19 Worst Signs Your Wife Wants to Leave You (Stop Divorce)

Sometimes it’s not always obvious if your wife is unhappy in your marriage. And all too often, wives wait to ask for a divorce until they are past the point of no return. So what are the most telling signs your wife wants to leave you?

The clear signs your wife wants to leave you include:

  • Being on her phone constantly
  • Setting her phone face down
  • A new lock screen or password on her phone
  • The term “divorce” shows up in your computer search history
  • She is vague or non-committal about future plans (or vacations later in the year)
  • Not saying I love you as often as before (or at least not saying it first)
  • Spending more time away from home than in the past
  • Showing little to no emotion toward you
  • Or being overly rude or critical (compared to normal)

As guys, we work hard to build a family, forge a career, and provide for everyone. Sometimes in focusing on those big pictures over the course of a long-term relationship, we can lose sight of what’s important.

You don’t have to accept defeat and the breakup of your marriage and possibly the loss of your family. So in this article, we’re diving deep into troubled relationships on the verge of breakup.

I’ll explain the signs your wife wants to leave you and file for divorce. But more importantly, I’ll show you how to stop it so you can begin fixing your marriage.

signs your wife wants a divorce couple on a park bench guy has his head in his hands and the woman is looking away Middle Class Dad

So, let’s dive into the…

19 Worst Signs Your Wife Wants to Leave You

1. Constant Arguing

Yes, it’s no secret that constant arguing with your wife is a bad sign.

It’s a definite indication that your marriage needs help. In fact, it can definitely be one of the Top Reasons for Divorce (click to read the article on my site). While not all of the top reasons will surprise, you, some of them definitely will!

Now, don’t panic here just because you and your wife are fighting a few times a week. That’s not necessarily bad, and disagreements are a natural part of married life.

Every married couple has disagreements from time to time. In fact, it’s actually a healthy thing to argue now and then as long as they get resolved and don’t build resentment.

When those arguments happen daily, that’s when it’s important to pay attention. For example, if coming home 5 minutes late turns into a huge yelling match or (even worse), the silent treatment, that’s a problem.

These kinds of arguments, if they happen often,  can definitely destroy a formerly successful marriage. And if it goes on long enough, it could mean the end of a marriage.

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

Most of the time, couples who argue too often but have otherwise healthy marriages can fix this problem fairly easily.

In basic terms, if you and your wife fight too much or argue often over little issues, then it’s crucial to learn how to argue less frequently and more constructively.

Another more serious indicator of an unhealthy marriage is when one or both of you stop trying to resolve conflict at all. That leads me to another of the signs of a troubled marriage ….

2. Giving up instead of resolving conflicts

If your wife doesn’t even care enough to argue anymore or is apathetic about everything, then that can be a clear indication of a potentially big problem.

When this kind of negativity sets in, your wife may disconnect emotionally. You will begin to wonder if there will ever be a way for the two of you to fix things. Obviously, that’s not a good thing. So if you’re seeing this bad sign, the time to act is now.

A marriage therapist can be a great thing. But it’s not for everyone.

Wondering if counseling sessions can help? I highly recommend taking a moment to check out one of my most shared posts on that topic.

Just click that link to read that on my site.

3. You have neglected her for a long time

We all make mistakes.

But the trick with mistakes is to recognize them, take responsibility for them, learn from them AND not repeat them.

However, if you have repeatedly neglected your wife, cheated on her, or otherwise made her feel like she doesn’t matter to you (over a long period of time), that could easily lead to some of the other signs your wife wants a divorce.

So if you have been a bad husband, take ownership of it!

Acknowledge it, but more importantly, change your behavior so she sees (not just hears) that you’re getting better. Your wife doesn’t expect you to be perfect, but she shouldn’t feel like she’s last on your list of priorities either.

4. Showing little or no affection or emotion

signs your wife wants a divorce unhappy woman by the ocean Middle Class Dad

Along with giving up on fighting back, one of the other signs your wife wants a divorce is a general lack of affection or emotion towards you.

There’s no hand-holding, no kisses, and no “I love you’s” throughout the day or before bed.

In my experience, this is one of the most common signs your marriage will end in divorce. Usually, though, it’s more of a symptom than the problem itself.

But resolving the core problems in your marriage can definitely help rebuild an emotional connection. When that happens, that’s when the affection returns.

