Oct 122009
leaving your husband

What do you need to leave your husband?

Take your time to think a few things through, so you know how to leave your husband without regretting anything.

Leaving your husband and ending your marriage may be one of the hardest things you’ll ever do – even if your relationship is awful – but leaving your husband is sometimes the only way to create the life you want.

These tips may help you figure out if it’s time to leave when you feel trapped. Make sure you consult a lawyer or divorce mediator — don’t just rely on these tips if you want to leave your husband. There is a lot more to leaving than what I included in this article! This is just the beginning.

If you’re confused about leaving your husband, read Contemplating Divorce: A Step-by-Step Guide to Deciding Whether to Stay or Go.

How to Leave Your Husband

“When two people decide to get a divorce, it isn’t a sign that they ‘don’t understand’ one another, but a sign that they have, at last, begun to,” said American writer Helen Rowland.

Are you just beginning to understand your husband and your marriage — and it’s worse than you expected? Then maybe it’s time to leave him.

And here are several things to think about as you prepare to leave your husband when you’re trapped in a bad marriage…

Prepare your children – the family is changing

Some kids will want to know everything, and others won’t. A separation or divorce will be traumatic for some, and a relief for others. It may be difficult to find the emotional and mental energy to talk to your kids about the separation, but it’s a mistake to leave them in the dark. If you’re leaving your husband, try to give your kids the time, attention, and answers they deserve. The smoother you try to make their transition, the smoother yours will be.

Make sure you’re financially stable

You don’t need enough money to live on for a long time, but you should have at least three months of living expenses saved up. Figure out how much money you’ll need to spend on rent, household bills, transportation, and other expenses. If you need to borrow money, don’t be embarrassed or ashamed to ask a family member – it’s just a loan, and most relatives want to help if they can. You can reassure both them and yourself that you’ll pay it back.

If you’re thinking about borrowing money, read Tips for Lending Money to Friends or Family Members.

Prepare for awkward moments with friends

You’ll lose some friends if you leave your husband — even if it’s a bad marriage. You’ll keep some friends, and you may have to defend yourself to others. Be prepared for a wide range of possible reactions from friends: anger, grief, shock, disbelief, etc.

Leaving your husband requires being prepared to lose a few friends…and make new ones.

Prepare for painful moments with family members

Separation or divorce can be very hard on extended family members, such as parents in-law, aunts, uncles, siblings, grandparents, and cousins. Leaving your husband isn’t just about you, your husband, and your marriage; it affects the people you’re related to. Try not to feel guilty about your decision to separate – you’re making a decision that best suits your life. But, remember that family members may your marriage crisis take it hard.

Take inventory of the household items you want to keep

Dividing the possessions you acquired as a couple may be difficult, especially if you’ve been married for decades. Figuring out who gets what may be part of the divorce negotiations, or it could be decided by you and your husband privately. Either way, it’s smart to decide in advance what you absolutely must keep, what you want but will part with, and what you’re happy to let your husband have. You may lose cherished items…and that may be one of the costs of leaving a bad marriage.

If you think you’ll struggle with money after you leave, read Preparing Financially for a Divorce.

Join a support group for women leaving their husbands

Often, the best way to overcome or survive anything – including leaving your husband – is to spend time with people who have “been there, done that.” Or, who are currently doing it! Find people who are experiencing the same situation and emotions as you – it doesn’t even have to be a formal divorce support group. Be honest about what you’re going through and the type of help you need.

If you hate the thought of divorce, read You Don’t Love Him But Can’t Leave Him – What Do You Do?

Learn about different ways to get divorced

Self-representation, divorce mediation, collaborative divorce, and litigation are different ways to leave your husband. You don’t need to make any decisions about divorce right away, but it may be good to start thinking about your options. There are five different types of divorce.

Knowing how to leave your husband involves letting go of someone you love. Letting go isn’t something you do once and poof! You’re free, healed, and happy. Rather, letting go is a journey peppered with steps forward and steps backward, good days and bad days, peaks and valleys.

Is it hard to walk away? Read How to Let Go of Someone You Love.

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  41 Responses to “How to Leave Your Husband”

  1. Sometimes a trial separation is a good first step towards leaving your husband. This will give you and him the chance to figure out what you want out of life and your marriage, and learn how to start living as a separated or divorced couple.

    A trial separation might also show you that you do love your husband after all! Or, it could bring him to his senses, and make him re-evaluate his life, you, and your child.

    I’ve also learned that leaving your husband happens emotionally first, and then physically. It’s a long process!

  2. I am in a similar situation that has taken a toll on every part of my being. I married in 2007 and I have found that after the birth of our Son in 2009 he is a self centered, mind controlling, overbearing, needy, and lazy person. I just don’t think we are good together anymore. I don’t know that happened, I have looked back on it and I just can’t put my finger on it. He is a very tall man over 6ft and so heavy that his health is at stake, doc says around 480 lbs. He is in denial and listens to not one person about it, not even his doctor. I don’t know why he wont take that first step to save himself and our marriage. He is 8 years older than I am and my friends and family cannot believe how much he acts like he is more in his 50’s than his early 40’s. We have a 4 year old that NEEDS his dad in his life, an active Dad…Not a “when I feel like it I might get off my butt” Dad. He expects me to do all of the housework and all of the care for our child. Not that I mind, I don’t, I don’t think that there is an excuse for dinner not being made by him at least one night a week. He is home all day…and I still come home to trash, plates, dirty clothes, floors…etc.. He lost his job and that amplified the issues we already had.

