10 Signs Your Husband Or Wife Wants To Leave You

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unhappy wife and husband thinking about leaving

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

Though it may seem abrupt when a spouse says they want a divorce, the truth is often that the signs your husband or wife wants to leave you have likely been apparent for a while.

There are many flags of an unhappy marriage that often signal one spouse’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 recognizing these issues early on and work on saving your marriage together.

RELATED: 8 Incredibly Simple Ways To Save Your Marriage

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

1. You don’t feel an emotional connection anymore.

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, that's a major red flag.

2. Your sex life has become nonexistent.

You may not always feel those butterflies you felt when you first met each other, but physical attraction and connection are some of the key components needed for a successful and happy long-term relationship.

If your husband or wife is no longer interested in having sex with you, that might mean they are no longer interested in having a deeply connected bond with you that's both physical and emotional, and it’s possibly they may already have one foot out the door.

3. They've stopped talking about plans for the future with you.

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

Whether they're trying to start picturing a life without you — or set one in stone — or they simply no longer enjoy your company, they may very well be thinking about leaving you for a future that doesn't include you.

4. They say “I” a lot more than they say “we.”

To reinforce the last point, happily married couples tend to see themselves as a unit and generally 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.

She stated further that this can go beyond not enjoying the life you have together and involve deeper emotional layers, such as depression. "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."

Depression is common in unhappy marriages and is a frequent reason why many of them fall apart, particularly when the depression is due to the marriage itself.

5. They look down on you.

Does it seem like your wife or husband is on a mission to make you feel worthless? If so, they might have contempt for you.

According to famed relationship researcher Dr. John Gottman, contempt is one of the ‘Four 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 'Four Horsemen' is criticism.

If your spouse constantly criticizes you and the things you do, they're coming from a place of deep negativity and turning a blind eye to the positive.

This may be because they've already made up their mind about leaving you and, therefore, can only see you and your marriage through a negative lens.

7. They're spending more and more time away from home.

Whether they all of a sudden have longer work hours or started making more and more plans with friends, this may mean they're looking for as many ways to spend time away from you as possible, including the issues in your marriage. They may even be dating someone on the side.

Also, watch out for whether they're uninterested in your whereabouts and if they seem especially pleased when you have plans to go out. This may also be an indicator of trouble.

8. They've been more concerned about their looks lately.

If your husband or wife has suddenly started making changes to their appearance, it could be a reason to check in with the health of your relationship.

Maybe they got a new haircut or they're making conscious efforts to start dressing more nicely. These could be signs they are trying to impress someone who isn't you.

9. You've noticed out-of-the-ordinary financial transactions.

If you've started noticing unusual spending, it could mean a few things (not all of which directly point to cheating or divorce attorneys).

Your husband might be spending money at specific places he usually wouldn't go so he can purchase gifts for a love interest. Perhaps your spouse is cutting checks to a divorce lawyer to discuss a separation, post-nuptial agreements, or getting a divorce in general.

This one is especially worrisome if your spouse is evasive or tries to change the subject if you bring up these odd expenses.

10. Your wife or husband 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 spouse to cheat instead.

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



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

Before you panic, it's worth nothing that these signs may also surface for reasons that have nothing to do with your marriage at all.

Some other reasons you may notice some of the signs above include:

  • Depression

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

  • Stress and burnout

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

  • Addiction

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

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 [spouse] know you want to make it work and do whatever [they feel] is needed to make it work,” says clinical hypnotherapist and relationship coach Keya Murthy.

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 husband or wife has given up on the relationship completely, don't feel like all hope is lost.

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 an editor, writer, and traveler. Follow her on Instagram and keep up with her travels on her website.