If you’re seeing this symptom as well as some of the other subtle signs, start taking action now.

5. She constantly criticizes you

If everything that comes out of your mouth immediately results in backhanded comments, jabs, and other critical comments, that could be one of the signs your wife wants to leave you.

In fact, criticism is one of Gottman’s Four Horsemen (click to read the article on my site); things renowned marriage expert Dr. John Gottman says are the top predictors of divorce. Trust me, if you are doing ANY of those 4, your marriage may be headed for disaster, so take a quick look at my solutions.

Playful comments that tease are one thing, but if every comment is meant to criticize or belittle you, she’s clearly holding on to a lot of anger and resentment. If you want to save your marriage:

  • Resist the urge to just “give it back to her”
  • Recognize that she’s in pain, and however inappropriate her means of delivery, she needs to feel heard
  • Look her in the eyes and say, “it sounds like you have some anger or resentment towards me. I’d love to sit down and hear it directly so I can work on fixing it.”

6. You know in your gut

When we tune into our intuition, we can often hear what is really going on.

You can feel the tension in a room when you’re both there. Maybe she avoids eye contact. Or perhaps she communicates the minimum required info and then leaves the room, or there’s no physical intimacy.

And it could be subtle and might not be a sudden change.

If your gut is telling you something is off, while it may not be one of the obvious signs, it IS an indicator that something is wrong. But like all issues, don’t dwell on the problem or symptoms, and don’t play the blame game.

Focus your energy on fixing it!

7. A non-existent sex life

A lack of sex can be a symptom of other problems in your marriage, but it also shows up as one of the common signs divorce papers might be in your future.

If you’re always arguing and there’s no emotional connection, your sex life is likely going to grind to a halt. But a low sex drive can sometimes have its roots in many different issues too.

Either way, a sexless marriage is not likely to make it.

So if your wife is uninterested in sex or makes excuses, that’s certainly one of the 15 signs your marriage will end in divorce.

signs your wife wants a divorce shirtless couple on the floor kissing Middle Class Dad

8. Your wife spends more time away from home or is focused on other things

If your wife is always out with her family or friends and spending significantly less time with you, that is an indication of a problem.

It may be that they are unhappy with your current situation and just need a break from the tension. But it may also be that they’re starting to prepare mentally for life apart from you.

Hopefully, that’s not the case, but it can definitely be one of the telltale signs of a pending divorce.

Simply put, if a woman stops spending time with you more than she has in the past, that can be one of the signs she is about to pack her bags.

If you’re seeing this symptom, start taking action now.

9. She’s always on her phone

Constantly being on her phone could mean one of 2 things:

  • She’s just using it as a distraction (from you and your problems)
  • She’s engaging in an emotional affair (or maybe even a physical affair)

In either situation, it’s not great. After all, your problems don’t fix themselves by ignoring them.

But technology has made affairs all the easier to have. It’s easier than ever to use various apps to find someone to cheat with and to communicate with them. Even if it’s just confiding in a male work associate, as my ex used to do, when we let ourselves become emotionally vulnerable to someone and complain about our spouse to them, the door to infidelity can be easily opened.

If she routinely leaves her phone lying around, especially face up, then it’s probably not an affair.

However, if she guards it and her various email and social media accounts like a hawk, and spends a lot of time sending text messages, that could one of the sure signs of an affair.

If you suspect an affair or if it’s already been exposed, that doesn’t have to lead to divorce. My post on how to Save a Marriage After Infidelity (click to read the article on my site) walks you through the very same steps I took after I cheated on my wife in 2013.

Our marriage is better than ever now and yours can be too.

10. You have seen “divorce” topics in the search history on your computer

While not all searches are done on the home computer, in-depth research is often easier and faster off of a mobile device.

Therefore if you have a home computer that is shared, while I do not recommend snooping into her personal accounts or getting paranoid, it’s easy to look at browser search history.

If you see any topics relating to divorce or lawyers, that’s clearly one biggies of the signs your wife wants a divorce.

Don’t use it as an opportunity to confront her about it. If you want to save your marriage, use it as an opportunity to calmly address the issues and let her know you’re willing to do whatever it takes to fix them.

11. There’s no communication

This is easy to spot, especially if your wife is always on her phone.

She’s constantly texting people and you are never one of them. No messages throughout the day. No checking in. People, but especially women, need a connection. They need to feel that spark from another.

