Divorce Reflection: Can you Pinpoint the Exact Moment You Knew it was Over?

By Jackie Pilossoph, Creator and Editor-in-chief, Divorced Girl Smiling site, podcast and app, Love Essentially columnist and author

Divorce reflection comes at all different times. For me, certain memories took years to see and to process, while other things I remembered about my marriage were as clear as day, even from day one of getting separated. In other words, hindsight is 20/20, but WHEN you let yourself see the truth can range from immediately to several years later.

I will never forget this. It was such an exciting time. My ex and I had just sold our town home and had  purchased our dream house. It was picture perfect: a warm, five bedroom house with a loft-like feel on a big, beautiful lot with nice yard. It was a perfect place to raise our two babies. And we’d live there until we moved into senior living.

We hadn’t moved yet, and were still in the grace period of both deals, meaning in Illinois, you have five days after you sign a real estate contract to back out of the deal with no penalty.

One night, we had a huge fight (which sadly enough wasn’t atypical). I went to bed in tears like I did so often at the time. I woke up the next morning and called our realtor.

“I changed my mind,” I said to her. “I’m not selling or buying either home. I’m not moving.” That was the exact moment I knew my relationship was over, and that I was going to get divorced.

Every past relationship has that moment, the precise instant you know it’s over. It’s a defining moment. You might not realize it at the time (in other words, years later you might say, ‘I knew it was over, but I still stayed and even had another baby with him’) or you might know the second it happens and hightail it out of there.  Whichever it is, there IS that moment, and eventually you will be able to pinpoint exactly when you knew you and your now ex were history.

I think that moment (regardless of when you figure it out) is very important in understanding what went wrong in the relationship, why it ended, how to move on, and how to choose someone who is better for you in the future.

There is a book and a website related to this subject. The book is, IT WAS OVER WHEN…TALES OF ROMANTIC DEAD ENDS. The website is called IT WAS OVER WHEN.

Written by Robert K. Elder (who is actually Editor-in-chief at the Sun-Times local, in other words he’s my editors’ boss), and inspired by a game he used to play at parties asking people when they knew it was over in past relationships, the book and the blog are extremely funny and entertaining at times, but there’s so much more. The stories on the site and in the book are comforting to so many people, as who hasn’t been in some of these situations? It’s relatable, and real.

Some of the stories are laugh out loud hilarious, some are sad, some are weird, and some are infuriating. Here are a couple quotes from the book:

1. The Lease

After 2 years together, his lease was up. I suggested he and I move in together. His response: “You want to live with me and my roommates?”

2. Hush

While in bed, I complimented one of his (only successful) sexual moves. He told me I was “ruining his concentration.” He shushed me during sex!

3. Culture Shock

He started making plans for a joint vacation (after only 4 days of knowing each other) to New York’s Chinatown because he wanted to learn more about my culture. I’m Korean.

4. Deployed

My sister was deployed to Iraq. I cried. My boyfriend told me to “man up” and asked what I was going to make for dinner.

5. Advice

My best friend and I were talking about how excited we were that we were both pregnant, and she asked my advice on how she was going to tell the father of her baby–my husband.

I think ItWasOverWhen.com is a great site for entertainment and a good laugh when you need it. It’s great for someone who is going through a breakup. The book is a great gift for a recently separated person,  for someone who just got out of a relationship, or just for a girlfriend. It’s available on amazon.

Here’s the thing about reflecting back on the moment you knew. Everyone gets burned at some point in our lives,whether it’s an old boyfriend you got over quickly or your husband who dumped you for another woman. No matter how hard it is when things end, remembering that moment might give you the clarity and the confidence to realize you got out of a bad situation. In other words, instead of remembering all the good things (which is what our mind tends to do) let yourself remember why you left (or why it’s a good thing HE did). That defining moment of “when I knew it was over” might give you the dose of reality you need to move forward and choose better next time.

I’d love to hear from you! What was the moment YOU knew it was over?

