13 Women Reveal Why They Let Go Of A ‘Perfect’ Long-Term Relationship

Long-term relationships are often the hardest to end, but the ladies on r/AskWomen are sharing how and why they let go of the person they thought they’d be with forever.


1. 19 years of marriage, the cracks began to show at five.

I divorced after 19 years of marriage. I figure that the first ten years seemed pretty good, the cracks started showing up in the next five, we tried to work on it for 3, and then we spent a year divorcing, more or less.

What happened? He was a military guy and a scientist, and his life experiences led him more and more to believe that there was one right way to do everything, and one just had to do the research, find out what that one way was, and do it — and that the right answer was the same for everyone. I, on the other hand, was a grad student in the social sciences, and had friends with a wide range of lifestyles; I became more and more convinced that there were many different ways to do things, and that one needed to experiment, to figure out what worked for you as an individual, to negotiate with those around you, and to craft a unique path through life. Those two opinions and approaches toward life didn’t work so well together.

Over time, he got more and more critical and controlling, and while I’m pretty easy-going, it resulted in first my depression and then fights as I tried to push back. In retrospect, I recognize that it was a fairly emotionally abusive relationship, though I had no idea at the time.

2. We have very, very different interests.

I’m currently trying to decide if my boyfriend of 11 years and I should breakup and it’s tearing me apart. To be honest, the relationship isn’t bad at all but it’s…just not what I want maybe? We have very, very different interests. I have changed a lot since we started dating in high school and we’re both relatively poor communicators. I think the final thing that made me realize what I’m missing is my friend who has a deep emotional connection with her boyfriend. They’re into the same stuff but have enough separate interests. Currently deciding if I have a case of the grass is greener but I think I’m just not happy. Sorry it’s not quite what you were looking for!

3. I moved around several times for his career, but he asked me to make a move that I just couldn’t.

There’s an old proverb: marry in haste, repent at leisure. It’s embarrassing when old grandma proverbs come true in your own life. If we hadn’t gotten engaged too soon (less than six months after we started dating) it would have fallen apart after a year or two. I stayed in the marriage long after I was over it out of guilt, a misguided attempt to honor a commitment, inertia, and fear of being alone. I moved cities several times for his career until he asked me to make a move I just couldn’t.

4. We didn’t know who we truly were because we were so young.

We were young. Everything moved quickly. But things went bad between starting so young and not truly knowing who we were let alone what we wanted.

5. I didn’t want to be afraid of the future anymore.

I left my partner of a decade. Burned my entire life to the ground in the process and wouldn’t say I’m happier but I’m definitely not scared of what happens next anymore.

6. I wanted our family to be together, but we just couldn’t.

It was bad for a long time. He left once and I begged him to come back. We lasted a few years after that. We had young children. It destroyed me to have my family broken up.

7. We’re at different places in life and we want different things.

My husband and I recently talked about separating.

We started dating when I was 18, he was 30. We married when I was 22, he was 34. I am currently 35, him 47.

We’re both much different people now than we were then. At the time, I never thought that age would matter, but ironically the older we get, even though it’s less taboo, it’s a bit more of a problem. We’re just at different places in life and we want different things. I’m at my prime and I want to go out and do things, see what all life has to offer. He’s been there and is ready to settle down at home.

We’ve been working through this, I’ve been going out without him mostly, which he says is fine, but he misses me and is glad when I’m at home. He’s also disabled and therefore can’t work, while I’m working and performing.

We live in two different worlds now. I’m enabling him, so he’s not going out to socialize on his own as much as he should. He’s holding me back on doing all the things I want to do, because they aren’t things he’s interested in doing with me, and he laments our time apart.

We still love each other very much, but we’re growing apart. We’re hindering each other, not propping each other up anymore. I feel like I’m not being a good wife and that he would be better off without me. I feel like I’m sacrificing doing the things I want to do to spend time with him, but when we spend time together, there’s nothing in common that we both enjoy doing.
We’ve talked about it and are both making compromises to make it work. But if we were to split, this would be why.

8. We got married too young.

We got married young and grew into very different and incompatible people over time.

9. I couldn’t cure his depression with love and support.

A whole lot of nothing. He fell into a black hole of major depression and I thought love and support would make a difference. Eventually got him to seek medication but then he went questing for the magic pill rather than put any work into self improvement.

Pro tip: there is no magic pill.

I learned a lot of important things like you can’t logic your way out of emotions and a person won’t change unless they decide to.

Took me way too long though. Divorced after 18yrs.

10. I finally realized I didn’t have to settle.

According to my friends, after I started taking my anti-anxiety medication and antidepressants, I suddenly developed standards and realized that I didn’t have to settle.

According to me: A bunch of small things. Lying about whether or not he wanted kids. Not wanting to get a sleep study done for his apnea was pretty much the final straw. I’m a light sleeper so hearing him stop breathing and wheezing in the middle of the night would wake me up in a panic and then I couldn’t get back to sleep. I nagged him for three years about seeing a doctor. Told him I would leave him rather than listen to him slowly kill himself.

So I left.

11. He cheated.

He cheated. He’s been cheating almost the entire time, with multiple women, and it took 9 years to figure it out, and 2 more of trying to work things out before I’m just now realizing how little self-respect I have for myself. So now I’m currently 8 months pregnant, with 3 kids, no job or education, no family support, and trying to figure out how to get out and learn to respect myself again.

12. He was a narcissist.

He is narcissitic. When I stopped playing into that he became verbally and emotionally abusive. I would have stayed, but the abuse started against the children. That was too much.

13. We just grew apart and fell out of love.

I met my boyfriend at 19 and we stuck together until I was 28 so not quite 10 years but close enough.

We just grew apart and fell out of love. When we broke up I think we had been more like friends than girlfriend and boyfriend for years.

I stayed as long as I did because everything was good. The sex was great, we never fought, he was extremely nice, he was cute as heck, and my family and friends loved him. I had no complaints.

Compared to all the men my friends were involved with or my dad he seemed like an angel.

It was just so easy to be with him. Love didn’t seem all that important.

We are still really good friends after we broke up. He already found someone else, which hurt for a bit but I hope to find someone else too. Maybe. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Writer based in the Philadelphia area. Person who really loves her dog and watching cooking shows. Check out my writing on Thought Catalog and follow me on Facebook! Connect with me and submit your work on Collective World.

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