If it’s not you meeting that need, then who IS meeting it? Her best friend? Or maybe new friends? Are you seeing this symptom? Start taking action now!

12. You don’t eat at least 1 meal together each day

If you and your wife are always on the go to separate places that’s not a good sign.

If you routinely make plans after work with your buddies and/or your wife does the same and there’s no consideration for what the other is doing, you’re going down a bad path.

It IS important that couples have interests outside of one another and spend SOME time apart. But when your wife spends all or most of her time apart, that’s clearly one of the signs to pay attention to.

13. There’s no “I Love You”

Telling each other “I love you” throughout the day and week is normal, healthy behavior.

If you and your wife never or rarely do that, that’s not a good sign. Even worse is when you say it to her and she doesn’t say it back. If that’s what you’re seeing, that’s definitely one of the easiest ways to identify you have a problem.

Now is the time to fix things before it’s too late.

14. Being vague or non-committal about future plans

If you’re discussing vacation plans or possibly moving for a career opportunity, that should be an exciting conversation!

But if your wife is vague, non-committal, or disinterested that’s a really bad sign. Once, I had the chance to work in NYC. There was an upcoming interview scheduled with my former boss who loved my work. I knew it was likely I would get the offer, but I didn’t want to apply without my (then) fiancee’s approval.

When we discussed it, I heard a lot of vagueness, hesitation, and excuses for why she thought I wouldn’t get the job. But in the end, she did loosely commit.

After I got the job offer, she changed her tune and refused to move with me. I turned the job down (twice because they upped the original offer) only to find out a month later she was cheating on me with my best friend’s married brother.

She eventually left me for that guy.

15. A recent and dramatic change in her appearance

If your wife has recently started working out, wearing more makeup, buying sexier clothes, or otherwise made a noticeable change in how she looks, that could be one of the signs your wife wants to leave you.

After all, if your marriage isn’t good, then these changes obviously aren’t for you.

While the changes could just be to help her feel better about herself (not a bad thing), they could also be for someone else or to attract someone else.

The last thing you want to do, however, is to criticize her for the change.

But you also don’t want to make her think she wasn’t attractive before, so don’t go overboard with compliments. Make a point of complimenting her. But not always just about how she looks physically. Women like compliments, but they also like being recognized for things other than physical attributes.

Focus on telling her what you love about her as a person and then sprinkle in the occasional compliment about her appearance.

16. You’ve tried marriage counseling and she gave up

Marriage counseling can be a great resource for couples who are struggling.

But both people have to be willing to put forth the effort and try. Sometimes one spouse will go as a formality. They check it off their list just so they can say “they tried”. But they aren’t really serious about it.

You’ll know your wife is serious if she sticks with it and keeps going. If she stops going after just a few times, that’s a sure sign she’s not really willing to try and fix things.

17. She refused to go to marriage counseling

But even worse than only going to marriage counseling a few times is refusing to go at all.

Now it could be simply that she doesn’t think she did anything wrong. When we feel like that, we often don’t feel like we should have to put forth the effort to fix it. In reality, it takes 2 to make a marriage, and it takes 2 to break one; even if one person did more damage than the other.

But if she refuses to go to a therapist, that’s one of the signs a divorce might be looming.

18. She never initiates conversation with you

When someone has given up on a relationship, they just go through the motions.

Like continuing to go to a job you hate; you just do the bare minimum; just enough to avoid getting fired. If your wife never initiates conversation and only responds when you do, that’s a bad sign.

19. Her friends avoid you or treat you differently

Chances are you have some close friends and so does she.

Often in long-term relationships, her friends and your friends often become “our” friends. By that I mean we tend to hang out together a lot of the time.

If, however, you have noticed her friends avoiding you, treating you differently, or not looking at you in the eyes, that’s a bad sign.

That means your wife has likely done a lot of venting to them. In and of itself, that’s understandable. But if they are clearly colder to you now than before, she may be planning to leave you and they know it.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do you do if you are seeing signs your wife is planning to leave you?

First, let’s make one thing clear: just because you’re seeing a couple of the signs your wife wants a divorce doesn’t mean that she’s definitely planning to file for divorce.

It may just be that these are indicators of trouble ahead in your marriage. Marriage counseling is a great place to start.

A good marriage counselor can help the two of you mend your communication, release the anger and resentment you’ve been holding on to, and put you back on the right path.

