You seem to have hit a wall in your marriage. There have been ugly spats and words exchanged and the dreaded “D” word has been spoken. Despair hangs heavy over your marriage and you’re wondering if this is the end. And then, there are signs. Signs of wife changing her mind about divorce. Or so you hope. Given everything that’s been happening, you’re still uncertain and you’re wondering, “Do wives change their mind about divorce at all?”
Well, human nature is inconsistent, even about major life decisions like divorce. So yes, it is entirely possible that there are concrete signs your wife is changing her mind about divorce. With the help of psychotherapist Sampreeti Das (Master in Clinical Psychology and Ph.D. Researcher), who specializes in Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy and Holistic and Transformational Psychotherapy, we’ve rounded up some signs your wife is rethinking divorce and is open to giving your marriage another chance, and what you can do if you spot these signs.
Will She Change Her Mind About Divorce? 5 Reasons She Might
When your wife says she wants a divorce, your whole world turns upside down. Given the enormity of the situation, your wife wouldn’t have made the decision to divorce lightly. And so, it can seem futile to hope that she will change her mind and give the marriage a second chance. But it can happen. In fact, a study suggests that half of those thinking about divorce change their mind within a year.
So, second thoughts about divorce are not uncommon at all. Even if your marriage is at a breaking point and your wife has clearly conveyed to you that she wants to separate, wondering, “Will she change her mind about divorce?”, isn’t just wishful thinking. Here are 5 probable reasons why she may choose to stay married and rethink her divorce decision:
Related Reading: Is It Better To Divorce Or Stay Unhappily Married? Expert Verdict
1. She doesn’t want the family to suffer
“I’m seeing the signs my separated wife wants to reconcile. What could have brought that on?” You may wonder. Well, if you have been married a long time and have kids, her decision to stay married may have nothing to do with the state of your marriage. She may simply not want to put the children through the emotional trauma of watching their family break apart.
Perhaps, she’d prefer that you go to a family therapist or a couple’s counselor for help and see if you can find a way to stay together. Now, whether or not staying in an unhappy marriage for the kids is a wise choice is a discussion for another time. But this could very well be her reason to not get the divorce proceedings rolling.
2. Divorce is too costly for her to go through with it
This is also not exactly the most romantic reason why a woman would go back on her decision to divorce you. But it is a legitimate reason and a study shows that 15% of married couples choose to stay separated rather than get officially divorced for this very reason. Hiring professional lawyers, and getting embroiled in a legal battle over the division of assets is financially draining as it is emotionally painful.
Perhaps, your wife doesn’t have the means to foot the expenditure of the divorce process or maybe she just doesn’t consider it worth her while. Staying married may just feel like a more prudent choice than losing everything in securing a divorce.
3. She doesn’t want to lose you
Despite all the negative emotions, angry words, fights, and conflicts, your wife is not prepared to lose you. Human relationships, especially long-term relationships such as marriage, are often far too complex and layered to fit into the binaries of ‘successful’ and ‘failed’. If your wife strongly feels that even though you have your share of relationship problems, the love that brought you together hasn’t completely eroded, you may begin to see signs your wife is changing her mind about divorce.
Related Reading: 11 Things That Happen When A Woman Loses Interest In Her Husband
4. She feels responsible for your marital problems
“My wife was adamant about wanting a divorce. We have been living separately for nearly six months. But recently, the ice between us seems to be thawing. She is reaching out to me and our conversations are warmer and more pleasant. Are these signs my separated wife wants to reconcile?” A reader, who wished to remain anonymous, posed this query to the experts on Bonobology’s panel.
In response, Sampreeti says, “Your wife may be having second thoughts about divorce. One of the common reasons this happens is that the person who wanted a divorce begins to realize that they too have contributed to the marital problems that drove the couple to the brink. This instills hope that if both partners put in the work, it’s possible for them to begin a new chapter in their married life.”
