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People Who Shocked Their Families By Divorcing After 20+ Years Share Their Heartbreaking Stories

Recently we shared a post where people who got divorced after 20+ years of marriage told us their stories, and they held absolutely nothing back.

Screenshot of a BuzzFeed post
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As it turned out, there were a WHOLE lot more people who took to the comments to share their own stories of divorcing after 20+ years. Here are 25 of the most memorable:

Note: this post contains mentions of physical and verbal abuse.

1."He was my absolute best friend. He took care of me when I was sick, and we had three beautiful kids together. I trusted him completely...only to find out he cheated constantly from the time I was pregnant with my last baby and gave me an STD that he somehow convinced me was my fault. I was so blinded by him and his lies until I sat down with him and his latest secret girlfriend, and he told me he didn’t love me anymore. And then he turned to her and told her that he loved her. He broke my heart and gave me so much anxiety and devastated our children and friends. He ended up marrying a different woman and having a baby with her while I got cancer from the HPV strain he gave me. I would be perfectly happy if I never saw him again and so would my kids."

—anonymous

2."I was married for 20 years. When my mom died suddenly, I was devastated and fell into a deep depression. My wife seemed distant, but I thought we were just going through a terrible time together. A few months later, when I started climbing out of the depression, I figured out that she had started an affair two months after my mom's death."

"I wanted so hard to work this out and believe that it was just insanity brought on by the death, but she lied to me over and over and wouldn't stop talking to her affair partner. Eventually I gave up and filed for divorce. I miss the life I had, but it's more like my wife died and there's just a stranger that looks like her."

omelette77

3."My husband was addicted to porn. I found this out after about two to three years of marriage. He said he was sorry, went to a support group, and said he would never do it again. After 20 more years, I walked in again as he was watching porn. I was devastated. I came to find out that he lied to me for the past 20 years. Who was he and how am I ever to trust him again? My heart and world were shattered! I was done."

—anonymous

4."I was with my husband for 28 years when he decided to have an affair with someone from work who he apparently couldn’t live without. Although I didn’t realize it from the start, our relationship was always about me taking care of him. Always building him up and telling him he was great. After 25 years of soothing him like a child, I finally decided to stop doing that. I didn’t tell him; I just stopped building him up 24/7. Well, that’s when he decided he didn’t love me anymore. So he found another mother. Lied and cheated on me for two years before he felt secure enough in that relationship to leave. Went straight from our bed to hers. What an asshole."

—anonymous

5."After 20 years of marriage, I came home to find my husband had moved out. I found out he was having an affair for over six months. His family — including his mom who was my best friend — haven't spoken to me since my husband left. He barely sees his children and doesn’t pay anything for support. Been a difficult time for me and my children."

—anonymous

Woman looking pensive with her hand on her mouth
Juanmonino / Getty Images/iStockphoto

6."Married 25 years at the time. Husband worked and lived in Kuwait. I found $1,600 missing from our bank account. The bank guaranteed he removed it so I confronted him when he returned home full-time. He said he had bills to pay, but it turned out he had a 2-year-old girl living in the Philippines with her mother that I knew nothing about. Ten years later, I decided I was worth more and left. We had been together since we were 17 and parted for good on my 62nd birthday. What a waste of the last 10 years of my life."

lafayette70506

7."After 23 years of marriage, he was planning a vow renewal and trip (his idea) while having an affair (one of many) and planning to leave the family. The first night he didn't sleep next to me was the best sleep I'd had in 25 years. I was always stressed, always overwhelmed, always pushing through and putting on a smile (because of a chronic illness and because of his treatment of me). It was hard and awful when he left, and the kids still suffer (two out of three don't have any relationship with him), but I’m so much happier than I ever was. I would probably have stayed forever because that was what you were 'supposed' to do. I’m finding who I am again and enjoying it."

freyathwarrrior

8."My mom divorced my dad after 20 years because she caught him cheating, and he asked her if he could just continue to pursue the new (much younger) woman while staying married in case she wouldn’t commit to him."

jdtres85

9."My parents had a great 30+-year marriage. They were looked at as examples of how you want your love life to be. Then my dad got a new job and started getting stressed and paid less attention to my mom. Mom found the attention elsewhere with some trucker in Dallas that she met and kept the relationship going for seven years before finally telling my dad. They tried to make it work for another year before calling it quits — my dad just couldn't handle it. It sucks because although it was probably ultimately my dad's fault, everyone blames my mom. I blame them both."

thegassygoose

10."The love in the dating phase was addicting. It was striking gold. But after the honeymoon, it started falling off. Less kissing, less hugs. More sleeping different hours, more phone addiction. Then came a need for control and instituting terms for sex. I tried for 19 years to prove my love and worth. Then I finally realized I was a fool. It was only getting worse. I was in love alone, and my wife wouldn’t discuss a thing without getting angry and shutting down any discussion."

