The American Sociological Association says that women initiate 69% of breakups. This impressive statistic makes us wonder what precedes this decision and whether there’s any chance a husband can predict such an outcome.
The short answer is yes, as there are some warning signs your wife wants to leave you. It can be a lack of attachment and commitment, communication issues, one or both partners’ negative emotions, etc.
We’ve asked 11 experts how to tell if your wife wants a divorce and collected their opinions in this article. Check them out and analyze your situation. By noticing some of these signs early on, your relationship has a better chance of getting back on track.
Divorce Healer & Relationship Coach at wendysterling.net
There are obvious and not so obvious signs that your wife is planning an exit strategy. Many articles speak of the obvious signs.
As a divorce and relationship coach, I like to focus on what you are NOT seeing because you are blinded by the smoke and mirrors your spouse creates.
Here are 4 signs to watch out for:
Your monthly expenditures are slightly increasing each month
Your wife most likely does the grocery shopping, and it is really easy to ask for cashback when you are paying at the check-out counter. If you notice your bills are increasing and less food is in the house, chances are she is pocketing cash on the side.
In fact, this is a strategy many financial experts tell their clients. It doesn’t mean she is trying to take all your collective money. It means she is planning for a rainy day or a messy divorce and wants to make sure she has money to support her and your kids.
You feel like roommates vs. partners
If you notice that you and your wife are “ships in the night,” and she conveniently schedules or makes future plans when you are home, chances are she’s avoiding you on purpose.
As a divorced mom, I know firsthand that our kids keep us busy. Between sports, school, tutoring, and playdates, it gets hectic! However, if you are not consulted about scheduling or asked to join, chances are she is pulling away from you and the marriage.
Another sign that you are roommates? She goes to bed before or after you to avoid interaction and potentially sexual intimacy.
Conversation lacks intimacy and curiosity
If you find yourself having conversations with your wife that are more high level or she is speaking in generalities, it’s likely she’s giving you the Heisman for a reason.
Conversation breeds intimacy because it shows you are curious about what is going on in the other person’s mind and life. If you find yourself not being spoken to or being told (vs. asked) information, those are more clues your wife is over you and is pushing you away.
Her response time via text slows down
We live in an online instant gratification world where we expect other people to respond immediately to our texts, emails, and calls. After all, we are hardly ever without a device in our hand, pocket, or purse.
If your wife used to reply to your texts more quickly or you notice she is letting you go to voicemail more often than before, chances are she is disconnected and on her way out.
There are always signs. It is a matter of whether you have your eyes and ears open to see and hear them.
Certified Life Transformation and Relationship Coach at CompleteCase.com
The end of marriage rarely comes as a surprise. Even if you think your wife wants a divorce and this desire arose suddenly, some warning signs may have arisen. The key to avoiding divorce is to spot them early.
She stopped saying “we”
Partners in a happy relationship see themselves as one. They can think and act alike, perceiving themselves as one unit. That’s why partners often use “we” in conversation.
However, recent research shows that couples on the verge of divorce subconsciously adjust their language to use more “I” statements. Such changes begin to occur about 3 months before the breakup.
So, analyze the way your wife speaks. If there is less “we” in her speech, she may not see a shared future with you.
You feel like she’s hiding something
In a relationship, each partner needs their own personal space and time. It’s completely normal within reasonable limits. But it’s not okay when spouses keep big secrets from each other.
If you notice that your wife has become more secretive, avoids you, hides her phone, or you even catch her lying a few times, these are all bad signs. She might have something to hide, and it can be her plan to end your marriage.
She ignores your attempts to fix your marriage
Every time you initiate a conversation, arrange a romantic date, invite her for a walk, or ask her to go to a family therapist, she either finds excuses or openly says she doesn’t want it.
You can keep trying to interact with your wife to find the source of the problem and repair your relationship. After a while, she may agree, if not to therapy, then at least to a sincere conversation.
Try to explain that this situation hurts both of you and talk heart to heart. One conversation is unlikely to change everything drastically, but it will be a start if she agrees. It’s one of the signs your wife is changing her mind about divorce, and there’s a chance to save your marriage.
Licensed Therapist at movingpastdivorce.com
- She stops sharing her complaints and concerns about your marriage with you and confides in someone else. This can lead to an emotional affair which can cause her to stonewall or withdraw - and eventually leave the marriage.
- Your wife shows little or no emotion towards you and seems disinterested in what you say or do. She is emotionally disengaged from you.
