15 signs your husband or wife is ready to leave you

husband wife wants divorce

While there are times when both partners in a marriage are aware that a divorce is in the offing, other times one spouse might not be sure or even realize that the other is contemplating a departure. But if that is the case, it is important to know the clues and be on the lookout for signs that your husband or wife wants to leave you.

When one spouse files for divorce, the other can feel blindsided —until weeks and months later, they look back and see all the red flags they were missing, or ignoring, or repeatedly turned down for sex. For years. In my case, my ex-threatened to leave for months. I was pregnant, and couldn’t believe it — until he left his wedding ring on a shelf where he knew I’d see it. No subtlety there!

“There are often many indications of a pending divorce, but people don’t want to see them or acknowledge that their marriage may be in danger,” Gretchen Cliburn, a financial planner and certified divorce financial analyst in Springfield, Mo., told The Wall Street Journal.

The Wall Street Journal quoted me on this topic recently. Here is my own list of what to look out for:

Telltale signs your husband or wife is planning to leave you and wants a divorce

  1. They stop arguing with you. If you’ve been bickering (or screaming) for years about certain issues, and they suddenly stop, they may very well have thrown in the towel.
  2. He or she spends more time with their own friends or family members than before — and less with you. You may have been your husband or wife’s primary comfort and friend, but now you have been replaced with other people (or a lover, for that matter).
  3. Become evasive or stop caring about future plans, whether planning vacations, holidays, home repairs — all now irrelevant because they are out of there.
  4. The sudden focus on their appearance such as plastic surgery, major weight-loss, new wardrobe all may be signs of a new lease on life — without you.
  5. They act secretive about their phone messages, texts, mail, and emails. There may be an affair at play, or they may be waiting for a call from their lawyer, accountant, real estate agent, or spending time researching alimony law.
  6. A sudden interest in the family finances, after leaving the money management to the other spouse. from the Wall Street Journal article: “Michael Stutman, past president of the New York state chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, says one red flag could come from the spouse who shows new interest in credit-card offers. The spouse could be trying to build up credit in his or her name or be concerned about maintaining access to liquidity during the divorce, he says.”
  7. Rejiggering of assets or credit — say, taking out large sums from a home equity line, unusually high spending on a joint credit card (or worse, one in the other spouse’s name), or withdrawal from investment accounts. The opening of new accounts or credit cards in their name only is another sign. Or, unusually large cash withdrawals from accounts is another red flag, as is if a spouse stops contributing to investment accounts (because those funds may be stashed in an exit strategy instead).
  8. Intercept of financial or legal documents. For example, if tax or investment documents were always mailed to both of you, and suddenly they stopped, your spouse may have signed up to receive them electronically — or snagged them from the USPS, or change account passwords without telling you.
  9. Lots of talk about how poorly their business is doing, which might be planting notions that he has fewer assets and income than in actuality.
  10. You might find strange documents about apartment or relocation offers around your home.
  11. Refusal of a stay-at-home parent to get a job, or a lesser-earning spouse to take a higher-paying position — ensuring higher child support or spousal maintenance.
  12. On the flip side, a spouse may turn down a promotion or overtime to lessen their financial responsibility post-breakup.
  13. Sudden interest in the kids — if they are thinking of leaving, and want to make sure they get lots of visitation time with the children, they show uncharacteristic interest in sports, religious, school and other activities, as well as ensure the kids spend lots of time with their side of the family.
  14. The aggressive insistence to relocate to be near their extended family.
  15. Sex stops, or sex starts to suck. If you’re still having sex, but the other partner stops caring about your pleasure, or intimate connection, they are checked out emotionally, and a divorce may be next. (Though I did report on weird cases where that chemistry outlives the marriage. Rare, weird but possible!)

