“My husband said he wished he never married me,” said Olivia, a 37-year-old high school teacher, while she was still trying to process this statement. To understand what can you do when your husband says he is done with you, let us try to step into the shoes of a woman who is facing this traumatic situation in her life. Olivia has had a long happy marriage, so far – well, at least in her version, she was content in this relationship. Of course, there have always been some recurring issues with her husband but which marriage doesn’t have that?
One day, her world fell apart, as her husband dropped this bomb all of a sudden and said that he can’t decide if he wants to be with her. For the first few days, she didn’t even take him seriously. Even as the gravity of this revelation became clearer, she remained in constant denial instead of admitting the fact that her marriage was on the verge of breaking.
Yes, we understand that when your husband says he is done with you, it is bound to leave you shook. And Olivia’s situation was no different. However, denial isn’t going to help you when your husband keeps saying he wants to leave. It’s a prelude to the fact that he is looking for an escape route. Don’t you think you should have ‘the talk’ with him without procrastinating much? Or, at least, try to paint a mental picture of what it’d be like if your husband actually walks out of the marriage, leaving you behind, perhaps with your child/ren to care for.
Ask yourself, “Now that he can’t decide if he wants to be with me or not, am I strong enough to pull this off on my own? Am I independent?” Luckily, Olivia managed to file for a separation and took care of herself because she was not financially dependent on her husband. Well, that may not be the case with every woman who finds herself in a similar situation.
To understand what it means when your husband tells you he is done with you and how to handle this situation effectively, we consulted psychotherapist Sampreeti Das (Master in Clinical Psychology and Ph.D. Researcher), who specializes in Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy and Holistic and Transformational Psychotherapy.
Why Does A Husband Say, “I Am Done With You?”
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These are actually the most insensitive and ruthless words a husband can say to his wife. If you are struggling with the same kind of negligence from your husband, know that you are not alone. “My husband says he wishes he never married me” – a lot of women deal with this crushing statement at some point in their marriage. However, first, it’s important to understand the context. Were these words spoken during a fight? Or, is he seriously thinking about ending the marriage?
“Insight is the best help that can aid you to handle such a self-worth wrecking statement. In such circumstances, you may feel the urge to immediately set things right. But taking a break, a moment alone to think about what could have led to that point may give you another chance to process the entire story from multiple perspectives,” says Sampreeti.
Before we get into the discussion of what to do when your husband says he’s leaving you, it’s important to understand the root of the problem. Why does a husband say he is done with you? Here are the reasons:
- Toxic fights: He feels that your fights have turned toxic and can’t deal with them anymore
- Nagging: You could be nagging him without sparing a thought to his state of mind
- Feeling suffocated: You are suffocating him in a clingy relationship and he just wants to run away from you
- Lack of boundaries: There are no healthy relationship boundaries or emotional boundaries in your marriage. Your husband is constantly struggling to keep the boundaries and you are overstepping them
- An affair: He is having an affair or suspects you of cheating
- Midlife crisis: He is going through a midlife crisis and wants to start life afresh
- Out of love: He is not in love with you anymore and does not want to carry on with the marriage
Related Reading: Should You Get A Divorce? – Take This Divorce Checklist
How Do You Know When Your Husband Is Done With You? Here Are 7 Signs
“My husband can’t decide if he wants to be with me,” said a reader wrote to our counselor, adding, “He is 55, still wears the wedding ring, stays in the same house with me but says he wants to end the marriage and travel on his own. I feel like I have been suddenly hit by a tornado.”
Your husband won’t suddenly wake up one morning and say that he is done with you. The signs that your marriage is on the rocks would have been there long before he announced his desire to walk out. Perhaps, you didn’t notice or acknowledge the red flags when they first emerged. As a result, you may hit a dead end when you find out he might not want to stay in this marriage any longer. When your husband says he’s done, your relationship is bound to show these signs already:
1. Your husband is distant
You might feel he has emotionally checked out of the marriage and is distant both physically and mentally. He isn’t interested in discussing his work life with you, nor does he want to find out about your day. A cold silence usually prevails at the dinner table, and on most nights, he insists on sleeping in a separate bedroom. Your husband is distant and you can feel you have grown apart in the relationship. This is a sign that your husband has lost interest in you or in the marriage altogether.
Related Reading: 12 Reasons Why Men Have Extramarital Affairs
2. He does not make any effort in the relationship
When was the last time he took you out on a surprise date or gave you an amazing gift on your birthday? If you can’t seem to recall, you shouldn’t be surprised when your husband says he’s done with you. Hasn’t he stopped making any efforts to keep this marriage alive a long time back? It has been running on auto mode, probably for the last few years. Now that you look back, don’t all these signs make much more sense?
3. He talks about a future where you don’t fit in
Whenever he talks about the future, he says he wants to travel alone and live in a small cottage all on his own. He shares his dream of building a community with his childhood pals, teaching the neighborhood kids, and brewing his own beer. In short, he has chalked out a solitary, peaceful life for himself.
