Surviving Your Split

Spouse leave you without warning? Here’s how to deal.

Spouse leave you without warning? Here’s how to deal.

Hello, Friends!

The summer has ended in this neck of the woods, and it’s got me thinking about something many of you amazing readers struggle with during divorce.

The case of spouse abandonment, aka when you thought the marriage was fine and you were looking forward to your future together, and then POOF! Your spouse, out of the blue, says those shocking words…

“I’m leaving.”

“I want out of this marriage.”

“We both know this isn’t working (but you didn’t know!). I’m moving out.”

“I want you out of the house. I don’t want to be married to you anymore.”

It’s devastating when your spouse ends things without warning, especially when things seemed good to you, and there had been no signs that things were bad.

But here’s where it gets sticky.

Trying to figure out the “why did they leave?” is going to slow down, or even stop, your healing.

You may have spent months…even years…wracking your brain, trying to figure out why your spouse just up and left when you thought your marriage was fine. You may have tossed and turned in your bed at night, unable to sleep, trying to figure out if there was a certain day or time or life event or something you said that would have caused your spouse to just decide they no longer wanted to be with you.

And you tell yourself as you dissect your past that if as soon as you get the answers, as soon as your ex gives you the explanation that you are owed, then…and only then…can you get that closure.

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Here’s Ugly Truth #1: you may not get the closure you want.

Ooooooh, I know that stings. But it’s true.

Does your spouse owe you can explanation of why they blindsided you?

Hell yes. It’s the decent, kind, and human thing to do. When you are married to person for years—even decades—one would think that the person who stood by their side and made sacrifices (that’s you) at least deserves an explanation and a heads-up.

But the truth of the matter is, a spouse who goes out of their way to just leave you hanging who did not give you an explanation when they left, will probably not give you an explanation later. They are most likely showing their character with the manner in which they decided to leave the marriage, and it’s unlikely that they are somehow going to get a visit from the Human Decency Fairy and knock on your door to a) apologize and b) explain. Chances are, it will not happen, so you may not get that closure that you crave from them.

Ugly Truth #2: Being a detective of the past will get you nowhere.

Oh, I know that your head and the logical part of you already know this truth. But your heart is a completely different story.

“Martha, that’s BS! If I can only find a reason why, then I’ll be able to move on!”

“Martha, I can’t move on until he or she tells me why they changed!”










Looking behind you for clues will get you nowhere. It’s time to move forward. Image via WildGratitute.


I get it. You want those answers. You want to know why. You want to corner your ex-spouse, tie them up and sit them at a chair, where they cannot go until they provide you a full and concise explanation of why they did it, how long they thought about leaving, if they were thinking of leaving the last few times you were at dinner together, sharing the bed, going on vacation, the list goes on and on.

You want to be the archeologist or detective, looking for clues to why your spouse left, assuming that those clues to the past will make you feel better.

Okay, so let’s suspend reality for a second and let’s say that your spouse gives you a full explanation. What if your spouse tells you a line-by-line account, day-by-day, of why they left.

Then what?

How will that make you feel? Will it somehow make you feel vindicated?

Probably not. It may make you feel worse, and guess what?

It’s the same damn outcome. It’s still going to leave you in the same place you are now, which is trying to figure out how to establish your independence and move the hell on with your life. But the only difference is you’ve spent a shitload more of emotional energy playing detective than the joker who left you deserved. Your emotional energy is finite during this recovery time. Don’t waste it on playing detective—invest it on yourself.


Ugly Truth #3: If you want closure, it may have to come from within.

Someone who left you without an explanation is someone who DOES NOT deserve to spend the rest of your life with you. It doesn’t matter if they were your spouse, co-parent, partner for years, or even decades. If they walk out the door without having enough decency to let you know why, you are better off finding the closure and moving on yourself.

You don’t need them to move on. Waiting on them to tell you, and wasting your time playing detective trying to solve that mystery/shit-pile they left for you is robbing you of the precious time and energy that you should be investing in your own recovery, healing, and kick-ass future.


The only source of healing you need is the one staring back at you in the mirror. You can do this. Image via Birchenough.

You don’t have to figure this stuff out by yourself.

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No one’s saying you have to go through this process alone. In fact, thinking you have to just suck it up can actually stifle your healing process and that’s not cool, either.

But understand that there is a shitload of resources out there that you can go to for help. There are specialized resources that deal specifically with abandonment issues. One of my favorite resources for abandonment support is from the website Runaway Husbands , which is a great resource for both men and women.

And if you’re tired of sitting in front of your computer or playing on your cell phone, remember to reach out to good friends, social groups you are a part of, or any other place that gives you a sense of community. Hell, even write some comments on the blog and share your experiences. We have an active community here at Surviving Your Split who’d love to hear from you, so let your voice be heard.

So, how about you? Are you dealing with spouse abandonment? What helps your healing process? Leave a comments below, or shoot me an email. As always, I’d love to hear from you!

If you and I haven’t talked on the phone yet and you wouldn’t mind if I pick your brain for a short phone call or Skype, email me so we can set something up. I love hearing from you and learning how I can help you.

There’s a lot of great stuff coming in the fall that I can’t wait to share with you. So until next time, remember to take care of yourselves, friends! You deserve it.