5. She has gone through a big life change
Sometimes external factors could be responsible for your wife changing her mind about the divorce. Maybe she has had a health scare or experienced a loss during the time that you’ve been separated. Or perhaps, she has been in therapy to work through the grief of her dying marriage. Any of these experiences could have changed her perspective on the situation and made her realize that life is too short to hold on to grudges. That’s why she doesn’t want to go through with the divorce proceedings anymore.
How Do I Know If My Wife Is Changing Her Mind About Divorce?
“We decided to end things because of how incompatible we had become. Though it broke my heart to be talking to lawyers, I tried my best to keep it together. One night, after a few nasty calls with our respective lawyers, I broke down in front of her and told her how rough it is to be going through this,” Mack told us.
“Though I never thought too much about “will my wife change her mind about divorce” and never even asked her to reconsider, I could see a few signs of second thoughts about divorce in her since then. We started talking a lot more, and we realized we might just be able to give it another shot. This time, we made sure to focus on prioritizing the things that make a relationship work,” he added. When you’re in a similar situation, dwelling over, “Will she change her mind about divorce?”, may not seem like the best idea.
Too much has been said, and too much has gone unsaid. There are negative emotions and hurt feelings. You’re hoping for sure signs your wife is changing her mind about divorce, but all you can do right now is wait, watch, and wonder. After all, if she’s the one who wanted out, you have to let your wife decide whether she wants to go through with the divorce. During this agonizing time, if you’re holding onto the hope that she will give you a second chance, we’re here to bolster your spirit a little with 9 sure signs your wife is changing her mind about the divorce:
1. Better communication
It’s been said so often, it sounds like a cliché, but a true one! Communication truly is the key to a healthy relationship, and communication problems and breakdowns are often at the root of a failing or stumbling marriage. It’s natural that your marriage got to where it is due to poor communication. It’s also possible that, of late, there have been cold silences or fights, or snarky barbs exchanged, but that’s it. And then suddenly, it changes.
If you’re looking for signs your wife is rethinking divorce, the fact that she has started communicating better is definitely a positive indicator. It means that she cares enough about you and your marriage to make an effort. This is certainly a positive step toward fixing your broken marriage and changing your mind about splitting up.
“Language conduct speaks volumes about one’s intentions,” says Sampreeti, “If a partner’s communication content and tone are changing for the better, it is entirely possible they are having second thoughts about divorce. They may not always admit to having second thoughts; instead, they could talk about common concerns such as the children, things to do with the household, and so on, showing that they’re thinking of the things that hold you together.”
Related Reading: 11 Ways To Improve Communication In Relationships
2. Sudden physical intimacy
Sexual overtures, physical touch, and affection are some of the first things to go out the window when a marriage hits a rough spot. If things have gotten to the point where divorce is being brought up, we’re guessing you two haven’t had a whole lot of sexy time lately. Or even the simple gesture of holding hands or a touch on the arm.
Now, if that changes, it’s entirely possible that you’re wondering, “Is my wife having second thoughts about divorce?” To arrive at a definitive conclusion, pay closer attention to her body language, and notice:
- Is she sitting closer to you on the couch when you’re watching TV after dinner?
- Does she place a hand on your arm when trying to explain something to you?
- Is there a lot of meaningful eye contact over the dinner table?
- Has there been a sudden uptick in physical contact?
- Does she appear inviting and affable?
- And most of all, has she been dropping hints or making subtle overtures suggesting that she is interested in making love?
Though it might have seemed like you couldn’t change your spouse’s mind about divorce, a few positive body language signs might tell you otherwise. She’s missing the closeness she once shared with you and her attempts to bridge that gap are among the most telling signs she is rethinking the divorce. Physical intimacy is one of the foundations of any healthy relationship, and the loss of it can be a root cause for a marriage to hit a major stumbling block. So, if after months of zero physical contact and affection, your wife starts making overtures, it’s a great sign she still desires you, is interested in making the marriage work, and therefore is reconsidering divorce.
