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19 Warning Signs Your Husband Wants a Divorce (What to do)

Women work hard to build a family, balance family, life, and career and provide for everyone. But in focusing on that, their husband can sometimes feel forgotten and could be looking elsewhere. Here are the signs your husband wants a divorce.

The warning signs your husband wants a divorce:

  • He noticeably avoids you
  • He stays out with his friends more than usual
  • He’s no longer interested in physical intimacy
  • He is more secretive about his phone, email, and social media accounts
  • The term divorce comes up in his computer search history

Sometimes in trying to do EVERYTHING, we can lose sight of what’s important.

There is light at the end of the tunnel though! You don’t have to accept defeat and the breakup of your marriage and, if you have kids, splitting custody.

In this article, I’ll explain the signs your husband wants a divorce. But more importantly, I’ll show you how to stop it so you can begin fixing your marriage and get back to having a healthy relationship.

Table of Contents:

signs your husband wants a divorce scissors cutting a marriage certificate and a rose in half Middle Class Dad

But for now, let’s dive into the …

19 Warning Signs Your Husband Wants a Divorce (What to do)

1. Constant Fighting & Disagreements

It should be no surprise that constant arguing with your husband is a bad sign.

It’s a definite sign that your marriage is in trouble. In fact, it is one of the Top 3 Reasons for Divorce (click to read my article that breaks them down).

Now, don’t worry just because you and your husband fight a few times a week.

Healthy marriages have arguments from time to time. In fact, it’s actually a healthy thing to disagree and work through challenges every now and then. But only if they get resolved and don’t build resentment.

But when these arguments happen every day, that’s when it’s important to take action. These kinds of fights, when they happen often, are definitely a sign of a troubled marriage.

Most of the time, husbands and wives who argue too much but have an otherwise healthy marriage can fix this problem easily.

But, if you and your wife fight too much, argue too often over little things, or show a lack of respect when arguing, then it’s a must to learn how to argue less and more constructively.

Serious about saving or improving your relationship?

CLICK HERE to answer a short quiz and see if your marriage can be saved.

Another more serious sign of an unhealthy marriage is when one or both of you stop trying to resolve things at all. This leads us to the next point….

2. Not caring enough to fix problems

If your husband doesn’t even show enough interest to argue anymore or is indifferent about everything, then that can be one of the warning signs of a larger issue.

With this kind of apathy, your husband has checked out, emotionally. You will begin to question if there will ever be a way for the two of you to fix your marriage.

Obviously, this is not a good thing. So if you’re seeing this as one of the signs your husband wants a divorce the time to act is now.

Marriage counseling or a family therapist can be a great thing.

Wondering if Can Marriage Counseling Help (click to read my article to find out)? I highly recommend taking a moment to check out one of my most shared posts on that topic. In many ways, it’s the best way to get a failing marriage back on track.

3. You have neglected his needs for a long time

We all do things we wish we hadn’t.

But the trick with any mistake is to recognize it, take responsibility for it, learn from it, AND then not repeat it. However, if you have repeatedly nagged your husband, cheated on him, or made him feel like he isn’t important to you, that could easily lead to some of the other signs your husband wants a divorce.

Men are often the quiet and strong silent types. BUT we often have fragile egos and like the attention we got from our wives in the early stages of our relationship.

When that attention falls off or becomes non-existent, it’s lonely and a blow to the ego.

If that sounds familiar, own it, but most importantly, change your behavior so he feels it. Words don’t mean much if it’s not backed up by actions.

Your husband doesn’t need you to be perfect, but he shouldn’t feel like he’s last on your list either. 

4. He’s emotionally distant and disconnected

Another sign is an overall lack of affection or sharing of feelings with you.

Guys are kind of notorious for not sharing their emotions well, but this goes beyond that. If there’s little or no touching, no kissing, and little communication throughout the day or before bed, those are huge red flags.

Overall, this is one of the most obvious signs of a pending divorce. Typically, though, it’s more of a symptom of the issue than the actual problem.

But fixing the core issues in your marriage can definitely help rebuild an emotional connection. When that happens, you’ll see this turn around.

He may never be the guy who constantly shares his feelings and is overly sensitive to your needs, but that may not be who he is in the first place.

If you’re seeing this pattern as well as some of the other signs your husband wants a divorce, now is the time to take action.

Answer a few questions right now to see if marriage counseling is right for you (even if your husband seems indifferent).  

5. He’s extremely critical of everything you do

If everything you say or do immediately results in rude comments, jabs, and other criticisms and put-downs, that could be a clear sign your husband is considering divorce.

