While having a 'forbidden love' may sound like something that only happens in TV dramas, it's an experience that many people have at some point in their life. Whether they act on their passion or not, harboring feelings that you know the outside world would condemn puts a lot of emotional strain and stress on the couple involved. Imagine having to hide your love for someone day-in, day-out. Imagine the having fear of your secret relationship being exposed and the knowledge that even your family and friends may cast you out because of who you love. Alongside unrequited love, forbidden love has to be one of the most painful emotions you can possibly endure.
Unfortunately, the idea that love conquers all is one that mostly belongs in fiction. As much as people in a forbidden relationship might want to make their love work, it's not always possible. Not only can the stress of the experience tear couples apart, being physically separated by disapproving parties is a real possibility. Even if some people support your forbidden love, if the right people are against it then the situation may still end in heartbreak. Here are ten men and ten women who used Reddit to tell their heartbreaking story of a forbidden love gone wrong.
20 "In high school, I fell in love with one of the 'bad boys' in our small town... My parents forbid me from seeing him"
When you're a teen who's still living with your parents, there's not a lot you can do if they forbid you to see the person you love. This Redditor got herself into the classic situation of dating a 'bad boy' that her parents hated. Their disapproval was so strong that they point-blank refused to let the young couple see each other. Of course, just because you tell a teen not to do something doesn't mean they'll immediately stop...
"I chose him to be my first act of rebellion and we had to create all of these elaborate schemes in order to see each other. We had a whole network of people who would cover for us if we wanted to spend time together."
However, this forbidden relationship ultimately failed. Luckily, there was a silver lining:
"Eventually, the distance when I was at college got to us and after a year apart we officially ended it... He sent me a letter around a year ago thanking me for believing in him and helping to get his life on track."
Clearly, the bad boy was positively influenced by his well-behaved secret girlfriend! It's a shame the relationship didn't work out, but at least something good came of it.
19 "I was in college and my partner was 14 years older than me... Then I found out he was married"
Oh, wow. It sounds like this woman was in a forbidden love situation without even realizing it at first. It must be crushing to learn that the person you've spent months falling in love with is actually married to somebody else. However, it didn't stop this Redditor from pursuing the man in question:
"His wife treated him terribly... When she got pregnant she led him to believe the child was his when it wasn't. I feel bad about this, but I tried to lure him away from her."
You can't help but feel sorry for the man who's stuck in the middle of all of this. According to the Redditor in question, her forbidden love was only reciprocated when the man's wife passed away: he refused to cheat on her while she was alive. By then, feelings had changed and the relationship just wouldn't work. It's a sad tale of two compatible people meeting each other at the wrong time.
18 "Seeing each other was an absolute joy... Until she cut me out to salvage her relationship"
Falling in love with someone who's already in a relationship is crushing at the best of times. However, it's even worse when the non-single party flirts enough to keep your affections strong. This Redditor faced heartbreak when his forbidden love failed to disclose that she wasn't single until he'd already fallen for her. She led him on for months then cut him out when his love had grown:
"Once I went back to college, I stopped receiving messages from her and she removed me from Facebook. She said that she and her boyfriend had been going through a rough patch when we met... I get that she wants to save her relationship, I really do. But it just hurts so bad."
This poor guy was so close yet so far from getting the woman of his dreams. Ultimately, though, she chose somebody else, and his love will have to remain forbidden.
17 "I was 17, he was 24. Our forbidden love was exciting until inexperienced me got scared..."
Age gaps in relationships are controversial at the best of times, but especially when one party is still a teen. There's a chance that the younger party could get taken advantage of. Even if the couple is happy, their love will probably be frowned upon if other people find out about it - the younger person's parents may even step in. This is the kind of forbidden love that this Redditor was engaged in, beginning when she was 17 and her crush a divorced, 24-year-old father. Eventually, it wasn't the fact that their trysts were forbidden that broke this couple up, but their age gap:
"He leaned in to kiss me... I was so inexperienced and scared that I turned away. He assumed that I had done all of this to prove that I could land an older guy... I was too afraid to tell him the truth."
Even if this relationship had been permitted, it sounds like it was doomed from the outset. While age gaps work for some couples, this woman was just too young to cope with such an affair.