Related Reading: 15 Subtle Yet Strong Signs Your Marriage Will End In Divorce
3. She’s paying attention to your needs
It’s the little things, they always say. The little but oh-so-significant things that make up a relationship. And when a marriage is on the rocks and divorce is in the air, these little things are usually neglected, which only makes things worse.
For Will and Lorraine, it was almost like a return to the early days of marriage. “We’d been hit hard,” Will says, “Our marriage seemed to be getting more and more difficult to sustain by the day. We barely had anything to say to each other, let alone make any loving gestures. We didn’t even say ‘good morning’ or ‘good night’ any longer. We just went about our lives like two strangers who happened to be sharing a home. I could see the signs divorce is coming our way and didn’t know what to do about it.”
But it seemed Lorraine was changing her mind about letting her marriage go. “She started doing things she’d do when we were first married,” Will adds, “She’d make sure my vitamins were laid out on the breakfast table. If I had a big meeting at work, she knew I wouldn’t have time to step out for lunch, so she’d pack leftovers for me. She wasn’t saying much, but her actions were there for me to see.”
“Small changes in behavior can mean all kinds of things. Maybe they’re being more considerate or suddenly more adaptable to your routine. It’s also possible they start apologizing more naturally when they think they’ve messed up, rather than withdrawing into silence or blaming their partner. Sharing a marriage and a home is all about the small romantic gestures and thoughtful things we do for our partners. When this thoughtfulness returns to a marriage, it’s possible to reconcile even after a wife says she wants a divorce,” Sampreeti explains.
4. She’s stopped bringing up the “D” word
We talk a lot about love languages but there are a lot of different languages in marriage. There’s fight language and “our marriage is over” language. Articulating that you want to separate from a partner, using words like “split” or “divorce”, isn’t done lightly. If your wife has been vocal about her desire to divorce in the past but hasn’t brought it up lately, it’s definitely an encouraging sign. You may notice that,
- Even though you’ve talked about ending the marriage, she hasn’t served you with divorce papers yet
- She no longer responds to anything and everything you do with, “God, I can’t wait to divorce you!”
- She hasn’t hired an army of professional lawyers to make sure she get her due in the divorce
- She hasn’t initiated any conversation/negotiation about division of assets, alimony, custody rights, and so on
Basically, the divorce process is on hold and there’s a chance that things are getting better. However, this doesn’t mean that the good times will automatically roll. You still have a lot of work to do in making sure you’re on the same page about what not going through with the divorce means. Listening can improve a relationship. Make sure you listen to your wife and together find common ground on which you can rebuild your marriage.
5. She shows signs of jealousy
When love dies, you no longer care who your partner is spending time with, or wonder about late-night phone calls, or why they’re working late so many nights a week. In fact, this kind of apathy is one of the first signs divorce is coming your way. On the flip side, care, concern, and even a little bit of jealousy in a relationship are all strong indicators that not all hope is lost.
“My wife, Sue, and I were pretty much estranged,” says Sean, a reader from Taos, “It was the usual – silences, screaming matches, and mostly, an utter lack of care about what the other one was up to. We’d stopped asking each other any questions about our whereabouts for months.” When Sean took on a new project at work, there were several nights he had to stay late. Sue started noticing this.
“One night, she texted, asking how much later I’d be. The next night, she asked if I’d be home for dinner. Soon, she was staying up till I got home and asking me all about the project and who I was working with. I think I made up some extra women’s names, just to see her reaction,” grins Sean, adding, “Will my wife change her mind about divorce? I’m not too sure about that, but as of right now, it feels pretty good to see she cares again.”
Related Reading: Can Healthy Jealousy Help You Build Stronger Relationships?
6. She wants to spend time together
Time is both a friend and an enemy of love. We want more of it and never seem to have quite enough. When you’re fighting and convinced that you want to end your marriage, one of the first things you cut off is time with the other person.
