I often hear from wives who are very confused because their husband has left their home and is now apparently pursuing a marital separation. Sometimes, the wife had a little warning about this beforehand. And sometimes, she didn't. But regardless of the circumstances, it is always shocking and upsetting when you come home to find him gone. Many of these wives don't really understand what they have done wrong, or at least they don't see any justification for his taking the very drastic measure of leaving his family.

A wife might say: " Honestly, this may sound naive, but I didn't see this coming. I knew that my husband wasn't completely happy. And yet, I never expected him to just disappear. I thought that he would stay like the grown man that he is and work this out. That is what it means to be an adult instead of a child. You stay when the going gets tough and you roll up your sleeves and save your family. No matter how angry or disappointed I was, I would never leave him and do this to my family. Within the last two months, three of my friends' husbands have left them also. I really just don't understand. What makes a husband leave his wife? Especially when that same wife is a good one? What makes him just walk away?"

I have been asked this question many times. And I've never directly and brutally honestly written an article about it until now. And the reason is that I didn't want to give wives any reason to believe that this was their fault. I didn't want to make his decision to leave seem legitimate or to appear to have merit when I can't know the circumstances. I do understand that everyone has their own wishes and desires. And I understand that the need to be happy can be self-preservation. But I'm always disappointed when people leave their spouses instead of trying to work things out. I understand that many people honestly believe that they had very legitimate reasons for leaving. I will go over some of these recurring reasons below in the hopes that it will help you to pinpoint what his thought process might be. Before I begin the list though, I do want to stress that none of this is your fault. You can't take responsibility for the decision that he made. You can only make a very conscious decision about how you are going to handle it. Below are some of the most common reasons that I see for men leaving their wives.

He Assumes That He Can't Take It For Another Minute: Some people assume that men sit down and plan out exactly when they are going to leave and make a careful contingency plan. I suppose that some men do plot it out this way. But I find it more common for men to be very aware that they are considering leaving, without focusing on the logistics of the same. Then, there is some sort of stimulus - a big fight, a bad day, or the situation sort of boiling over that contributes to him suddenly taking action because he thinks that he cannot live like this for one more day. Now granted, he sometimes acts and thinks very dramatically in order to justify leaving in his own mind. Or, he may be overreacting. But this is his thought process nonetheless. He thinks that living in the situation is detrimental to him, which leads me to my next point.

He Believes That The Situation Is Keeping Him From Being Truly Happy: So many people who aren't happy or who don't feel fulfilled blame their spouses for these frustrations. Rather than taking inventory and becoming motivated to change things from the inside out, they begin to think that it is the marriage that is holding them back from being truly happy or from being who they were truly meant to be. You can see why I'm hesitant to bring this up. No one likes this type of view about their marriage. But keep in mind that I never said that his thinking was accurate. (My husband had beliefs similar to this when we separated. But I was able to overcome this. You can read that entire story here.)

Frankly, many of these spouses can end up realizing that they are just as unhappy after separating from their spouse. Leaving your spouse doesn't fix what is lacking in your life and within yourself. And many don't realize this until they have taken the drastic measure of actually leaving.

He Believes That, Unless He Leaves, Things Will Always Remain The Same: If there is one universal belief among spouses who leave, it's that things aren't going to change enough to make him happy if he stays. He often believes that no matter what the two of you do, or say, or attempt, real change just isn't possible. Now, you and I both know that with work and determination, anything is possible. This reasoning just doesn't always sit well with me because I know that marriages and circumstances can change for the better because of my own life. I have seen marriages turn around dramatically - even when only one spouse was doing the work. So I don't buy this at all. But, this is generally what he is thinking.

I didn't write this article to discourage you. I wrote it to show you what you might be up against. None of these things are insurmountable. And sometimes, his flawed thinking does become obvious to him in time. I believe that the best thing that you can do is to handle yourself with patience and integrity while trying to be very upbeat. Because quite frankly, you don't want to give him any reason to continue to think that you (or your marriage) are contributing factors to his unhappiness.

This is not to say that you want to pretend that you're feeling something that you aren't. But, as best as you can, you want to try to be positive in your approach. And you don't want to take it too personally. I know that this feels very personal and that it seems as if it has everything to do with you. But if you hang in there, you will often find that his thought process begins to shift. And if you've remained upbeat and positioned yourself correctly, then this is when you can make the most progress.

I hope that this wasn't discouraging because I know how it feels to be frustrated and unsure.  But marriages can and do turn around.  Mine did even when things were dire.  If it helps, you're welcome to read more on my blog at http://isavedmymarriage.com

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