People Who've Gotten Divorced After Decades Together Explain What Happened
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Sometimes longevity can't keep a marriage together. Sometimes things just get so bad, that it just doesn't make sense to continue a relationship with a longtime partner. But how bad does it have to get before that happens? These Redditors will tell you

Redditor FlameBR34TH asked:

Husbands and wives that got divorced after 20 years of marriage, what made you decide to change your mind after all that time?

How horrible.

"Grandparents got divorced after 30+ years of marriage. Met in the early 1950s in a really small town. Both about 19 or 20 and got married 2 years later. I think that was kind of just what you did back then. They had a pretty traditional marriage with 7 children."

"I think my Grandmother grew up and became more independent and my Grandpa 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. My grandfather pretty much just worked and came home and watched TV. In his 50s, he slipped and broke his back and couldn't work anymore. He really just stopped doing much of anything after that. 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 were already more-or-less roommates."

"Eventually, grandma had just had it with him. She filed for divorce. He had a hard time accepting it. 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. He kept breaking into the house where he lived with nana."

"She confronted him during one of these break-ins and 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 that down. I'm not sure they ever loved each other, but they had a marriage of convenience that worked ok for some time. He was pretty detached from raising the kids and when he no longer felt useful he just unraveled. It's too bad, because he lived over 10 more years in prison. He could have had a relationship with his grandkids, but one impulsive act crushed that. I always felt robbed of having a relationship with either of those grandparents."


"She confronted him during one of these break-ins and 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 that down. I'm not sure they ever loved each other, but they had a marriage of convenience that worked ok for some time. He was pretty detached from raising the kids and when he no longer felt useful he just unraveled. It's too bad, because he lived over 10 more years in prison. He could have had a relationship with his grandkids, but one impulsive act crushed that. I always felt robbed of having a relationship with either of those grandparents."


Bad form.


"He tried to kill me, which I feel is impolite."


"How rude."


"It sorely tested my patience, it did."


Well that's a mess.

"My husband's parents did this. He said he knew his parents weren't happy for a long time. Said they went to family therapy together but ultimately once my husband went to the Army (he was the younger of 2) they divorced and both later married other people. These 2 could not get along for anything, they HATED each other. At our wedding, we had to take separate family pictures with the dad and new wife and then with the mom and my sister in law. It was insane..."

"Cut to about 2 years after our wedding and I get a phone call from father in law's wife of 10 years, she is in hysterics. She had caught him in bed with my mother in law, his ex wife. My husband would not believe it until he talked to his father."

"That was over 10 years ago. My in-laws both divorced their partners and have been together ever since. My mother in law has all their old family pictures on display everywhere and acts like they never divorced and have been together for over 4 decades."


Sounds like a lot of a**holery.

"When I was 8, my dad threatened to leave my mom because he was threatened by her brother. My uncle didn't do anything wrong, but my dad didn't like another man in his kids' lives because he had fears of abandonment and "getting replaced" (still has those fears). So he gave my mom an ultimatum: "It's your brother or me. you gotta chose."

"My mom, fearing to hold together a family, chose my dad. My uncle was broken about it because my mom was forced to shut him due to reasons he didn't even understand."

"Fast forward 6 years and my older brother now in college develops an outside view of the family life and began to understand the "a**holery" of my dad. So my brother called my dad and gave him his full mind on what he thinks of my dad and how he's done petty things out of fear. My dad flipped and blamed my mom for that because he thought "she was putting words in his mouth". Things were tense for a bit between my dad, bother, and mother until my dad decided to move out officially because he felt not welcome in the family."

"That was 5 years ago and he's been living separately since then, but my parents are still legally married due to joint-owning a lot of assets. A year ago, however, I found out that my dad had been dating a 25 year old for over a year (he's 60). The scary thing was that my mom knew the whole time but she didn't tell us because she feared how it would make us view our dad."

"My mom is still very broken up about the fact that it was my dad that left her, despite him having toxic and manipulative behavior toward her, me, and my brothers for the latter part of their 25 year marriage."