In fact, if things have gotten really bad, you probably avoid spending time with your partner as much as possible, since being together only means yelling and blame games and other unpleasantries. So, what does it mean when your wife, who for months has been staying as far away from you as possible or has been living separately, suddenly wants to spend time with you?
Well, this could be her way of testing the waters and assessing if your fractured marriage has a shot at survival. This is her trying to reach out to you and communicating that she still likes being with you. Now, the idea of spending time together may be different for different people. But you can be sure she’s extending an olive branch if:
- She’s making sure you eat at least a meal together every day
- She asks if you’d like to go grocery shopping with her
- She suggests getting dinner together somewhere (maybe on the pretext of spending time together as a family if you have children)
- She’s asking you to accompany her to social events
- She’s being more pleasant and affable in her social media interactions with you
Sampreeti says. “If there were friends and well-wishers who had a role in the divorce plan, take note of whether your wife is pulling away from them. Changing dynamics in social relationships, a revised list of friends and well-wishers, or a different pattern of engagement and social habits could be signs that she’s changing her mind about divorce,” she explains. Do wives change their mind about divorce is a tough question to answer, but if she’s giving you her time and asking for yours, we think you’ve got your answer.
7. She remembers your preferences
A friend had been separated from her husband for a while, but they hadn’t finalized the divorce yet. A few weeks into their separation, I met her for lunch and noticed she’d left her hair open instead of in its usual topknot. When I commented on the new hair, she looked rather sheepish and said her husband liked it that way. She’d just met him to go over some details of the divorce papers, and well…
Needless to say, that divorce never went through, and she’s still floating around with her hair loose and flowing at the peak of summer! So, when a wife, even an estranged wife, suddenly starts wearing things she knows you like or making your favorite dishes, or humming your favorite tunes around you, she’s probably not thinking of the best divorce lawyer in town.
In fact, she’s thinking about you, and what you like, and things that make you happy. She’s remembering things that make you smile and bring you joy. Sure, her wearing her hair the way you like doesn’t mean she’s screaming out, “I filed for divorce but changed my mind”, but it’s still a stepping stone. These are her ways of showing affection and conveying her desire to give the marriage a second chance.
We’d say that’s a pretty safe bet and a sure sign that she’s rethinking whatever divorce thoughts she was having. Don’t take it for granted, though. Make sure you return the favor and pay attention to things she likes too!
Related Reading: Marriage Separation Advice: 11 Wise Tips
8. She wants your attention
Don’t we always want attention from our loved ones? Don’t we fight with them, buy new outfits, and do so much more to get attention from our significant others? Don’t get us wrong, we’re not suggesting that your wife wanting to divorce you is her way of trying to get your attention. Quite the opposite, actually. We’re saying, if she’s suddenly trying to grab your attention, it could be one of the signs your wife is changing her mind about divorce.
So, take a moment to reflect on her behavior patterns, and see if she has been trying to tell you attention in the relationship. Here’s what it could look like:
- Asking your opinion on things that are important to her
- Telling you about a new restaurant that’s opened in town and very obviously waiting for you to respond
- Discussing the day’s headlines with you, hoping for a discussion
- Playing a movie or song you hate on a loop to get a reaction out of you
If this is happening after a prolonged time of your wife ignoring you and making it clear that you don’t matter to her at all, you can take it as a sign that she’s trying to initiate reconciliation. And she’s making sure you pay attention to what she’s doing. So, if she’s looking for a reaction or just an opening to a conversation, we’d recommend you take it. When you’ve been pondering on questions like, “My wife wants a divorce, how can I change her mind?”, know that attention, the good kind, is an excellent tonic for an ailing relationship.
9. She’s paying you compliments
This is kind of an obvious sign. Let’s say for months your wife’s been telling you that she can’t stand your face, the way you breathe and that the sound of your chewing makes her want to stab you. Then, things calm down, and slowly, she starts saying nice things about you.
“That shirt looks great on you.” “That stew you made for dinner was delicious!” “That’s a great presentation you made – the client will love it!” Yeah, you’ll probably be super suspicious at first, but if it continues, and if she’s being sincere, she’s appreciating you and is changing her mind about divorcing you.
