When you are madly in love, everything is roses and sweets. It's easy to look through the rose-tinted glasses and miss some very obvious signs that your partner may not be what you think he or she is. They may not even be hiding it, in fact, the probably aren't, you're just not looking close enough. Or worse, ignoring their bad behaviors.
These 18 stories, curated from Reddit, are from people that did exactly that. They ignored the red flags and the warning sign until it was too late and the damage was done. These are cautionary tales!
"Before we got married, his mom said 'If you ever get divorced, we will know it was because of him and not you.' That was a huge red flag, and all I thought was 'Wow, what a mean thing to say about your own son!'
He turned out to be very emotionally abusive. I feel like it was a slow process, but the end result was that I would not have recognized myself. The high school me would have been shocked to see how I allowed myself to be treated.
I was young and had very little life experience. Needless to say, I have learned a lot. Now I am married to an amazing man who makes me very happy.
I just wish my ex-mother-in-law had sat me down and had a real talk, instead of making an off-handed comment that made me think she was nuts."
"Red flag #1: We dated for two years before I proposed to her. I proposed in October and finally got my answer in January. After two years, if she had to think about it for three months, well, I'm an idiot for not redacting the proposal.
Red flag #2: We set the date for two years from the time I asked her. So, an October wedding. She felt the sudden need to go stay with her aunt in Salt Lake (we lived in Missouri) for the entire summer of the year we were getting married. I thought it was because of her parents going through divorce. Later I realized it was because she wasn't ready to be married and she should've just been honest and not married me
Red flag #3: After we got married. I had a small farmhouse out in a rural area, so when she said she couldn't move in for a few weeks yet, because she needed internet access to take her pharmacy board exam, I was completely cool with that. Once that task was behind her, new reasons came up. When she had no logical reason left, she claimed she wouldn't move in until I updated the lighting in the bathroom so she could see in the mirror better. Seriously? It has been three months since we got married, and a mirror is a reason to not move in with me? I drew a line in the sand and basically said she moves in, or I'll die of old age before I put that lighting in. I called her bluff and she moved in. I knew then, that I royally messed up and my heart was crushed. How could she not want to move in? I was so excited to marry her and so in love. I finally was catching on to the red flags, that she didn't want to be married at all.
I finally had enough of it two years later and lI eft her. It killed me to do, and it took me years to be emotionally available again for anyone else, but it was the right decision. Fast forward another 14 years and I'm still a bachelor and have no children.
Don't ignore the red flags people; it can change the whole path of your future. I'd never expected to be where I am now and wish I'd redacted my proposal and found someone who really wanted a life with me."
"There were way too many. He was the first real boyfriend that said all the right things and was a real smooth talker. I was smitten. We went to a ballgame with my close friends, my ex was upset that I was people watching because 'staring is rude.' He ended up not talking to me for the rest of the game and later said he needed a woman who was loyal, and wanted to break up, but then changed his mind.
After being devastated by his comments, he wouldn't listen to me about postponing the wedding date so we could work on us. Then, while going to pick out the wedding rings, didn't talk to me for the entire the hour drive there.
A month into the marriage, he got so upset with me that he went a couple days without talking to me and even stayed out all night. He finally said he wanted a divorce because I kept telling him I couldn't live like this. Then he changed his mind again and was pleading for things to work out-via text. But I felt so relieved and had already bought boxes and tape to pack and what else is a girl to do but follow through with packing?
Months later, he would end up threatening to kill my brother and me (via text) because he couldn't get the dog back, even though he was the one to say I could have him.
Ten months lost but grateful to be out of that situation! There are some other things, but moral of the story, just because someone cries and says they are sorry, it doesn't mean they are. The best apology is changed behavior."
"I married him after eight days because he told me his whole life story, all honesty, and I thought that was how the whole relationship would be.
He was a narcissist. I was naïve, and also 18. I was his second short-term engagement in the six months leading up to our marriage, though I didn't find this out until we were divorced. I was the latest in a string of insecure women he felt he could take advantage of. He made me cut off contact with all of the guy friends and most of the friends I had the day we met, saying they weren't supportive of me, and we were now fully exclusive from this moment forward.
