years now. This September marked 21 years of marriage for us. I don’t anticipate having a 22nd anniversary.
It’s really scary to think of being alone. I don’t hate him. I honestly feel sorry for him. I know that he will feel very sad and lonely when I’m gone. But at this point, being near him feels like having my soul ripped from my body every single day.
19. Happy Anniversary!
My husband and I would have celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary just six months after our divorce ended up being finalized. He was sleeping with his 20-year-old “administrative assistant” on a regular basis. When I confronted him about it, he said, “I want a divorce” as a way of trying to get me to back off. To his surprise, I said “See ya, bye!” and threw him out of the house.
I quickly found out that he was also bonking various other people prior to this incident. He ended up marrying that assistant. I married an awesome guy who I met shortly after. It’s all good except for the fact that our daughters are caught in the middle of it all. Oh and, in retrospect, my vague sense that he was always a jerk throughout those 25 years turned out to actually be spot on!
20. No Respect
I have chosen to get a divorce after almost two decades of marriage due to the fact that my wife doesn’t respect me or show any interest in spending any time with me these days. There is practically nothing I can do anymore that can get her attention for even as little as five minutes in a day. After all this time, it’s clear that she doesn’t want companionship or anything else from me, so I’ve decided that I might as well just let her go and do her own thing.
21. Relationships Are a Two-Way Street
My ex completely took me for granted. We were married for close to 20 years. He was totally dependent on me for everything, yet never tried to meet my needs in any way. For the last 10 years, I was just trying to get through it for our children’s’ sake, but eventually, I just couldn’t keep up the charade anymore. We’re still friends and spend time together often for the sake of our children.
22. Better Late Than Never
I got divorced after 27 years of marriage. We never should have married in the first place. We had a huge argument about a month before our wedding that would have split us up for sure had we not already been engaged, with invitations sent and venue booked. I buckled and went crawling back to him to avoid the mess of having to undo all that. I’m paying the price for that poor decision today.
23. Way to Think Ahead!
My wife and I were together for 20 years, and married to each other for 15. We started out as high school sweethearts, but we eventually realized that we weren’t the same people that we were when we fell in love. We also realized that this reality was not going to change. We decided that the best way to ensure everyone’s long-term happiness was to end the marriage on peaceful terms before we both turned into bitter 70-year-olds who resented each other for trapping ourselves in an unhappy marriage for over 40 years.
24. Undercover Boss
My wife and I got married young. We were both just 24 years old at the time and our marriage ended up lasting 15 years. During all those years, she was constantly getting attention from other men, and I think she let that attention go to her head. She always acted like she had to be in control of the relationship. It was her way or the highway.
We are divorcing now because she is “in love” with my ex-best friend, who is leaving his wife of 23 years.
25. Suspicious Minds
My parents were married for 22 years when they separated, and 24 years by the time the divorce was final. From the perspective of a child caught in the middle of their situation, there was no way that either of them had ever been happy when they were together. There was hardly ever a quiet moment in the house because of my father’s temper, but my mother knew how to serve it back too.
The final straw came as the result of a horrible chain of events. My father had a very rigid view of how the family unit is supposed to function. In his opinion, the man works while the woman stays at home to look after the household and the children. When I was in high school, my father got injured at work and needed surgery. He worked in a physically demanding job, and would be out for six months. My mother, knowing that we were already falling behind on vehicle and house payments, decided to find part-time employment. From that point on, she worked while my siblings and I were at school.
My father immediately began to believe that the real reason she was leaving the house every day was that she was cheating on him. He installed a tracker and tape recorder in her car. He showed up at her workplace and caused a scene multiple times. He questioned her coworkers. Meanwhile, he spent most of his time at the house drinking. This was not an equal partnership, and it really never was.
You should have seen how hurt he acted when my mom finally asked for a divorce. Nevertheless, he rebounded real quick. All he had to do was tell some woman on a dating app his sob story, and she let him move right into her house. He spent a couple of years treating her and her children horribly before she kicked him out.
It only took him a couple of weeks in a hotel to find another woman to let him move in that time.
