Every relationship starts off as hopeful as can be, yet most of them eventually end in heartbreak.
What causes two people who were once so fond of each other to grow so distant that they no longer want to be together? Is it a gradual process, or are there specific moments of truth that alter the course of the once-promising union’s history?
Here are 40 stories about times when all it took was a single moment to cause the downfall of an entire relationship.
I once commented on a social media post and made a joke, saying that I went back to a girl's house to play Uno and talk about politics. Clearly just a harmless joke.
Then one day, I get into an argument with my girlfriend and she screams out "AND I KNOW YOU WENT BACK TO THAT GIRL’S HOUSE TO PLAY UNO AND TALK ABOUT POLITICS!!"
That moment was so ridiculous that we could never recover.
My boyfriend really looked up to Captain America, who always did the right thing and stuck to his morals. One day, he said that he wasn’t happy with me because I was not living up to Captain America’s standards of good behavior. That was it for me.
Mine wasn’t anything crazy or bad per se. It was just that she wanted kids, and I didn't want kids. I realized at a certain moment that we would never be able to get past that, so I had to stop wasting her time.
He was the best boyfriend one could ask for the entire time we were together, but when he started blaming me for all the wrongs in our relationship, constantly, that was the moment when I said to myself “I'm out.” There were times when it was his fault, but he just wouldn't accept his mistakes.
I loved him, but if you keep pushing me down for past mistakes and can’t agree that we need to work together to fix things, the relationship will get toxic and neither of us will be happy continuing it.
The moment that killed my relationship was when I discovered that my ex-girlfriend had secretly made a Reddit account without telling me, and started commenting on posts of mine asking how I felt about my girlfriend. Any relationship with that little trust and that much deception is in trouble.
What killed my relationship was the realization that a relationship should not just be purely physical, which is what ours was. There was nothing more to it than that for us. All I did was fill his hunger for physical contact all day every day. Not being able to even visualize a relationship with him beyond the physical ended it for me.
I knew I was done with him the second I caught him lying. I don’t like lying. If you lie, I will catch you and I will feel uneasy. Don’t lie to me, people.
I overheard my girlfriend telling a friend that she wasn’t really interested in me long term and just saw me as a familiar old friend to have some fun with for a bit. It was hard, but I couldn’t go on dating her after hearing that.
My moment of truth was when I told her I loved her for the umpteenth time, and she said, once again, “Who are you trying to convince—me or yourself?”
This was from a woman with whom I was planning to marry.
It just hurt me so much that she could think that way after all we’d been through. I never recovered emotionally from it and broke off our engagement some months later as a result.
My ex-boyfriend always apologized for the way he mistreated me and said that he was a lonely child since his birth, and that his parents never paid attention to him. I had always thought my love would be enough for him to feel secure eventually. I felt responsible for him. When I finally realized that I wasn’t, I ended the relationship.
The day before Thanksgiving, she told me she wasn't actually in love with me anymore and hadn't been for a long time. That pretty much sealed the deal right there…
When he admitted, with a sigh of relief, that he had recently hooked up with my sorority sister while I was gone for work. Immediately, he hugged me and told me how much better he felt now and said he knew that we would grow stronger together from that point on.
He was wrong.
It was like one of those movie moments where the camera should have panned from his relieved smile during the embrace to my dead eyes.
My relationship ended when I caught my then-girlfriend cheating at a party.
I was visiting her from out of town and was having a pretty fun time. After a while, I told my girlfriend I needed to turn in, and she was like, “Yeah, go crash in my bedroom. The party’s basically over anyway.”
So I got into bed and closed my eyes. Then, I noticed that it had gotten really quiet in the living room. Like, no one was talking at all.
That was a bit odd, so I got up and walked out.
…and my girlfriend was swapping saliva with some guy on the couch. They were so intent that they didn’t even see me standing there looking at them until I said “What the heck??” out loud.
I’ll never forget her jumping away from the guy and wiping her mouth with the back of her hand, then saying “It’s not what you think.”
Oh really? Then what, precisely, was it?
Despite some dramatic attempts to keep me there, I took off and didn’t look back.
Mine was when he confessed to me that he had contracted herpes from some girl he was hooking up with while still in a relationship with me.
There were many moments which temporarily killed our relationship a long time back, but I kept bringing it back to life as I could not come to terms with the fact that my first relationship would not be up there on the board of successful relationships. After a few years, when I became more mature and realized that feeling “perfect” in this way was not as important as my overall happiness, that was the big moment for me.
I was done when he refused to go to counseling with me. That was my proof that he wasn’t interested in trying to repair the relationship. It also showed me that he didn’t respect me enough to want to improve our situation. I walked away, never looked back, and have never regretted my decision—even 17 years later. We are both living happier lives now because of it.
