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20 People Who Got Divorced After 20+ Years of Marriage Share What Eventually Went Wrong



Relationships fall apart for all sorts of reasons, and sometimes it takes longer than others. For couples who have been together for more than 20 years, it can seem like those are solid relationships that aren't going anywhere. 

But people grow and change and face new challenges every day, and it's not unheard of for long relationships to finally break down. In this AskReddit thread, people who've witnessed couples divorce after more than 20 years of marriage share what went wrong. 


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S0much2say's in-laws divorced after being unhappy in their relationship for a long time. They went to family therapy and everything, but they just could not get along and seemed to stick it out just for the kids. They had a bitter breakup and her father-in-law remarried. "Cut to about two years after our wedding and I get a phone call from father-in-law's wife of 10 years. She is in hysterics. She had caught him in bed with my mother-in-law."

Amazing. Both of them divorced their other partners and have been back together since.

Traditional marriage

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This is a tough story. PleasantSalad's grandparents got divorced after more than 30 years of marriage. They got married super young because it was "just what you did back then." As they grew older, their grandmother became more independent, but their grandfather didn't like that. He wanted a traditional, stay-at-home wife. 

Eventually, he badly inju                                                                                   red his back and stopped doing much of anything. He became a hoarder, and the situation was no good, so their grandmother left him. He kept breaking back into the house they used to share and eventually, he killed her. It is a tragic, awful story. 

Medical bills

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Bumblebeesnotface had to watch their parents get technically divorced even though they didn't want to. Their dad had a massive stroke, and the only way for him to keep the money from his pension and maintain his health insurance was for them to technically split up. After almost two years of craziness, they figured it out so they could stay in the same house together. It truly says something terrible about how our system is set up that this had to happen. 

Too many lies

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Vharaek and his wife split after 23 years of marriage because of his lies. He admitted it: "The last time I lied to her about accruing a severe amount of debt due to a gambling addiction. I think she might have forgiven the lie, but she couldn't forgive the addiction and the chance I'd start gambling again." 

Unsuccessful business

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There is a man in Harley_Atom's town who lives in a gigantic mansion by himself. "Apparently he was married to a woman for a long time but she left him calling him a 'loser' because his business hadn't taken off yet," they wrote. After she left, his business became extremely successful and he got super-rich. This is the best part: "The reason he built the mansion in that neighborhood was because that is where she lives so she has to drive by the mansion on her way to work every day."

Never in love

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Shalste2's parents got divorced after 22 years of marriage. According to them, "they were never in love and didn't even like each other." They decided to stay together for their kids, but it seems like they were never in the marriage for love, and it finally got to be too much. 

Different orientations

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AfghanHokie worked at a family law firm and one time, they had "like eight clients getting divorced after 20+ years of marriage." They were all high-ranking military men whose wives came out of the closet after all their kids had grown up. What a coincidence. 


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Thepettypineapple's parents split up after almost 30 years. Their dad was terrible and had been cheating on their mom for years. Their mom stayed in the marriage because she simply couldn't afford to start over on her own. I'm glad she finally got out. 

Mental illness

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When jfog352002's parents got divorced after 25 years, they thought their mom was having a midlife crisis. But then her behavior became more erratic and paranoid, and they realized she was suffering from mental illness. She refuses to see a doctor, but her behavior has changed so drastically from when they were younger that they are pretty sure she's very sick. 

Attempted murder

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BigYearColorado left their long marriage because "he tried to kill me, which I feel is impolite." Yikes. I'm glad they were able to get out when they did. 

Secret strip club trips

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It was when msscahlett's husband began stealing money from their joint accounts to secretly go to strip clubs and actually lost his job from missing too much work that she decided she needed to do something. He got therapy and swore he stopped, but after a while, she caught him doing it again and texting strippers, too. It's sad, but this is now probably the end of their 22-year-long marriage.


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Sometimes, therapy helps couples come closer together, but therapy can also help you realize when you're trapped in a bad situation. That's what happened for csudebate. "After more than a decade of being miserable, I finally got help," they wrote. They stayed in their bad relationship because they were afraid of being alone, but therapy helped them realize how full their life was without their terrible marriage and finally gave them the courage to leave.

Working wife

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Bumsydinosaur's parents called it quits after 22 years of marriage. Their father "had a very rigid view of the family. Man works, woman stays home and cares for the home and children." When their father got injured, though, and was out of work for months, their mother found a job to help support the family. Immediately, their father believed that she was cheating on him. He became so overbearing and paranoid and controlling that she asked for a divorce. 

Growing apart

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VA_Wineaux and their partner were high school sweethearts, but after 20 years together, they realized that they weren't the same people they used to be and that it wasn't going to change. They maturely and mutually decided to end it. 

Feeling trapped

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After 25 years of marriage, acewing's dad filed for divorce from their mom kind of out of nowhere. But there had been resentment growing for some time. Their mom is very family-oriented and obsessed with staying close to home and to family. She was probably depressed and undiagnosed, and their dad's resentment and feeling of being trapped just grew and grew until he couldn't take it anymore.


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Listen to this one. RoboOverlord's parents were high school sweethearts and married for a long time. They got divorced when their kids were young, and the dad remarried, had another kid, and divorced again. After about 30 years, at RoboOverlord's wedding, their parents reconnected and have been dating ever since. Of the partnership, they wrote, "I think they both never found anyone they liked as much as each other." Aw. 

Too late

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Cheesecakeandchill's grandmother once told them that she was thinking about divorcing her husband of over 50 years. It was another one of those "we stayed together for the kids" situations, and now that they were alone just the two of them again, she was constantly annoyed by things her husband would do. They didn't end up divorcing, but that's still very sad.

Stuck it out

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Murmathon started the process of divorcing their partner after 25 years. But they decided to stick it out and once the kids moved out, they fell in love all over again. "Relationships follow cycles," they said, which is so true. You just have to make sure the bad stuff doesn't overpower the good stuff overall.

Life changes you

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Luckyleighton says they've been married for 20 years, and they're on the edge of ending their relationship because "life changes you." Once you have kids and / or jobs, you have less time to cultivate your actual relationship, and that's when things can suffer. 

Amicable parting

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It's sad, but it's true; sometimes people just fall out of love. That seems to be what happened to TheBrontosaurus's friend and her husband. They'd been "playing divorce chicken for a decade" when they both eventually decided to sit down and really deal with what was going on. They liked each other and co-parented well, but they just didn't love each other anymore. So they split everything 50-50, moved into houses a couple blocks away from each other, and continue to co-parent beautifully even though they are divorced.

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