12 thoughts on “Spouse leave you without warning? Here’s how to deal.

  1. Jo Grace

    I am in the talking stages of getting a divorce. We are working on the part of figuring out who leaves and who stays at this point. I have two dogs that I need for emotional healing therapy. I believe it is important to share that living with someone who you know in about 6 months will no longer be next to you, walking with you on your life journey anymore. It is going to hurt something awful.

    I am blessed because I am a writer. So, the pain I feel goes into one of my characters of one of my many half written books. The self isolation feels good as long as I don’t see him or him me. Our morning routine with the coffee has changed. It has affected me more than it has him.

    Allow yourself to cry. I find a quiet place and take a box of tissues and go have a good cry!
    Sometimes I wake up curled up with his shirt! Which makes me feel so pissed at him.

    That particular shirt I gave to good will. 🙂

    Thank you Martha!

    1. Martha B Post author

      Thanks for your comments, Jo! It can definitely feel difficult to start healing when you are still sharing your home with that person. I am going to email you with some further comments, Jo!

  2. Cynthia

    Exactly what happened to me after 35 years. I cried for 2 weeks. I felt so abandoned. I started seeing a therapist, refinanced my house and gave him half of everything except my 401k, started journaling and relied on my sisters daughter and friends. It took me three years so really get over it.

  3. ag

    What a fantastic piece to read this afternoon. I’ve been struggling so much lately with the “why did he do it dance.” I know it is useless and I know if he had a reason it would 1. be a lie or 2. be a watered down version of the truth. Neither will serve me; nor should it. I am better than that. Some days are harder than others and for some reason today is difficult. Love your writings, and I think I’ll keep on reading you.

  4. H.L.

    My wife and I dated for about two years and then were married for 13. I thought our life was grand. We never had any “sleep on the couch” type deals at all. She told me to be careful as I left for work and I haven’t spoken to her since. The next business day I was served divorce papers from an out of town lawyer. It appears she had been working on leaving for about two months. Went about life as normal at home. She even sat down and made a grocery list with me the night before. I have been in a constant whirlwind since. Thought I would spend the rest of my life with her and was so proud to do it. Really screws with your compass.

    1. crystal

      This is happening to me. Everything has been fine. He came home from work at 9 pm. packed his bags, and told me he was leaving in the morning. He won’t talk to me about anything until he gets back in a week. How can he justify this behavior?

    2. T.R.

      H.L. I feel your pain. My wife and I have been married 12 years and about 6 weeks ago while on a business trip she called to tell me she had moved out with our dogs. It has been the most devastating experience I have ever dealt with. While I wouldn’t claim our marriage to be “perfect”, 7 weeks ago (and even now) I would have described it as wonderful and something I planned to be a part of for the rest of my life. It does screw you up honestly. I have a good career, good family, and honestly thought we had a wonderful life. Its tough, and I still have really bad moments. My house feels very lonely nowadays and the future seems very uncertain for the first time in my life. My wife and I just turned 36 so we have spent most of our adult lives together. Its a very sad situation and something I never thought I would go through.

  5. tina

    My husband and I spent the day together, he told me how much he loved me. When we got home he left, changed his number, email and found someone new all in the same day. He refuses to have any contact with me. I feel so abandoned, so incredibly sad. How can another human being do that? I am having an extremely hard time processing.

    1. crystal

      This is happening to me. Everything has been fine. He came home from work at 9 pm. packed his bags, and told me he was leaving in the morning. He won’t talk to me about anything until he gets back in a week. How can he justify this behavior?

  6. Secret

    I am late to this thread ,but maybe someone will see it. My husband and I had been through so much together he goes from happy angry mad sad in minutes. I have made major sacrifices.Hes messed up alot … but I always forgave him and welcome him .He confessed last that he cheated on me with his ex wife ( kids mom). Afterwards everything was actually so my h better.i waa still making an effort to trust but otherwise he was great . Last week friday I came home our lights were off I had to pawn everythinv In had no idea hadnt been paying anything in 2 months. When he gets home he tells me he doesn’t want to be in the relation ship anymore. I said why he said I dont love u a more and shrugged his shoulders. He said im gking to get something to eat and poof he blocked me on everything .My kids ask question idk even know answers too .I don’t know what to do even money wise he was the sole provider. I am so lost and can’t stop crying .How could he just not even answer the phone knowing we were in a bad spot anyway .But to treat me like I’ve just been nothing like this whole marriage is nothing …oh he took our only car as well. I work but it’s not much ,and I’m on school for Nursing for which I pay for out of pocket .

  7. Michelle Emmert

    I was with man I loved for long time. We wernt marryed but he was my partner. He allways told me how beautiful I was and perfect. We laugh we had great time together allway. He deployed even I was there support him thro whole thing. I wrote letters, emails and sent packages. He came home I was one great him take care of him. We were finally talking about having kids and marriage. I thought i was going be with this man rest my life. We went on date perfect night joking and laughing and cuddling. He drop me off and I never saw him again. I don’t know what happen no calls text or emails where answered. I thought something bad had happen till friend had seen him out just fine on his own some where. He left and I will never see him again or know why. I’m try to except this move on. Thank you for the artical it hits hard to the heart.

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