8 Warning Signs Your Wife Wants To Leave You

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upset man and woman sitting on the couch

For the most part, the end of a marriage is never a surprise. 

Though it may seem abrupt when she lets you know she wants to file for divorce (or that she already has), the truth is that the signs your wife wants to leave you have likely been apparent for a while. 

There are many signs of an unhappy marriage that may lead to your wife’s desire to leave. Some of these include a negative emotional state in one or both partners, little to no affection and communication in the relationship, and complacency, among other things.

The key to preventing a divorce is taking the time to notice these signs. If it’s not too late, you can do the work together to save your marriage.

How do you know when your wife wants to leave your marriage?

If you notice the following signs your wife wants to leave you, it’s time to take action if you want to fix your marriage.

RELATED: 8 Incredibly SIMPLE Ways To Save Your Marriage

1. You don’t feel an emotional connection.

While physical attraction may ebb and flow over time, an emotional connection is essential to a successful marriage. 

This emotional disconnect may be hard to notice at first as you both go through the day-to-day routine of your relationship. But if you suddenly find you’re no longer sharing your feelings with each other or even setting aside time just to enjoy each other’s company, it’s a red flag.

2. Your sex life is nonexistent.

You may not always feel those butterflies you felt when you first met each other, but physical attraction and connection is a main component of a successful and happy long-term relationship

If your wife is no longer interested in having sex with you, that means she doesn’t care about bonding and it’s more likely that she has one foot out of your marriage.

3. She’s not making future plans with you. 

A happily married couple consults each other about future plans and talks about the future as a couple. A woman on the verge of leaving you, on the other hand, is more likely to start planning a life without you.

Whether she’s trying to get used to life without you or simply no longer enjoys your company, if your wife doesn’t include you in her plans she may be thinking about leaving you.

4. She says “I” a lot more than “we.”

Happy couples tend to see themselves as a unit and talk about themselves as such using “we” statements. 

However, a 2021 study found that couples on the verge of a breakup subconsciously adjust their language to use more “I” statements than “we” statements.

"It seems that even before people are aware that a breakup is going to happen, it starts to affect their lives," the study’s lead author Sarah Seraj, a doctoral candidate in psychology at UT Austin, explained. "Sometimes the use of the word 'I' is correlated with depression and sadness. When people are depressed, they tend to focus on themselves and are not able to relate to others as much."

5. She looks down on you. 

Does it seem like your wife is on a mission to make you feel worthless? If so, she might have contempt for you. And according to famed relationship researcher Dr. John Gottman, contempt is one of the ‘4 Horsemen’ of relationship apocalypses and the single biggest predictor of divorce.

6. You feel like you can never do anything right. 

Another of Gottman’s 4 Horsemen is criticism. If your wife constantly criticizes you and the things you do, she’s coming from a place of negativity and turning a blind eye to the positive.

This may be because she’s already made up her mind about leaving you and can only see things through a negative lens.

7. She’s spending more time away from home. 

Whether she all of a sudden has longer work hours or has started making more plans with her friends, this may mean she is looking for ways to spend more time away from you and the issues in your marriage.

8. Your wife is having an affair. 

Leaving a marriage is not easy, especially if you’ve been together for a long time and there are kids involved. This might lead your wife to cheat instead.

If you’ve noticed the signs that your wife is cheating, it’s a clear sign that something in the marriage is not right and may be a precursor to her leaving.

RELATED: Yes, An Affair Can Save Your Marriage (From An Expert Who Knows)

These signs may also surface for reasons that have nothing to do with your marriage at all. 

For example, some other reasons you may be noticing some of these signs include:


When a depressive episode occurs, the person struggling with depression may become more reclusive. If you’re not sure whether your wife’s attitude change has to do with being depressed or being over your relationship, look for other signs of depression she may be experiencing.

Stress and Burnout

Some of the signs your wife wants to leave you are actually similar to those of emotional and mental burnout. If your wife has become preoccupied with work, it may not be because your marriage is in trouble, but rather because she’s taken on more responsibilities and is feeling overwhelmed. 


If your wife is dealing with an addiction, you may notice a change in her behavior. 

The best thing you can do is bring your concerns up to your wife and check in on your marriage.

The good news is that these signs are not necessarily the end all be all of your marriage.

“The best thing to do to save your marriage is to let your wife know you want to make it work and do whatever she feels is needed to make it work,” says Clinical Hypnotherapist and Relationship Coach Keya Murthy

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When it appears that your marriage is nearing its end, there are a few things you can do to get it back on track. 

As Clinical Psychologist and Author Susan Heitler writes, “there are certain actions one spouse can take in their efforts to save the relationship.” So even if it feels like your wife has given up on the relationship completely, all is not hopeless.

When it’s time to put in the effort to save your marriage, Heitler offers 7 steps you can take as a couple to do so:

1. Make a list of all the issues you argue or feel hopeless about.

2. Shift the focus back to yourself.

3. Cut out the negativity.

4. Express your concerns constructively and make decisions cooperatively.

5. Eliminate affairs, addictions, and anger.

6. Radically increase the positive energy you share with your partner.

7. Go back to the basics.

You may also want to consider marriage counseling to get a professional’s help. 

“Any relationship can work only when both of you want it to work,” Murthy assures.

RELATED: Why A Separation May Save Your Marriage

Micki Spollen is a YourTango editor, writer, and traveler. Follow her on Instagram and keep up with her travels on her website.