In fact, being critical of our spouse is one of Gottman’s Four Horsemen (click to read my post which breaks them down); which marriage expert Dr. John Gottman says are the top predictors of divorce.

Funny, sarcastic comments are one thing, but if every statement is meant to make you feel bad about yourself, there’s clearly a lot of anger and resentment that he’s holding on to.

If you want to fix your unhappy marriage:

  • Resist the urge to escalate things or “give it back to him”
  • Understand that he’s in pain, and while he’s expressing himself poorly, he really just wants to feel heard
  • Look him in the eyes and say, “it sounds like you’re really upset with me. I’d would really like it if we could sit down and talk about this so I can have the opportunity to fix it.”

6. You just have that gut feeling

Women often have what some call women’s intuition.

You can feel the anger and resentment in a room when you’re both there. Perhaps your husband avoids making eye contact. Or maybe he just communicates the bare minimum and then quickly leaves to avoid further communication.

If your women’s intuition is telling you something is wrong, then it probably is.

But like all problems, don’t dwell on the issue or symptoms, and however tempting, don’t just do the same thing in return. Focus your time and energy on fixing things! You’re only 50% of this relationship, but there’s still a lot you can do by staying positive and focused on the end goal.

7. He no longer seems interested in sex

It’s a stereotype, so of course, it’s not completely accurate, but stereotypes are typically rooted in some common behavior pattern.

I’m talking about guys and physical intimacy.

I’m not at all implying that women don’t like it too, but if you look at 100 couples who are married with kids and asked them how much intercourse in the marriage is reasonable, I bet the guys would give you a higher number.

So if your husband seems disinterested in it, that’s one of the obvious signs of other problems in your marriage. And while that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s having an affair, he could eventually end up in one, or at least an emotional affair.

When you’re always fighting and there’s no emotional connection, your sex life is likely going to pay the price.

No matter what, a sexless marriage with a lack of intimacy has a high probability of failure. So if your husband is not interested in it or makes excuses, that’s definitely one of the signs your marriage will end in divorce.

And if the lack of physical intimacy has been coming from you, then you need to figure out why your libido is down and take action.

8. He’s always out with his buddies or otherwise occupied

If your husband is always out with his buddies and spending noticeably less time with you, that is an indicator of a larger problem.

It may be that your husband is unhappy with the current state of your relationship and just need a break from the fighting. But it may also be that he’s starting to prepare mentally for life away from you.

Hopefully, that’s not the case, but it can definitely be one of the signs your husband wants a divorce.

Simply put, if he’s spending less time with you than he has in the past, that can be a clear sign of someone thinking about ending the marriage.

If you’re seeing this symptom or any of the other signs your husband wants a divorce, start taking action now.

9. He’s constantly on his phone

If your husband is constantly on his phone, that could mean one of two things:

  • He’s using it as a means of distraction (from you and the problems in the marriage)
  • He’s engaging in an emotional affair (or maybe even a physical affair)

Neither situation is great. After all, your issues don’t fix themselves by pretending they aren’t there.

10. He’s secretive about his phone, email & social media accounts

Unfortunately, technology has made extra-marital affairs much easier to start and grow.

It’s simpler than ever to use different apps to find another to cheat with and to communicate with them. Even if it’s just confiding in a female work buddy, when we allow ourselves to be emotionally vulnerable to another and complain about our spouse to them, the door to an affair can be easily opened.

If he routinely leaves his phone lying around the house, then he’s probably not cheating.

But, if he guards it and his different email and social media accounts and seems paranoid about you seeing them, that could definitely be a sign of an affair and certainly one of the signs your husband wants a divorce.

That is especially true if he didn’t use to act like that. As with most of these signs, we’re wanting to notice a sudden change in behavior.

My soon-to-be ex-wife always used to lay her phone up.

But for the past few months, even though we were going through the divorce process, she’s been laying it face down. I eventually figured out she was having an affair with a friend of hers.

She wouldn’t call it an affair since we were in the process of divorcing.

But who knows how long it was really going on for? After all, she’s known him for 7 years. Plus legally and technically, since are still married, it is cheating.

If you think an affair might be happening or if he’s already admitted it, that doesn’t have to lead to divorce.

My post on how to Save a Marriage After Infidelity (click to read my post on how to do it) walks you through the steps on how to trust him again and how to make your marriage great again; maybe even the best it’s ever been.

11. Divorce or lawyers come up in the search history on your computer

Not all searches are done on a home computer, but usually more detailed research is easier and faster not on a mobile device.

So if you have a home computer that is shared, while I don’t recommend snooping into his email or social media accounts, it’s easy to look at your browser(s) search history.