"I learned about covert vulnerable narcissism. I’m no doctor, but it checked a lot of boxes, and the likelihood of improvement was said to be as poor as my experience was showing. I threw in the towel, and I don’t think it bothered her that much. I had no value. Should have done it much sooner, but I really love this woman. Still hurts."

—anonymous

Man with a pensive expression looking to the side
Digitalskillet / Getty Images

11."After six decades of abuse — physical, emotional, verbal, sexual, financial — I walked away. He pissed away over $250k and was unfaithful. I was exhausted from 'taking care' of his infantile demands. My goal is not to be married to an asshole when I die."

—anonymous

12."My husband of 27 years found a way to make a great deal of money (legally) and wanted it all for himself."

carolrenner

13."I was married for 32.5 years, and the day she finally walked out the door I felt as if a tremendous weight was lifted off my shoulders. We never really fought, loud words occasionally, but that was it. The primary reason she left remains as unknown to me today (nine years later) as it was at that time. She took my truck and left me her dog — I figure I got the better deal."

searunner52

14."I started to think about our life as empty nesters and how we needed to improve our marriage. To that point I was busy with four kids and got no help from my husband. I was used to that life, but wasn’t willing to continue without a commitment from him to improve. After a year of telling him I wasn’t going to stick around if nothing changed, and going back to school to enable myself to be self sufficient, I left."

—anonymous

15."I left my ex after 23 years of marriage. At first, he seemed like the most loving, affectionate, supportive man I'd ever met — despite some issues with jealousy — and he made me laugh so much. Looking back, I realize that it was just love bombing. I now believe he is a narcissist, and I'm not sure he's actually capable of real love. As things got worse and I began reading about the effects of living with a narcissist, I realized that I had been emotionally and financially abused for our entire marriage. When I first thought about leaving, I was terrified that I wouldn't be able to survive alone, because he convinced me that I had no skills and couldn't do anything without him. I left in January of 2020, and have since bought my own home, adopted two cats, and reconnected with my high school boyfriend. We're having a blast, traveling, and looking forward to spending the rest of our lives together. I'm so grateful to have this second chance!"

absepa

Woman smiling with hand on face, wearing a casual sweater, by the sea
Adamkaz / Getty Images

16."Not me, but my mom. After 32 years with my father, he filled for divorce, and she discovered he had another woman for a year. After a while, my sister and I discovered he bragged about having multiple affairs throughout their whole relationship to his friends."

barbarapausa

17."I divorced my husband’s opioid addiction. He gaslit me for years, denying his drug misuse and using in front of the children. I had enough of his shit and told him to leave. He still blames me for HIS unhappiness in our marriage, and that’s why he abused and chose drugs over being a full-time father. Best day of my life when he left."

—anonymous

18."Married 20+ years, but miserably for the last 10 of it. She was abusive, distant and wouldn't change. I finally had enough and told her that if she didn't change, I would be gone by the end of the week. She thought I was bluffing (she said so!), so at the end of the week, I left. The divorce took a while, and it was very hard emotionally and financially, but it was the right move. It's been 10 years and I've moved on with my life, living it and being with people who actually like me."

jibbyjibmeister

19."I was married for almost 30 years. In the last 15 years, my ex-husband was doing well at work, and everyone in the family was enjoying their lives together. I also worked. Family life progressed. Gradually, he became arrogant, more controlling, and verbally vicious. Finally, he was away with the job one night when he called to say hi but then to say he had a new job overseas and would be going for a two-year contract. It was obvious then I was not included, and he pretended we would still be married from a distance. I divorced him four years later."

