16 signs your husband or wife is ready to leave you

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Is your spouse distant? Depressed? Are you worried your husband or wife is having an affair?

It is important to know the clues and be on the lookout for signs that your husband or wife wants to leave you.

This article outlines 16 telltale signs your husband or wife is planning to leave you:

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.

What to do now: Get online therapy for yourself.

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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).

What to do now: See above. Shore up your support system.

3. Your husband becomes evasive or stops caring about future plans, whether planning vacations, holidays, home repairs — all now irrelevant because they are out of there.

What to do now: Find a divorce lawyer. Many attorneys offer free phone consultations. Find someone who promotes collaborative divorce or mediation, when appropriate.

Learn more about the pros and cons of amicable and uncontested divorce, and see if you qualify for an online divorce.

4. They suddenly focus on their appearance.

This might include plastic surgery, major weight-loss, new wardrobe all may be signs of a new lease on life — without you.

What to do now: They are spending frivolously on their future. You need to secure yourself financially. Sock away all the cash you can in an online savings account in your name only. Make sure you have life insurance policies for both of you, as well as estate plans.

Bestow, which offers coverage from one of the largest life insurance companies in the country, has an A+ BBB rating, offers term life insurance starting at $10/month for up to $1.5 million, and guaranteed no medical or lab exam.

Should wives stay thin for their husbands?

5. They act secretive about their phone messages, texts, mail, and emails. Or: You catch them cheating.

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.

Read: How to catch a cheater

6. They are suddenly interested in the family finances, after leaving the money management to the other spouse.

From the Wall Street Journal:

“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.”

What to do now: Research all your accounts, collect documents for bank, savings, investments, real estate, debt, loans. Open accounts in your own name to build and maintain credit

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 away as an exit strategy instead).

What to do now: Shit is now serious. Retain an attorney and move to freeze accounts. Half of this money is likely yours. Keep lots of records. Get these divorce checklists.

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.

What to do now: Educate yourself about investing and saving if you feel behind. Read: How to start investing for women

9. Lots of talk about how poorly their business is doing.

He or she might be planting notions that he has fewer assets and income than in actuality.

What to do now: Focus on your own earning.

If you are under-employed, start searching for a new job or side gig. Read: Top companies for work-at-home jobs for single moms

Assume you are entitled to alimony as a stay-at-home mom — or terrified you have to pay it? Educate yourself about alimony law, and also understand the negatives of relying on alimony income from an ex.

Also, as women become more successful, more and more moms are paying child support and alimony.

10. You might find strange documents about apartments, or relocation offers around your home.

They are looking for a new place to live.

What to do now: Read How is property divided in a divorce and who gets the house?

11. Refusal of a stay-at-home parent to get a job, or a lesser-earning spouse to take a higher-paying position

She may be ensuring higher child support or spousal maintenance.

What to do now: Call that lawyer

12. On the flip side, a spouse may turn down a promotion or overtime to lessen their financial responsibility post-breakup.

The less income they report now, the less they have to pay in child support or alimony.

What to do now: Read How to negotiate a pay raise or promotion

13. Sudden interest in the kids

If they are thinking of leaving, and want to make sure they secure their share of custody time with the children, they show uncharacteristic interest in sports, religious, school and other activities, as well as ensure the children spend lots of time with their side of the family.

What to do now: Embrace a 50-50 custody arrangement. You’ll thank me later, no matter how scary or sad that may seem now.

14. An aggressive insistence to relocate to be near their extended family.

What to do now: Attorney, now. 

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 now: Pray. Focus on your own wellbeing. They're done.

16. General contempt. 

If your spouse overall is rude, dismissive and annoyed by you, they may be emotionally done beyond repair. 


Seeing one or more of these signs? Or maybe your spouse has even gone so far as to file for divorce behind your back.

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., in Wall Street Journal.

Next Steps: 

1. If your spouse hasn’t filed yet, read How to leave your husband or wife to get ready.

2. If your spouse has filed for divorce, read What to ask for in a divorce to prepare for divorce negotiations and 5 tips for a quick divorce to get through this as quickly as possible. Read up on the why and How to divorce like a feminist.

3. Prepare for life as a co-parent: All about healthy co-parenting for the rest of your life

4. Take time to get your finances in order, and make sure you get life insurance for yourself

What you need to know about insurance in divorce

Sell the engagement ring for $$

5. Finally, you get a chance to start over after divorce.

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

Why dating as a single mom is awesome

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 …

Wealthysinglemommy.com founder Emma Johnson is an award-winning business journalist, activist, author and expert. A former Associated Press reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has appeared on CNBC, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, TIME, The Doctors, Elle, O, The Oprah Magazine. Winner of Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web” and a New York Observer “Most Eligible New Yorker," her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was a New York Post Must Read. As an expert on divorce and gender, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality and multiple state legislature hearings. More about Emma's credentials.

66 Comments

The picked an argument that I was in a super store to long and I bought more than HE thought I was going to. Mind you I shop for my elderly dad too. Husband chose to wait in the vehicle. Threw a fit then says I think we need to separate.That Tells me he was finding fault to be able to say that.

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