- She becomes more critical of you and verbally attacks you (your personality or character). This is one of Dr. John Gottman’s Four Horseman of the Apocalypse. According to Dr. Gottman, this is a leading predictor of divorce.
- She shows more contempt toward you. She attacks your sense of self with an intent to insult or abuse (rolls her eyes, puts you down, is sarcastic, etc.). It’s another sign according to Dr. John Gottman’s Four Horseman of the Apocalypse theory. Contempt and criticism are the two leading predictors of divorce.
- Your wife is stonewalling. She becomes more distant and conveys more disapproval. Once again, this is one of Dr. John Gottman’s Four Horseman of the Apocalypse.
- Your wife criticizes you in public and disrespects you openly (your personality, actions, or character).
- She withdraws physical affection from you. You can’t remember the last time you had sex because she is disinterested in you sexually.
Pricilla M. Martinez
Mental Health Counselor at regroop.org
If your wife wants to leave you, there may be mounting evidence that she is preparing for a life without you.
Is she trying to make more money? If she’s taking on additional hours at work or trying to start a side hustle, she may be prioritizing her financial independence because she knows where the relationship is heading.
There is a chance that she may be looking to contribute more or maybe has more time on her hands. She may even be trying to prove to herself or you that she can progress financially.
However, if none of those feelings resonate or you don’t have financial concerns as a family, worrying about finances is an indication that your wife has a plan she’s putting in place.
She’s stopped expressing her feelings. She’s no longer concerned about you understanding what the issues are in your marriage.
Partners often will disengage from the relationship long before ending it. If a partner feels they’ve tried numerous ways to communicate and were dismissed, after a while, they stop trying. When things go unaddressed long enough, they may lose hope that anything will change.
She’s not looking ahead. If your wife has stopped looking toward the future with you, she may not know if there will be one. So pay attention to her body language and tone when you bring up plans that may be 6-12 months away.
She’s not willing to go to marriage counseling. Of course, therapy isn’t for everyone. But she may already be checked out if she isn’t ready to exhaust all options.
If she’s against counseling, ask her to suggest an alternative. Her willingness to work on things will help you gauge where she stands in the relationship.
If you find yourself looking for information to figure out the status of your relationship, that’s an indication that things aren’t right and you need a change. A counselor or relationship coach could help you get things back on track.
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist at noelialeite.com
- She avoids intimacy with you (physical, emotional, sexual).
- She has mood swings. Your wife may lack patience and may have anger outbursts for little things. She may show no emotion and stop complaining about the same things she used to.
- She feels boredom around you and avoids doing things together.
- She focuses on work or develops new interests, such as spending more time on online activities and reconnecting with old friends and family members.
- You no longer talk about your relationship. Your conversations resume into mutual responsibilities around the house, children, and money.
- She starts taking better care of herself (new clothes, exercise more, esthetic surgery, therapy, retreats, trips).
Dr. Heather Browne
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist at drheatherbrowne.com
It can be a really terrifying experience to think your wife is planning to leave you. Most people believe this would happen with intense hatred and fighting, which is sometimes the case. But there are other things to take a good line at as well.
She no longer wants to talk
She doesn’t care about your day or what you think. She stops sharing her feelings or activities with you. Women tend to be very emotionally connected, so when this stops occurring, her feelings about you have probably changed as well.
Things you do no longer bother her
She used to ask you to do certain things, and now she doesn’t seem to care whether you do them or not.
You no longer see any change in her expressions with you
She doesn’t laugh or smile. It’s like she’s somewhat robotic and emotionless. She is most likely isolated or on her phone a lot.
You have no idea where she is, or she is gone most of the time
Usually, women want connection. So when they stop cultivating that, something is wrong.
She has zero interest in pleasing you in any fashion
She makes decisions solely based on her desires.
She seems happy away from home and is engaged with others, but not with you
She is frequently gone or spends time alone without you. She no longer wants to be around you. She stops doing the things she used to do with you. You no longer matter to her.
All of these are actually more dangerous than anger. With anger, your wife is still hurt but hopeful. When she goes numb, it is worse.
If any of these occur, talk to your wife or seek help.
Angela Mary Vaz
Relationship Expert at mindspacecafe.com
Your wife will not make much physical contact
There will be close to zero intimacy. She will not attempt to hold your hand, hug you, or initiate love-making. If you try to initiate it, she will constantly make excuses saying she’s tired, had a long day, or is busy.