16 "After a few weeks, she admitted that she had a boyfriend... It only made her more attractive to me"
It's a sad fact that things seem all the more attractive to us when we can't have them. This becomes especially painful when it's a person that's unavailable to us: it only makes us care for them and lust after them more. This Redditor certainly understands what this situation is like. He freely admits that learning that his love was forbidden only increased its ardor. Knowing that the object of his affection already had a boyfriend only made things worse. Unfortunately, neither the Redditor or the girl in question was able to resist their mutual attraction:
"Out of the blue, she and I hooked up one night, and once more before her boyfriend found out... I knew our relationship was just physical, but I still felt awful."
Well, at least he felt guilty about it! Not only did this forbidden love not work out, it sounds like it's still affecting this guy's life to this day:
"I'm no longer trusted by my friends and their girlfriends."
Hmmmm. I wonder why?
15 "It was wrong for me to be with a married father... But people blew it way out of proportion"
Before you rush to judge this Redditor, not everything is as straightforward as it seems. Yes, this woman fell in love with a father who was technically still married. However, he was at least separated from his wife. He wasn't cheating, and the Redditor wasn't the 'other woman'. However, this didn't stop some people from disapproving of the couple's burgeoning love.
"The rumor mill was nasty. And I lost all of my friends, save for one. I was pegged as the other woman, even though his wife lived in a different city two hours... No one knew the real story."
This sounds like a horrible situation to be in. This Redditor knew that she wasn't doing anything wrong, but the rest of the world didn't. The relationship ultimately failed, although it sounds like the forbidden aspect of it wasn't the reason for this split...
"We are now broken up, but that's an entirely different story."
What story? Why would she leave us hanging like this?!
14 "Dating someone younger and from a different country was considered taboo by her culture"
Cultural differences are a common reason for forbidden relationships taking place. Strict rules about who people can and can't date lead to a lot of difficult situations, especially when someone falls in love with the 'wrong' kind of person. This Redditor got into this kind of situation when he was still a young man and it sounds like it affected him deeply:
"I was nineteen years old when I fell for a 25-year-old woman who was visiting the USA. I thought we were in love, but now I wonder if she just wanted to say she'd been with an American."
Whether the woman in question loved him or not, this guy seems pretty cut up about this forbidden love. He had two strikes against him in the eyes of her culture: he was younger than her, and he was from a different part of the world. In circumstances like that, it's difficult for a relationship to thrive, no matter how much two people might love each other.
13 "I was in love with my best friend for years... I only realized when I was the minister presiding over her wedding"
Did anyone else's heart sink a little bit when they read this confession? What an awful situation to be in. Realizing you're in love with a married woman is bad enough... But this guy was the vicar officiating his forbidden love's wedding when he worked out he had feelings for her! Ouch! As you might imagine, that marriage didn't exactly run smoothly:
"She seemingly had the same feelings as me for years but never admitted it to anyone - not even herself. About eight months after she got married, it became clear to her now ex-husband that she had feelings for me."
So the forbidden love was actually two-way. If only they'd both realized it before another innocent party had to be involved! While the forbidden lovers in this story are actually together now, we can't imagine how painful it must be for the ex-husband. Still, at least the woman in question ended her marriage rather than cheating and stringing her husband along.
12 "I am black and dating an Indian (Gujarati) girl... Her parents have launched a full-scale attack to stop us"
Cultural differences once again play a part in this tragic forbidden love confession. The couple in question are still together, despite the best efforts of the girl's parents. However, the lengths to which the parents have gone to break them up just because the boyfriend isn't of the same culture as them is pretty extreme:
"The list goes from attempted arranged marriages, attacks on my character, threats to her financial standing, etc. Anything to get her to leave me. We are in love and are great when we're not thinking about all of that..."
While this couple is trying to make it work in the face of all of this adversity, it's clearly taking a toll on their relationship - as it would! Being bombarded with so much negativity would affect anyone. We can only keep our fingers crossed that love does prevail in this case.
11 "I dated my best friend's little sister... There was too much sneaking around and too many lies"
Dating one of your friends' siblings is a pretty tricky situation to navigate. For one, it's going to be super awkward if you guys split up acrimoniously. If your friend has to choose between you and their sibling, you could well find yourself being cut off. Likewise, your friend might not be entirely comfortable knowing that you're being, er, intimate with their brother and sister. This Redditor tried to avoid this discomfort by not telling anyone that he was dating his BFF's younger sister. However, this forbidden love was put under strain pretty quickly...