What to do when you know he wants to leave

One of the most important tools you have at your disposal when going through a divorce is your support network. Perhaps this is a fantastic group of friends and family, a support group, therapist or another resource, you need people who get and love you — and are positive and productive. My closed Facebook group Millionaire Single Moms understands what you are going through and will be a great sounding board and source of advice. Divorce is consistently ranked as one of the most stressful life events, but remember that it is passing, and life will get better (and then likely get worse at some point, but that is for another blog post!).

From After divorce, you get a one-year pass to be a hot mess :

You get a year. A free pass for 12 months to be a freaky weirdo. Drink too much after the kids go to bed. Smoke a few cigarettes at break time with your colleagues. Let the house go, let the dishes pile up in the sink. Hell, might as well preemptively cancel the gym memberships, because you’re not going. Be stinky and oily, and let your pubes hang out of your swimsuit on a public beach in the Midwest. Sleep with a bunch of completely inappropriate people and wear things that no one at your age with your body should ever even think about wearing in public. Stay up all night stalking your college boyfriend on Facebook.

You’re good. No judgment here!


Related topics about divorce

The only divorce checklist you’ll need

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31 reasons single motherhood is AWESOME

What every mom should ask for in divorce negotiations

Should you keep the house in divorce?

Is a cash-out mortgage refinance right for you?

Get a FREE Kickass Single Mom Manifesto from my #1 Bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom.

How about you? What signs did you show that you were ready to leave you? What did your ex do to signal he was ready for divorce? Share in the comments …


10 thoughts on “15 signs your husband or wife is ready to leave you

  1. Before I asked for a divorce, I stopped talking altogether unless I had to. I didn’t argue, stayed out of his way, intimacy went out the window 2yrs before.

  2. You talk about stopping the husband bashing, when in reality your whole premise is to give wives a way out of marriage. You have mentioned signs of husband or wife getting ready to leave as a smokescreen to hide your true persprctive. Trying to sound as though you are playing a level field when in fact you know as a female, wives will swallow everything you have to say hook line and sinker because of the way you wrote your article. Being a female, yourself you cannot help but feel more empathy for wives who are in this situation, but are too weak-minded to leave whereas the man on the other hand is deemed stronger in any relationship, so your thoughts are primarily geared toward the female. When you read this and you are digesting what I have said, be honest about your true intentions as a woman who obviously has been through some type of relationship trauma yourself.

      1. Every article you write is filled with the bitterness in your life that condescends against women and men who don’t fit your corporate-money centered lifestyle or do not share your life history. Your prose is filled with projections from the emptiness in your soul, the things that you alone feel are the cause of your unhappiness. EVERY article you have written in the past 4 months references MONEY as the savior for women. My God what a smashing world you must desire to live in that MONEY is your end goal in life. Here is a hint that might shatter your Marxist-Feminist view but a majority of men do not seek out MONEY as an end goal in life, the same male windmills you tilt your lance at in these pages (strawmen you alone have created). We know this to be true because successful people don’t write blogs blaming others for their failings or use cheap put downs about their competitors in life.

    1. I believe it can go ether way. In truth I believe in society today woman are advancing more in What a man is supposed to do and i believe generations are flooding father figures divorce is easy marriage is hard and work nether side anymore can put God first. That is the sign of devorce

  3. My husband,is just acting weird,not talking to me much,says he doesn’t want to be around anyone,,sex,is not like it use to be,n when we do have it,it is usually once a week,,he doesn’t plan trips anymore,or anything,he never says I love u never has,,,n he is grumpy all the time,n blames me for anything that goes wrong,n talks awfully mean to me,we been married 39 yrs,n I love him regardless of the fact that he is grumpy, ,,but I am just to the point of I am tired of trying to love someone who just doesn’t seem to give a crap about me, ,you can’t make someone love you, ,,Anyone can email me with any help,,cata@blomand.net

  4. 13. They read wealthysinglemommy.com and have shunned being around your children in exchange for working later hours trying to get a promotion for her own personal gain because MONEY is the ultimate goal in life.

  5. You should try femalehackerz1 AT gmail , she helped me when I was suspicious of my husband’s activities. She’s good and very understanding

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