She will make no effort to spend any time with you
She will always have plans that don’t involve you. You’ll find her spending a lot of time outdoors or hanging out with friends.
She will act extremely indifferent towards you
She will have stopped talking to you or engaging in conversations with you. Even if you speak to her, she will exhibit a lack of interest. She may even get irritated with you and be moody all the time. This is one of the significant signs that she plans to leave you.
She will always be on the phone
Talking on the phone or texting someone will bring her more pleasure and positive emotions than interacting with you. It is a huge indicator that she may be cheating on you or is having an affair.
She will avoid you during common social gatherings
She may be nonchalant, cold, or distant and will only communicate with you when needed.
These are some signs your wife is leaving you or plans to do it. But it could also be that she is under a lot of stress or may be going through depression. Either way, these signals do indicate that there is more at play.
Relationship Consultant and Breakup Specialist at exboyfriendrecovery.com
She has stopped sharing the intimate details of her life and social stories she may have with you. If you find that she does not even try to talk to you, there is a sign she is unhappy. What’s worse, she can ignore the things you say to her to avoid having a conversation.
Every conversation you have with each other ends up in criticism or arguments, so you feel the need to avoid talking to her.
Your wife’s focusing more on herself, her social life, and possibly her phone. If she is more interested in attention from others than from her own partner, it can be a clear sign that she is no longer interested in the attention she may get at home.
She changes her social media activity, posting more seductively. She can also post things that suggest she is single and not married.
If your day-to-day life has begun to feel like you are single, not married, it would be a sign that your wife has also switched off from married life and is considering ending things.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Speaker & Coach at zahararayne.com
Co-existing without a connection
Individuals check out emotionally before they leave physically. In some cases, it may take months to notice the shift.
One way this will show up is increased conflict. It may include seemingly subtle signs like your wife making ‘I can’t do this anymore’ statements.
This is often dismissed as a sign of frustration in the moment. However, it is essential to clarify what that statement means to her.
Another sign is withdrawal. If your wife was formally passionate and articulated thoughts and feelings and now refrains from investing effort to share, it may be time to assess the fragility of the marriage.
The most common theme is a lack of interest in sex, but the opposite can also be true.
Consider if sex has increased seemingly out of the blue. It may be either a final effort to see if the connection exists or part of the grief of knowing that it will soon end. Either way, avoid assumptions. Seek clarity.
Minimal time in the home or separate bedrooms
Perhaps your wife has started spending less time at home, or you may have started sleeping in separate bedrooms. And this isn’t like her.
While there may be some valid reasons for shifting patterns, consider factors that immediately preceded the shift, overall communication, and connection.
Relationship Expert at sameerasullivan.com
It is no doubt that uncertainty is one of the most nerve-wracking things to go through, especially when it concerns your relationship. There are certain signs you can look out for to know what’s coming your way beforehand so you’re not ill-prepared mentally.
Firstly, they don’t talk to you as much or give you the silent treatment. When they speak, they are plain rude. Next, they do not show any concern regarding your whereabouts.
They do not enjoy or appreciate any physical intimacy from you and, in a way, run from it. They might also be happier when you are not around.
These signs do not only apply to a wife but to any spouse. These are some telltale red flags that indicate they might be leaving you.
Coach and Author of Being the Strong Man A Woman Wants: Timeless wisdom on being a man
- She starts making friends with women who are already divorced or are getting divorced. These friends may be encouraging her to end her marriage.
- She spends more time away from you with her family. She doesn’t want to be with you.
- She has stopped arguing with you. Some men think this is a positive sign. It’s actually a sign she has given up and has decided to end the marriage.
- She is seeing a therapist. Some men may think she is doing this to get counseling on improving the marriage. But she may also see a therapist to help her decide to divorce you.
- When she goes out on her own, she puts on more make-up and dresses nicer than she used to. In her mind, the marriage is over. She probably sees herself as single and wants to try a new man.
These are important signs a man needs to be aware of. A husband who recognizes them may still be able to improve his relationship.
Here’s what our experts think. Let the signs they listed serve as a basis for assessing your marriage. However, remember that every relationship is unique.
So even if you notice one of the signals, you shouldn’t make a hasty pessimistic conclusion that your marriage is irretrievably ruined.
By knowing about the problem, you’re one step closer to solving it. The main thing is to find an approach that suits your family. It can be a frank dialogue with your wife, a return to your relationship’s origins through romantic dates, or couple therapy.
But success requires both parties’ willingness.