Few things are as painful as the break-up of a marriage. Even if things haven’t been good between you for a long time, splitting up is difficult and comes with many complications. In an earlier post we discussed the clues a man might notice if their wife was thinking of leaving. Now we will take a look at how you can tell if your husband wants to leave.
Unlike women, men often find it difficult to articulate their feelings. Expecting your husband to automatically talk about things is not realistic. Being able to tell if your husband is thinking of leaving can often have more to do with what he is not saying rather than what he is saying. Occasionally there will be verbal cues, but more often it is his actions that will speak louder than his words.
Signs Your Husband Might Be Thinking Of Leaving
There is no formula that can predict the outcome of your marriage, and signs of dissatisfaction can vary widely. While there may be some overlap, the behaviors of a dissatisfied wife can be quite different than those of a dissatisfied husband. Although there are a variety of potential signs that your husband has checked out of the marriage, the list below highlights some of the most common clues that could tell you if your husband may be considering leaving.
- New female friends. If all of the sudden you start hearing about Mandy from the office, or Pete’s friend Sarah and how great she is, your husband may be starting to consider looking elsewhere for affection. Maybe not physical affection, but emotional affairs can be just as, and maybe more, damaging that the physical ones. The sudden appearance of new female friends or a growing closeness with a current one can be a red flag, especially if it is a relationship that you don’t feel connected to. Men and women can be friends, but a platonic friendship should be one that he is happy to share with you and activities should include you.
- No interest in sex. If your husband suddenly is resistant to affection, especially sexual affection, there is an issue. This one is true of women too, but a man’s lack of interest in sex with his wife tends to be a more glaring sign of problems.
- Changes in handling money. Changes in money handling practices can come in a few forms. A man preparing to leave his wife may start shuffling money around, initiating new accounts that are not intertwined with hers, closing certain credit cards or getting new ones that are not connected to the family or house. These behaviors can signify the start of an exit strategy, laying the financial ground work for life apart. Or, he may spend money in ways or on things that are out of the ordinary. Charges to out of the way restaurants or on items that are irrelevant to your life together could indicate the start of an affair, or preparations for a new chapter in life that does not include you.
- Secretive behavior. Any secretive behavior in a marriage that doesn’t have to do with a surprise party or a gift of some kind is a bad sign. Phone calls or text messages that require him to leave the room, or that occur at strange hours, changes in pass codes, or a hyper-awareness of where his phone is may signify the beginning his plan to leave.
- Sudden new hobbies or interests – that don’t include you. New hobbies and interests can be a sign of personal growth. But, in a strong relationship, they are typically things that can be enjoyed by both partners. Or, are things that partners are willing to share and discuss. When your husband starts to take on new things and refuses to make you part of the experience he may be laying the ground work for a new life.
- Indifference. If your husband just doesn’t seem to care anymore that’s a problem. A lack of interest or investment in the relationship is a sure sign of problems.
What Should You Do If You Think Your Husband Might Leave?
If any - or many - of these signs ring true for you it is likely that your relationship is in trouble. Chances are this isn’t a complete surprise. People in happy relationships don’t typically leave, and if these behaviors have been going for awhile you have probably have felt the change. So what can you do if you can tell that your husband is on the verge of leaving?
- Look inward. As mentioned, people don’t tend to leave happy relationships. Spend some time considering your own behavior. Have you been so absorbed with your own world, or perhaps so focused on kids and household that you have actually checked out of the relationship yourself? When women are in the thick of child-rearing, household management and their own work life, the role men play in their lives can change dramatically. Where you once focused on him, were enthusiastic about sex and your adventures together, and paid close attention to keeping his attention, have you now changed? Both partners in a relationship need attention and to feel wanted. Have you held up your end of the bargain?
- Talk – but don’t blame. Things aren’t going well so it is time to have an open and honest conversation about the feelings you each have. Read that again - feelings not faults. Find a quiet time that you can talk uninterrupted. But be careful about your approach. Hurling accusations of affairs, not loving you anymore, or hiding things will likely shut him down and push him further away.
- Consider counseling. If things have gone too far the wrong direction you may very well need help to make them right again. The bigger challenge here is likely to be getting him to agree. Men often find the idea of discussing their feelings, especially with a stranger, uncomfortable. Convincing him to seek help putting your relationship back together may take work on your part.
Dr. Kurt specializes in working with couples in crisis. He has unique experience working with men who were reluctant to seek counseling at first, but who then realize the benefits once they go. According to Dr. Kurt,
Getting the help of an experienced marriage counselor when one partner may want to leave can be beneficial in many ways. All couples can struggle with communication and this is especially true during tense times such as this. Having a professional guide and mediate the needed discussions can be invaluable in making them productive rather than destructive. Separating out suspicions from facts so that you're addressing the truth of what is really going on is another benefit a professional can provide. The support of a counselor can also enable true feelings to finally be openly shared.”
Marriages go through ups and downs. You will argue, and make-up, and argue again another time. And problems will arise that may make you each think briefly about leaving. The hallmark of a strong marriage, however, is the ability to communicate with each other. Remember the love that brought your together, and respect the commitment you have made to one another. No one said it would be easy, just worth it. If signs tell you that your husband is thinking about leaving try reminding him of those things.
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