"It lasted around two months before I told him... I ended things with his sister pretty quickly afterward. She wasn't happy, but within a few months, me and my friend were back to normal."
Well done to those guys for managing to salvage their friendship. It sounds like a pretty messy situation all around.
10 "I dated one of my friends' moms... I lost all of my friends when it became public knowledge"
Okay, dating your friend's sibling is one thing... But their parent? That may be taking things too far. It clearly was in this guy's case - his forbidden love affair with his friend's married mom led to some pretty severe repercussions. You can see why they tried to keep it a secret at first...
"She ended up falling in love with me and after a while, she divorced her husband. Throughout all of this, my friend remained in the dark... Our relationship lasted for three years, but I could never come to terms with what I'd done. I even lost contact with my parents after a while because of it."
No matter how much this Redditor was in love with his friend's mom, it sounds like the guilt the relationship caused would have caused them to break up eventually anyway. The almost universal disapproval from the guy's friends and family only sped up the inevitable.
9 "When I was 16, I fell in love with my best friend of the same gender... Her father was a massive homophobe"
Another common factor that causes relationships to become forbidden is homophobia. If your family members have not yet come to terms with the fact that you're gay, they're likely to make any romantic relationships pretty difficult for you - or even try to prevent you from having them at all. This Redditor had an experience like this, although it was her girlfriend's parents who disapproved rather than her own.
"Her father was an ex-marine with temper problems... He hated me. If he'd found out about us, she'd have been sent to some kind of camp. We tried to hide our relationship for over two years."
Having to be so secretive clearly put a huge strain on this forbidden relationship. Although this Redditor doesn't think it caused the eventual breakup, the constant worry, paranoia, and lies that the forbidden nature of the relationship caused definitely don't sound easy to deal with.
8 "I had an affair with my close friend's fiancee... Eight months later, I sat there and watched them get married"
Not only did this Redditor fall for his best friend's fiancee - a painful situation to start with - he actually acted on his feelings and then had to watch the couple get married. While the woman in question definitely isn't blameless in this situation, the Redditor himself admits that what he did was pretty bad...
"I fall in love with this girl, and she feels the same way about me, but she doesn't want to leave her fiancee. Long story short, our entire "relationship" lasts for four months before she breaks it off... The wedding was a horrible day in my life, mainly because I was watching her marry someone she didn't love."
To be honest, it sounds like this 'forbidden love' should have been made public. Maybe then the girl's poor fiancee would be spared the ticking time bomb that his marriage probably is. At least the Redditor in question has learned the hard way that acting on forbidden love isn't always for the best.
7 "When I was 17, I dated a 31-year-old man... He was my high school English teacher"
Okay, this love was so forbidden that there are actually laws against it. While the age gap alone is concerning, the fact that a teacher actually dated one of his much-younger students is concerning. The Redditor who confessed this doesn't feel that way, though...
"Whenever I tell people this story they try to demonize him as some kind of sleazeball, but it legitimately didn't happen that way... I developed feelings for him and actively pursued a relationship."
I mean, the teacher in question definitely shouldn't have agreed to date her, but still... The relationship didn't end up lasting, not because of its forbidden nature but because the girl "didn't want to be tied down at a young age." While some relationships are forbidden for pretty stupid reasons, this one was probably frowned upon for a good reason. Once again, let's not forget that it was literally illegal. Sure, the breakup probably hurt this girl at the time, but it was probably for the best.
6 "I was a senior and she was a freshman... Her parents threatened to press charges unless we broke up"
This story of teenage forbidden love has all of the twists and turns of a Hollywood movie. While the Redditor in question was still a high school student when he met his future girlfriend, there was still an age gap of three years to get past. Needless to say, the girl's parents were not pleased when they found out:
"I talk to the mom who basically says I deceived them and that if I want to avoid jail I'll never talk to her daughter again."
Well, that's a threat and a half. Despite this, the brave teenage lovebirds decided to find a way to keep their relationship secret:
"This goes on for about 18 months to two years. She dates someone else publically and I do things with other girls, it gets very complicated and messy emotionally, and she wants to run away with me to Spain."