Now THAT'S a power move.


"There's a guy in my town that everyone knows about because he owns this huge mansion in a middle class neighborhood. Apparently he was married to a woman for a long time but she left him calling him a "loser" because his business hadn't taken off yet."

"After she left him his business finally took off (he sells medical equipment to hospitals) and he became FU levels of rich in a few years. The reason he built the mansion in that neighborhood was because that is where she lives so she has to drive by the mansion on her way to work everyday."


It's definitely a struggle.

"23 years. I had lied to her several times over the years, and she always forgave me. The last time I lied to her about accruing a severe amount of debt due to a gambling addiction. I think she might have forgiven the lie, but she couldn't forgive the addiction and the chance I'd start gambling again."

"I started attending Gambler's Anonymous after I told her, but it was too little too late for her. On the plus side, I haven't gambled in almost 3 years."

"Edit: I wanted to thank everyone for the support. It was a struggle at first, but it gets easier as long as I take it one day at a time. I've made some amazing friends in my local recovery community, and I run a meeting once a week to help others that are suffering."

That's so infuriating.

"Had to watch my parents go through the paperwork to get divorced after my dad had a massive stroke and was forced to retire. It was the only way for them to keep the money from his pension AND maintain his health insurance coverage."

"My parents got a divorce of convenience so pops could make the mortgage payments and get his insulin. Thankfully my parents insurance agent is a close friend, and found every possible form and loophole so they could stay in the house together. It took almost two years to get everything settled."

"I'll never forget my dad's statement after it was all done. "The Church still says we're married, and that's what matters to us. At least now, your mother can still get her hearing aids and pay the mortgage if something happens to me."

"I was so disgusted with it all. I never forgave my dad's union for it, and we now make sure someone from our family shows up to their annual open meeting when they discuss the health insurance plan to shame them in explicit detail with how the board f**ks over the roughnecks."


Sounds like a headache.


"My parents got divorced after 22 years of marriage. They were never in love and didn't even like each other. They had me and then my sister a few years later and wanted to stay together for the kids. 12 years after I was born they had my brother and that kept the cycle going."

"I wish I could say they are happy now, but they still like to cause trouble for each other. We're due with our first child soon and they're gonna have to figure out how to be grandparents together. Thankfully I'm 1500 miles from them so it won't be a headache often."


That's an interesting pattern.

"I worked at a law firm that only practiced family law (divorces, child custody, wills & estates, etc). At one time we had like 8 clients getting divorced after 20+ years of marriage and they were all high ranking military men whose wives came out of the closet after all their kids had grown up and moved out of the house and the guys were getting ready to retire."

"I thought it was so weird, but I guess for whatever reason the women thought that their duties to their husbands and families were coming to an end and they wanted to live for themselves. I guess I know why they couldn't come out 30 years ago, it was a different time but I was curious why they were all attracted to military guys? I assume maybe cause it meant their husbands would be away for years at a time during their service?"


That's a tough situation.

"My parents split up after nearly 30 years. My dad was an a**hole my entire life, so when they finally divorced when I was 18, there was no surprise. He'd been cheating for years and I think he was the one who finally asked for it."

"I think my mom stayed because she couldn't afford to start over. She spent her life putting my dad through school and wasn't educated herself. She had no family or anyone who could help her either. There was definitely some confidence issues on her part too."


The cult mentality is so harmful.


"Grandparents were married for I believe 28 years. They went to a very evil church, very cult mentality, you're raised in the church, go to school there, you're not supposed to associate with people outside the church, live with people from there, never question anything. My mom was a questioner, so she was shunned, then got pregnant outside of marriage by a guy not from the church (my dad). Big no no. I think it was this that, when I was about 13, inspired my grandfather to leave that church. Maybe. Now, he wasn't denouncing his faith. He wasn't denying his Christianity. He literally used to be a pastor. No, he just stopped going to that specific church. So, the pastor told my grandmother to divorce him. So she did."

