9 Signs Your Husband Wants a Divorce (And What to Do?)

9 Signs Your Husband Wants a Divorce (And What to Do?)

Divorce specialist Natalie Maximets
Natalie Maximets is a certified life transformation coach with expertise in mindfulness and sustainability. She is a published author focused on the most progressive solutions in the field of Psychology. Natalie helps people go through fundamental life challenges, such as divorce, and build an entirely new life by reframing their personal narrative.

Women pride themselves with having great intuition more than men. Men pride themselves on being strong and nonemotional. When it comes to wits, it’s never the best idea to combat them. And women, remember that you are not a mind reader essentially and can potentially do more harm than good in your marriage. So a willingness to look for signs your husband wants to leave you can actually reflect your own weakness. Consider that if your husband was willing to get a divorce, you would know about it. If he has not brought this up yet, the odds are that he is not even contemplating it, even if your marriage seems lost at sea.

Family life is multilayered and has varying nuances from couple to couple. What can be unusual and disturbing for some is totally fine for others. Therefore, any wife needs to remember, when looking through a list of signs, that they can be absolutely normal and caused by a host of factors where divorce is not even in the picture. For this reason, try to stay calm when looking for signs he wants a divorce and grasp the whole context of your circumstances, temperaments, habits, and relationships.

So, here is a list of signs and tips that could be indicative of your husband’s divorce intentions. Full disclosure: any sign, other than the very words ‘I want a divorce,’ can only be indicative, not definitive.

Signs Your Husband Wants to Leave You

Sign #1 - He’s busy.

There can be a myriad of reasons for your husband to be busy, ranging from a viable need to work more to pay the bills, to an escapist way of dealing with an unhealthy relationship with you. This is not a concrete sign that the marriage is headed for divorce.

Many men unintentionally switch to working more and spending less time with their wives, not because they do not love them but because they feel the need to provide and cover their financial bases. Now, spouses definitely have to carve out some time to spend together, but your workaholic husband might just be less aware of this than you.

At the same time, husbands who value the family very highly, but find their wives overbearing or themselves unable to cope with marital stress, can find mentally escaping in overworking therapeutic. He didn’t just stop caring about his family life whatsoever.

Sign #2 – He’s emotionally distant and disconnected.

A loss of emotional engagement and distance can occur as a consequence of the husband working long hours and the wife being busy with the household and childrearing, or vice versa. When both spouses work 60+ hours a week and need to carve out spending time together with the kids, they spend all their energy and have nothing left for each other. With this lack of attention, wives often feel forced to verbally ‘knock their husbands on the head’ so that they receive more affection but it will not keep him at home but rather push him away.

If you see a definite change in your husband – he used to be much softer or more open, and now he has become visibly more reserved and emotionally closed – this could be a symptom of an actual issue in your marriage. This is one of the warning signs that something has happened that your husband cannot tell you about, and the guilt and shame are isolating him from you. The best strategy is to show that you care and are always there for him – but don’t press, and don’t push to get information out of him.

If the emotional coldness is a symptom of an issue in your marriage, you will be able to rebuild an emotional connection once you start working through it. You may need to visit a therapist. Or maybe you’ll be able to handle it on your own.

Your task at this point is to let your husband know that you see that something is going on with him and that you want to help. Let him know that you miss your connection, but do not act hurt and do not shift the focus to yourself. If he is struggling with an issue, he is suffering too. So do not act egotistically. Focus on your mutual willingness to overcome whatever issue your family has come across. Also, be on the lookout for other signs and symptoms that will enable you to see the bigger picture.

Sign #3 – He’s constantly fighting you.

Non-physical on its own is not a bad sign but it is healthy to have different opinions on issues and not to agree on things just because you are married. Depending on temperaments and characters, disagreements can become rather heated, negative and blunt. If the two of you have not mastered the art of arguing in a productive way, you might say harsh words and hurt each other. However, notice that it is your inability to argue productively that is painful, rather than the mere fact of being in disagreement.

Overall, check your own attitude towards fighting. Do you think that spouses should be in lock-step on all issues? Do you believe that thinking differently is a sign of strain in a marriage? Do you think that not agreeing means that he doesn’t love you? If you say ‘yes’ to these statements, you have an idealized view of marriage and of husband-wife dynamics. Remember that you are two very different individuals; it is great that you are different.

