This advice on how to leave your husband will help you figure out what steps to take. The first step is making the decision that leaving your husband is better than staying married. The second step is realizing that divorce will be painful, no matter how bad your marriage is.
“A divorce is like an amputation; you survive it, but there’s less of you.” ~ Margaret Atwood.
Learning to Leave: A Women’s Guide by Lynette Triere and Richard Peacock is the first book you should read if you want to know how to leave your husband. If you’re thinking about leaving your husband, you need to learn as much about separation and divorce as possible. This book is informative and comprehensive, and it’ll teach you how to get through a divorce. Learning to Leave will help you deal with anger and fear, choose a lawyer, talk to your husband, help children through the divorce, think about employment opportunities, and more.
Talk to a marriage counselor or marriage coach about how to leave your husband. See your pastor or spiritual leader. You’re not looking for someone to tell you what you should do; you’re looking for wise counsel to help you make the right decision. You might even consider joining a divorce support group, and talk to people about their decision to divorce or separate.
And, take a look at these signs that a marriage is worth fighting for. They may help you make the decision only you can make.
How to Leave Your Husband
The tips in this article are intended to help women decide if they should leave their husbands. If you already know you want to leave, read How to Leave a Man You Love – But Can’t Live With.
“There are certain factors that suggest a relationship is workable and salvageable,” writes Susan Pease Gadoua in Contemplating Divorce. “There are other factors in marriages that, if present, indicate a low probability that the relationship will be healthy or fulfilling. I call these workability factors.”
Here’s a list of Gadoua’s signs of unhappy marriages, specifically related to safety, love, and esteem needs (based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs).
You might want to know how to leave your husband if your marriage contains…
- Lack of trust
- Pathological dishonesty
- Lack of mental, emotional, physical, or financial safety
- Lack of communication
You might stay in your marriage if your trust was broken but is reparable, if there’s a mutual desire to create a safe environment, if there is care, concern, and communication.
It may be time to leave your husband if your love needs aren’t being met because of…
- Absence of mutual love
- No shared interests
- One or both spouses aren’t fully committed to the marriage
- One-sided relationship
If you’re considering divorce, you might think about fighting for your marriage if there is a foundation of mutual love, if both partners are willing to work through physical or emotional infidelity, and if both spouses are willing to recommit to staying married.
If you’re worried about what happens after divorce, read Can Divorced Partners Be Friends?
You might need to know how to leave your husband if there is…
- No esteem from self or spouse, and no desire to change
- No respect at all from spouse
- No common goals
- Unwillingness of at least one spouse to work on marriage
Does your marriage have a foundation of respect, some common goals, and a willingness to work on esteem and marriage issues on the part of both partners? If so, it might be worthwhile to fight for your marriage. If you and your husband respect each other, you may want to focus less on how to leave leave your husband and more on fighting for your marriage.
There are no quick and easy answers for the “should I leave my husband?” question – and even the surest signs that it’s time to leave your husband can be complicated and confusing.
“I’ve had countless clients tell me that they don’t want to divorce because they are afraid of losing the co-parenting relationship or their spouse’s income, only to eventually realize that they alone already carry the load of responsibilities,” says Gadoua. “The spouse doesn’t contribute to the marriage but, rather, takes from it.”
For more tips on how to leave your husband, read How to Get Your Husband to Go to Marriage Counseling. If he refuses, maybe that’s a sign you should leave your marriage.
Love doesn’t conquer all
I’m sorry to say that love doesn’t conquer all! You can love your husband with all your heart, but not be able to build a strong, happy marriage together – especially if you’ve lost your personal identity. The lack of romantic love may not always lead to divorce, and the presence of love doesn’t lead to a happy marriage.
As Zsa Zsa Gabor said, “Getting divorced just because you don’t love a man is almost as silly as getting married just because you do.”
If you don’t know how to leave your husband, read How to Tell Your Husband You Want a Divorce. That’s the first step in breaking free, and moving on with your life.
I welcome your thoughts on how to leave your husband below. I can’t give advice, but I know that expressing your thoughts can help you heal and see reality more clearly.
I'm glad you're here! My name is Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen; my husband Bruce and I live in Vancouver, BC with our critters. We can't have kids, and are learning to accept whatever life brings - both good and bad. I have an MSW (Master of Social Work) from UBC, and degrees in Education and Psychology. I hope you say hello below - I can't give relationship advice, but writing can bring you clarity and insight.