27 Women Reveal The Moment They Knew They Needed A Divorce

From not feeling like a priority to realizing there was no connection, these women share their powerful stories.

Maybe it was an affair. It could have been a blowout fight. Or perhaps it was a small day-to-day moment — like your partner wasn’t listening to you — that represented so much more. But at some point in a marriage headed for divorce, you just know.

“There are different last straws for everybody … things that you just let slide, and then suddenly you’re like, ‘I can’t let it slide anymore,'” Dr. Elizabeth Cohen, a psychologist and author of Light on the Other Side of Divorce: Discovering the New You, tells Scary Mommy. “I really want to make sure that people have a lot of empathy for themselves [and know] that whatever their last straw was is OK.”

Cohen says some of the most common reasons for divorce she’s seen are affairs, addiction to drugs and alcohol, lack of communication, not giving enough attention to their relationship or family, different values, inability to get through arguments, and not being aligned on big decisions.

“In our culture, there’s so much pressure to stay married, especially for women,” Cohen notes. “Admitting that something isn’t working for you is super brave … [It] takes a lot of self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-respect.”

We asked our readers about the moments they realized they needed a divorce, and thousands shared their stories. Read on for some of their honest and raw responses.

When They Felt Like They Weren’t Supported or a Priority:

“When I was actively having a miscarriage at 16 weeks pregnant, and he hopped on a flight to attend a wedding.” — AW

“When I told him my dad was put into the emergency room … and he never looked away from the computer game he was playing.” — Melissa

“When I went through a prolonged and extremely difficult situation at work, and my husband offered me zero emotional support.” — Erin

“When I announced to him that, after 10 years of being a stay-at-home mom, I wanted to go back to school and have my first chance at a career. He laughed and said I could never do that.” — Angel

“When I was told I wasn’t a priority or even in the top five. So many other jobs/hobbies were more important.” — Kimberly

When They Felt Completely Alone:

“Sleeping next to a man and feeling the loneliest I’d ever felt in my life.” — Wendy

“When I felt completely alone even when he was sitting right beside me.” — Jennifer

“After I watched my grandfather take his last breath, I realized just how short life is and how truly unhappy and lonely I felt.” — Shannon

“When I was standing in front of him talking to him, and he ignored me/looked past me like I wasn’t even there. I felt like a ghost in my own house.” — Jenn

When Life Seemed Harder With Their Partner Than Without:

“When a future together was harder to imagine than a future without him.” — Jen

“When I realized my happiest moments in about a year were not with my husband.” — Ronice

“When I realized I was happy he would be away for several days for his job. I felt free.” — Elvira

“When I could imagine him with someone else, and I didn’t feel hurt from that thought.” — Hannah

“When I realized I carried the hard stuff alone, and it would be simpler for me without my partner.” — Tricia

When They Realized It Was Impacting Their Kids:

“When I realized I didn’t want my daughter growing up thinking this is what love looks like.” — Laura

“When my kids said they thought fighting was normal because we were married.” — Alissa

“When my son spoke to me the same way his dad did. I knew that he was too kind of a boy to turn into that man.” — Heather

“When I spent more time drying tears (my children’s and my own) than I did laughing and smiling.” — Krista

“When I realized I was missing my children’s childhoods as a result of trying to avoid him.” — Christina

“When I realized he was having (another) affair, and I wanted my kids to see that I deserved better.” — Suzanne

“When my oldest started coming out of his room like he needed to protect me during fights.” — Sarah

When They Felt No Connection or Emotion:

“We went for a kid-free dinner date. We literally had nothing to say to each other and just sat in silence. Not only was the relationship over, the friendship was as well.” — Meneka

“When I realized that neither of us was doing anything we loved anymore. We were both just existing in the same space.” — Chrissy

“I felt more like a roommate than a wife.” — Joyce

“When all the emotion was gone. I stayed through fights. I stayed through betrayal. I stayed through rage and depression. But when he couldn’t even make me cry anymore, much less laugh, it was time to go. I felt nothing.” — Erica

When They Thought About the Future:

“Fortieth birthday, sitting across the table from him, realizing that we would still be sitting there on my 50th birthday and nothing will have changed. Nope.” — Heidi

“Someone asked me what my life looked like in five years. I knew instantly it didn’t include him if I wanted to feel happy again.” — Shelley

For newly divorced couples, Cohen says it’s important to look at it as an opportunity to learn about yourself and create a new life: “If we can tolerate and accept the pain and grief and work through that … then you can embrace the next chapter.”


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