If you happen to see any topics about a divorce lawyer, that’s clearly one biggest of the signs your husband wants a divorce.

I don’t want you to confront him though. If you want to fix your marriage, use this as an opportunity to calmly address the underlying issues and let him know you’re willing to do whatever you need to fix them.

The searches could have been done in the heat of the moment or to just blow off steam, so letting him know you snooped could just make things worse.

12. He noticeably avoids you

This is easy to see, especially if your husband is always on his phone.

Is he constantly texting others and you are never one of them? No texts throughout the day? No checking in with you? People need a connection with others. They need to feel that energy from another.

If it’s not you meeting that need, then who is meeting it?

Are you seeing this symptom of the other signs your husband wants a divorce? Don’t wait! Now is the time to fix things before it’s too late.

13. He doesn’t even eat his meals with you

If you and your husband are always on the go and live totally separate lives, that’s not a good sign.

If you routinely make plans after work with your girlfriends and/or your husband does the same and there’s no thought even give for what the other is doing, that’s going down a dangerous path.

It IS important that all married couples have interests outside the marriage and spend SOME time apart.

But when your husband spends all or most of his time away from you, that’s clearly one of the signs your husband wants a divorce.

14. You never say “I Love You” to each other

Saying to each other “I love you” throughout the workday and workweek is very healthy behavior.

If you and your husband never or rarely say that, that’s a sign that something is wrong; especially if it used to happen. Even worse is when you say it to him and she doesn’t say it back. If that’s what you’re seeing, now is the time to work on things before it becomes too late.

15. Is he vague or non-committal about future plans?

If you’re discussing summer vacations, a weekend getaway or maybe moving for a job opportunity, that should be an engaging discussion!

But if your husband is vague, refuses to be pinned down, or is not interested that’s a really bad sign.

About 18 years ago, I had the chance to work in New York City. I had a scheduled interview with an old boss who loved working with me. I knew he would most likely offer me the job since we worked really well together, but I didn’t want to go through with the interview without my (then) fiancee’s approval.

When we talked about it, I got a lot of vagueness, hesitation, and excuses why she wasn’t sure it was a good idea. But eventually, she did commit to moving if I got the job.

When I got the job offer, she changed her tune completely and refused to move with me.

I ended up turning the job down (twice because they upped the original offer) only to find out about a month later that she was cheating on me with my best friend’s married brother. She eventually left me for that guy.

16. A recent and dramatic change in his appearance

If your husband has recently started hitting the gym more, buying nicer-looking clothes or otherwise made a noticeable change in his appearance, that could be a bad sign.

After all, if when marriage isn’t working, then these changes clearly aren’t for you.

While these changes could just be to help him feel better about himself (not a bad thing), they could also be for another person or to attract another person.

While you don’t want to be critical of the change (or sarcastic), you also don’t want to make him think he didn’t look good before, so don’t go overboard with compliments either.

Make a point of complimenting him on it and letting him know how attractive you find him.

17. Opening new bank or credit accounts

I’m a firm believer that when you say “I do” you combine everything, including income, bills, and debt. So a bank joint account is definitely what married couples should have.

For me, having “yours and mine” instead of “ours” doesn’t sustain a marriage in the long run. So if he suddenly opens a new bank account or gets a credit card, or if you just notice an unfamiliar bill for those, that could definitely be one of the signs your husband wants a divorce.

18. A sudden interest in the household finances if there was none before

Along those same lines, if you are the primary bill-payer and budget-keeper if your husband suddenly starts asking about savings accounts, debt, credit, etc, that could be a red flag as well, especially if he never seemed to care before.

19. He starts talking about how broke he is or how poorly his business is going

This one is especially true if your husband owns his own business, but it applies even if that’s not the case.

If he suddenly starts talking about how bad his business has gotten or how much debt the business has or anything that implies he’s on shaky financial ground, that could be a red flag.

While it certainly could all be true, he could also be trying to imply that there isn’t much for you to take in the event of a divorce.

Of course, if you did have to go that route, good divorce lawyers will certainly uncover all assets, but it’s still a sure sign he’s preparing to move on.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do I do when my husband wants a divorce?

Here are the best things to do when your husband wants a divorce:

  1. Don’t beg -Confidence is attractive and begging will make you seem weak & desperate
  2. Focus on being the best version of you possible – Instead of trying to convince him to stay, focus on improving yourself; mentally & physically
  3. Be clear if you want to save the relationship – If you don’t want to divorce, make sure he knows that. But don’t pester nag, or argue
  4. But give him space to get there on his own – Once you’ve clearly let him know what you want, allow him space to figure out what he really wants
  5. Do take ownership & apologize for any wrongdoings – We all make mistakes and every broken marriage involves 2 people who screwed up. Own it, apologize for it, and do so without expectation.
  6. Stay calm and civil – Even in the heat of a breakup, getting angry, physical, abusive, or overly critical will only make things worse
  7. Suggest marriage counseling – even if just to help the breakup go more smoothly

First, let me make one thing crystal clear: just seeing a couple of the signs your husband wants a divorce doesn’t mean that he’s actively planning to file for divorce.