We were together for a year and a half, but then things suddenly changed. He would be disinterested in talking to me and would give me less time. I didn't argue about this because he had exams coming up at the time and I didn't want to disturb him. It was only after his exams ended and this routine still followed that I realized things were not going back to the way they had been before.
I asked my ex to please stop hurting my dog, which he had started to do for no apparent reason. He refused. He then accused me of hitting him out of the blue. I know I did not. He was “gaslighting” me, a specific form of abuse that is very mentally harmful. At first, I questioned if I actually did it and forgot. Then later, I figured out what was going on and knew I had to go as soon as I could afford to move to another place. I am now gone and happy.
The moment I knew my relationship was over was when I heard the words "We need to talk" come out of her mouth. I have a feeling I’m not the only one who’s had this experience…
It was when I realized that it wasn’t normal for a boyfriend to have all the “rules” that he had for me and expected me to strictly follow. I was to have no male friends, to not talk to any family members who didn’t approve of the relationship, to walk with my face down looking at the ground and never make eye contact with strangers, etc. No thanks!
I knew I should end my relationship when I had a sudden and clear realization that every time I saw her, it felt like I was just doing something I had to do rather than something I actually wanted to do. It took four years to get to that point, but there was no going back after that moment.
When I said I was having doubts about the relationship, and he responded by trying to kill me. He literally started to run my car off the interstate. It seemed like reason enough to immediately end it and get a protection order.
After many months of romantic talks and walks, I said that if she gave me just a few years, I would have the money to get settled down and marry her. She then said that she didn’t want to have to wait that long. From that point on, it was all downhill. We went for coffee a few days later and she told me she didn’t think we were right for each other. I was devastated.
I fully admit it was my fault, but nevertheless, my relationship had one clear moment when I knew it was over.
It was when my girlfriend told me that she had secretly installed a camera in the shower to try and catch me cheating... and succeeded.
My wife always had a drinking problem but I tried to not judge and just live with it. Until one day when I came home from work to find my daughter saying she couldn't wake up mommy. After ten minutes of trying to wake her up and finding an empty bottle underneath the couch, I realized that I can’t be with a person like this and neither should my daughter.
I have recently started the divorce process. It’s going to be messy, but it’s worth it to make sure my daughter won’t be traumatized like that anymore. Wish me luck.
I foolishly caused the moment that brought about the downfall of my relationship. I cheated on my partner and, in doing so, got a hickey without realizing it.
My girlfriend saw this and was, as expected, devastated. We tried our best at moving on and getting past it, however my girlfriend ultimately couldn't get over it and she left me four months later. It was my own fault and I regret it to this day.
My moment was when I realized the hypocrisy and double standard in how he expected and demanded that I had to be available at any and all times to receive his calls whenever he felt like calling, even at 2 in the morning. I also had to answer within the first two rings or he would start hurling insults and abuses. I used to sleep with the phone tightly clutched in my hands so that I could know if he was calling and pick up.
If I told him I was with my mom, he would make me put her on the phone so he could make sure it was her. Meanwhile, he never picked up when I called him and would only call when he felt like it—sometimes days or even weeks apart. I finally realized that this wasn’t fair or right.
The second time we had ever gotten into a minor argument, she reacted by cutting herself and throwing a tantrum. It was so bad that I actually ran and locked myself in the closet. I knew instantly that this could not continue.
My moment was when he fell asleep next to me, and a text message arrived on his phone. Curious, I look and see who it is from.
The contact was named “Babe❤.”
I’m horrified. It must be a joke. I read some texts to see the things they were saying.
I found a message of her saying, “You make me the happiest girl in the world.”
That’s a big no for me, goodbye!
In hindsight, I could kick myself for being so stupid and naive during my long relationship with my ex. We were together for 17 years. We were both 18 when we met and it felt like love at first sight.
I fell hard for him. He was very handsome, intelligent and funny. I couldn't believe I was dating a guy who could get any girl he wished. He was the life of the party-kinda guy in every situation.
With stars in my eyes, I never knew until much later that he secretly had several other flings at the same time that he was with me. He made sure I never found out.
Slowly I began noticing that things that were off about him, like blatant lies and immediate cover-ups. I didn’t quite know what it was but I suspected the worst. When I finally realized and confirmed that he was, in fact, cheating, I was ready to move on immediately.
One of the moments that made me realize my first boyfriend was a dud was when I asked him why he never looked around before crossing the street. He said he was hoping he would get hit by a car someday, so he could just sue the driver and be set for life. I asked how he planned to do that with his body mangled. He said he was sure he could manage to roll over and look at the license plate.
Real winner, that one.
Every night, my boyfriend would come home drunk, demand physical attention, and go to sleep until work the next morning. I cannot say that there were no good days in the relationship. There were some better days than others. But things overall were miserable and unhealthy. He would hit me, use cuss words, and throw my things away. He even once asked me to leave in the middle of the night.
