I’ve never been engaged, but there have been times when I ignored warning signs and stayed in relationships for too long. I did it either because I thought the other person would change (spoiler alert: they didn’t) or because I thought the pain of ending things right then would be worse than the pain of sticking with the wrong person in the long run. It wasn’t. (Spoiler alert!) I’m not the only one who’s felt this way, it turns out. When a Redditor asked divorced people if they ignored any warning signs before getting married, the answer was a loud “Yes.”
It’s clear that their marriage didn’t work out, but there is a bright side. Because they chose to tell us about their painful experiences, we can learn important lessons about why you shouldn’t ignore warning signs before you walk down the aisle.
Some of these stories may be hard to read, but they usually have happy ends, like when people finally realise they should have paid attention to the warning signs from the start. Some moved on and found love with someone else who was better for them. That, too, is a very important lesson. There will always be someone else who wants to love you the way you should be loved. So, with that said, here are some of the warning signs that these people who are now divorced decided to ignore before getting engaged.
They were told to stay away from their ex.
Before we got married, his mother told me, “If you ever get a divorce, we’ll know it was him and not you who caused it.” Big red sign, and all I could think was, “Wow, that’s awful to say about your own.
Was told straight out by her friend’s father that she was very mentally unstable and that if I married her it would be a huge mistake. He had known her since she was a child. I actually didn’t pay attention to that one.
Their ex lied to them.
He told lies all the time. The first lie he told me was about how old he was. Even though he said he was 21, he was actually 23. But it was always the same.
Everything he said was a lie. There are both big and important things and small things that don’t matter much. There was no pattern to what he would lie about, but he would always lie before telling the truth if he had a choice.
At first, I tried to ignore it. I was 19 and didn’t know much, so I didn’t understand how important this was to him. When I finally realised it was a real problem, we were already married and had kids. I was sure that he would never tell me a lie. Around this time, I also realised that he not only lied, but also liked to get around rules to, as they say, “get one over on the man.” Small things like not paying to walk in a national park when it was on the honour system. Big things like… well, things that are legally illegal but everyone does them.
I was stupid. As time went on, I caught him lying, but I didn’t care. There’s no point in calling him out because he would always say that he never, ever, ever lied about anything.
After spending a total of 27 years with him, including 24 years as his wife, he finally left me for another woman. He told me he had to stay late at work. He said to me that he loved me. All of it was a lie.
Don’t make a promise to a lie. It’s not a good life if you can’t trust anything your SO says.
They were never meant to be together.
We were great friends, but there wasn’t much between us in bed.
I liked it more when I wasn’t with him than when I was with him. When I knew he was coming home from work soon, I would feel very sad. I thought it was because they were “antisocial” or “independent.” But now I’m with someone I’m still happy to see every day after 7 years, even though I’m still a loner and like to do my own thing.
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Their ex-spouse was mean.
She wasn’t mean; she was just “truthful.”
That he was the one who made me cry the most.
The ‘funny’ insults turned into verbal abuse, which then turned into violent physical abuse.
She wasn’t nice to waiters, housekeepers, mechanics, and other people she thought were below her. But she was so beautiful that I didn’t worry as much as I should have. Don’t marry someone just because they are pretty. Instead, marry someone who is kind.
There were problems with the way their ex was.
He was fired from two jobs for taking things, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt. I caught him in several lies, including the ones about losing his jobs, and his sister showed up one day to tell me to wait to get married. I was so mentally drained by things going on in my own family that I chose to ignore everything and still get married. I wanted to make the perfect life and marriage. After 17 years, I am finally free, happier than I’ve ever been, loving being single, and looking forward to what the future holds. Advice: Listen to the little words in your head that tell you it’s not quite right. You can’t change other people.
— What Chewbacca Says
I got married to a man who was 35 years old but still lived with his parents. I thought, “What a nice son who cares about being close to his family!” Nope. He was a lazy, dependent man-child who spent all his money on food, beer, and video games.
He never defended me in front of other people. No strangers, no family, no friends.
— The Elephant in the Room
His bossy, needy family and how he took care of them.
— Jane Doe Plain
Their ex-spouse was short-tempered.
About a month after we moved in together, he got really angry and dark and even a little bit scary. I thought it was just a one-time mistake that didn’t show who he “really” was. Big, big mistake. My gut told me that he was a good person, but it turns out that my gut was wrong.
Even small problems were too much for her to handle. Someone said something slightly rude to her at work, and she got so angry that she had to take the rest of the shift off. It turned out that she was always like that.
In their ex’s past relationships, there were problems.
He said he was mean to his ex-wife. “But he’s changed,” you say. RUN. Even his mum told me about how he used to act.
She was very bossy and jealous of her boyfriends in the past.
There had been cheating in the past.
During a conversation, she said that she had slept with a guy she really liked a few years ago. I knew she was seeing someone else at the same time, so it didn’t make sense. When I asked her if she had broken up with the first guy before sleeping with the second, she said, “In my mind, I had.” History happened over and over.
Every single long-term partner my wife ever had, she cheated on. She slept with the brother of her first boyfriend. And when she talked about it, she almost seemed proud of it, like she thought they earned it. In a surprise, she also cheated on me.
Some of these were really hard to read. But as someone who has been in similar situations more times than I’d like to admit, I pretty much live by this quote by Maya Angelou: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”
If someone treats you badly, don’t let them keep doing it by trying to convince you that’s not who they are. It may feel hard to be so clear-cut, but it’s a form of bold self-care. Part of finding the right person (or people) to share your life with is cutting out anyone who is toxic or sending up red flags. You don’t deserve any less.
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