When a marriage comes to an end, it is a devastating realization that the person with whom you've exchanged vows is not the same person anymore.
There are many unpredictable factors contributing to the demise of a marriage.
Maybe there were red flags that were ignored. Maybe there had been an ongoing affair. Or maybe a couple rushed to the altar—blinded by lust—and later realized they were not compatible.
Unfortunately, the opportunities to salvage a marriage on the rocks are usually undetectable until far too much emotional damage is done.
Curious to hear from those who've moved on from their marriages, Redditor ItzFruity asked:
"Divorced people of Reddit, what could have saved your marriage?"
These Redditors realized hindsight was 20/20 in 2021.
"Being aware that marriage should be us as a unit, not me vs them. It took me awhile to process the lesson, but I did better the second time around."
"Marriage is not 50/50 it's 100/100."
"I used to travel 150-200 days a year for my international recruitment job. I would be gone to Asia or Latin America for a few weeks and then come back for a week, but I was never really present when I was at home because I was so tired. I never cheated on her when I was on the road (like a lot of my colleagues did), but that really wasn't enough to keep the marriage going. She developed interests outside of the marriage and it ended."
"I think i should have turned down a few of the travel opportunities with my job to balance things out and be more present. But the money was so good, I thought that would ultimately make us happy."
Growing Up To Do
"Should have been more aware of them. I was a selfish prick. Emphasis on the was, as it's been nearly 20 years and I have grown up a lot."
"Better communication. I worked too much and didn't really listen to her when she indirectly said not to work so hard. She got fed up and left for someone else."
Pressure, whether from peers or self-imposed, inevitably contributed to the demise of the following marriages.
Controlling The Relationship
"My first husband's friends told him never to compromise or let me have what I wanted, because then he would have 'lost' control of the relationship. That...went about as well as you'd expect, if the 'first' in husband wasn't a hint."
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Not A Race
"Him hitting me and cheating on me less? I should have never married him. I thought I was 'behind' other people my age in life, didn't realize then that it's not a race and people hit milestones differently. I learned from my mistakes and made a much better choice the 2nd time around."
The Other Child
"If he hadn't had an affair with my 'best friend' that I've known since the 2nd grade. Her youngest daughter is definitely his, and their daughter is 7 months younger than our daughter. The only time we are all together the was at my Mom's house at Christmas time for a couple of days."
"I found out 8 years later that my God baby was my husband's child.. we had been married 17 years then. We tried to make it work as roommates for the kids and we had just bought our first house, but it didn't work and we had a bitter divorce."
Therapy can sometimes save a failing marriage. But both parties have to be willing to put in the work, unlike in one of the examples, below.
A Late Revelation
"I was married to the sweetest man. He was just.. always trying to prove himself to the world, always unhappy with his achievements, thinking he was not masculine enough, quite a nervous demeanour.. I can't really explain. He also drank more and more over the years. By the time we turned 40 we decided to divorce. We chose to not have children, so we felt it was fine to just let each other be. We're still friends, although over the past 4 years since the divorce we did grow apart of course. But we see each other regularly still. Then.. a few months ago, he told me he went into therapy. Because as a child he had been sexually abused by a 'friend' of the family."
"So there it is. I wonder ever since he told me that if he had confided in me or had gotten therapy earlier, in any way let this 'secret' out, we would've stayed together. It makes me sad, all of it."
"if my ex didn't give up in therapy, once we identified my personal issues and I started working on it, and things didn't magically get better. it became apparent that she had issues to work on as well. her response was, and these words are burned into my heart forever 'no... I dont want to work on it anymore... I'm done.'"
Avoid Focusing On Pettiness
"These are the things I've learned in 26 years, still married but almost divorced twice. Don't sweat the small sh*t, it's absolutely not worth it to either of you. Be willing to make compromises and look at the things from your partner's perspective, or simply in a way that doesn't place your views and feelings on a pedestal. Try your hardest not to be an uncompromising a**hole, that's also not worth it and both your lives will be much happier and more laid back. Be honest about your feelings and concerns etc. Try your hardest to support each other and work as a team through the difficulties in your relationship and your life and you will be able to conquer anything together."
"Also try to make time at least every couple of days to do something together that you both enjoy, even if it's only for an hour or two. eg: watch tv/movie, go for a walk, eat out. paint Warhammer, listen to music.....whatever, just something. you will cherish those times later and it will bring you closer together."
Marriage, or any relationship for that matter, takes work.
If couples are in it for the long haul, they can't expect the spark that brought them together would remain steady.
It was too late for many of the Redditors above who shared their stories, but we could learn a lot of valuable lessons through their experiences that would help us keep the relationships that are worth fighting for.