Reddit user u/readitalreadydude asked the women of the community: "What do you consider a shitty marriage?"
Women didn't hold anything back, and revealed the struggles of living in a horrific marriage. They shed light on how complicated a union between partners can be (especially between a woman and a man).
So, here's what they had to say:
Note: The following stories and opinions about "bad" marriages aren't universal to everyone's experience.
Warning: This post contains subjects of verbal abuse, self-harm, suicide, and physical abuse. Please proceed with caution.
1."My ex-husband and I had no intimacy, no passion, and hardly a friendship. I was the sole caretaker of our children while he played video games all day. We both worked full-time, but I was the only one who cooked or cleaned. I was very tired and worn out, asked him for help multiple times, and it always just led to a fight, and I always gave in. He put no effort into spending time with me, which I also asked for multiple times, and nothing ever changed. He always put his friends and family ahead of me, even on important dates. We eloped, and the night of our wedding, he didn’t even spend it with me."
"He slowly separated me from all my friends and my hobbies — he was very controlling and toxic, and I didn't see it until he was gone (he also threatened suicide multiple times whenever I even implied I wanted to leave). So, I felt stuck.
Toward the end, we had no sex life, and I wasn't attracted to him — my cup wasn't being filled, so why should I fill his? This only angered him, and he ended up having an affair, finally ending our marriage. I was with him for eight dreadful years — once it was over and the more I thought about it, I don't know what I saw in him in the first place."
2."He expects me to bend backwards and put a down payment on a house for him to pay off because he has a good government job. I work, but due to our children and childcare hours, I can't work much except weekends when my own mother watches our kids while he works. He only pays for his own stuff, while I pay for everything, like the kids and the dog's food and vet bills. The relationship is dead silent, and he can't even compliment me at all. There hasn't been any kissing or hugging for years now, but I have zero energy to even look for another guy after this is all done — it's not worth it."
3."I'm currently in a bad marriage, and we're about to get divorced. It's a shitty marriage when only one partner does all of the housework, the childcare, and the mental load. It's bad when you ask for help with JUST the dishes and laundry, and your partner responds with: 'You make less money, so you deserve to do more.' It's a shitty marriage when they threaten to harm themselves every time you bring up wanting to discuss something about the relationship dynamic. After nearly 13 years of this bullshit, I'm done."
4."We're divorced now, and it's pretty much for this reason: His deployment was coming to an end, and I was making arrangements to travel where he would be for his shore leave. He suggested we have a platonic relationship that week (we were married for 6 years at that point, and were high school sweethearts). We even planned to start a family — so, yeah. That was a shitty marriage."
5."I couldn't be sad or tired because he'd take it personally, and blow up at me about how I found him sooooo boring. I couldn't make certain jokes — like one time he was asking about Queen Mary or something (like who she was). I said: 'Oh, she was some chick called Mary! She was queen for a bit' (obviously fucking around, and not at his expense). He didn't talk to me for the rest of the day — so I absolutely couldn't make jokes 'at his expense,' which was a learning curve. Gentle teasing is really common in my family, and I never had to think about it before. I had to be competent, but if I was better at stuff than him, he'd sulk or throw a tantrum."
"I also had to be really careful about what I could tell him because it would later be used as ammunition against me. I couldn't be honest about my mental health, or who I was hanging out with (like my friend and her boyfriend — he'd assume I was lying about the guy dating my friend, and that I was fucking any guy I spent more than two minutes with). So, it was easier to tell him I only ever saw women.
I also couldn't tell him if I had an argument with my mum, because then it was all: 'Oh, so THAT'S where you get it from.' I had to overthink everything I was going to say."
6."My partner is going through a hard time, but he expresses it differently through being cold, snappy, and hyper-critical of things. There’s been multiple times when we’ve had to have extremely long conversations about why he’s unhappy (he says it’s 'not me,' but I don't know anymore). I try my absolute best to make him see all the good things that are happening, but it almost feels like he’s determined to be unhappy. I’ll relay the same exact advice he's given me, but now 'I’m wrong' and 'don’t understand.' I’ll just stop talking completely and let him rant (I swear he went on for a good 10–15 minutes about all of his feelings). I’m happy he’s okay expressing them, but there’s only so much I can do or say. I’m emotionally and mentally exhausted myself because I also have things going on, but I feel like his problems dominate the room — so I just keep quiet."
7."My marriage is the definition of a shitty marriage: There's physical abuse, mental and emotional abuse, gaslighting, mindless spending, cluttering up the house — he just does not care. I've been trying to leave him for a long time, but that's a whole different story."
8."My parents were pressuring me to get married (Indian values) since I was 21. I moved out of the house so I didn’t have to hear about it from my mother, who'd badger me about it every chance she got. I had a friend who came to the US for his master's. He was just a friend, someone who listened whenever I talked — nothing more and nothing less. I was turning 25, and the pressure (along with taunts from my mother) were getting increasingly unbearable. He came to visit his parents and possibly find a girl (his parents thought it was time for him to get married, as he finished his studies and got a stable job in the US). He told me he wanted to marry me — at first, I was shocked and said no. But after much convincing from my friends (who were all married), I said yes. I didn’t feel a thing for him except that I loved him as a friend and as a human being. I respected him a lot, but I could never develop romantic feelings for him."
