"When 9/11 happened." 5 women on the exact moment they knew their marriage was over.

Apparently, today is ‘Break Up Day’.

While there’s a common misconception that January is the time of year couples are most likely to split, data experts who analysed Facebook breakup posts from 2018 have discovered that December 11 is in fact the most common day for couples to call it quits.

It’s not that surprising when you think about it. The run up to Christmas is a stressful time of year. It’s also a time when we begin to reflect on the year gone by and think about what we might want from the following year. Are we happy in our jobs? What about our relationships? 

The closer we get to Christmas, the crueller a potential breakup begins to seem. And so here we are – ‘Break Up Day’ – the day many perceive to be the last acceptable cut off point.

For others, there is no waiting around for a cut off point. There is an exact moment when a relationship is just over – and there’s no going back from it.

Here, five women tell Mamamia, about the moment they knew their marriage was over.

Watch: Robin Bailey and Bec Sparrow share why their first marriages were big mistakes. Post continues below.

Video by Mamamia


I knew my marriage was over when I saw a message on my husband’s phone that he’d sent to a group chat with his mates. It said: “Don’t think I can make it tonight. SWMBO will say no.”

When I showed it to him, asking what is meant, he said casually: “It means ‘She Who Must Be Obeyed’.”

After five years of marriage, this is what I’d become to him. And I knew in that moment, there was no coming back from that. This was no longer just about me: my son and I deserved better.

Listen to Mamamia’s parenting writer Nama Winston sharing why you should be looking at separation as an opportunity to reinvent yourself on The Split. Post continues after audio.


I knew my marriage was over when 9/11 happened. As the news kept showing the planes hitting the towers, and telling the stories of people calling loved ones to say goodbye, I had the awful realisation that I wouldn’t want to call my husband if I were in that situation.


It was such a sad realisation during such a terrible tragedy. We separated four weeks later. I often wonder how others re-evaluated their lives after 9/11. It sounds incredibly selfish on reflection, but I’m sure it changed many lives for all sorts of reasons far beyond the victims and their families.


I was on holiday with my husband in South America when I realised our marriage was over.

I was 29 and freaking out about turning 30 the following year so I wanted to get some great photos of myself during our trip.

I booked a professional photoshoot, had my hair and makeup done and put on an amazing outfit. And then I looked down at my wedding ring and I realised I didn’t want it – aka, my husband – to be a part of these photos in any shape or form.

I wanted these photos to be a gift for my future self and I couldn’t see him as part of that anymore. This was the moment where I took off my wedding ring and I never put it back on.


I’d been going through a really rough patch with my husband when he announced he had to go away to the US for work for six weeks.

We both agreed that the distance would be good for our marriage and that we could talk and start fresh upon his return.

While he was away, I put a lot more energy into areas of my life I normally neglected. I got back to the gym and started exercising again. I spent time with friends. I read the books that had been piling up on my nightstand. I just… looked after myself.

Whenever things had got really bad with my husband, I’d always talked myself into staying by convincing myself I could never be happy alone.

But during that six-week business trip, I realised I could be. His trip was extended by another two weeks and I was deliriously happy about it.

And when he was on his way home, I felt a weight in my chest, and I knew that was the end of my marriage.


My husband had an affair with a woman from work and I found out about it. We vowed to work on our marriage.

He ended things with her and we went into counselling for six months. When we came out the other side of that, I truly felt we were stronger.

But that Christmas I found a card in his bedside drawer – it was from the girl at work, saying how much she loved him. I realised he’d never ended things with her and I’d been completely fooling myself. We split up in the New Year.

The women in this story are known to Mamamia but have chosen to remain anonymous for privacy reasons. Please note, the feature image is a stock photo. Source: Getty.

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