When two people promise to spend a lifetime together on their wedding day, they expect those vows to last forever. But even after swearing to be there through the good and the bad, sometimes the bad is enough for one person to serve the other with a stack of divorce papers. (Find out when divorce is the answer.) But what does it really mean to have “irreconcilable differences”? From extramarital affairs to personality clashes, this is what ultimately caused these nine people to throw in the towel on marriage.
“About six years into my marriage, I found out my husband was cheating on me when I walked in on him with one of our neighbors. We had been married for a good chunk of time, but I had no choice but to file for divorce that same week. It wasn’t something I could forgive and forget. It was painful to say goodbye and start life over, but sometimes that’s just how life and love is. You think you know someone and that you’ll stay with them no matter what, but that’s not realistic. People break your heart no matter how many times they promise they won’t.” —Trisha A., 32
2.Money, money, money
“The only thing we ever talked about toward the end of our marriage was how we didn’t have enough money for anything we wanted. We were renting an apartment and wanted to buy a house, but we couldn’t afford to because we had stacks of credit card debt and student loans to pay off. It became a nightmare because every conversation and fight was about making more or saving more money. We drove ourselves into misery and just both decided this wasn’t the life we wanted to live. We decided to go our separate ways after two years of marriage and two years of dating.” —Carla H., 29
Money is one of the most common sources of fighting in relationships—find out how happy couples handle the issue successfully.
3.A Demanding Job
“My job was super demanding. I was promoted to the role of VP of marketing for a tech start-up I worked at for three years. I was working 70 hours a week, minimum, plus weekends. My husband didn’t like this at all. Mainly because he would come home from work before me and have to make his own dinner and do his own laundry. I was anything but a housewife. He should have known that when he married me. I think he did. He just thought eventually I’d give up my career. But I kept getting promoted and loving what I was doing. In the end, he asked me to pick my job or him. We got a divorce. We were only married for a year-and-a-half, so it wasn’t that hard to split up.” —Jana L., 35
4.Not Wanting Kids
“One thing I wish I did before I even said yes to getting married to this person was talk about serious topics like having kids and how we would raise these kids, meaning what values and religious beliefs we’d instill in them. About a year into the marriage, I mentioned that I wanted to start trying to have kids. He looked at me with utter shock. It turned out he didn’t want kids, ever. He swears he mentioned that to me when we were dating. I think he did once, but super casually. I thought he didn’t really mean it or he would change his mind. But he refused. I admit that I messed up by not having this conversation with him beforehand so that I knew he was so against having kids. Having kids was something I wanted enough that it made me realize I need to get out of this marriage.” —Mary J., 28
“When your family doesn’t gel well, nothing will. My parents didn’t like him or his parents. His parents liked me, but not my parents. Our backgrounds were completely different: My family is from Africa and his is from Texas. Because our family fought so much, it made us fight. Their differences became our differences, and it just wasn’t working out anymore.” —Jocelyn K., 27
6.A Lack of Sex
“I should have known something was up because even the year before we got married, he didn’t want to have sex with me. I didn’t know what was wrong, but I figured he was stressed with work or life. Two years into our marriage, we had sex only about four times. Every time I brought it up to him, he would change the subject or just get mad. I just decided he wasn’t attracted to me, and I didn’t want to be in a marriage where I felt so bad about myself.” —Jodi L., 31
Looking for ways to heat things up in the bedroom? Check out the Men’s Health guide to becoming a master lover.
“Our mistake was that we didn’t live together before we got married. There’s only so much you know about a person before you actually live with them. When we moved in together, about three months after we were married, the truth came out. He had all these weird habits that didn’t work with my habits. We fought a ton. I was always looking for reasons to not come home because I didn’t want to see him. It was like living with an awful college roommate. Our marriage ended about nine months after we started living together.” —Miriam H., 27
8. Different Lifestyles
“His tagline was always ‘Oh, don’t worry about that now. We’ll figure it out.’ But the thing is, we never figured it out. He wanted to sell our belongings and travel for a year together. He didn’t have a job. I wanted to move to California to be close to my family, and I wanted him to get a job. We just didn’t align in our lifestyles, and even though it was like that when we were dating, he kept promising me it would just work out somehow. Well, it didn’t.” —Krista B., 29
9.The Silent Treatment
“I blame myself. I don’t deal well with confrontation, so every time we had a fight I’d toss him the silent treatment. I’d hold onto grudges for far too long, and I wouldn’t tell him how I was really feeling. Eventually, he said he had enough with me and my antics. He left me and asked for a divorce after 18 months of marriage. I could hardly blame him.” —Maggie N., 30