40 women on the specific moment they knew they were going to break up with their partner.

Whether it's a partnership, marriage, situationship or casual encounter, every person has experienced some sort of romantic heartbreak

Women innately know when their relationship is about to end. 

Here are the specific moments 40 women knew they were about to end things for good. 


"I was lying on the bathroom floor with the worst case of gastro and he couldn’t be bothered going to get me hydrolyte from the chemist. 

At that moment I knew I 100 per cent deserved better. We’d been together for nine years and migrated to Australia together. Less than a month later, it was all over and he’d moved out and I haven’t regretted the decision for a second since (it was 15 years ago)."


"When I went to pick him up from the airport after two weeks away for work. He was so drunk (yet again) and was staggering, with his speech slurred. I just thought 'I can't do this anymore as he won't accept he has a problem.'"

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"When I could not write a single thing on their birthday card that I actually meant. The words were fake and forced."



"My husband decided to travel away from home at Christmas time (he has family in Malaysia) which I thought was odd. I decided to snoop and found an external hard drive in the bottom of a clothes basket that showed my husband of 26 years had a second family in Indonesia, had $100K in a bank account, along with a house in Batam and another in Ballarat. I had been able to track the relationship back eight years! There is a child involved and we still don't know if the child is his."


"The moment he said to me that I should be used to the feeling of being left behind and loneliness since my whole family doesn't care for me and my friends have let me down in my most vulnerable moments. It was at that moment I realised I couldn't be with someone who validates all my insecurities and uses them to control and alienate me."


"I was sitting at my computer after just having my third child (I was 35 years old) and I realised I did not love my husband anymore. The feeling just hit me. I was thrown into this new reality that I had to face. I was scared as I had been with him since I was 15 years old and relied on him financially. It took me seven more years before I physically walked out the door."


"The moment my feelings of contempt and resentment outweighed any other feelings I had for my partner. I was always willing to give chances for betrayals or harm but once I was done, I was done. There was nothing left."



"I was seven months pregnant with our first child and he threw my phone at my face while I was asleep. His reasoning was because I didn't tell him that I had coffee with a friend the day before. That was the moment I knew I had to leave. It took me until that child was nearly three to successfully leave that relationship. I want women to know that it doesn't matter how many failed attempts you have [made] trying to leave a violent relationship. Never stop trying. The grass is so goddamn green on this side of the fence."


"I had three years of dealing with his porn addiction - and its escalation into a full-blown problematic sex addiction. After living in a marriage with continual lies, betrayal and secrets, my mental health was at the lowest it had been in my entire life and I had some extremely dark thoughts. Eventually, there was a point where I snapped. There was a definitive moment where I realised that I was going to have to choose between my marriage or myself. I chose myself."


"We had three children, our youngest daughter was nine months old at the time. He worked overseas and had come back for the Christmas holidays. I collected him from the airport (with the kids) at about 6am, and around 9am he said while playing with the kids 'We need to talk'. Six hours later he finally got the courage to actually speak to me and said 'We’d grown apart', and he wanted a divorce. 

We had a family holiday booked which we still went on. I lost 5kg that week because of the stress. To this day (24 years later lol), those words 'We need to talk' send a chill down my spine. 


Unknown to me until we did the paperwork, I found out he’d cheated and had a baby boy the exact same age as my youngest daughter. He had been living with them the entirety of my pregnancy and ever since."


"I was getting ready to go out for dinner and he told me he was staying home for the night. His phone beeped and I glanced down to see a message from another woman saying 'see you soon :).'"


"The first dance came on at a friend's wedding and he wouldn’t dance with me because he was 'too shy and needed a few more drinks.' I realised I needed a louder kind of love."


"When he walked past me after an exam and didn’t acknowledge me."


"When he had been FIFO for seven years and COVID hit. We were locked up in the same house together. It had not been great between us for a long time but this was the final straw." 


"When I came home to find all of my ex-husband's clothes gone and then found out he had been having an affair for nine months with somebody who I thought was a friend."


"When he made me leave my own birthday dinner with all of my friends and family because he was 'tired'. Only for him to drop me off at home and go over to a mate's place. I moved my stuff into the spare room the next day and he was 'shocked.'"


"This seems rather trivial, but we were shopping in The Reject Shop at Christmas and he picked up a pair of sunglasses with a Santa beard attached and thought it was so funny. He couldn't contain his laughter. I didn't laugh. I realised how different he was to me at that moment."



"I'd been painfully sticking it out for a few months. He was quite possessive, didn't let me talk to my girlfriends about our relationship, didn't let me hug my male friends and didn't let me have a night out without him unless I messaged him every half an hour. I was over it. But the straw that broke the camel's back was when he picked his nose and ate it in front of me. At that moment I knew I was going to break up with him and later that afternoon, I did."


"When my first boyfriend smiled at me. Rather than feeling happiness, I felt guilty that I didn't have love for him anymore."


"I’d seen he had followed his ex again on social media platforms. Not long after that we broke up and the ex was on the scene again."


