What to do when your husband abandons you? If a quest for an answer brought you here, we want to begin by telling you how sorry we’re for what you’re going through. The end of a relationship always comes as a devastating jolt but a breakup, separation or divorce doesn’t even come close to the shattering experience of being left in the lurch by the man who promised to hold your hand through the journey of life, in good times and bad, in sickness and in health.
Your mind can seem like a confuddled mess, swarming with questions: “Why has my husband left me suddenly?” “Is it possible that my husband left me because he was unhappy?” “My husband walked out on me. What should I do now?” The trouble is that you may never find the answers to many of these questions since that person who has them has chosen to exit your life.
When your husband leaves you for no reason, or at least no apparent reason, the emotional toll of this abandonment can be debilitating. We’re here to help you make some sense of this catastrophe and deal with it as healthily as possible, in consultation with counseling psychologist Namrata Sharma (Masters in Applied Psychology), who is a mental health and SRHR advocate and specializes in offering counseling for toxic relationships, trauma, grief, relationship issues, gender-based and domestic violence.
What Causes A Husband To Abandon His Marriage?
When your husband leaves you for no reason or without an explanation, the question that haunts you the most is why. Why did he leave? Were there any signs your husband is planning to leave you that you missed? Could you have done something to prevent it? Jena, a mother of two, has been wrestling with similar questions.
“My husband left me suddenly. One weekend, we were planning his 50th birthday and the next, the kids and I went to visit my sister and when we returned home, he had moved out and left a note on the fridge saying he was leaving us. After 17 years together, he didn’t even extend me the courtesy of a conversation before ending the relationship. All I can think is that my husband left me because he was unhappy,” she says. When your husband abandons you like that, it can be hard to make sense of why it happened.
Namrata attributes it to Spousal Abandonment Syndrome where a spouse just leaves the marriage without a warning. She says that it’s a growing trend in the US. Statistics also confirm that while the divorce rate in the US is the lowest in 40 years, spousal abandonment has grown significantly.
“Abandoning a spouse is different from a typical divorce, which typically takes 2-3 years and entails a lot of communication, discussions, and negotiations. In the case of spousal abandonment, there is no indication of one partner wanting to end the marriage. Shockingly, it is usually done by men,” explains Namrata.
As shocking as it may be when your husband abandons you, there are often underlying triggers or reasons behind such an action. Let’s explore a few most common ones:
- He was unhappy in the marriage: “One of the most common reasons behind spousal abandonment is that the person walking out sees no signs of happiness in the marriage or they were not satisfied. A man may choose to leave a marriage if he feels unappreciated and ignored,” says Namrata. It’s important to check in with each other from time to time so that you don’t go from not even asking, “Is my husband unhappy in the marriage?”, to spending sleepless nights wondering, “What went so wrong that my husband walked out on me?”
- Lack of contentment: “Not being content with the marriage can also lead to spousal abandonment, especially when the person walking away has bottled up their discontent for a long time and feels that the only way out available to them was to just walk out. They may feel that if they tell their spouse, they’d want to talk about it and try to make them stay. Since the man has already checked out the marriage emotionally, he may not want to be trapped in this cycle,” says Namrata
- Infidelity: “My husband walked out on me and I can’t figure out why.” If that’s where you’re at, you have to at least consider infidelity as a probable cause. Namrata explains, “If a man doesn’t don’t want to go through the process of a divorce but wants to be with his affair partner, abandoning his spouse may seem like the easier alternative. This may happen if he has a lot of responsibilities and feels like his spouse may not agree to take them on in his stead if he has a conversation about it, so he may choose to run away”
- Lack of compatibility: “A man may feel that this marriage or relationship was the ultimate thing he wanted; however, as things start unraveling, he may get a reality check that is a far cry from his expectations. Maybe his thoughts don’t match with his spouse or there is a clear lack of compatibility in the relationship. This may happen if two people commit to each other quickly. The everyday realization that he married the wrong person can lead to a fear of spending his entire life with that person, causing a man to abandon his wife/husband,” says Namrata
- Abusive or manipulative spouse: “A man abandoning his spouse may not always be solely his fault. It is possible that his spouse’s actions have pushed him to the edge and left him no choice but to walk away. If the spouse has done something awful – cheating, for instance – or they are a psychopath or an abusive person or have something against the husband that they may use to prevent him from taking a divorce, he may have to leave the marriage without any forewarning or explanations,” says Namrata
- Feeling undermined: When your husband leaves you for no reason, you must scratch beneath the surface to see if it was really “for no reason”. When you do, you may find there is always an underlying cause behind spousal abandonment. One such reason could be feeling undermined, suffocated, or pushed to a corner. “If he is always forced to do things against his wishes, it can cause a lot of resentment to build up in the marriage, and sometimes these pent-up emotions can drive a man to just up and vanish from a marriage,” says Namrata
What To Do When Your Husband Abandons You?