His abusive tendencies kept growing more and more visible as I kept up with my emotional health through personal therapy and prolonged exposure therapy for my pre-existing (before marriage) PTSD. He took me on only four dates in the two years we were married. His wants were prioritized before my needs; i.e. he wants a new gaming monitor, he gets it, but I need a pair of jeans that fit and it's unreasonable to him to buy $25 jeans. He would withhold action in the bedroom and all forms of intimacy unless he wanted something from me. I wasn't 'allowed' to do anything without permission. He never forbid me, but if I did something like planning a girls night, he'd guilt me for going in the first place on his free time.
I wasn't allowed to work more than 40 hours a week because he needed me to do as much of the household chores as I could. He said at one point, 'I couldn't let you date me for long, because you would have left, and now you can't.' A year and a half into the marriage he re-joined tinder and attempted to guilt me into three-ways and started bringing home girls who he made sleep in the bed with me. That allowed me my out, and I ran.
Looking back, I don't know if I ever would have married him in the first place. He ruined my credit score taking out a credit line in my name and leaving it maxed through the marriage. He spent all my savings on gambling and substances.
He still owes me $3,100 I'll probably never see again."
"There were too many red flags to include just one.
She was lousy with money. If she had any, she spent it right away, like, it made her nervous to have it. I got a call when we were first living together from a collection agency, it turns out she had walked away from a $1,500 credit card balance. I paid it off, because we wanted to buy a house and needed decent credit.
Later, after we got married, just talking to her was hard after awhile because when she was in a good mood everything was about buying stuff, expensive vacations, etc. It was miserable having to be the bad guy, the voice of planning and moderation all the time. It took awhile, but collection letters started coming again; she'd gotten a bunch of credit cards in her name. The first mention of divorce was when I said we needed to sit down and go over the statements, look at the balances and interest, and work out a plan to pay them off. She told me it was about $50,000, but she'd divorce me before she let me see the statements.
Her temper was another red flag. She'd had a lousy childhood and lousy parents. I always figured a person would work that out and try to not do all the tuff that someone had done to them. Details probably aren't necessary, but she didn't work anything out. I found myself hating to get calls from her when I was working because it was always an angry rant. Lots of times I had to leave work to come get the kids, because she was just 'done.' And they were basically sweet kids. Her biggest beef with me was that parents were supposed to back each other up in front of the kids, and I didn't."
"He called me up and confessed to cheating. He was emotional and distraught as he had kissed a girl. I thought it was cute and endearing - because we were 18 and I didn't consider us to be 'dating' or have any obligations to one another. We'd gone on a few dates right after graduation, then both went to out of state colleges. I'd gone out with other guys during and since, but that conversation actually started our exclusive relationship.
I married him four years later, and the weird 'cheating' accusations began. They started with periods of silence - he wouldn't speak to me for days, then he'd ask where I'd been at noon, two weeks prior. He'd mention me 'dating other guys' while in college and point out the time when we weren't a couple. It would slowly escalate from moodiness to insinuations to arguments and about every five years he'd lose it and have a major tantrum over some perceived slight or unaccounted for minute.
He brought a friend over and sat her down to tell her I was cheating with the woman's husband, because the husband and I spent too much time together. We were partners on a work project. We only got together outside of work as couples with our spouses.
We separated, went to counseling, got back together, and it slowly started again. Five years later, one of HIS friends made a dumb joke on HIS social media about HIS work-related trip and somehow this meant I was cheating. So he accused me of cheating with this guy, and we separated, went to counseling, got back together. He never said a word to the guy; they are still friends. Five years later, he decided I was cheating when I was at a community college play with friends - that he had been invited to. He locked me out of our home - even tied the garage door down so I couldn't open it. We divorced after that one.
Wish I could tell 18-year-old me to run for the hills."
"We NEVER had an argument. He always passively agreed with everything I said or wanted. He NEVER had conflicting opinions unless it was about his religion.