26. A Distinction With a Difference
My parents were married for many years. It was always clear that they cared about each other, but it was also clear that they did not love each other. I believe they were just waiting for my sister and me to grow older before divorcing so that we wouldn’t have to do the whole “weekends with dad” type of thing.
27. Many Factors at Play
Despite many years of marriage, my dad had multiple affairs and my mom (understandably) got tired of putting up with it. There was also alcoholism, and both parents were workaholics. My dad remarried a lovely woman, and so did my mom. Oh, that may have been an issue too…
28. Blind Trust
My husband and I married as teens. He had multiple affairs during our 20-year marriage. It’s sad really, as I had always trusted him completely and was quite devastated to find out that he had essentially been leading another life outside of our marriage without my knowledge.
29. Pride and Prejudice
My wife’s grandparents got divorced after 50 years of marriage. They were both extremely prideful people and were probably emotionally divorced long before they legally were. They fought like newlyweds and never learned how to resolve their differences. They finally got divorced when he started cheating on her with a girl he had dated 50 years earlier.
It’s sad on all fronts, but what gets me the most is that he probably had to take Viagra just to be able to cheat!
30. A Change of Heart
My marriage had a 25-year run. The first 20 of those years were good, then the next five were awful. The root cause? He simply grew in a different direction than I did over the years. He changed. I became more liberal and open-minded, while he went from being a laidback stoner dude with a decent job to an unemployed, angry conspiracy theorist.
The five bad years were really bad. Since we split up, my life has blossomed; so that is good. His has not, which I am uncomfortable to admit makes me a little happy. I wish that I could be honestly compassionate towards him, but instead, the whole thing just feels like a vindication for me.
31. Too Many Clues to Ignore
My wife constantly has her head down in her cell phone from the moment she gets up in the morning to the minute she goes to bed at night. Lately, she’s been meeting guys from the internet for “lunch” (“Just friends, I swear”), and getting a lot of messages from her therapist at weird hours of the evening. She always turns her phone’s location services off whenever she is out of the house.
Six months ago, she started getting her lashes and eyebrows done, started tanning, and started going to the gym constantly. She gets pissed if I text her asking what she’s doing or when she will be home for dinner. She is obviously cheating on me, even though she swears she isn’t. That’s why I’m getting a divorce.
32. A Shocking Discovery
My ex-husband and I were both very independent and, as a result, distant right from the beginning. We had completely different views on raising kids, the roles of mothers versus fathers, money management, etc. When we had children, it was my job as the mother to raise them and do all things domestic, while also working full time outside of the house.
While they were in elementary school, my husband started cheating on me, which continued regularly until I discovered it many years later. I left him after 26 years of marriage as soon as I found out.
33. Something Is Missing
To put it bluntly, my divorce was the result of having zero sex for over 20 years in our marriage. No, I’m not exaggerating—that really happened and that was really the reason for our split.
34. The Other Side of the Coin
My grandmother once told me that she was considering divorcing her husband of over 50 years. The reason she gave me was, “We stayed together for the kids. Now, the kids are all grown up and have lives of their own. And now I can’t ignore the small things about him (my grandpa) that annoy me anymore.” She didn’t go through with it in the end, but she seemed sincere when she said it.
It broke my heart, especially since I only ever saw the best side of him.
35. Home Sweet Home
My dad filed for divorce after 25 years of marriage to my mom. She was utterly shell-shocked. My dad was absolutely miserable, but the signs of a failed marriage were always present. My dad is very emotional and is quick to anger. He never really handled failure very effectively and would be mad instead of constructive when dealing with it.
My mom was always very family-oriented and was adamant that we never move farther than 40 miles from Chicago. Heck, when I was going away to college, she bawled to my dad to force me to go to a school closer to home. In a way, I think that my dad resented my mom for never letting him travel or get away from Chicago. It also doesn’t help that I’m also fairly certain that my mom became clinically depressed once her mother passed away.
All she would do on the day was the bare minimum at her job (as a school bus driver), come home and sleep, finish her afternoon route, cook a basic meal for the family, and then play Angry Birds on her iPad until it was time to go to bed. It’s really weird seeing your parents divorce when you are in your 20s. You’re adult enough to speak candidly about the situation, yet neither of them likes anything you have to say.