But anything that gets the two of you acknowledging and talking about the problem in a non-threatening or accusatory way is a good thing.

Can’t afford marriage counseling?

I can tell you one thing; it’s cheaper and easier than divorce! (been there, done that).

But I also get being on a tight budget. Minimally, I would get the book that helped save my wife and I’s marriage (given to us by our marriage counselor). It’s called the Seven Principals for Making Marriage Work by Dr. John Gottman (click to read my review on my site) I referenced above.

In my link, I have an in-depth review of the book and how it helped save my marriage. I know it can help with yours too!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you tell if your wife doesn’t want to be with you?

If your wife no longer wants to be with you she will be:

  • She will be indifferent to you and your day-to-day life and activities
  • She will show little to no emotion
  • Or she will be highly critical of you
  • She may develop new hobbies or activities outside the home
  • She may take a renewed interest in improving her physical appearance
  • She dresses nicer when going out with friends than she does with you
  • She is nicer to her friends than she is to you
  • Her friends no longer communicate with you

Love doesn’t just vanish instantly or go away overnight.

Most of us didn’t fall in love at first sight, so like building love, losing love happens gradually over time. Because it happens gradually, it’s not always easy to spot until it’s too late.

That being said, if you are starting to wonder if she still loves you, look for a red flag, such as:

  • She always seems argumentative with you (but just fine with everyone else)
  • An almost total lack of affection
  • She has new hobbies, interests or friends
  • You notice a big improvement in her appearance
  • She responds to your communication but rarely initiates it
  • You feel alone even in her presence

The good news is that if you’re just starting to see these signs, it’s not too late to do something about it. You just have to take action. Situations like this won’t just fix themselves on their own.

How do you cope when your wife leaves you?

When your wife leaves you, here are the best steps for you to take:

  • Don’t pressure her or guilt her to come back
  • Let her know you would like to see a marriage counselor together
  • See one by yourself if she refuses to go
  • Do focus on being the best version of yourself possible
  • Find a physical activity to focus your time and attention on

If your wife has already left, I’m sorry to hear that.

As I get into more below, I experienced that myself when my wife left me in March of 2013. At the time I was devastated and felt like my world was crumbling around me. After all, we had 2 kids (now 3) and she took them and moved to another state.

In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to get angry, feel violated, and want to lash out at her. You might even want to go out, get drunk, and have a random hook-up with someone.

While understandable, that is NOT what you want to do to win her back.

Even if you feel like you did nothing wrong, she is obviously unhappy and you have to acknowledge her feelings. Chances are she’s felt this way for a while. She’s also probably tried to talk about it and either felt like you didn’t hear her or didn’t care.

Or maybe she was too afraid to bring it up.

But no matter what, she feels these feelings and while you don’t have to agree, you have to understand and empathize that these are very real to her.

The best ways to cope are also the best ways to try and win her back; focus on being the best version of you that you can be. If you are overweight, start an exercise regime. If you have bad habits, work on those. Go to therapy, take up yoga.

In short, use your newfound free time to improve yourself, make yourself happier, and you might just save your relationship and end up back in a happy marriage. Worst case scenario, you’ll be a much better person for the next relationship.

Sometimes those little things can make all the difference.

What are the signs that you should get a divorce?

The warning signs that you should get a divorce include:

  • When your spouse’s actions don’t evoke any emotional response from you
  • If your spouse is already seriously dating someone else
  • When you continue to find out things your spouse was lying to you about
  • If your spouse moves out
  • When your spouse refuses to go to marriage counseling despite their being obvious marital problems
  • If your spouse is constantly criticizing, belittling you
  • When abuse turns physical

Sometimes, a marriage just isn’t worth saving.

Maybe there’s been too much damage done, and there’s too much water under the bridge. It’s hard to say when that point is as each marriage is different. Each person also has their own place where they draw the line.

I also think any sort of physical abuse is a dealbreaker and a clear sign the marriage is over.

But beyond those things, here are some other common signs that it’s time to get a divorce:

  • The love has turned to hate
  • You or your spouse has cheated multiple times with multiple people
  • You’ve already tried marriage counseling (and gone at least 6 times)
  • There is a lot of resentment toward each other
  • You each just retaliate against the other for any perceived wrongdoing

What to do when your wife wants to leave you?