He was raised a Jehovah's Witness. They literally expect the apocalypse any day now. His family and congregation shunned him for dating me because they assumed we were getting busy. I argued that they couldn't prove anything and even suggested abstinence, but he said 'They wouldn't believe us anyway.'
I wanted him to be allowed to speak to his family again, but I didn't want to break up. So when they suggested a quickie wedding, I agreed.
By the time he finally got reinstated in the church, two years later, his family found out I was an atheist that disagreed with their religion and they began to tell him that he lived with the devil (me) and he needed to go to more church meetings. He agreed with them using the exact mannerisms he always had with me. He never went unless they were really guilting him, but he refused to admit that they were pressuring him.
Also, he didn't have any close friends inside or outside the religion."
"First marriage: The red flag was the cheating I found out about two weeks before the wedding. It was with two different girls and I found a whole lot of texts when he left his phone at home one day. I still went through with the wedding, as we were encouraged to work through our problems by the pastor. I left him eight months later because the trust was gone and that's something I wasn't willing to work to get back after what he did to me.
Second marriage: No red flags. We were fine until we were hit with the bad combination of infertility and then a miscarriage after getting pregnant with fertility treatment. I was depressed and wouldn't talk to him for months because he reminded me of my sad life. He took that time and got into some questionable activities to make himself happy, which he hid from me for a long time. Finally, we grew apart and I fell in love with someone else. We got divorced and still remain friends, though the divorce is new and I hope that our friendship grows stronger.
The marriage ended because of a few traumatic life events and our relationship wasn't strong enough to handle it."
"It wasn't that I ignored signs, as much as she straight up mislead me.
When we were dating, there were times we would be at my house spending time with my family and friends and she would ask if we could go out for a walk. I don't mind going on walks with people, and a chance to spend quiet time with my fiancée wasn't bad at all. HOWEVER it wasn't the act but the reasons behind it that were the sign. If she had told me 'I don't like your family or friends and I can't stand being around them' I would have sent her on a walk alone.
Seven years in that relationship, and it was honestly one I wouldn't wish on anyone. I have two wonderful kids from it, but I got divorced less than a year ago and it has been a constant fight. One of her moms is an attorney, the other brings in just as much money. She constantly threatens legal action and threatens to drag me to court because I can't afford it, oh and and her attorney is a family friend who graduated with her mom in law school.
If you are fortunate enough to see signs, run."
"The biggest red flag was that he was willing to marry me after three months. No one stable marries someone in three months. Me included.
Jokes on me. After the fact, I found out he had TWO secret children and a felony conviction for child abuse. This was after he put me in the hospital after getting blackout wasted and attacking me.
Look, I’m a smart girl, but I was severally emotionally unstable at that point. Looking back I can’t believe I was in that or even willing to marry someone that fast. I remember thinking, 'maybe this won’t suck' during the wedding ceremony. Spoiler alert: it sucked.
I’ve had lots of therapy and am doing really well now. It’s been three years. I haven’t had the money for a divorce, but he is no longer in the state and I have a pretty significant temporary protective order. I really, really want that divorce.
This year I am going to find a way to make it happen."
"Her brutal stubbornness and anger problems were a sign of things to come.
During our relationship, she was the type to double down on anything where she was wrong - even more so when facts opposing her stance were given to her. She was notorious for doing what she wanted when she wanted, and darned be anyone else. If she felt that arguing was not working, that would quickly escalate to violence.
I was admittedly part of the problem. When drama happened, I would make excuses, try and smooth things over with the offended party, and if that failed, avoid any situations with them as hard as possible. Over the time we were together, she managed to drive a wedge between me and all of my friends and family.
She had a affair that lasted at least eight months, but I willfully ignored everything until he moved in. That was over three years ago, and I'm still having issues caused by that relationship. Thank god my current girlfriend understands where I'm coming from and is a saint."
"He told me, 'You saved me from being gay.'
I left after a year of a dead bedroom and him treating me like a roommate. We had several discussions about fixing that but he just didn't seem to care. Been separated for over a year, living in two different states. Divorce coming soon."
"My best man took me aside the night before the ceremony and asked me, 'Are you sure you want to do this?'
