10 Signs A Woman Is Emotionally Exhausted & Low-Key Considering Divorce

When you investigate the source of unhappiness early, you have a better chance of solving the problem together.

woman lying on coach emotionally exhausted MediaRec / Shutterstock

If you are a spouse and you are reading this article, good for you. It's better to address any unrest or unhappiness in your wife early on, when you two can address the challenges together.

Maybe you've been seeing changes in the woman you love and you’re worried about the future of your marriage — or perhaps you are a woman who is really struggling, not sure of the root cause and looking for ideas about how to move forward. I know it’s scary, but good for you.


I know how it feels to be unhappy in a marriage, and in life in general. 

Ten years ago, I had a nervous breakdown. We had just returned to the states after two years in Japan and it was hard, for so many reasons. We had uprooted our whole lives and moved stateside and that was destabilizing for me.

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My kids were struggling through middle school, my real estate career had stalled out and my husband was working really hard. It was just life, but it was not an easy one.

Slowly, I started to fall apart but had no idea that it was happening. I knew that I was miserable but couldn’t see clearly why. As a result, I focused on my husband and our marriage as the source of my misery and thought about how much better I would be if I divorced him.


In retrospect, I realize that, while he was part of what I was struggling with, there was so much more to what happened. If only I had seen it then, everything might have been different. Fortunately, I'm happy and healthy today and in love with a wonderful man who is now my husband. But the road to that place was not always easy.

That's why I'm writing this article for the rest of you. 

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Here are 10 signs a woman is emotionally exhausted and low-key considering divorce:

1. She is impatient.

I had never really been a patient person. I was always on the go, volunteering, working, parenting, and I didn’t like anything getting in my way. But my impatience had never been toxic, which I knew it was becoming. I stopped working on group projects because I would snap at my friends. My kids were surprised when I snapped at things that I had been fine with before. I had no patience for my husband and his arriving home late for dinner.


Because of my impatience, people pulled away from me, especially my husband. Well, I thought, if he is going to withdraw like this, I would be less impatient, I was sure, if I divorced him.

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2. She is argumentative.

I am smart. My brain moves quickly. I am often two steps ahead of people during a conversation. And this had always served me well— until I started using my brains to antagonize.

Even when I was really struggling, family dinner was a regular event (which is why I was impatient with my husband getting home late). These dinners had always been pretty fun with everyone recounting their day, being sarcastic and, more often than not, laughing. That doesn’t happen much these days. Almost every night my husband and I would get into some kind of argument. It was usually something small and usually about something that I wouldn’t have even brought up in the past.


But I was tired of keeping quiet and I was impatient with the fact that nothing ever changed, so I spoke up. To be fair, I was confusing my husband because I wasn’t acting like myself, but I saw these arguments as a sign that we should get divorced. After all, we were driving each other nuts!

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3. She is easily irritated.

Oh my gosh, was I always low-key irritated back in those days. I was irritated that the dogs needed to go for a walk. I was irritated that my kids had to be called twice to come in for dinner. I was irritated that I couldn’t get my act together to jump back into the real estate world. And I was irritated with my husband for breathing.

I know now that my irritation was because I was so emotionally exhausted but back then I knew that I wouldn’t be this way if my husband just wasn’t around.


4. She has stopped exercising.

I had always been someone who liked to be outside. I walked my dogs daily, had regular yoga practice, and was perfectly happy pushing a lawn mower around the yard.

As my exhaustion got worse, I just stopped moving my body. The idea of getting up off the couch was more than I could handle and, as a result, I didn’t. My days would be spent on my phone or watching TV and eating food that wasn’t good for me. I was still doing what I needed to do to manage my family but that was it.

My husband used to try to get me off the couch and I was not okay with that. I would snap at him and tell him that if he would just get off my back, I would be fine. And I believed it— that what was happening was his fault, not mine.

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5. She isn’t sleeping.

When I was going through this difficult time, I stopped sleeping. I mean it when I say that I hadn’t slept in more than a year when I had my break down.

I wasn’t sleeping for many reasons. I wasn’t tired because I had been lying on the couch for much of the day. My head was full of toxic thoughts about my life and my marriage. I would think about how much better everything would be if I just left my husband.

Those thoughts ran through my mind over and over and over, and unsurprisingly, made everything worse!

