Surviving Your Split

My spouse left me.

My spouse left me.

My spouse left me.

“My spouse left me.”

As the weather gets colder and the orange and yellow leaves start to fall from the trees, I’ve been thinking a lot about a growing trend in divorce: when your spouse leaves you.

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.”

Consequently, 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.

As a result,  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.

As a result, you tell yourself as you dissect the 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.

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.

However, 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 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.

“That’s BS!  If I can only find a reason why, then I’ll be able to move on!”
“I can’t move on until he or she tells me why they changed!”

I get it.  You want those answers. You want to know why.

It’s possible that 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 more 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. 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 they left for you is robbing you of the precious time and energy that you should be investing in your own recovery, healing, and moving on.

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

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.

There is ton of resources out there that you can go to for help. There are specialized resources that deal specifically with abandonment issues.

A great place that specifically addresses spouse abandonment is the website Runaway Husbands, which has a great community of folks who all share a similar story—both men and women are welcome!

So, how about you? Are you dealing with spouse abandonment? What helps your healing process?

Let me know by replying directly to this email or comment on the blog. I love hearing from you, so drop me a line.

Until next time, remember to take care of yourself! You deserve it.


PS–You don’t need me to tell you that the holiday season is coming up. If you’re starting to stress, be sure to check your inbox next week. Help is on the way!

2 thoughts on “My spouse left me.

  1. Heinz

    Hi Martha, nice blog- I left my wife of 9 years… she screamed at me for the last 15 years we knew each other… we have two children together- I explained that I could not be screamed at anymore in front of the kids and she just kept it up… therapy did not really help- she would not listen to the therapist- just my husband is an alcoholic and the more she screamed, the more I would leave and go play pool with my friends at the bar… it was a cycle that never ended. She seemed to hate me (but said “she is the only one who loves me”- over and over) and hated my family, did not like my friends and never said anything good about me or us… ever. She could also never say sorry, if if she was drunk screaming at me until 3 or 4 am on the weekends. I left and now she tells our 13 year old daughter that “your father left us” – while I pay her 6 grand a month and she loves her new apartment and has a boyfriend since just after I left. She still complains that I have a girlfriend but just took our two kids to a Thanksgiving dinner with her boyfriend at a friends house… She also called the police and said my Mom hit our 6 year old son… which never happened. I had extreme depression for 6 months as well and am just trying to muscle through it- she has said “if you want to divorce me I am going to make it miserable and expensive” and recently said she was “going to destroy me” – even in the depths of depression, I asked her to bring the kids by to help me find some joy again and she said “it is karma you feel so bad and I can’t do anything about that… I am not a psychologist”- I am really dealing with a tough case- she was a stripper in a caberet in Munich when I met her and everyone I knew said- “yes, she looks good but that girl is more trouble than she is worth”- I was playing captain save a ho and just could not believe that I could not convert her to see the light and that I really did like her and want her to have a better life… in any case- I am moving on but even in a very imperfect relationship- the kids and other factors that brought you together can cause enough sadness to really impact your life… I had no idea divorce would be this bad but I also had no idea why she wanted to make our marriage so miserable either- Heinz

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