Appreciation and sincere compliments in a relationship are balms to the most wounded partners. It’s also her way of showing you that while there are lots of things she would like you to change (she’s probably yelled out a list at you by now!), she does in fact realize that you have some wonderful qualities that she’s ready to embrace all over again. If you want to save your marriage, this is your chance to reciprocate and meet her half-way.
Related Reading: How To Save A Marriage When Only One Is Trying?
What To Do When Your Wife Changes Her Mind About Divorce?
You have noticed the signs your wife is changing her mind about divorce. Divorce may have been very much on her mind, and maybe she’s still on the fence about it but she no longer thinks that it’s the only way forward. Perhaps, she’s even toying with the idea of giving the marriage a second chance and starting afresh. The question is, what should you do in such a situation? As is the case with most things involving human relationships, there are no clear-cut right or wrong answers here. Here are a few things you can do to make the right decision about your future as a married couple:
1. Understand her reasons for changing her mind about divorce
Whether or not your wife having second thoughts about divorce is a good thing or not depends on her reasons behind this change of heart. If she wants a reconciliation because she is scared of being alone or the idea of going through with the divorce seems too daunting, then getting back together may not be the most sustainable choice. Unless you’re both ready to put in work to deal with your issues and make some positive changes, you will find yourself standing back at the same point sooner or later.
Related Reading: 8 Expert Tips To Survive A Marriage Crisis
2. Figure out what you want
When your wife says she wants a divorce, it’s possible that your panic-stricken mind instantly goes into damage-control mode. You may spend a lot of your time and energy figuring out how to get your wife to change her decision of divorce. Or fixating on questions like, “Will she change her mind about divorce?” It’s possible that in all this, you’ve not taken the time to figure out what it is that you want. So, before you respond to her overtures, check in with yourself and be sure that you want the same thing as her. Unless you’re on the same page about starting over, you won’t get far in repairing your relationship.
3. Are your issues fixable?
If a relationship is broken beyond repair, no amount of apologies or olive branches can fix it. There are marriages where one or both partners have cheated, or where abuse has prevailed, or that were maybe just a mistake between two people who were never compatible in the first place. If that’s the case, the likelihood of building a happy marriage together can be slim. Ask yourself, do you want to go down this rabbit hole all over again or would it be better to walk away now?
Related Reading: 7 Expert Tips To Resolve Conflict In A Marriage
4. Get the necessary help to rebuild your marriage
If you do decide that your marriage is worth another shot, know that you have your work cut out for you. You have to build a new relationship with your spouse while working through the emotional trauma you may have caused one another and carefully steering clear of old, problematic patterns. This requires a great deal of patience, understanding, and maybe some couple’s therapy.
“Note if your wife takes the initiative to take on and share more responsibilities with you. Also, if she suggests seeking professional help or therapy, that could be an expression of hope for reconciliation,” Sampreeti says. If you’re looking for help, Bonobology’s panel of experienced counselors can help you get your marriage back to its former glory.
- Noticing that your wife is changing her mind about divorce is an encouraging sign that your marriage has a shot at survival
- The reasons why a woman may change her mind about divorce can be practical – not wanting to break up the family or bearing the expenses of divorce proceedings – or emotional – not wanting to lose you or understanding her role in the marital issues
- From better communication to hints of affection, paying compliments, and paying attending to you needs, the signs a woman is changing her mind about divorce reflect in her softened stance toward you and the relationship
- Just because she has changed her mind about divorce doesn’t mean you have to rush into getting back together. Take your time and assess if it’s the right decision for you, both individually and as a couple
Whatever it is, it’s a boon when an unhappy partner decides to reconsider divorce and give the marriage another chance. Recognize this, read the signs, and ensure you do your bit to repair your relationship as well. Marriage is a two-way street, bringing it back from the verge of divorce needs all your strength as well.
This article has been updated in February 2023.