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    Editor-in-chief: Jackie Pilossoph

    Divorced Girl Smiling is here to empower, connect and inspire you. Jackie Pilossoph is the creator and Editor-In-Chief of Divorced Girl Smiling, the site, the podcast and the app. A former television journalist and newspaper features reporter, Pilossoph is also the author of four novels and the writer of her weekly relationship column, Love Essentially. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism and lives in Chicago with her two teenagers. The author of the novels, Divorced Girl Smiling and Free Gift With Purchase, Pilossoph also writes the weekly dating and relationships advice column, “Love Essentially”, published in the Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press and the Chicago Tribune online. Additionally, she is a Huffington Post contributor. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism from Boston University.

    7 Responses to “Divorce Reflection: Can you Pinpoint the Exact Moment You Knew it was Over?”

    1. elif

      It was mid December 2009, my Ex came home with fire in his eyes as he entered the house and got within inches of my 3 yr old’s face asking her questions no 3 yr old should ever have to answer. She was so strong in standing up to him, but at that moment from inside my heart, i felt something crumble. That was my breaking point.

    2. lisa thomson

      Great post, Jackie. I’ve seen it on HuffPost where everyone writes in when they knew it was over. It’s great! I had a couple but one was when we were literally moving into our dream home. I drove down the road and saw my son’s hockey goal pads laying on the side of the road. They had fallen out of the moving truck my husband rented. I knew right then our family was falling apart. I cried on a day that was supposed to be joyful.

    3. Andrea

      There are so many to choose from. The time he called me a c…t, the day after we came home from the hospital with our daughter and I was holding her and making our 3 yr old son breakfast and he comes into the kitchen saying “see I knew you couldn’t do this I knew you’d never be able to take care of two kids” or the time he strangled me and kicked me in the stomach. Take your pick they are all just terrible.

    4. Nadine

      After one of our usual huge fights, I sat on the couch sleepless and fuming while listening to him snore in the bedroom. After years of constant fighting and being given 3 weeks of silent treatments, I sat on the couch and thought about a life without him.

      I knew our relationships was over when that I started looking forward to that life. I didn’t end things for another year and a half in the event that things got better.

      They got worse.

      I’m the happiest I’ve ever been now that he’s gone and the month-long silent treatments are no longer a part of my life. I’m only annoyed I didn’t walk away sooner.

    5. labelle

      There were so many. He once asked my 4 year old if I was doing the state trooper who direct traffic at her school. When she looked confused by the question, he told her ” u r a f…. b…. like ur mother”.
      But I left 2 yrs later. It was the day he punched me while holding my 1 yr old baby girl, and my 6 yr old daughter was glued to the bedroom door watching me getting beat. The minutes I saw my baby paralyze with fear, I knew I had to run. We are so happy now, that was 10 years ago.

    6. Ani

      I went to the gynecologist and didn’t want him to come in with me. He through a temper tantrum and refused to buy my medication needed. Instead of getting angry or upset I felt nothing. I just couldn’t care anymore.

      (He cheated on me two years ago and me being a good wife stuck it out, big mistake. )

    7. Kathy

      There were 3 for me. The first was when I was going into labor and he refused to take me to the hospital. I ended up having to call the hospital and they sent and paid for a taxi for me to get there (they ended up stopping contractions b/c baby was too early). The second was when our daughter (2 months old) needed diapers and he refused to go get them (he controlled the money). I ended up using his favorite rock band shirt as a diaper (our daughter had a b.m. in it so he got mad enough that he went and got diapers). The third and final moment was when he went to get up with our daughter in the middle of the night because she was hungry. She kept crying instead of settling down so I went to the crack in our bedroom door to spy (baby slept in car seat in livingroom because the cat had his own bedroom…messed up I know). I saw my husband go to raise a hand to my daughter because she wouldn’t be quite. That was my first husband. My second husband I told him that if he laid a hand on me or my child there were no 2nd chances. One day, 8 months after our daughter was born, he beat me so bad that I miscarried our child. We left and haven’t looked back since.


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