From “My husband left me because he was unhappy and I can’t bring myself to get out of bed anymore” to “My husband left me and I feel like dying”, you may struggle with a wide range of emotions in the wake of your husband leaving you and walking out of the marriage. It can be hard to figure out what to do when your husband abandons you; however, you need to get a grip on your life at some point and find the strength to turn over a new leaf.
While there is no one way to deal with this situation, there are certainly some things you must do to move past this setback. “There is no definite answer to what to do when your husband abandons you because every individual is different, and so is their way of dealing with trauma or grief.
“However, if you look at a person who has been abandoned by their husband, the first emotion that they experience is a feeling of self-blame, along with low self-esteem and confidence, and broken trust. They have been abandoned in the middle of their life and left with a huge gaping void by someone they had given their entire life to. All of these feelings are inevitable and it is necessary to cater to them,” says Namrata. Here are a few ways to cope emotionally as well as logistically when your husband abandons you:
1. Let go of the self-blame
“My husband left me because he was unhappy” can be a common thought when you’re struggling with such abandonment. While he may have chosen to leave because he felt unhappy, unfulfilled, or whatever else, you mustn’t start believing that you’re somehow responsible for his choices.
“Stop fixating on what you possibly did so wrong that your husband just left without so much as a discussion or a conversation,” advises Namrata. Even if he was unhappy in the marriage, there are many ways to tackle that issue. Walking out on you and your marriage wasn’t the only recourse available to him, but he chose to take that route anyway.
2. When your husband abandons you, seek therapy
The emotional upheaval you experience when your husband abandons you can take a massive toll on every aspect of your life. You need the guidance and hand-holding of an expert to work through these emotions and process them the right way so that the anger, anxiety, or depression you may be experiencing doesn’t push you to the brink where you’re entertaining thoughts like “My husband left me and I feel like dying”.
Namrata, too, strongly advises therapy in such cases. “Seeking therapy should be among your top priorities if you have been abandoned by your husband. This is an extremely distressing situation and given that your trust is already on shaky ground, you may not feel comfortable leaning on friends or family for support. You may think you trusted a person blindly, a person who was your family, your entire life, and he just abandoned you; what is the surety that others won’t do the same thing?
“Or your friends and family may have told you that this person isn’t right for you and now you feel that they’ve been proven right and may not want to turn to them for support. That’s why talking to a therapist is a must. They will help your sort through and organize your thoughts and help you come to grips with the blow you’ve been dealt with.” If you’re struggling after being abandoned by your spouse and looking for help, skilled and licensed counselors on Bonobology’s panel are here for you.
3. Plan for the future
“My husband walked out on me and I can’t figure out why.” “My husband left me because he was unhappy, I must be a terrible person.” “Why has my husband left me suddenly?” Questions like these can play on a loop, leaving you trapped in a cycle, unable to focus on anything other than the fact that you have been abandoned.
As cynical as it may sound, life goes on. You still need to put food on the table, keep the household running, focus on your career, and raise your children if there are any. While you work through the grief and shock of the bad hand that’s been dealt to you, it’s also important to start thinking about the future. You need to pick up the pieces and start afresh just as so many people work on rebuilding their life after divorce.
How are you going to build your life without your husband? Can you afford to live in the same house? Can you manage your debts and assets single-handedly? Do you have the financial wherewithal to get on with life? If not, what’s your plan to sustain yourself? These questions are just as important as taking care of your emotional health, especially when husband leaves you with no money.
Related Reading: How To Break The Vicious Betrayed Spouse Cycle
4. Do some soul-searching
As you go through the different stages of grief, your emotions can quickly change from “my husband left me and I feel like dying” to “how dare he leave me like that, I’m going to make him pay for what he did”. Namrata says, “Fear of getting dumped, anger, and a desire to get revenge on your ex are all common emotions when you have been abandoned by your husband. To be able to work through these, you need to spend some time with yourself and do some soul-searching.
“Contemplate about the things that went wrong or things that may not be necessarily wrong but backfired because the individual you were with wasn’t in the right head space. Rather than blaming yourself, it’s a good idea to focus your energies on introspection.”
5. Give yourself time to heal
What to do when your husband abandons you? Well, one of the most important things to do during this time is to not rush your recovery. Give yourself as much time as you need to deal with the heartbreak and move on. Be gentle with yourself.
Namrata advises, “You need to tell your brain that it’s going to get better and things are going to look up. Sometimes we need to make our minds listen to us. Your mind may not completely understand what’s going on and it is going to react according to your body because mind and body work together. Therefore, you need to train your mind and fight negative thoughts by immersing yourself in positive activities.”
What Should You Not Do When Your Husband Leaves You?
In the process of figuring out what to do when your husband abandons you, it’s also equally important to understand what not to do to avoid making a bad situation worse. When your husband abandons you, it’s likely the end of your marriage. The emotions you go through as you come to terms with the reality that your marriage is over can make you lash out or act in a less than desirable manner.