—anonymous

20."My 35-year-old husband decided living in the suburbs with a wife and two small children was boring and asked me to rent him an apartment on Beach Ave — a popular singles location in Vancouver. He proudly admitted he was having an affair with a 21-year-old girl, but when he realized I could afford to keep up the house and look after our daughters with MY WAGES and without his help, he changed his mind. I stayed with him knowing that as soon as our youngest daughter graduated from high school, I was going to leave his sorry ass. Which I did. By the way, he had other affairs in the meantime. He also borrowed $40,000 behind my back from my parents and bought a $100,000 boat without even discussing it with me. Just two more examples of his disrespect and narcissistic personality."

"He's now 81 years old and lives in a house belonging to his #3 common law 'wife.' She prefers to live in another house — away from him. Yes, there is such a thing as KARMA!"

—anonymous

Two keychains with house-shaped pendants and keys on a wooden surface, symbolizing cohabitation or shared living spaces
Inga / Getty Images/iStockphoto

21."I finally got to be more of the person I wanted to be. During the marriage, I was just a character in someone else's life. Now, I get to do whatever I want when I want. I have my own friends and hobbies. I was married for 20 years, and she insisted on living with her father and had me pay all the household bills. I wasn't allowed to have my own friends or do anything I really wanted to do. The divorce was bitter, and I lost contact with my kid. I've had relationships with many wonderful women since. I live on a lake now and have close friends in the community. I foster dogs and restore old boats. I have a fairly large social media presence and hopefully inspire a lot of people with my photography. I feel like my life only just started."

—anonymous

22."My sister is in this situation right now. She and her husband were never really a good fit to begin with, and over the last 5+ years instead of acknowledging their disconnect, they began treating their marriage like a burden and an inconvenience rather than something they wanted to work on — mostly because neither of them really truly wanted to. She ended up meeting someone in a similar situation about a year ago and began an affair. She knew it was wrong and has immense guilt from embarking on it, but also understands that she’s been looking for an out for a long time, and that’s what the affair gave her. Her husband caught her four days ago, and they both finally officially agreed to separate this morning after 15 years. I doubt she and the affair guy will work out, but she knows that in the end, this was what had to happen."

—anonymous

23."I married her 33 days after our first date. Seven days into our marriage, she cheated on me with her ex. She cried and promised that it was the first and final time ever, and she was just trying to get over him after a previous five-year relationship. That triggered a series of cheating on my side. I should've ended it. She was caught cheating three times, and I was never caught. We lived together for seven years, which ended in divorce. Lesson: It's either no cheating or divorce right after the first time. No second chances. I'm happily remarried for three years with a wonderful wife and a child now. I don't feel the urge to cheat on my wife now at all. It was all in my head, trying to make my first pay for her mistakes."

bluecookie89

24."I caught him cheating and gave him the option of leaving her so we could work on moving on. He chose to try to keep the side relationship hidden from me. He even went so far as to play parent to her children while ignoring the ones we had. He chose her because she owned and operated a small bar — aka an alcoholic’s dream."

"When I'd had enough and ended the marriage, he still tried to make me the bad guy. I left him the house and walked away with everything that I bought throughout the marriage. It wasn’t worth losing my mind over him. I did the paperwork for the divorce and walked him through the process. I found a new home to buy and moved in the same day I closed on it. He was upset that I just walked away."

—anonymous

And lastly, here's one with a twist:

25."I left my husband after nearly 25 years. I was 17, and he was 26 when we first got together. We had one daughter. We both cheated at different times, but he always blamed me for his cheating. By the time that our daughter started having her own children (four in all) and was still living at home with us, I realized that the only real time that my husband and I connected in any way was around the grandbabies. I started an affair and worked it into my head that I was in love with him. I left my husband to live with the other man. My ex and I were divorced for seven years living our separate lives...never once talking to or seeing each other even though our daughter and her children still lived with him. He's a truck driver so he wasn't home a whole lot."

"We did get back together. It is easier this time around. I'm not so jealous, or maybe I just don't really care at this point. But I do think we have both learned from our time apart."

leslief4777d8013

Did you or someone you know end a marriage after 20+ years? Tell us about it in the comments below.

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.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline is 1-888-950-6264 (NAMI) and provides information and referral services; GoodTherapy.org is an association of mental health professionals from more than 25 countries who support efforts to reduce harm in therapy.