5 Reasons Women Feel So Scared & Unstable After Their Husbands Leave

No, you're not crazy.

Sad woman outdoors stares into distance Yuricazac / Shutterstock.com

If you are feeling unstable after your husband walked out on you, know that you are not alone! Having someone you love leave you suddenly would rock even the strongest woman’s world.

The end of any relationship is horrible, especially in a marriage where finances and children are often involved. And, when a husband walks out, the woman is usually left in the house, with the kids, trying to figure out how to keep life normal while she and her husband figure out the next steps.


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And, because you have never done this before, you might find yourself paralyzed, lacking balance, and scared to death.

Understanding why you are feeling unstable after your husband walked out is the best way to figure out how to manage it so you can be clear-headed as you move forward.

Things To Notice About Yourself After He Leaves

1. You are in shock.

I remember when my ex-husband told me he was leaving me. It happened out of the blue and it hit me hard. We were driving across the country and he told me on hour one what his plan was. We had two more days alone in that car, not really talking about anything. I was almost emotionless the whole time. It was weird. And horrible.


Once we got back home, I found myself doing wonky things. I sent my husband’s new girlfriend a letter asking her to give us space to figure out our marriage. Not well received. I drove my dogs to the dog park and hit a deer and kept on going. I found myself curled up in a ball when my cat and dog got into a tiff.

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I believe that after the adrenaline of the announcement had worn off, I went into shock. Much like after an accident or an injury, my husband's announcement caused my brain to be flooded with chemicals that kept me on high alert for survival.

Once those chemicals wore off, I was left in neurogenic shock, shock caused by extreme emotional disturbance, shock that is often characterized by disorientation and disassociation.


So, if you are finding yourself unstable after your husband walked it, it just might be because you are in shock.

The good news is, that shock usually wears off on its own. So give yourself some time. Take care of yourself, get some sleep, and have a glass of wine with friends. Anything that will help calm your nervous system and help you to feel more stable.

2. You have never done this before.

For those of us who have been through a divorce, we know exactly what it’s all about. But I am guessing that one of the reasons that you are feeling stable after your husband walked out is because you have never done this before. How the heck does one dissolve a marriage and move on?

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When we are confronted with a problem, we most likely have encountered, if not the same problem, something like it before, and we have some framework to work with to solve it. Not so with divorce. Perhaps you have seen friends or family go through it but you have never been through it yourself.

And, as a result, having no idea what to do might have left you paralyzed and unstable.

I was very lucky. Soon after my husband walked out I met a woman who had been through the divorce process five years earlier. Her divorce had been horrible, yet she had made it through and eventually found the love of her life.

This wonderful woman became my mentor. Without her wisdom, experience and guidance, I never would have made it through my divorce as successfully as I did.


So, know that if you are feeling unstable after your husband walked out, it’s very likely because you have a process ahead of you that you have no idea how to navigate. It is no wonder you want to curl up in bed for the next month or two.

3. Your future is hazy.

Yesterday I am guessing that your future was pretty clear. Maybe your marriage was struggling to some degree but you were sure that you would be able to work it out. You had the home that you shared, the kids that you cared for together, finances that were intertwined, and, maybe, healthy. You had built a life together and you could see the future together pretty clearly.

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And now, today, all of that is gone. And what is left? The vast unknown future. And there is nothing scarier than a future that is uncertain!


I know that when my husband left, I was petrified. Our kids were off at college so I didn’t have to deal with their daily lives but there were still lots of things to manage. And, while he was the one who left, my ex wasn’t much of a planner so figuring out the next steps was on me!

So what did I do? I sat down and made a list of everything that I was going to have to deal with — finances, housing, kids' schedules, lawyers, mediators, extended family, social plans, etc. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to figure everything out right away but once I had it all down on paper I was able to start thinking things through.

And, to be honest, focusing on details really helped me become more stable. Yes, I was devastated that my marriage was most likely over but taking charge and being the one driving outcomes, instead of being curled up in a ball in my bed, helped me feel stronger and steadier pretty quickly.

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4. You are feeling alone.

I am guessing that for the past however many years, you and your husband have slept together in the same bed. You have your breakfast routines, lunchtime check-ins, evening cocktails, bedtime habits, etc. And now, out of nowhere, even if your kids are still at home, you are doing all of those things alone.

It’s very interesting how many people, even if they hated doing these things with their spouses, and they usually involved lots of sarcasm and bickering, say that this is the first thing that really hits them hard — they are now doing all of those things alone.

And for many women, being alone is a very uncomfortable place.

One of my closest friends had never been alone, without a partner, in her entire adult life. She was the one who wanted the divorce — very wise of her — but she found out that with her husband gone, there was a big empty space in the house. She wondered if she ever would get used to it.


But it didn’t take long for her to come to savor that empty space. A fair amount of it got eaten up by pets and kids and her work but, before long, she relished crawling into bed, in the flannel sheets that she bought because her ex hated them, and knowing that she was going to sleep well without snoring.

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So know that, if you are feeling unstable after your husband walked out, it might very well be because you are feeling alone. And that is ok. And you will get used to it. I promise!

5. You are worried about your kids.

If you are a mother and your husband has just walked out I am sure that a HUGE part of why you are feeling so unstable is because you are worried about your kids.


For as long as your kids have been alive it has been your job to keep them healthy and happy. You teach them how to walk and talk and laugh and cry. To trust and believe and have hope. To know that they are loved unconditionally and that you will keep them safe.

Your husband walking out might have a very big effect on all of the work that you have done over the years to keep your family feeling that way.

I know that I fought harder for my marriage because I wanted my kids to have a mother and a father in the house. I was the child of divorce and both of my parents set a very bad example for us around their marriage and divorce and I didn’t want that for my kids. I wanted to do things differently so they wouldn’t have to struggle in romantic relationships like I had to.

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My husband walking out put all that I had worked for in jeopardy.

It was a rough few years for my kids. I won’t lie about that. There was a lot of anger and animosity between their parents and they had to deal with a lot of tears and loss. But, ultimately, it was the absolute best thing that could have happened to them, to all of us.

Instead of being in a house full of animosity between their parents, my kids came home to a parent who was happy. They got to know their father better because their mother wasn’t around to do everything for them. They got to see their father get into a relationship where he was happy and for their mother to find herself again, build a business and ultimately find a man who loved her completely.


And, unlike my parents, who lied to us for years about the end of their marriage, I talked to my kids about everything that was happening. I tried to be as honest as possible. I let them know that I would always be there for them. If they had any questions, I would always respond in an open way, one that inspired discussion. I do think that doing this differently than my parents did will help my children to have better adult relationships than me and my siblings did.

Again, if you are feeling unstable after your husband walked out, know that you are not alone.

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Right now, there are thousands of women all over the country who are experiencing what you are experiencing and I am guessing that they are feeling like their worlds have been completely rocked as well.


I can promise you that you are going to be ok. Right now you are in shock, the future is hazy and you have no idea how you are going to navigate getting there. You are feeling very alone and you are scared for your children. I totally get it.

But someday, sooner than later I am sure, you will find yourself in a better place. You don’t know what the future holds. Maybe you will resolve things with your husband and that will be a good thing.  (Don’t resolve it and have it be a bad thing. That is a huge waste of time.)

Or perhaps you will be like me, happy, successful, and an example for my children of living a good life and being a good person.

I know it’s hard to believe right now but, take it from me, and the thousand others like me who have been where you are right now, and believe!


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Mitzi Bockmann is an NYC-based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. She works with all kinds of people to help them go from depressed and overwhelmed to confident and happy in their relationships and in their world.