If, however, you both are constantly insulting each other, your fights are bitter and you never apologize to each other, or if it is your husband who is insulting and non-apologetic, this is a sign that you have communication issues. It could potentially lead to a divorce if you don’t sort it out. There are great professionals out there to help you sort this out.

Sign #4 – He’s gotten quiet.

If you find yourself saying, “He’s too quiet, I think my husband wants to leave me.” In contrast to constant fighting, being quiet is normal. If it is obvious that his behavior has changed, there must be a reason for it and is not a sign that your husband wants out of the marriage. Don’t jump to a conclusion because he simply doesn't know how to be emotionally expressive, nor wants to kill your mood. Take time and space to sort things out and handle this critical situation.

Your husband’s sudden quietness might be his response to marital conflicts. Either his preferred mode of dealing with conflicts is avoidance: you may not have noticed it before, or you both used to bend with the wind but now, after several years of marriage, he feels that he does not want to fight so he chooses to avoid fighting altogether. Or he finds it mentally draining and pointless to expend that energy if it’s a small issue. If he’s not willing to resolve anything then it’s because he no longer sees himself in the relationship with you. It is high time to suggest marriage counseling.

Sign #5 – He’s beginning to care more about his appearance.

For some reason, many people believe that a sudden change in the partner’s appearance is a sign that he will leave his wife. However, grooming up is more often one of the indicators of an affair rather than a divorce. Your spouse might indeed be enhancing his physical appearance in order to impress his potential or current lover(s). This is highly unpleasant information to discover and if it is true, you need to think long and hard about how to proceed. Taken on its own, however, starting to take care of his appearance is not an indication of a divorce.

A desire to eat healthier, exercise, and look better is great and does not necessarily mean there are issues in your marriage. The devil is in the details so look at the big picture. A good haircut and new clothes are good for career prospects too. Heading to the gym can occur when the individual realizes that good health is not a gift from heaven. If he wants you to join in, then he has probably reconsidered his approach to life and wants to lead a long and healthy life. However, if the husband gets secretive and you see him dressing up before going out and without you, this could indicate an affair – though not necessarily divorce.

Sign #6 – Your sex life has become non-existent.

When you try to initiate sex with your husband, he is either tired or has fallen asleep. He basically has the proverbial ‘headache’ wives stereotypically refer to. If he agrees to have sex, it is quick and unimaginative. Everyone knows that lack of sex in a marriage is a bad sign and should not just ignore this. However, there are many situations in the family when not having sex is completely normal. There are no guidelines as for the amount of sex in a marriage and can be complicated. If you have young children, and if your husband overworks and has been under stress for some time, this can result in a lack of sex drive.

There is, however, a very straightforward reason when a lack of sex can potentially turn into a divorce. It is when your husband is having an affair.

Sign #7 – He’s having an affair.

Again, as with all the signs, it is important to see the whole picture. If you suspect that your husband is having an affair, physical or emotional affairs, because you do not know where he is and he’s been paying more attention to his appearance and phone of late, a lot depends on you and your reaction. Your husband might be that type of man who likes to “sleep around”, and does not particularly value staying faithful. For him, cheating is not a sign of divorce. He may just want to have both a family and a series of lovers.

If you understand that this way of living is not your cup of tea, he may agree to divorce, or may not, but separation is not his initial intention. If you understand that now you are not in a position to make demands because you are not independent yet, you keep quiet about what you know or you think you know and keep on living as usual. Your husband’s affairs are not a bother to your marriage unless you get unruly and unpredictable in some cases. Believe it or not, an affair is not a hard sign that your husband is planning to leave you. Eventually, you can make the decision to move on if you are truly unhappy.


Sign #8 – He’s become shifty about money.

If one day you notice that your husband’s behavior regarding money has changed, this can be a sign of a significant change in your relationship. No matter what your previous agreements were if you find out that your husband has moved money around from your joint account without telling you, it means that he is up to something. This is a sure sign of how to tell if your husband wants a divorce. This could be he is supporting someone, and or he is leaving you sooner or later and does not want you to get his money.