Okay... That took a drastic turn very quickly! Did the couple take the plunge and move to Europe? Apparently not - the Redditor ended things because keeping the forbidden relationship going was just too much. By the sounds of it, it was always going to be doomed.
5 "My SO has a child with his previous partner... I know my dad will force us to break up if he finds out about it"
Having very traditional parents can cause issues when it comes to getting the all-important seal of approval for your new partner. It's difficult when things that you don't see as a problem are massive dealbreakers for parents - especially when they're controlling or still wield massive influence over their child. This Redditor is in a heartbreaking situation where she knows her father would force her to end her relationship if he discovered her boyfriend's secret:
"I am currently still financially supported by my parents, and I can't afford for them to stop that. However, my dad is yet to find out that my boyfriend has a child and I'm scared to death of how he'll react..."
Surely if the girl herself doesn't mind her partner having a child, it shouldn't matter what her parents think? Well, not in this situation. Unless this Redditor can find a way to financially support herself, her forbidden love could be over before long.
4 "I fell in love with the vocal coach of my choir... I was 18, she was 27"
When it comes to age gaps in relationships, it's more common to hear tales of younger women dating older men. However, the roles are reversed in this tale of forbidden love. While the Redditor in question was technically a legal adult when this affair happened, his teacher agreeing to a relationship is still morally questionable. Their love had to be kept secret because of this, but it didn't last long...
"The taboo factor to our relationship began to kick in for her and she became very distant. She cut all communication off to protect herself because she couldn't handle it. She loved me too much."
Hmm... Did she love him too much, or did it just hit her that she'd made a huge mistake? I guess we'll never know. However, considering the circumstances in which this forbidden love blossomed - a teacher-student relationship - it's not a surprise that it eventually ended. Hopefully both parties have managed to move on with their lives.
3 "I was 14, he was 18... My strict Mormon mom put a restraining order on him to force us apart"
Having your parent disapprove of your relationship is one thing. However, having your mom take out a restraining order to split you up is an altogether more severe reaction! While the Mormon church is notoriously strict regarding dating and relationships, this is surely an extreme example of what actually goes down. By the sounds of it, when the mom discovered that this Redditor had been 'intimate' with her boyfriend, she treated the situation as a crime scene:
"She forced me to go to the ER to get checked out. Because I was 14 and it was a complaint of an intimate nature, they treated me as a crime victim... He graduated high school and joined the Navy, I carried on with my life."
Such an abrupt, forced breakup must have been incredibly hard on this young couple. The heartbreak they endured is tragic considering the circumstances. However, this tale does luckily have a happy ending:
"A few years later, my ex came back to town and we reconnected. We snuck around for three years before announcing to my mom that we were getting married. We've been married for 11 years now and have four kids!"
These two were clearly meant to be together!
2 "I dated my first girlfriend at a Christian college where we would both be expelled if we were caught"
These forbidden lovers took a huge risk when they decided to begin a secret relationship. As students at a traditional Christian college, they would have been immediately expelled if anyone had discovered that they were actually a same-sex couple rather than just 'super close friends'. That's a lot of pressure for a relationship to handle, and this Redditor admits that she struggled:
"Neither of us were out of the closet to our families... Our close friends knew and were cool with it, but most of our classmates would have ostracized us."
It's heartbreaking that two people could be made to feel this way just for being in love. Ultimately, it doesn't look like the relationship survived the strain: note how the Redditor says "my first girlfriend", implying she's had more. While the breakup could have been for reasons other than the relationship's forbidden nature, all of the secrecy probably didn't help matters.
1 "I fell for one of my friends' boyfriends... I didn't really think about the consequences of my actions"
This Redditor's forbidden love turned out to be a masterclass in how to lose friends and alienate people. While she now admits that she made a huge mistake in pursuing her friend's boyfriend, at the time all she could think about was her own hidden feelings:
"I was going through a bad phase... I was all about the conquest. Once I got what I want I lost all interest. After lots of secret flirting, I ended up being intimate with him. She was two rooms away asleep. This is one of the worst things I've ever done..."
Ultimately, the guilt involved in this forbidden tryst prevented the affair from going any further. The boyfriend has some serious questions to answer too - especially considering the Redditor claims that he strung his girlfriend along for a further year after he cheated. The situation sounds like a total mess - something that's apparently quite common in cases of forbidden romance!