Let’s face it, marriage can be hard. It can be great too - in fact it is often good for long stretches of time. Unfortunately, for many, those stretches can become shorter and shorter as the years go by.
As the difficult and unhappy times become longer, thoughts of leaving may begin to take hold. In many cases one spouse can feel blindsided by the other’s desire to separate or divorce. And of those it is often it is the husband who will say he never saw it coming. So in a marriage where communication is failing, how can you tell if your wife wants to leave?
We have all seen that couple, the one that is splitting up with the husband feeling caught completely off-guard. You may have even heard him say, “I don’t know what happened. We had our troubles, but I thought overall we were okay,” never really knowing that his wife was wondering whether to remain in, or leave the marriage. Preventing a break-up before it happens is possible. You just have to look beyond your two-foot radius and pay more attention to what is going on around you. If your wife is considering leaving you there are ways to tell - there will be signs. Let’s take a look at a few.
Signs Your Wife Might Want To Leave
No one leaves a perfectly happy marriage. If your wife is considering leaving, there have been problems leading up to it. Being aware of another person’s feelings can be tricky, especially if you have fallen out of the habit of really talking to one another. If you see any of the following behaviors or situations it is probably time to make some changes before it is too late.
- You no longer fight. This sounds like a good thing, right? Well, it might be if the two of you have been working on your relationship. But, if you go from constant arguing to general apathy the opposite is true. A lack of engagement on issues that once were an emotional hot topic can be a sign that she has checked out.
- Her social life has gone through a major reboot. A sudden interest in going out with girlfriends, or spending time at a friend’s or family member’s house rather than yours, can be a sign that she is looking for ways to distance herself from you and increase her support system.
- There has been a change in your sex life – for the worse. This can be a tough one. If things were on shaky ground to begin with, a change in your sex life might be hard to recognize. However, if you were used to her being generally receptive and now there is always one excuse or another, something has changed. It should be noted that intimacy comes in many forms and many relationships get along well for years with a limited sex life. But if there is an absence of sex in the marriage, or you are counting the last time you were intimate in seasons (or years) rather than days, weeks or months, you likely have a problem.
- She reinvents herself. You can hope that the sudden change in hair and make-up are all for you, and maybe they are. Perhaps she is trying to get your attention again. But, if the sudden change in appearance is combined with the other behaviors listed here she may be looking for attention elsewhere and preparing to leave.
- A disinterest in the future. When she no longer has the desire to look toward a future that includes you things could be headed the wrong way. If you two used to discuss future plans and dreams like the trips you want to take, or home improvements once the kids have gone, and those topics now have no interest to her, this could be a red flag that your wife is thinking of leaving.
What To Do If You Can Tell Your Wife Wants To Leave
If you are reading this and a few (or several) of the signs above sound familiar it is possible that your wife is considering leaving. She has quite likely, at a minimum, begun to disconnect from the relationship. So what can you do about it?
- Consider your behavior. As the song goes, “a woman needs love just like you do.” It is common in long-term relationships to fall into routine and take each other for granted. If you have gone a long time without paying attention to her, engaging with her, and making her understand that you value and love her, now is the time. It is quite possible that your wife has felt for a long time that you have checked out of the marriage and no longer love her.
- Talk. If you think that your wife may considering leaving it is time to have a serious talk about your relationship and what you both want. As mentioned earlier, people don’t leave happy relationships. They leave when things have gone so wrong that there no longer seems to be a way to fix them. If you disagree and want to see things work, communication is the first place to start.
- Be open to help. Whether it is the advice of your pastor or a professional marriage counselor, be open to the idea of help. When things get to a certain point it can be hard to untangle all the issues without unbiased and trained assistance. You may have to relearn how to communicate with each other in order to get back on solid ground.
Dr. Kurt has counseled many individuals and couples dealing with the tricky circumstances of a partner wanting to leave. He says,
Usually when men finally realize they're wife wants to leave they understandably panic and go into full on 'Mr. Fix-it' mode. A common mistake at this point is to over do it by coming on too strong too fast. You can't change if you've neglected her and the relationship in the past, you can only change what you do going forward. However, how you go about that needs to be measured and appropriate for where your wife and the relationship is presently at. This is another reason why having a seasoned professional to guide you is so important as you learn how to walk this delicate path of restoration."
There is no surefire formula that can tell you what another person is planning. The best way to really anticipate your spouse’s behavior is to know them well, be connected to them, and have strong communication. The problem is that these things have usually faded by the time one partner is considering leaving the relationship.
If you can tell that your wife might be considering leaving you, or if your relationship is suffering in any of the ways listed, it is worthwhile to stop and really think about where the two of you stand with one another. Doing this and taking preventative measures can help you avoid the pain that will come with a separation or divorce.
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