18 Life-Altering, "Should've Known Better" Errors Adults Made In Their 30s Or Later

Note: This post contains mentions of suicide and abuse.

No matter the age, everyone can make mistakes. Recently, BuzzFeed Community members shared the mistakes they made in their 30s and beyond that they didn't think they were capable of making, and they range from insightful to powerful. Here are some of the stories that prove nobody is perfect:

1."I got swept up in the MLM storm around 10 years ago. I didn't lose any money, but I feel like an idiot thinking back on the 'Hey, girl' messages I sent and the cringe groups I used to run on Facebook. I am thankful every day for the supportive friends and family that I have who didn't judge me for my dumbass behavior. Hindsight is really 20/20!"

A woman sits on a bed, looking stressed while reading something on her phone
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2."Being in an unhappy, long-term marriage. A lot of hurt and anger had built up over 25 years. As a grown woman with grown children, I was lonely. Someone on Instagram, pretending to be someone sort of famous, befriended me. Of course, over time, it became romantic. And he wanted money. I gave it to him. He repeatedly said that giving him money was the only way to be together. My kids tried telling me the man was scamming me, but I refused to listen. I lost all my money. After I was willing to accept the truth, I told him I was done. After a month, he reached out again, saying I'd deserted him and that he missed me. Yeah, right. He only missed my money, and I enjoyed telling him what I thought of him. One good thing? I did end up divorcing the man who didn't value me. I've since remarried to a wonderful man who appreciates me. We are rebuilding our financial lives and doing it together."


3."I'm a doctor, half a million dollars in debt. My family wouldn't let me drop out of school, and I've been miserable for five years, and I still have to repay my medical school debt. Dropping out is not a failure. Deciding you don't want to do the hard work is NOT a failure. I knew medicine wasn't for me during my first year of school, but the pressure from my family kept me going. Now, I'm a doctor with a borderline problem with alcohol in an ass-load of debt. I'm so miserable but can't quit because of debt and because I have zero transferrable skills. All I know is medicine, and what good is that degree in the US if you haven't finished your residency? From a doctor: STAY OUT OF SCHOOL, KIDS (if it's not for you)."

A tired doctor in scrubs holding medical files sits with his head resting on his hand in a small room, which appears to be a restroom
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4."I wasted a decade on being addicted to alcohol. Life truly began once I got sober."


5."Not realizing that friendships have expiration dates. I had a friendship with a person whom I thought of as my sister, but once she got into her career and made friends within it, I ended up watching from the sidelines. Over time, it became obvious that we were drifting apart, but I went all in trying to save the friendship. However, the friendship ended horribly. I was sad about it for a while, but I am much happier now. My only regret was not letting her go once the friendship began to fade."

A person relaxes with eyes closed in a hammock under a tree, enjoying a peaceful moment outdoors. They wear a sleeveless top and a head wrap


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6."I was in an abusive relationship for 11 years. I let him wear me down into a complete doormat. He destroyed my confidence and isolated me from my friends. It's been seven years; I'm 36. I have no friends or any idea how to make them, and I bend over backward, trying to please other people (which plenty take advantage of). I doubt I'll ever be in a relationship again. Then again, I'm on dialysis waiting for a second transplant, and I think it'd be selfish of me to make friends or get a boyfriend anyway because nobody wants to hear about how much kidney failure sucks."


7."I spent way too long ignoring red flags with my last ex. Eight years of ups and downs, and they cheated on me multiple times. It was stupid of me thinking he would change."

A couple in white underwear lounges on a bed, sharing a tender kiss. They are surrounded by a cozy blanket and appear relaxed and intimate
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8."Staying friends with people just because you've known them for a long time was a mistake I've made a few times. Two instances stand out, with the first involving my supposed best friend, whom I had known since high school. He always had a very toxic side, but for some reason, we got along well for many years. But around 10 years ago, he started turning his toxicity on me. I tried shrugging it off due to our long friendship, but there was a 'last straw' incident where I had an epiphany and said, 'No more!' We haven't spoken in two years now, and I doubt we ever will again."

Group of people enjoying an outdoor gathering; three men in the foreground engaging in conversation, with others seated around a wooden table in the background

9."A lesson I'm learning at 33 is that not everyone is meant to be in a relationship or marriage! Not everyone has a person out there for them — that's a fairytale that our society and culture have implanted in our brains. And it makes people who don't 'accomplish' marriage feel worthless. I'm learning that I shouldn't hold myself to what others do, want, or need. You can live your life however you want because it's YOUR life. Don't let anyone dictate what you should be doing, wanting, or needing. Do whatever you want because, at the end of the day, you're the one left with the consequences."