"My boyfriend (24m) and I (22f) had been together for three years. He lived at my family home with me. We rarely spoke on the phone and usually just texted each other. I knew something was up when he called me but I knew it was over when he said 'Can we talk…at the Westfield food court?' Yes, he dumped me in the Westfield food court. What’s worse is I ran into what felt like a million people I knew between the food court and my car. Also, my parents were overseas so I had my special needs brother with me at the scene of the dumping."


"After being together for nine years I googled 'How do you know if the person you’re with is the right person for you?.' We broke up three months later."



"My husband was drunk and had me pushed up against a wall threatening to beat the sh*t out of me. I had to call my 17-year-old son to pull him off me. My 10-year-old son also witnessed this. I decided then and there that I didn’t want my sons to think this was acceptable, I had to get out."


"It was during the pandemic and it was on Valentine's Day. He asked to bring me flowers and some cupcakes — I agreed. When he pinged me that he was at my front door, I wasn't excited to see him. I didn't even care what he got me. When I saw his face, it was that moment I knew I'd fallen out of love for him. The next day I broke up with him via text (I'm horrible, I know but it had to be done)."


"It was Mother's Day, he got up and didn’t even give me a hug or a kiss let alone a present. When I questioned him he replied: 'I didn’t know we did presents for Mother's Day.'"


"My mum has always been so supportive of me. I was in a terrible relationship and I would cry to her about the relationship every week for years. Lots of years. It was one day when I rocked up on my mum's doorstep yet again and I don’t know, she just cracked. She said to me 'You either choose this life or you change it. Make a decision.' It was that moment I chose to end it. I went home and ended it just like that."


"We’d been dating a few months, had met each other's parents and I thought it was going well. Valentine’s Day time rolls around [and] he got stupidly drunk the day before and thus was hungover on actual Valentine’s Day. He cancelled all the plans he’d 'made' and I was pretty disappointed. Roll on a week later and I get the dreaded 'Where do you see this going?' text, followed by 'I need space for two weeks.' I knew right there. The 35-year-old 'man' then ghosted me."



"When my alcoholic husband drove both our kids with a blood alcohol reading of 0.3. I knew he would never change."


"I had a dream we were getting married and I had never felt so trapped in my life. I already knew we weren't meant to be, but that morning I knew I had to get out sooner rather than later."


"I was making dinner for my husband and three kids aged eight-12. I’d been thinking of leaving for a couple of years. Before sitting down for dinner I stood in my fridge so no one could see me and skulled a whole glass of wine. I knew I had to do that in order to be able to sit at the table with him. I also knew that that wasn’t normal behaviour. We were separated four months after that. I've never been happier."


"When I took my three kids to playgroup on a Monday morning, then returned home at midday and my partner was still in bed."


"When he said 'We don't need a cleaner, you can do those jobs on your work breaks!' The absolute joys of working from home."


"I felt it. The last time my partner turned over to hug me in bed, my body and mind instantly went 'This is the last time.' He left a week later."



"In my 20s I married a guy who was sweet, intelligent and kind. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and I know now that I got into this relationship because I needed to feel loved, not because we were right for each other. He had a gambling addiction, and although he warned me in the beginning, he hid the extent of his problems and I chose to ignore it. 

Eventually, after years of anxiety caused by money problems, the lying that comes with gambling and stress caused by his family... my mental health was at an all-time low. One morning I clearly remember rolling over in bed and looking at this sweet man, whom I loved fiercely and thinking 'We love each other now, but if we keep doing this, we're going to end up hating each other' and I didn't want that."


"When he came into the bathroom, I was on the floor of the shower sobbing... He just walked right out. I realised I could not live the rest of my life like this."


"Having worked on our marriage the last five years, it was after surgery when I needed someone with me for 24 hours afterwards and he woke me up the next day saying he was off to work and my daughter was home sick with gastro. He then came home from work after a day away while I was in recovery and went to footy training until 10pm. I wasn’t a priority and I wasn’t staying."


"I had spent the morning going to markets with my sister. We purchased plants for mine and my partner's newly built house and spent the morning planting in the backyard. My partner was leaving to go somewhere and just said 'goodbye.' My sister told me that he didn’t even come out and look at what we had done and I knew in that second that other people were seeing his lack of care too and that was it for me.


I spent the next year getting my house in order grieving the relationship and making my exit plan."


"When we were having sex and I felt nothing for him. I couldn’t even look him in the eyes. I had fallen in love with a friend and knew that this would be the last time we would be together."


"When I was younger, I had this high school boyfriend and it ended up getting to the point where I was repulsed by him sexually. Every time we tried to initiate sex, I would literally throw up with anxiety. I knew I had to end it. I was thinking the other day I don't really know what completely turned me off him, it just happened."


"When my husband left the house to catch an early work flight. He would always kiss me goodbye and say 'I love you.' But that morning he just said 'Goodbye.' Things had been pretty bad for a while anyway but I felt that shift so clearly. I found out that afternoon he was having an affair."

If you want more relationship and culture content from Emily Vernem, you can follow her on Instagram @emilyvernem.

All submissions to this article are anonymous. Names have been changed for privacy and safety concerns. 

Feature image: Canva. 

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