When your wife wants to leave you but hasn’t yet, that means reconciling is still an option. Focus on improving yourself and your attitude rather than pressuring them. See a marriage counselor, ideally together, but alone if they won’t go, and be 100% accountable for the things you have done to damage the marriage.

Separation is a serious thing.

It’s also really bad in terms of later trying to reconcile because the divorce rates show that upwards of 85% of couples who separate end up divorced, according to DivorceStatistics.

My wife left me in early 2013 (and again in 2021, but that’s a different story).

In our case, it was more obvious as I had a brief affair in the first 2 months of that year. But on our long road to recovery, there was a time when she told me that while she still loved and cared for me, she wasn’t sure she was still IN love with me.

Here are the steps I took to work through that and win her back:

  1. I didn’t try and guilt her back or pressure her
  2. Let her vent whenever and wherever she pleases. Holding onto anger or frustration would only be toxic for her and build resentment
  3. I did, however, focus almost completely on being the best version of me I could be. If I became the man she thought I was and who I truly wanted to be, that would be enough
  4. I took 100% accountability for my actions and never tried to justify my behavior

If you have issues with temper or anger management, show her you are serious about fixing those behavior issues by finding and attending classes designed to help with that. After all, at this point, she needs to see action, not just hear words.

Do focus on being the best version of yourself you can be.

Don’t try and pressure her as that could just push her away. Do let her know you want to make it work, but then give her space to work through her feelings without breathing down her neck.

Pestering, pressure, nagging, or pleading aren’t attractive qualities and if your spouse was already on the fence and considering starting a new life, those actions on your part may just push them toward a divorce lawyer.

Is my wife serious about divorce?

Sometimes spouses threaten divorce when they aren’t serious about it. But you will know if your wife is serious about it if you see some or all of the following signs:

  • She makes no effort to resolve conflicts and arguments
  • There is no affection or sex
  • More and more, she is spending time outside the home on career, hobbies, or friends
  • You see drastic changes in physical appearance (losing weight, plastic surgery, etc)
  • She is unwilling to share feelings or intimate feelings

It could just be a warning that things need to change. But they could also be telltale signs she is actively considering divorce.

Make no mistake, you should never give ultimatums if you don’t intend to follow through; that’s a form of manipulation and not a nice way to treat someone you love.

But all of us are imperfect and sometimes do things to the ones we love that hurt them.

The good news is if you’re seeing these early signs, it doesn’t mean the ink is dry yet. You still have time to turn things around. Just focus on yourself and be the best version of yourself that you can be.


Should I fight for my marriage or let go?

Always fight for marriage unless there is physical or verbal abuse or significant neglect.

But do not beg, plead, or pressure them to come back. Instead, focus on improving oneself, and communicate positively with them, but do not communicate more often than they do. And if they try and start an argument, avoid escalating it.

As they say, people don’t leave what they have unless they think what they are going to do is better.

So focus on improving yourself. But don’t do it for them. Them seeing it and possibly responding positively to the changes is a bonus.

Instead, make those positive changes for yourself.

Then, if things don’t work out at least you’ll be in a better position the next time you’re ready for a relationship with someone else.

What else can you do to “fight” for your marriage?

Make your intentions clear with your spouse; they need to know where you stand and that you want to fix the marriage. But again, don’t pester them or pressure them.

Once you’ve told them how you feel, give them time and space.

For starters, it’s good if they “miss you” a little. If you’re constantly on them pressuring or begging, there’s no time to miss you, and your behavior will be so annoying, they’ll be apt to rush to the arms of the first person to make them feel safe, heard, and understood.

Remember, women need to feel that from a man (safe, heard, and understood).

In our culture today, it’s become common for men to be told they have to be more like women (emotional and sensitive) to please women. In truth, masculinity is a big part of who men are. And we need to embrace that and show that.

That doesn’t mean domineering or controlling; those aren’t actually masculine qualities.

A true “masculine” man is, as Coach Correy Wayne says, “unperturbable”. In other words, you keep your cool even when others, including your wife, don’t. You lead, you listen, and you be decisive.

Final thoughts and advice

Are you feeling that things aren’t on track with your marriage?

If so, I encourage you to act to turn things around now before matters get any worse. In this post, we looked at the signs your wife wants to leave you. We talked about each of them, how to recognize them, what the symptoms are, and what they can mean.

More importantly, though, we talked about simple steps you can take to work through the challenges.