"I always questioned those feelings within myself. I didn’t have anyone who I could talk to about it — I stayed in that marriage for 10 years. Thankfully we never had kids. When I started working, I met so many different people, and it was then I realized that it was not fair on my part to keep us tied down to each other.
I never thought I wanted kids, but it turned out I never wanted them with him. A small part of me always knew that I didn’t want to be with him, that I didn’t love him that way, and was always afraid that if I did have kids with him, I probably would've never left.
When I brought up separation, he was devastated. I told him that we both deserved a chance to be with someone we loved. It’s been almost eight years since we ended it, and I am still struggling to find 'the one.' He, on the other hand, is married now and has kids."
9."As people often say, marriage takes work, but the payoff is huge for the amount you have to invest most of the time. I spent years saying exactly what I wanted and needed, and not receiving it. I never told him not to get me a gift when I actually wanted one, I communicated things clearly, and I told him I'd want flowers sometimes. He wouldn't shower me with them until he felt threatened by another man because 'flowers are stupid' and 'you can buy your own flowers.' The former is subjective, and the latter is true, but not the point. He couldn't make the simplest of romantic gestures to make me happy."
"He couldn't bend his viewpoint to recognize that not everyone had the exact same priorities or values, and that couples have to find compromises. That was not our only problem — I just think the flowers are pretty emblematic of what our relationship became.
It's amazing how many men stop trying completely after the 'wooing' stage is over. You can wind up trapped because you developed love for someone who just doesn't want to work on the relationship at all."
10."I wasn’t allowed to use social media without him having full access. He would even message guys with my account to see if they would 'take the bait,' and then block them if they did. I had a childhood friend who was blocked on my social media account for years without me even realizing it."
"I also couldn’t sing because if I did and I was too happy, the song was 'meant for someone else.'"
11."I 'settled' big time but not because of looks. He was very good-looking and well-educated, but a straight-up jerk right from the get-go. He held grudges, was jealous and always mad about something, had terrible road rage, and held EVERYTHING over my head (including anyone he knew I went on a date with before I even met him). Almost 10 years into the relationship he was still raging at me about someone I dated before him, and I just had enough. I spent the entire marriage managing his emotions and never once thought about my own."
"I had terrible self-esteem when I met him and let him use me as his emotional punching bag for way too long because I thought he was all I could 'get.' Reader: Try not to make my mistake — being alone is WAY better than being with someone who doesn't even like you. I'm now in therapy and with a man who actually loves me and cares about how I feel."
12."If I woke up before him, I had to cuddle with him before getting out of bed (otherwise he’d get upset). Then I had to be VERY quiet walking around if he was still asleep (he'd also get upset at that). If I stood up from being on the couch together without telling him where I was going first, he’d grab the back of my pants and pull me back down. Leaving him was the best decision I ever made — I just wish I didn't waste 12 years with such a fucking loser."
13."My ex-husband was not interested in spending time with me and our daughter. He blamed me for our financial situation when I never spent a dime. He always wanted to be with his cop buddies, and we either had bad sex or no sex at all. Reading that back, I'm so glad I'm divorced."
14."I got pregnant with my husband after dating for less than 2 months. We married shortly after because I didn't want to be an unwed mother and 'bring shame' to my family. He's perfectly fine, does nothing egregious, has solid values much like mine, and is very progressive. We are great partners and he's my ride-or-die — I am just not in love with him, and that is difficult to live through every day."
"I know people say that romantic love is overrated because marriages need a lot more than that — the problem is I never had that for him. It's been 13 years, and I doubt it's ever gonna change. But, I am determined to see things through for our two beautiful children."
15."I wasn’t allowed to be right, and I wasn’t allowed to tell him he was wrong. I remember going to a restaurant once and he made a wrong turn. Instead of telling him, I just sat there and acted surprised to protect his damn ego ('Oh, they must have moved it!'). It happened daily, and I shrunk myself so much for him, but it wasn’t worth the argument. He talked a lot and was wrong a fucking lot because he’d been coddled into believing he was always right. I left when I realized I avoided social events because when other people made him feel wrong, it was on me."
16.And finally: "I've been married for 38 years, and for over 20 of them, my partner and I have felt like roommates. I've made every justification imaginable for why we stay together, but to be honest, it should have ended shortly after our son was born. Love for each other is never the problem, but the lack of intimacy, sex, and compassion for each other is a nightmare to deal with. We just had a conversation recently and realized we both feel the same way and have for a long time, so I would say to everyone else if you think it's wrong, then end it and move on."
Note: Some submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.
If you or someone you know is in immediate danger as a result of domestic violence, call 911. For anonymous, confidential help, you can call the 24/7 National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or chat with an advocate via the website.