But has he for once talked about his retirement plans that include you too? Living in that cottage in the lap of nature and watching the marvelous sunsets together every afternoon? No way! This is an absolute sign your husband is done with you. Don’t stay in denial by telling yourself, “My husband can’t decide if he wants to be with me.” He has decided, and it’s time you make your own choice.
4. You have grown apart in the marriage
Couples grow apart in a marriage without even realizing it. It’s only natural that the initial spark and romance in a marriage will slowly disappear as you grow older together and get used to each other. It’s, in fact, healthy to have your respective set of friends and interests.
However, when it comes to space in a relationship, balance is key. Just like too little space can be stifling, too much of it can make you go from a couple to two individuals leading parallel lives with no points of intersection. You know you have grown apart in the marriage when there is too much of a gap that you can’t bridge.
Related Reading: 7 Warning Signs You Are Growing Apart In Your Marriage
5. He picks up fights
Signs your husband is planning to leave you can also be hidden in the way your fights pan out. If he not only seems to look for excuses to pick a fight but also uses hurtful words or is being abusive, then it is a sure-shot sign he is done with the relationship. Your relationship has turned toxic and despite your efforts to communicate with him, he only resorts to silent treatment and ignoring you as coping mechanisms for all your problems.
6. Your husband is done with you because he hates you
“I feel hurt when my husband says he wishes he never married me,” said Joan to our expert. Well, as much as we feel for her, we wish we had better news for her. If you’re in the same boat as Joan, then for you too. Let’s be direct – this is life, it’s unpredictable at its best.
People change in the blink of an eye. From being a loving, caring guy, he could have now become a husband who hates you. Nothing you do can change his feelings toward you. This is an absolute sign your husband is done with you. From love, his feelings have transformed into hatred and he is just waiting for the right moment to leave you.
7. You have slowly disappeared from his social media
He’s entirely stopped posting couple pictures on social media. Chances are he has even unfriended you on the pretext that you stay in the same house. But don’t get carried away by that. This is his way of preparing the world for the announcement that you are not together anymore. He doesn’t want to be seen with you. And of course, if he is having an affair, then he has all the more reasons to keep you away from social media.
Related Reading: Instead Of Making These Social Media Mistakes As A Couple, Do This…
What Can You Do When Your Husband Says He Is Done With You?
What to do when your husband gives up? There are two paths you can take – either you try to save the marriage or you end it amicably when you sense that there is no way you can bring him back.
Sampreeti says, “Every time someone says ‘I am done’ doesn’t mean that it is the final verdict. It may have been said out of a need for attention or could be one of the early warning signs your husband is planning to leave you. If this has happened before, it’s understandable that you can’t shake the “my husband can’t decide if he wants to be with me” feeling. But take a moment to reflect on whether his saying that he is done with you has led to a successful reconciliation.
“In that case, it can actually set a pattern, where he repeats “I am done…” after every fight. If he has said it for the first time and it is sending you through a roller coaster of emotions, it is important to calm down and figure out a strategy to make things better.”
Here are 7 ways to help you figure out why your husband is mean to you and says such hurtful things, and decide your future course of action:
1. Do not let him take you for granted
There can be nothing worse than a husband telling his wife that he is done with her. It hurts a lot because he completely discards this relationship after you have invested yourself in it both mentally and physically.
You can react in two separate ways in this situation. Either you lock yourself in and mourn over the harsh truth – “My husband said he wished he never married me.” Or, you respect his decision, accept the fact that your marriage is over, and move out of the conflict.
Yes, I agree it’s a lot easier said than done. The first instinct is to coax and cajole him to stay, tell him you will fix the broken marriage, and make things work. You could keep begging him to not take such a rash decision.
But please don’t do that. Don’t let him take you for granted and have the power over your emotions and mental well-being. If your husband says he’s done with you, keep your dignity intact, take professional help if needed and tell yourself that no one’s life ends when spouses separate.
2. Try to sit down and communicate
What to do when your husband says he is leaving you? Sometimes there is so much animosity that you are unable to have a dialogue without getting into ugly fights or blaming each other. But make an effort to rein in these tendencies and sit down and communicate honestly. Only then can you trace the root of what has been troubling your relationship.
Don’t fixate on the aspects like “he can’t decide if he wants to be with me” and deny giving him a chance to explain his side of the story. Lack of communication is one of the main reasons why most couples drift apart and marriages break down.
You could try some communication exercises to restore healthy communication and straighten out the creases in the relationship. Unless the situation is too ripe and the impending doom is near, he should at least respect your efforts. If your husband is willing to do that, there’s definitely hope for the future of your marriage. On the other hand, if he is least interested, maybe you should start focusing on your next steps rather than trying to salvage your relationship.
3. Go for marriage counseling
If he refuses to communicate at all, you can at least talk to him about speaking to a couples’ counselor. Tell him you need closure, you cannot live with the fact that your husband left you after just saying he’s done with you.