The moment I decided to leave the relationship was when it hit me that this daily cycle would probably never change.
I took a trip to my boyfriend’s hometown, hoping it would be a nice surprise that he would appreciate. The guy refused to come out of his room even though I was standing right outside his place and I knew he was inside. I was calling him continuously.
Finally, he picked up and said he was not going to hang out with me. I could not stop crying. I kept asking him why. He said “It’s not you, it’s me” and would not elaborate any more.
Throughout the night, I kept on calling him for an explanation. He would not pick up. I was in a hotel right next to his residence. That whole night, he neither took my calls nor even asked if I made it back to my hotel safely.
So that moment marked the end of our relationship. To this day, I have no idea what happened to cause that. I have had no closure whatsoever.
My moment was when I suddenly realized that I was sick of being treated like garbage, and that it wasn’t ever going to change if I was with this person. I did everything I could to make her happy, but just got treated badly every single time. I remembered the definition of insanity and decided not to keep trying the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
My girlfriend trusted me so little that she once started a Reddit thread titled "Who has cheated on their boyfriend or girlfriend??"
Was she waiting for me to say "Meeeeeee!" or something? I could never get past that and it ended our relationship. Every time I think about it, it makes me cringe.
I was dating someone for eight months. We had many trivial problems, but it was one moment in particular that made me quite literally say “screw this” after all.
My boyfriend at the time had gone on a trip to Belgium with his friends. One night, I texted him “I love you!!!”
He replied with “I’ll talk to you later.”
He completely swerved my affection.
Right, don’t overthink. Don’t overthink.
What do I do? Overthink.
The next day I asked him about it and he said: “Sorry, I couldn’t say I loved you back because I was crossing the road at the time.”
Wow. What a lame excuse.
I left faster than the speed of light, and I never felt so damn good.
My ex-guy was unbuttoning his shirt to change one day while I was making coffee for him. Something wasn't quite in place and I had an unsettling feeling that made me very scared. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw pen inscriptions on his chest—a girl’s name. Carefully and timidly, I asked him what that was and he promptly replied that his pen was leaking.
When I mentioned to him that no stain was visible on the shirt, he flew into a wild fit of rage. He began to cuss about my elderly parents, saying he wishes them to die slow, horrible deaths. My mother, who had been nothing but supportive and kind towards him as long as he had been around, was suffering in the hospital at the time and this was a disgusting and intentional low blow. He then grabbed the steaming coffee and threw it right at me.
At that moment, something deep inside of me just went “Kaboom!” and all my fears of abuse, of being alone, and of what others might think instantly evaporated. I slapped him hard and told him I was done, so he can pack up and go get lost. I was truly done and there was not one iota of doubt left. He tried to talk me out of this and shamelessly added that I would suffer miserably without him in my life. I did not give in, and I’m so happy I didn’t—my life is much better without him around.
I went out with a woman for about eight months. She was attractive, extremely smart and pretty funny—qualities I really like in a woman. However, she had one quality that increasingly turned me off: not only was she cheap, but she monitored how much I spent on her and derived how much I cared by how much I spent. This all in spite of the fact that her family was so rich, they owned more than one private jet.
The breaking point was when we went to see a movie one day and I asked her to put two dollars in a meter for me while I parked the car. The next day, I got an angry text from her demanding that I reimburse her for the two dollars. I finally decided enough was enough and that I didn’t want to put up with this any longer.
The moment I realized it was time to end my relationship was when my phone rang from a number with my girlfriend’s area code, and the voice on the other side said "who do you think you are texting my girlfriend like that?"
Turns out, she had been secretly dating another guy for four months while I thought she was home recovering from heart surgery at her parent’s house. We had been dating for four years.
Both the other dude and I dumped her after a lengthy conversation. He seemed like a cool guy. I'd buy him a beer if I ever saw him.
The one moment in my last relationship that stands out to me as the moment that finally pushed me over the edge is very clear.
We were kissing in the parking lot of my college, when a truck filled with frat bro type guys went past and yelled stuff at us. Not anything profane or vulgar, mostly just laughing and good-humored stuff. I kind of brushed it off and wanted to stop kissing and move somewhere less public, but my boyfriend flipped out and yelled angrily back at them. I, of course, knew that yelling angrily at a car full of rowdy young adults is only going to unnecessarily escalate the situation, so I tried to calm him down. The truck just kept circling around and, for whatever reason, he just refused to go inside the car and insisted we continue what we were doing.
It ended up escalating to the point where he threatened to pull a gun on them.
And that was it for our relationship. I decided I wasn’t going to chop my life off at the knees because some idiot decided to shoot some unarmed teenagers at a college, potentially even implicating me in the case as an accomplice. I’d been considering breaking up with him for a bunch of reasons even before, but that one incident turned out to be the final straw.
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