These are just confirming the trouble in your marriage that you already knew was there.

Seeing a marriage counselor is a fantastic place to start.

A good marriage therapist can help you and your husband fix your communication issues, learn to let go of the anger and resentment you’ve both been holding on to, and put you back on a healthy path.

But anything that gets both of you being intentional and talking about the problems in the marriage in a non-threatening or accusatory way is a great thing.

Can’t afford to go to marriage counseling?

Let me tell you one thing; it’s cheaper & easier than getting divorced! (been there, done that). But I also understand having a small budget and living paycheck to paycheck.

At the very least, I would get the book that helped save my wife and I’s marriage (given to us by our therapist).

It’s called the Seven Principals for Making Marriage Work by Dr. John Gottman (click to read my review) I referenced above.

In that link, I wrote an in-depth review of the book and how it helped fix my marriage. I bet it can help you with yours too!

How do I know if my marriage is worth saving?

Your marriage is worth saving if you still feel a connection with your spouse and there hasn’t been any abuse. Feeling any emotion, even anger or frustration is telling you there’s still something there. When you no longer feel anything, and you’re just indifferent, it’s probably time to move on.

But if you have kids, your marriage is certainly worth trying to save!

That’s not to say kids will be better off with 2 parents who fight constantly, but a loving 2 parent household produces more well-adjusted kids than a broken home.

That’s not to shame anyone who’s divorced as I’m on my 2nd marriage and am a child of divorce. But it’s just the truth. A recent study by the National Institutes of Health confirms it.

They found that “Children of divorced parents may have lower scores“.

They also noted “Anxiety and depression seem to worsen after the divorce” and girls of divorced parents were “eight times more likely to become pregnant as adolescents”.

Boys too were impacted with “higher rates of sexually transmitted disease when they have experienced divorce in their family.”

So if you and your husband still feel something, that something is something! And it can be nurtured back with time, effort, focus, and ideally marriage counseling.

I’ve written extensively about how I Rekindled My Marriage (click to read my post), and if I can restore my marriage, I know you can too.

So check out my article which walks you step-by-step on how to do it.

How can I save my marriage when my husband wants out?

To save your marriage when your husband wants out, make it clear that you don’t want to give up on the marriage or him. But avoid begging, being clingy, needy, or seeming desperate. You can’t change anyone’s behavior other than your own. But you can remind him of what the marriage was like when it was good.

Focus on being the best version of you that you can be.

Work on improving your physical and emotional health and well-being. Especially if you feel like your behavior in the marriage lately hasn’t been great, you need to show your husband that you can be the same woman he fell in love with and married.

You have to give him hope that things can be like they used to be or better.

So let him see the steps you’re taking to improve yourself. That could include any of the following:

  • Seeing a therapist on your own (in addition to couple’s counseling is even better)
  • Taking up a healthy physical activity (any form of exercise or sport will naturally improve your attitude and outlook while decreasing stress
  • Dress to feel good about yourself (sometimes with life and kids we can all slide into dressing purely for comfort and that’s not always our most attractive look)

Do be cautious to not go overboard on self-improvement as that could be a sign to your husband that you’re doing this for another man. But be the best version of you that you can be.

Even if you can’t save the marriage, you’ll still end up in a better place for yourself.

Final thoughts

Do you have that women’s intuition that things just aren’t right with your marriage? If so, now is the time to take (positive) action before things get worse or before it’s too late.

I won’t lie. This is a difficult time.

In this post, we looked at the 19 signs your husband wants a divorce. We discussed each of them, what to look for, how the symptoms can show up, and what it all means.

Most importantly, though, we talked about small steps you can take to work through these issues.

I’ve been there. I know. My wife and I were talking about getting divorced in 2013. We chose to work through it, and everything gradually got better until 2021 when she went through a mid-life crisis and suddenly wanted out of our marriage.

Jeff Campbell

Laura Doyle

Friday 1st of May 2020

This is a great list Jeff. Clearly well thought out and accurate! I also love how you speak from personal experience which shows throughout your post! Thanks for putting it all together!

Jeff Campbell

Friday 1st of May 2020

Thanks, Laura

I appreciate the comment and your insights!