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6. She is drinking more.

When I had my first child, I developed an allergy to sugar and alcohol, and I stopped consuming both. I didn’t have a drink or eat a cookie for ten years.


When I started getting irritated, impatient, and argumentative, I started drinking again, even though it made me feel horrible. Why did I start drinking? Because it was the only thing that could get me out of my head. It was the only thing that could calm down my nervous system enough that I could sit still. It felt good to numb myself, even if just for a few hours.

Of course, ultimately this drinking just made everything worse, but I didn’t know it at the time.

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7. She is contemptuous.

This is one thing that I would give anything to have changed – how contemptuous I was with my husband during this period of time.


In my perspective, he wasn’t supportive of me with things that had to be done around our household. He was working too hard and was irritated when he got home. He was spending too much time with his friends. He was listening to his mother more than he was me.

Did I talk to him about how I was feeling? Nope. I was passive-aggressive and mean about it, treating him with contempt in the most horrible way. But I was exhausted. I wasn’t thinking straight. And he was right there, someone who I could blame everything on.

8. She spends lots of time online.

When I was struggling, I needed desperately to find out if others struggled like I did and see what they did about it. To do so, I got online like every other person in the world does when they need information. I was consumed with stories from other people who were struggling. I spent hours watching YouTube videos by life coaches. I researched what kind of money someone was entitled to if they divorced. I desperately looked for something that would soothe my pain.

What I know now is that spending all that time focused on what was wrong with me and my marriage only served to make those things bigger in my head. Many of my clients, after a break up, spend hours a day reading blogs about how to get over a break up instead of getting off the couch and starting to live their lives again.


So, while some of the information that is being found is helpful, ultimately, doing all that reading just kept me, and others, stuck in the darkness.

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9. She spends a lot of money.

According to clinical psychologist Shelia Forman, “Spending money to help us feel better has been a long-standing coping for many Americans.”

When feeling anxious, depressed, or overwhelmed, many women cope by shopping. Why? Because spending money, and the dopamine rush that is the result, gives a brief reprieve from feeling what we are feeling. When I was struggling, I spent a ton of time on E-bay, buying expensive purses at auctions. Nothing gave me more pleasure than winning an auction and getting a new purse in the mail (I never even used purses). It was the dopamine rush that I won and the delivery that did it for me.


I know now that those auctions, that shopping, while fun, were just coping mechanisms for me. And they are for many other women who are emotionally exhausted.

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10. She is hopeless about everything.

When I was struggling, I had no hope for the future. I truly believed that I would always be as miserable as I was then. That there was nothing in the world that would make me happy. I wasn’t sleeping or exercising. I was spending a ton of money. And I was making choices that were sabotaging my happiness. And, of course, my marriage was making my future particularly bleak.


What I know now is that, when one is depressed, looking to the future feels hopeless. When we are in a dark place, it’s literally impossible to see that we won’t always feel the way we do. Any chance that the future would be better for me was completely out of reach. I continued to tell myself that if only my husband were gone, I was sure that I would be happier.

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Many women are 'doing it all' and are emotionally exhausted

They give so much of themselves to others and sap their own strength in the meantime. Many women just don’t know how to ask for help, and they don’t know how to make changes. So, the exhaustion gets worse and worse until something breaks.

What I know from my work as a life coach is that when women are in a rough place, they automatically turn the blame onto their spouse. Why? Because it is way easier to focus on the concreteness of an unhappy marriage than the more nebulous idea of what the true cause of their negative emotions is.


I know now, after recovering from that nervous breakdown, getting properly medicated and focusing daily on self-care, and that my husband, while definitely a part of what I was struggling with, was definitely not the root cause.

I would like to tell you that my husband and I lived happily ever after, but I am afraid that isn’t the case. The year that I spend emotionally exhausted had a significant effect on our relationship, and a few years later, he left me for another woman.

I always tell my clients to pay attention to how they are feeling and to not let it get out of control.  Your life, your happiness and your marriage all depend on you doing so!

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Mitzi Bockmann is an NYC-based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate who works exclusively with women to help them be all they want to be. Mitzi's bylines have appeared in The Good Men Project, MSN, PopSugar, Prevention, Huffington Post, Psych Central, among many others.