10."My husband and I separated after he told me not to contact him. He said he'd get in touch when he wanted to see me. He'd previously moved from our after having spinal surgery to live with our son. I was 58 years old. I started going out with this man, my friend's cousin, despite my friend warning me about him. She said he was a lazy good-for-nothing and that he had nothing to show at 62 years old. I learned that he lied about early pension payments, had been through two marriages, and had six children and two grandchildren. He tried convincing me to divorce my husband and marry him. He was a penniless pauper and con man."

A person is handing cash to another person indoors

11."I had a child at 36 with a husband addicted to alcohol. I filed for divorce three years later. He cannot be trusted with a child, so all the responsibility is on me. He's not paying child support while the divorce is pending because he won't sign the papers."

—Anonymous, 40, New Jersey 

12."When I was younger, I could never understand why women stayed in relationships with crappy men who didn't appreciate them. Then, I did the same thing. It's wild how different things are when you're on the inside. The wildest part is that I wasn't even deeply in love or anything. I think my mental health was just so far in the gutter that I thought the relationship was 'good enough.' The dude was on dating apps and sexting other women from the start. It obviously devolved from there. It took me over a decade of therapy to finally get out, and I still get so angry at my past self for putting up with ANY of it and for getting into a relationship with someone I only had platonic feelings for."

A person sits on a chair, looking at and touching a smartphone screen displaying a man's face during a video call
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13."It doesn't matter who they are — the love of your life, family member, close friend, etc. — never lend anyone money you can't afford to lose or don't have. I let an ex manipulate me with tears into letting them use my credit card, which snowballed into about $3,000. I got my money back through a small claims court after we broke up, but the bottom line is that you have to assume any money lent to someone will not be given back."


14."I had just finalized my divorce and was adjusting to being a single mom of one. I met a guy on a dating app (first red flag), and he almost immediately moved in with me (second red flag). Well, we ended up getting pregnant really early in the relationship. After yelling at me and threatening to commit suicide, I saw that he wasn't the guy I should have a child with, and I reluctantly agreed to have an abortion. Afterward, I thought maybe we could get better, but it got worse. He drove my car, didn't work, and spent my money, which evolved into him hitting and throwing things at me."

A person peacefully leans against a wall by a window, eyes closed, seemingly meditating or relaxing, in a well-lit room with natural sunlight streaming in

15."I ignored too many health issues. My mother was an RN and drove us nuts with her cleanliness. She was the type who would call the pediatrician as soon as my siblings or I sneezed, so since leaving home at 18, I haven't been as diligent with health checkups as I should've been and only went to the doctor when absolutely necessary. I put on a lot of weight in my 30s and have ruined my knee joints, but I neglected to get joint replacement. This resulted in the daily usage of ibuprofen for the pain, which has ruined my kidneys. Doesn't look like I'll make it to 90 like the rest of my family."

—Anonymous, 70

16."By 35, I was in my second divorce and was wooed on a dating app by some 'millionaire military guy' whose wife died and had a son who needed a mom. Desperate for a new love life, I talked to him for months online and on the phone. One day, he asked me for $1,000. He asked to get directly into my bank account to transfer the money to where it needed to go. I ended up broke with zero in the bank, scrounging around for cash to feed my kid. ALL of my money ended up in Nigeria. I'd watched all the TV specials about scammers and still fell for it."

A woman in casual clothing looks at her phone while sitting on a bed. Two young children, one crawling and one lying down, are on the bed beside her


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17.Lastly: "I was in my mid-40s and had been sober for about five years. There was a lady who worked at a restaurant across the street from my work whom I was secretly pining over. She was very beautiful and carried herself with confidence and grace. I couldn't find the courage to ask her out, but coincidentally, she had a daughter who was friends with my daughter on social media. Unbeknownst to me, our daughters were secretly trying to get us together. When I finally met the woman, she appeared to be everything I'd hoped. She was elated to know I didn't drink, and we quickly started a relationship. One day, we planned to run errands. When I got into her car, she handed me a court-ordered car breathalyzer, which had to be blown into for the car to start. Yes, it was exactly like that scene from The 40-Year-Old Virgin! I blew into the breathalyzer, and off we went."

Person using a breathalyzer device in a car

If you're 30 and over, what mistake did you make in your adulthood when you should've known better? Share your story in the comments, or you can anonymously submit it using this form.

Note: Some submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.