However, this will only impede the process of acceptance and moving on. Besides, certain actions like threatening or begging can further alienate your husband or leave you trapped in a toxic on-again-off-again marriage, which can be far more damaging for your emotional health in the long run. To make sure you emerge from this setback with as little damage as possible, here are a few things you should avoid when your husband leaves you for no reason:
1. Do not beg him to come back
The one that you should absolutely not do after your husband abandons you is to beg him to come back even when husband leaves you with no money and you’re in dire straits. Yes, it may seem out of the blue to you, which may make you think that he acted on an impulse and you can still fix your broken marriage. However, his perspective may be vastly different. Even if it was an impulsive decision, you’ve got to let him come to that realization on this own.
Namrata says, “If your husband walked out on you once, there is a possibility that he will do it again. He may do it over and over again, especially if you beg him to come back after he has abandoned you. By doing so, you’re sending across a message that you are willing to put up with his problematic behavior. He will see this as your weakness and may exit and return to the marriage as he pleases.”
Related Reading: How Do I Stop Begging For Attention In A Relationship?
2. Do not get into a rebound relationship
As you come to grips with the “my husband walked out on me” acceptance, you may feel increasingly isolated and lonely. It is natural to want a shoulder to lean on at this time; however, you must not mistake your need for emotional support as readiness for a new relationship.
“Do not be quick to move on to a new relationship. Rebound relationships are never healthy, even more so when you are dealing with something as massive as spousal abandonment. You are going to dump all of your trust issues that your husband left you with on the new partner, which may get in the way of your ability to forge a strong connection with them, and you’d ultimately end up with a broken heart again,” says Namrata.
3. Do not let him be a part of the family
When your husband abandons you, make sure that you don’t keep the doors of your home and life open to him. “Let’s assume that your husband leaves you and later comes back. If something were to happen to you in the future, can you entrust your children (if any) to him? What is the guarantee that he won’t abandon them as well? Before you consider taking him back or mending bridges, think about your family’s safety and security,” advises Namrata.
Spouses have custody and other rights in the case of a separation or a divorce where they follow due process and handle the end of a marriage like mature adults. However, spousal abandonment is a vastly different scenario, where one person unilaterally decides to end the marriage. Your rights as an abandoned spouse are also different from what they’d have been in case of a regular divorce. So, stand your ground and don’t give your husband a hall pass to your life after he left you in the lurch.
Related Reading: How To Make Him Regret Taking You For Granted
4. Do not be alone
As poet John Donne wrote, “No man is an island entire of itself.” This line capturing the essence of human existence couldn’t ring truer than it does in that situation you find yourself in. Your entire life has been turned upside down, the ground beneath your feet has shifted like quicksand. Now is not the time to put on a brave face or deal with the aftermath of spousal abandonment alone.
Reach out to your loved ones, family, and friends, for support and spend quality time with them. “Spending time with yourself and being happy even when you’re alone is one thing but that doesn’t mean you isolate yourself. You also need to vent. If you have a good social support system, lean on them and vent. Not only will this make you feel lighter but will also give you a third perspective on the situation,” says Namrata.
5. Don’t blame anyone
“Do not blame a third person for the dire straits your marriage is in. Perhaps, there is a mutual friend who had an inkling about your husband’s plans to leave or saw signs your husband is planning to leave you but didn’t tell you. Lashing out at them is not going to help nor will it change your situation in any way. If anything, it will ruin yet another relationship in your life. So, steer clear of the blame game at all costs,” advises Namrata.
Remember, as adults, we’re all responsible for the choices we make and also suffer their consequences. When your husband abandons you, you cannot fault anyone else for his decision, including yourself.
- Spousal abandonment is a growing trend and perpetrated most commonly by men
- Even if it seems out of the blue, there are underlying triggers and causes – unhappiness, discontentment, infidelity, incompatibility, feeling undermined, manipulation or abuse
- Being abandoned by your husband can take a massive toll on your mental health; seek professional help sooner rather than later
- Avoiding self-blame, introspection, and giving yourself time to heal are the best ways to cope with the situation
- Do not act on impulse or lash out; it will do more harm than good
When a husband abandons his wife, he may have his reasons for doing so but no amount of rationalization can justify his actions. You have been wronged in the worst way imaginable by the person you trusted the most. Whatever emotions or pain this brings in its wake are legitimate. Allow yourself to experience the inner turmoil in its entirety so that you can ride this storm and emerge on the other side, stronger.
Yes, reconciliation after a separation is possible. However, separation is a mutually agreed upon decision whereas abandonment is one-sided, and often the spouse being abandoned, has no clue about the catastrophe that awaits them. Do not mistake abandonment for separation.
The first step toward accepting that your husband has left you is letting go of the self-blame. Seeking therapy is strongly recommended so that you can introspect, make sense of your emotions and come to terms with reality. It is also important to not rush the grieving process. Give yourself as much time as needed to bounce back.
There are many ways you can make your husband miss you during separation, ranging from no contact in the initial days to gradually building up communication, reminding him of happier times you’ve shared, not acting desperate or clingy, and working on becoming the best version of yourself. However, these can work and should be used only in case of a mutually agreed upon separation, and not when your husband abandons you.