It is true that not all couples have joint accounts according to a study by The Balance. A few of the pros are having more money overall to use and when it comes to legal matters and you can see any significant changes in spending. The cons are feeling like you have less freedom, inequality in income and taking a big blow if you get divorced.

Sign #9 – You find divorce attorneys in the search history on your computer.

Your browser search history is the easiest resource you can use in an attempt to try and get to the bottom of your intuition or hunch. However, now that everyone has a personal computer or a laptop, and spouses often don’t share screens, you need to think about how you are going to explain your findings.

Unless your husband is a writer who pens essays on a variety of topics, googling divorce lawyers without a personal need is extremely weird. Your husband may try to explain these searches as “Oh, I was just helping a friend of mine”. Yet you get the feeling that your husband wants to leave you. At the very least, you now have time to start thinking about it and preparing for it too.

My Husband Wants to Leave Me: What Should I Do?

In this article, we discussed how to know when your husband wants a divorce. It means that he has not openly and clearly stated his intentions. Rather, you’ve got an ‘intuition.’ No matter what the signs are, you should wait for your husband to bring this topic up. Being impatient and acting as if you are confident about his intentions can bring you troubles and can hurt your husband.

In any case, you should respect other people’s wishes, especially if it is your husband. Therefore, you should not cling, collapse, and control.

Do not cling!

Even if your husband is having an affair and there is a high probability for him to leave you for this other woman, dignified behavior will be in your favor. Imagine a situation where you’ve noticed all signs – freshening up his appearance, working late, no interest in sex – are not an indication of an affair. Your husband has somewhat changed under the influence of the circumstances. If you initiate conversations about possible affairs and divorce, you will reveal yourself to be unreasonable and untrusting, and you will lose points in your husband’s eyes.

Clinging is never a good strategy. A wife who clings to a leaving husband is a humiliating sight. By doing it you look small and insignificant and husbands do not stay simply because they feel the pressure from pleading and begging. By forcing your husband to stay or return, you make him hate you – even if his attitude towards you was fine before. Finally, clinging makes you highly unattractive. Clinging behavior sends a signal that you are willing to take your husband back no matter what.

Do not collapse!

In an attempt to save your marriage, you mustn’t tolerate inappropriate behaviors. If your husband’s drinking, gambling or extra-marital affairs are causing you a lot of pain you must start thinking about how you can become more independent from your husband by getting a job or a higher paying job. You may need time to prepare your life for a divorce. However, dependence still should not put you in an extremely inferior position of agreeing to unfair conditions.

Do not control!

If you think that you can prevent your husband from cheating or leaving or what have you, you are mistaken. If control and manipulation are your primary tools, the shakiness in your marriage might be your own doing. People do not like to be controlled and manipulated. Even if you found out that your husband has been unfaithful, the fact that you dug this out by snooping around can backfire. If your husband has no intention to divorce you, your prying around will anger and disgust him and you will end up apologizing.

Best strategy

Open and heartfelt communication is always the best strategy. Do not vent all your insecurities and concerns, though. Try to dispel your fears of divorce by approaching the subject of your relationship in general terms. Many men see marriage as an ultimate declaration of love. When wives start saying that they do not feel loved, the majority of husbands are at a loss.

If you are hungry for romance, be willing to arrange things. You could book a table in a romantic restaurant and arrange a romantic getaway. If you want your partner to do it, be ready to explain to him what he needs to do, all the while remaining enthusiastic and encouraging.

Overall, the realization that married life can sometimes be boring, you should not expect your husband to create a magical fairytale. A great many of your needs can be satisfied on your own. Simply meaning that if you are not getting something from your husband, he probably cannot give it to you, and there is no point in forcing him to do so. Seeing that you do not push and pull, your husband will be more inclined to spend time with you.

Miscommunication puts a great strain on any marriage. It is normal to notice that your relationship has dulled and want to put a bit of spice back into it. Invite your husband to couples therapy. It could become a space where you get closer to each other. Remember that you should not feel miserable because your husband does not share certain ideas, values and desires of yours. Personal development is a great thing that can capture your attention so strongly that you will forget to look for signs your husband wants a divorce.

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