The silver lining out of it is that my sisters and I now know how not to behave in a relationship.
36. Serving a Purpose
My friend and her husband got divorced recently after many years of marriage. They had known for a long time that they weren’t that into each other anymore, but they chose to stay married for the simple, pragmatic reason that they co-parented together effectively. When the kids grew up, they did what they had long planned on doing and split up.
37. It’s for the Best
My parents were married for close to 40 years before they got divorced. My dad doesn’t seem to understand how “normal” emotions work. He kept up pretenses about his relationship with my mother when we were young, but just stopped caring later in life. Without children in the house to buffer their interactions, my dad’s behavior became increasingly bizarre and inappropriate. As a result, my mom’s physical and emotional health started deteriorating. We ultimately encouraged them to go their separate ways for their own good.
That turned out to be easier said than done. They are both products of the 1950s, meaning that my mom felt obligated to stick around and my dad felt that he should be allowed to do whatever he wanted—particularly because he made more money than her. He didn’t seem to care about the fact that he had also spent all that money (on himself). The whole situation was an absolute trainwreck.
Nevertheless, I’m happy to say that they are now divorced and each living their own separate but fulfilling lives. Mom is devoted to caring for her grandbabies, and dad is devoted to his new trophy wife.
38. Hardly Working
My parents just separated after 25 years of marriage. They never put the time in to take care of their relationship, and it was always just about the kids. When the last kid left the house and they faced only each other for the first time, they called it quits.
39. Do I Know You?
People have a tendency to act like there’s always blame to be pointed to in any given divorce—but as a divorced person, I find that point of view extremely oversimplified and unfair. I was married for 11 years. I was 20 years old when I got married, and my husband was 30. I thought that he wanted to grow with me. As it turned out, he was perfectly content to remain exactly the same for the rest of his life.
Even now, seven years post-divorce, he still is—whereas I am practically unrecognizable today from the person who he was married to. Did either of us do anything wrong? No, I don’t think we did. We just were incompatible in the long run. I think it’s better for everyone when people actually realize that and choose to end things on decent terms, allowing themselves to move on.
As far as I’m concerned, that’s always a much better outcome than trying all sorts of heroics to save something that just isn’t a good fit to begin with.
40. Mr. Wrong
My parents got divorced after over 20 years because my dad was (and still is) a psycho. My mom just couldn’t take it anymore. On the day after their wedding, my mom slaved over the stove all day to prepare their first married meal together. She was super proud of it—but my dad’s reaction was chilling. They sat across the table from each other, and my dad threw a glass of ice water at her face in protest of how he thought it tasted. He then started laughing about it.
He also demanded sex whenever he wanted it. He worked constantly and never talked to us kids. He missed every single recital we ever had, as well as most football games. He picked on my little brother constantly, to the point where he would feel the need to hide whenever he came home. My mom fought with him constantly about how he couldn’t communicate and was emotionally checked out of our lives.
When I moved away at the age of 19, I told him that I knew he’d never been there for me and that it was too late to have a relationship. He replied that he could have assaulted me when I was a kid but chose not to, so he must not have been a horrible dad after all.
I’m so glad that my mom got away from that lunatic once and for all.
41. Think of the Children!
I’m about to start the divorce process myself. My wife and I have been married for 19 years, and we’ve been together as a couple for 21. You’re probably wondering why I waited till now to start this process if I was unhappy in the relationship. The simple answer is because of our kids. Now that our kids are older and more self-sufficient (two out of the three are already driving), they don’t need their hands held for every little thing anymore.
As a result, the prospect of divorce will be a lot easier on them than it might have been a few years ago.
42. The Point of No Return
My parents got divorced when I was 12 years old after many years together. They thought I’d be devastated, but my reaction left them stunned. The only thing I could say when I heard was “Thank God. What took you so long?!” Some marriages are so toxic that everyone involved realizes at a certain point that they can’t go on any longer—regardless of how many years they may have behind them.
I don’t think I could have endured another six years living under the same roof as the two of them.