    We have a house, and I am making most if not all the income at this point. I have told him that there isn’t much there on my end anymore, I live in my own room and have for almost 4 years. The thought of us sharing a room makes me sick. I WANT to love him, but I just don’t anymore. I care about his well being but the spark is nowhere to be found, I have tried. My husband eats a preferred diet in fatty foods and bad choices and I can see our small child starting to put on weight that is not healthy. He will not go outside and let him run around and since the layoff of his job he watches our child at home. He needs to be back in a classroom setting and together we cannot afford child care but apart I could afford it through low income help from the city. He dropped our insurance without consulting me, “forgot” to pay my ccd’s and they are now in collection. He does not have a drivers license and says that he is going to “pay the fine and get it re-instated” and he has said that as long as I have known him…10 years next year. Deep down he is caring of others but as of late it is like pulling teeth to get him to just do what his bare minimum should be. I am seriously thinking about running, for what rest of my life I have left, and starting over for the better of my son and myself.

  3. Dear Ker,

    If you think you’ll regret not leaving your husband earlier, then maybe the best thing is to leave him now. I don’t think there is ever a “good” time to leave a marriage. It’s hard, all the time. It’s like buying a house or going on an expensive vacation: you never feel like you have enough money or time, but if you don’t do it now…when will you do it? When will you have the money, time, strength, and support?

  4. I have been married not even 5 years yet and I’m miserable. Many times I thought about leaving and many times I did. If its already happening this early in the marriage. I could only imagine it gets worse in the future. Like all of your stories say you wish you should of left earlier. Should I do that? So instead of wasting anymore time being unhappy and mistreated I can maybe start living my life. The thing is I have two little ones. 4 and 2 years old. My income requires me to work all day 8-6. We just share one car. And no money for daycare stresses me! I have family but they have there own problems. Should I wait and leave after maybe my kids in school and me financially stable or just leave now and bum off others??

  5. Gee, that is SAD. I hope you do get away from him soon. Be strong, and dont take any notice of him, what he says or does. Let it all be water of a ducks back. At least that way you can improve your quality of life. Good Luck.

  6. Leaving your husband is a process that takes time. I think most women think about it for days, months, or even years before they finally take the step of actually leaving.

    It’s not easy. Divorce can rip families apart, even if it’s the best option.

    Divorce is painful, but it’s better than staying in an unhappy, toxic marriage.

  7. Sally~you’re not alone. Over the 20+ yrs of my marriage I realized more and more how self-centered my husband is. He has made numerous poor financial decisions with loans, our home equity, his jobs…which only forced me to pay for food, clothing, insurance, etc..on MY credit cards! I am so angry with myself that I didn’t leave 10 yrs ago and that I ALLOWED this to continue. I want OUT!! Now to make matters worse, we may be facing bankruptcy! I am so angry and depressed. I used to be so proud of my excellent credit. I have no family nearby and they are all having their own problems. I feel like such a failure as a parent. I stayed because of my son’s relationship with his dad. He is a good dad. In hindsight, bad move on my part. I’m broke, about to ruin my credit. Sad and lonely in this toxic relationship. So easy for others to say ‘just leave’. I just wanted you to know you are not alone. Best wishes.

  8. Hello everyone. I need your advice. I married my high school sweetheart and have been married for 22 years. 7 months ago my husband had affair and it devastated me. He said he made a mistake and begged for my forgiveness. We are working out our marriage but I have come depressed and I cry alot. I have this void and loneliness in my heart now. I just don’t know what to do with my life now. I have lost my love, respect and trust for him. Is there life out there besides this void I have now in my heart. Can I forgive him or is it time for me to move on.

  9. Hi ladies, I so know how you feel. The question though is how do we feel about ourselves and, when do we do different. I can relate to all of the stories. The anger, fustration, depression, anxiety, financial diffuculties. We have to find support, if it’s through friends, therapy from church usually no or slight fee, family members or even reading and, journeling. I assure you there is a way. A different way. I too am searching.

  10. Hello everyone, Question I have been in this relationship for 10 years and married for one year. We have five children together. He has another child with another woman one only and he pays alot of support the state takes 50%of his pay an the guy he works for oh by way be there for over 10 years. Refuse to give him I raise. Force me and my children to live like man it hard. My husband won’t leave his job and refuse to file reduce child support order. Please tell me what to do more to the story.

  11. I have to laugh … the ONLY problem as I see it is money, money, money. If I had enough money, I could leave. I am a senior citizen and had a traditional marriage. Now, my husband wants out (and believe me, so do I) but he does not want to give me money. He will not even talk about lawyers etc. (I don’t have money for one). He openly bad mouths me to all our friends and openly dates other women.
    I got an inheritance from my mom … he told me this $$ was for our “future” I gave it all to him. When I was taking care of my sick sister (and gave him my last 5k, he moved in another woman while I was out of town.) Boy, that was fun. He did not like this woman anymore and had her move out. I absolutely had NO WHERE to go. So here I sit old, tired and depressed with no where to go.
    Thanks for listening.