“My husband says he wishes he never married me” or, “My husband says he is done with me” – these can be heartbreaking realizations. If your husband is having an affair or if you have cheated at some point in the relationship, relationship counseling can help you rebuild trust and salvage the relationship.
“It is in moments like these that your most trustworthy social circle may be helpful. I would also strongly recommend professional help. It is important to analyze the specifics behind the “I am done with you” declaration. The phrase in itself is very vague. In any case, focusing on the details of it can lead to remarkable insights and change begins with insight, be it change in perspective for adaptation or change in perspective to make things adaptable,” Sampreeti recommends.
Still in doubt about what to do when your husband says he is leaving you? A marriage counselor can help you deal with your mental agony and help you understand what went wrong in your marriage. If it’s help you’re looking for, skilled and experienced counselors on Bonobology’s panel of experts are here for you.
4. Find out the exact reasons for his decision
If you have not been able to find out the exact reasons why this relationship is failing and why your husband wants to quit the marriage, counseling can steer your quest for answers in the right direction. A husband could say he’s done with you for the most trivial reasons like your snoring issues at night or your inability to give up binge eating. Once you’ve zeroed in on a plausible reason, you can also work on a solution and try to reverse his decision.
Sampreeti advises, “Instead of assuming you are the troublemaker in your marriage, accept and acknowledge that part of you. Understand that there must be reasons you behave the way you do. Once you find the underlying triggers for your behavior, it will be easier for you to break those patterns by fixing the root cause.
“In case you aren’t at fault or have little to no role to play in your husband’s decision, it is important to assess why he may be saying he is done with you. It is time to analyze the entire relationship, rethink the long-held efforts to make things right again.”
Related Reading: How To Deal With Resentment In Marriage? – Expert Tells You
5. Make a list of gains and losses when you communicate
If you finally manage to communicate with him, make a list of things that you feel have been positive in the relationship and the things that need to be worked upon. In a scenario where you are actually separating, list out all the ways you would gain something being separated from each other and the things you would lose because you decided to part ways.
Most often when a husband comes and tells you that he’s done with you, he does so without realizing the gravity of the outcome. Neither he nor you have given the relationship a real shake-up or an in-depth analysis to understand each other’s perspective.
One of my colleagues recounted her story of separation to me: “My husband said he wished he never married me, quite a few times. After long vain attempts of saving the marriage, we mutually chose separation. But throughout those 6-7 months we stayed apart, he kept coming back to me. Several phone calls, drunk texts, and emotional outbursts later I realized he was holding a lot of bitterness inside, which didn’t get a chance to be released.”
Eventually, they sorted out their marital issues with a happy ending. Now it’s your turn to do this gain and loss analysis to know exactly where you stand and whether you’d be better together or alone.
6. Go on a trial separation
You cannot waste valuable days of your life reeling under the weight of the realization, “My husband can’t decide if he wants to be with me. My life has lost its meaning.” As long as the ball was in your court, you gave your best to save this marriage. Now, you have to focus on starting the moving-on process.
If nothing else works, give trial separation a shot. This is not a legal separation but you stay apart as a trial to understand how you feel being away from each other. This is a great way to get a perspective on your relationship. Many couples come back together after a trial separation but some also realize they are better off separated.
If you feel your husband decided to quit without thinking it through, this would be an opportunity for him to get a reality check. But there’s also a possibility that during the trial separation you could perceive you are better off without the fights and passive-aggressiveness you show to each other. In that case, this trial separation may lead to a divorce, and that’s not always a bad thing.
7. Prepare for a divorce
After everything you have gone through as a married couple, your husband keeps saying he wants to leave. The only logical advice here is to prepare for a divorce. Some sound divorce advice for women will help you sail through the whole thing smoothly. You may want to start by getting a divorce checklist ready and hiring a lawyer you can trust to protect your interests.
You have tried your best to save your relationship but when you realize that you are dragging a dead marriage with zero prospects, it’s best to let it go and start life afresh. Prep yourself in your mind, “So he can’t decide if he wants to be with me or not. But I will not let his indecision dictate my life and push me toward darkness and gloomy depression.”
You make a choice to live – to live a better life without him. At no point in time should you let your husband’s words or attitude that he is done with you, affect your morale, mental health, or confidence. What to do when your spouse gives up? Try your level best to save the marriage but if it doesn’t work out, do not ever feel guilty or regret that you parted ways.
Sometimes two amazing human beings may prove to be incompatible with each other. You should not hold grudges because it will only block your way to moving on. Do not spend hopeless hours trying to count flaws in yourself. He has chosen what’s best for him, his happiness and wellbeing. Now it’s your turn. If you have decided to leave, leave with grace!
The signs are always there. Your husband will behave like he has become distant, he doesn’t put in any effort in the marriage and he talks of a future where you don’t fit in.
He could just tell you he’s done with you and wants to leave or he could do things like pick up constant fights, want to sleep in separate bedrooms, and keep blaming you. That’s when you know he really wants to leave.
You know a relationship is over when there is no communication, there are serious trust issues, both of you are looking for ways to escape each other or you feel alone even when you are together.