She was having a hissy fit because something small went wrong at the rehearsal dinner and she secluded herself the rest of the evening. So much anguish. I should have listened.
We were a team, right or wrong, we backed each other up. And for a while that worked. I guess if I had rose colored glasses on then, I’ve got blacked out lenses on now. I know I shouldn’t let one bad relationship ruin any future possibilities for me. I just have such a hard time wanting to put myself out there. Mainly because I’m happy alone.
One thing my friends have drilled into my brain: you don’t marry crazy. Hopefully that’s a one time thing, and I won’t have to worry about that if the time ever does come when I want someone else in my life. Only time will tell."
"Most of her friends had severe, you-need-medical-intervention mental health problems. Those that were mentally healthy spent much less time with her than she did with the crazies.
Her family situation was a complete disaster. Her dad had been married three times. First to a woman he verbally and physically abused, which lasted five years. Second, to a woman he also abused, and who was my wife's mother. She died suddenly about 20-odd years into the marriage, in May 2009. HE WAS REMARRIED BY SEPTEMBER OF THAT YEAR. The third wife was a psycho crazy woman who emasculated him and brainwashed him into her extremely perverted form of Catholicism. Even my wife and my family think she has some kind of personality disorder. This woman formed my wife with the idea that, if the husband has a problem, the wife can do no wrong in her response.
She always treated me like I was an accessory. Everything was my fault, and every issue I had with her was something I just had to deal with.
I ignored all of this because I was 18 and she was my first girlfriend. I became completely co-dependent on her for my sense of self-worth and emotional health.
We've been married for five years, and have three kids. We're in the divorce process because, after a huge fight, she ran off with the kids and refuses to let me see them. I've done everything I can to repair the relationship, but she won't do a single thing. She tells me that I have to figure out the problem on my own, and the very fact that I can't just proves how awful I am as a man. She refuses to help.
"My wife cheated on every single long term partner she ever had. She cheated on her first boyfriend with his brother. And looking back now, she would talk about it almost as if she was proud of it, as if she thought they deserved it. And every guy she ever dated, according to her, was 'abusive.'
She cheated on me as well and when her family found out, she accused me of being abusive.
She is also a pathological liar, from the start. At first, lying about things that were not important and that I wouldn't understand why she didn't just tell the truth. Them she started lying about pretty much everything in existence. Almost as if she lived in a private world where her lies were true.
There were several red flags, but I just thought she had grown up."
"His verbal diarrhea and one-upmanship were the signs. They were just really annoying quirks at first but turns out it made him also really good at gas-lighting everyone around him. We'd go to hang out with friends and he would be telling stories of things that he claimed happened to him that had actually been someone else's experience. For example, he would tell a story about something that happened to me, but claim it as happening to him.
It took a while for my brain to recognize what he was doing - and then recognize it in other areas of our relationship. It was actually my son who introduced me to the term gas-lighting and opened my eyes to what his dad had done for years."
"She was very flirty and seemed to like to see me jealous.
After we were married, I figured we had made it and could start our lives together. I was more confident in our relationship then, so I started ignoring the flirting, thinking she'd stop. But no. Then when I'd talk to her about it, I'd get caught in the ok catch-22 trap, 'don't you trust me?' and 'you never like any of my friends.' That was the end, I couldn't win.
Even when she was cheating she never admitted it. Anyhow, got divorced and she married dude 30 days later. Last I heard that didn't work out for her either."
"While we were dating he actually got mad at me for wanting to spend time with my family instead of leaving the family party early to go back to his place with him. Which was also where his parents lived since we were both still in high school. My sister was visiting from across the country and I didn't get to see her that often, maybe once every three years, if I was lucky, and I wanted to stay at the party.
He never did learn to like my family and always got upset if I spent time with them instead of him. But our time together wasn't quality. It eventually deteriorated into sitting side-by-side on the couch, not touching, with the TV on and him staring at his phone. Not even in any apps, just flipping back and forth between home screens looking at his shortcut icons. Like, if you don't want to be with me then why are you still sitting there and getting jealous when I want to see my family or friends?"