Note: This post contains mentions of emotional abuse.
Men get away with way too much for far too long in relationships — that's what I learned when I recently wrote about people revealing the exact moments they realized their exes didn't actually love them anymore, and literally all the stories were of women writing about their ex-boyfriends and husbands. Instead of taking offense, I took it as a warning to how I never want to act in any of my future relationships.
The post struck a chord with even more women (and men), and so many of them shared their own "wake-up call" moments of it figuring out their ex did not truly love them:
1. "He stole my life story. After we ended, I actually became friends with the girl he cheated on me with — she had no idea he was in a relationship, and got out of there when she discovered he was. I found out from her that he told her his dad died of a heart attack when he was 12 years old and that he had been alone with him at the time. Nope. That was my dad. That happened to me. His parents were alive and well. Absolutely blew my mind when I found out."
2. "My ex told me, to my face, about how his mom liked me so much she gave him a couple hundred dollars to put toward an engagement ring for me, but he spent all of it on gun ammo instead. I was already waking up to how he treated me, but that was the moment for me I knew he really didn't value or love me."
3. "It's embarrassing how many red flags I let pass me by, but my first real wake-up call moment was when I realized that she did not at all care about what I did professionally. My biggest professional accomplishment at the time was publishing a peer-reviewed article based on my Master's thesis. I was really proud of it. When I brought up that it didn't seem like she cared about what I do, I asked her if she even knew what my thesis, which I'd worked on for years and often confided in her about, was. It was so clear she had no idea."
4. "I was in a car accident a few months prior and still dealing with injuries from it when we were flying across the country to visit my family. It was clear I was in agonizing pain because everybody around me kept asking if they could do anything to help me. Everybody, that is, except my ex. He didn't once check on me, even though we were sitting right next to each other. He ignored me and just listened to his music. That's when I knew."
5. "I was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder this year after struggling mentally with the return to work following two years of working from home. My husband left me in October — he said he could cope with me being 'quirky,' but not having a 'real condition.'"
6. "She asked for a divorce, and I felt relief. She constantly accused me of cheating. And when most of the marriage is spent trying to assure your partner you have no intent to cheat, step out, or whatever, it gets exhausting. She'd say, 'It's other women I don't trust,' and somehow it still felt like she didn't trust me. A retail worker acting friendly was enough to set her off. I never cheated, and living with that kind of jealousy messed with my head long after our split."
7. "There were many moments, but there was one thread I started pulling and it all started unraveling from there. He worked longer hours than I did. So, I would be at his apartment waiting for him to get home so I could spend time with him. I would literally greet him at the door, happy to see him. One day, I realized he never did that for me — never came to my apartment, never greeted me at the door, and never acted excited to see me. He wouldn’t even get up or look up from his spot on the couch when I was the one who came home. He was just totally indifferent to my presence."
8. "I was living in a foreign country, so all my family and close friends at the time were oceans away. It was especially hard during the beginning of the pandemic. So, I was shocked my boyfriend of five years took a flight the next day to go be with his parents in another city after I was 'exposed to COVID.' That was his immediate reaction, and it showed exactly how much he cared about me."
9. "My ex was a real asshole. He'd put me down constantly, repeatedly call and pick fights with me when he knew I had major exams coming up, rarely texted me back, and he would even drive faster when my mom was in the car with us and begged him to slow down. It was an abusive relationship, and I finally woke up to that once we were engaged — he would talk about staying at home, while I worked full-time. It dawned on me then how little he respected me, and how manipulative he was."
10. "We were having sex, and he called out someone else's name — 'Oh Jean, I'll love you forever!' That's not my name, and he didn't even realize it. The next morning at breakfast, I casually asked, 'So, who's Jean?' I'll never forget the look on his face."
11. "Before I came out, I had a two-year relationship with a guy who was also in the closet. We were part of the same friend group, and no one realized that we were more than best friends. I realized it was over when he announced to all of our friends, myself included, that he was marrying this woman he knew from work. He then gaslighted me, pretending our relationship was just a friendship, and denied we ever had sex. Two years later after they divorced, he called me and left me a long voicemail. I deleted it."
12. "I have a chronic illness, and my ex told me I should be grateful that they were with me because 'no one else would ever want' me. I knew then that they didn't love me, yet they basked in all the compliments they got from other people for 'looking after me' during my flare-ups. The reality was that they stopped visiting me when I was in the hospital, invited their mates over to our place to get drunk while I was gone, and then left the mess for me to clean up when I did come home. It took me two years to properly wake up, and that comment above was the last straw."
13. "My ex picked me up from the airport after I had visited a friend for five days out of state, and he was more concerned about getting on the road than greeting me with any sort of affection whatsoever. No kiss, no hug, no 'I missed you.' Nothing. There was no denying we were just roommates at that point, and there was no turning back from that."
14. "I went into labor, full-blown contractions, and he refused to drive me to the hospital because he knew they’d send me home. So I drove myself, having full-blown contractions, every minute. When I got admitted, I called and said it was time to come to the hospital. An hour and a half passed by and he still wasn't there. I called and asked why he wasn’t there. He screamed at me for bothering him. Unfortunately, I'm still with him for now. I am well aware he doesn’t love me, though."
15. "My ex casually proposed to me, but laid out expectations I had to meet if we were to be married — I had to learn how to cook his favorite meal, be at home before he came from work, and essentially follow those outdated and stereotypical 'good housewife' standards. I was, and still am, a career woman who couldn't cook. And my work at that time demanded long gruesome hours at the office. I was confused because he never brought up these issues before in the eight years we were together. I refused his conditions, and he broke up with me."
"Months later, my ex and a co-worker he'd praised about to me before were Facebook-official. In hindsight, I should've known there was someone else. He was just too coward to admit it, and created a problem to break up with me."
16. "A big watershed moment for me was the last birthday I spent with my ex. We had been together for 10 years, and every birthday gift was something that made me think, 'Do you even know me?' I didn't care about the actual gifts. It was that he evidently hadn't bothered to get to know me, or at least pay attention to my likes and dislikes...for a decade."
17. "My ex lived an hour away from me when we were together. He was the only one with a car at the time, so he came to see me two or three times a week in the beginning, which slowly turned into once a week, then slowly turned into once every two weeks. I knew he didn't love me anymore when I told him I would take him to the theme park near me since he'd never been but wanted to go. I told him what day to take off, when to show up, and I even got his ticket for free because I had a friend who worked there. The day of, I woke up really early to get ready because I was so excited to see him. I didn't hear from him for hours. I finally texted him and asked where he was. He said he was hanging out with his best friend at the time — he had completely forgotten about our date. I'll never forget crying in my living room when he called to apologize, but by then, I was done."
18. "An ex told me that I should never leave him because no one else would ever put up with my 'nonsense.' The 'nonsense' behavior in question was because I was grieving over the sudden death of my father at way too young of an age. 15 years later, and it still makes me mad thinking about it."
19. "Last Christmas season, my 4-year-old and I were both sick and jet-lagged after flying home for the holidays from overseas. My husband didn't join us because he flew to his hometown for six weeks on his own instead. At the time, I was also trying to keep afloat to prepare for January finals week in grad school. He barely checked in on us. Five days went in between a call once. When we did talk, he couldn't understand why I was 'complaining' since 'we only have one kid' to handle. Meanwhile, he was literally calling me from a bar where he was playing pool with his friends! I finally filed for divorce three months ago."
What's your own moment of realizing a former partner did not actually love you anymore? Share your truth in the comments, or through this anonymous Google form.
Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.