"Almost 30 years, thrown down the drain. That was 8 or so years ago, I haven't seen her since. It feels like way longer. She moved in with her oldest daughter, my aunt, who is a genuine psychopath, treats her horribly, controlling, completely devoid of empathy. It breaks my heart."

"Meanwhile my grandfather got remarried almost immediately, which we found out after the fact, to a woman from Iceland who was a pill popping control freak, isolated him from his family, listened to his phone calls. She never told him that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer two years before they'd met, never told him. So she ended passing away after a long battle about a year or so later. It was tragic. Her heroine addict daughter is still attached to my grandpa, draining money from him, being a general parasite. He met another woman from Brazil, got married within months, once again, we found out through Facebook, and he skipped off to Brazil and we haven't seen him since."

"What with all that, and my other grandparents both passing away earlier this year, it feels like I have no grandparents. I know they're not getting younger and it kills me that all this time is being wasted. They were such a part of my life as a child, they were such a help when my life was shitty, they were a place to run to. I don't have that anymore, I'm alone. It sucks. I hope that Pastor suffers as much as every family he has broken up with way. Cause we are not the first, and not the last. I'll dance on his grave."


I kinda want to punch this guy.

"He collected me from work after drinking shots with his friends which I didn't know about until it was too late. Then drove the car off the road and turned it upside down. He walked away unmarked and I was left paralyzed. He then told me he didn't want to be with a cripple and left."

"All this after 28 years together and high school sweethearts. I guess you never really know someone. It wasn't even the fact he left it was the way he did it."


That's disgusting.

"He cheated. About 6 hours after he hit me. My kids were seriously planning to leave home to get away from him. While I was trying to smooth all of that out, his nephew convinced him to shut all bank accounts down so I would have to ask him for money rather than just use my cards, to teach me to not bite the hand that feeds me. I was told that statement, repeatedly. This includes 2 accounts for the company we co-owned."

"Short answer: It was a sh*t show from day one and I was too scared to do anything, to get out, until he forced my hand."


Everybody wears a mask.

"My mother and father we're together about 20 years. I think that she was interested in him when they met, but the thing about people is that everybody wears a mask. As you get to know somebody and get more comfortable with them, your public-facing mask starts to lower. Sometimes this can take a long time."

"My father was pretty mentally ill. I don't know if it had something to do with his childhood (probably) or his time in the coast guard. I'm fuzzy on the details of his life because I cut him out of my life, but I also feel like he was an army vet? It seems the most likely explanation of his mental illness anyway."

"He was a very angry person. He yelled, but more often he was incredibly passive-aggressive all the time. He would get so mad over the stupidest things. I remember that we weren't allowed to cook breakfast sausage when he was in the house or anytime around when he would be because he said the smell made him sick. We couldn't go to a restaurant ever again if he had one problem with it, things as simple as finding a dirt clod inside a baked potato. He used to invent lies to manipulate me into doing what he wanted, usually well-meaning, but still manipulative. When I was like 10 he declared that my mom had a disease from biting her fingernails, so I needed to stop or I would get it too. When I called him out for lying, he made me stand in the corner."

"Of course, nobody that knew us knew about his mental illness, he was very good at hiding it to the point that I had had people comment on how unfair I was being to him in situations. He also loved to spin a life to them to get them on his side."

"I don't know how fast my mom lost her love for him, but I feel certain that it was long before I had to kick him out. When I got into my late teens, with my own anger issues, it became clear to him that things were quickly leading toward physical confrontations and he had some talks to my mom and left. I really don't know when my mom would have left if it weren't for me. I see it all around me now that I'm an adult, people, especially women, stay with people for no real reason. They think that they're financially or emotionally invested in them, and maybe they are, but isn't your mental health more important than your financial comfort?"

"Anyway, they never got divorced, so when my dad died a couple years ago after 30 years of marriage, my mom gets his military benefits now."


These are some harrowing stories?

Do you have similar experiences to share? Let us know in the comments below.

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