How To Leave Your Husband (19 Ways To Leave An Unhappy Marriage)

Last updated on June 9, 2022 by April Maccario

Many of us women get married with the hope of finally settling down with our ‘forever partner’. However, barely half of us get to enjoy that kind of longevity in their marriage. 

Going by statistics, about one in two marriages end in divorce, meaning the chances of success, or at least staying together forever, is only about 50%.

If you are stuck in an unhappy marriage but can’t find the strength to leave, you are not alone. Of course, numbers are hardly enough to go by, but there are many people who are not happy in marriage. 

If you are serious about getting a divorce, there are tons of things you need to consider first, especially if there are kids in the equation.

With your financial situation; yours and maybe your children’s welfare at the forefront, not to mention the emotional turmoil that comes with leaving, it is not a decision one just makes. However, if after careful consideration, you decide it is best for everyone that you don’t stay, I’d like to offer my support by providing simple tips on how to leave your husband. 

19 Ways To Leave Your Husband

1. Think about life post-divorce

Most things we do in life begin with our imagination, and determining when to leave a marriage is no different. It’s something you may have gone over for some time, thinking “should I leave my husband or not?” You may not be able to remember much about what your life was like before you got married, especially if you and your spouse have been together for a while.

However, before you commit to anything, look at where you are right now and take a moment to take it all in. What is life going to be like for you away from all this? The idea may seem appealing right now, but is it prudent? Can you handle it? Is it better for you to stay or leave? Think about it.

2. Be sure you are really ready to leave

Be sure you are really ready to leave

Even if divorce seems like the best option, choosing to leave your husband is a decision that will stay with you for a very long time. To, at least, be able to face yourself when the feeling of pulling your family apart comes nagging at you, make sure to take more than a minute to decide.

You’ve probably been asking “do I leave my husband?” for a long time, but it’s something you have to go over thoroughly before making that final decision.

How long have you been fiddling with the idea of leaving, and how committed are you to it? If you’ve only just started thinking about it because of a big fight you had with your husband, you might want to give it a few days or until after things settle down before you decide.

3. Have a conversation with your husband about it

Not all separations happen on a hostile note. Based on your history, you know your spouse best. If you are convinced he is going to be reasonable about you leaving, or he’s at least open to having a conversation about it, by all means, talk to him about it. If not, you could consider going to couples therapy, it might seem counterproductive. 

However, if you want to leave your husband, hearing how things are not working out in a safe and professional space may be the best way to get your point across. He may or may not try to change your mind, but you don’t have to stay if you don’t want to. Regardless, talking to him at least puts your feelings out there and gives you a chance to know him.

4. Keep your decision secret

Unfortunately, not everyone has the luxury of letting their spouse know about their intention to leave. As I said, you know your spouse better than I do, and all is obviously not well if you’re considering leaving him. If, for any reason, you think he is going to try to stop you if he knows, then it might be best to keep your plan a secret.

Even if your reason for wanting to leave is not that he is abusive or violent, telling him when he isn’t ready to lose you might cause him to make leaving difficult for you. Plus, keeping it a secret gives you plenty of time to make the necessary arrangements.

5. Get a divorce lawyer

Whether you are leaving your husband on a friendly note or otherwise, consider consulting a divorce attorney. Your counsel will take it on themselves to prepare you for what needs to be done, what is legal, and what might affect your settlement later if need be. Leaving is a stressful process, but the right attorney can make it less burdensome.

However, as much as you need to go for a lawyer with a good settlement record, you should also consider the financial implication, especially if you’ll be footing the bill.

6. Open a personal savings account

Money issues are one of the biggest factors to consider when planning to leave. According to Stacey Francis, a large number of women are unfortunately in an unhappy marriage but can’t leave due to a lack of financial security. This is especially complicated for full-time moms and those who share a joint account with their spouse.

As you plan your exit, please make it a point to open a savings account separate from the one you share with your soon-to-be-ex. Having some of your own money saved up will make landing on your feet easier in the end.

7. Establish a source of income outside the divorce settlement

Financial support is as crucial as it gets on this matter, you have to prepare for the possibility that you may be left on your own if the divorce drags out. If no one offers to help you out, then you’ll have some very financially hard months to face. In these uncertain times, it is not prudent to rely solely on what you could get from a settlement. 

Unless you are absolutely confident your spouse will continue to provide for you even after the divorce, consider boosting your source of income before you leave. If you end up scoring big in alimony, it’ll be a bonus for you. 

8. Make a plan for where you’ll live

How is this going to play out, would your husband leave the home you currently share, or would you be relocating? Is he willing to move out without a fight or will you have to drag the house, along with other shared possessions with him in court? It’s something you have to think about.

An essential part of strategizing to end your marriage is to make provision for your new living arrangement. If it appears retaining your current home will not be feasible, you might want to start looking for apartments on your own, or check with loved ones you can stay with, in the meantime.

9. Note all the assets in your home

You will find this helpful should your husband and his lawyers try to play dirty during the divorce. Even if you have reasons to believe the separation might be amicable, it won’t hurt to make more than a mental note of the assets in your home.

From the things you own to his personal properties, and the ones you own together, be sure to note and protect all valuables. You will have to list them all under marital properties when you file, but it doesn’t hurt to keep them safe till then.

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10. Try not to incur new debt

Part of your financial responsibility now is making sure you don’t start your next phase in debt. If possible, try to get your joint credit card payments done while you’re still together, whether small or big ones like home mortgages. If not, see what you can do about having your name removed from them.

You don’t know for sure how much your new life will cost you, but you can prepare for it by saving as much as you can. Debts get in the way of that, so you may want to pay as much as you can before the split, and stick to spending cash until it’s over.

11. Get all the essential documents together

Get all the essential documents together

In a divorce, even little details count. From the mortgage documents to cash sources, make a copy of every valuable document and keep them safe; somewhere away from your husband’s reach. Make a point of keeping evidence of worthy possessions as well before you file, just to be safe.

Take pictures of assets of value, track and make copies of bank statements, keep electronic copies of all the documents you’ll need, and have them backed up. You never know, they might come in handy if expensive belongings ‘conveniently’ go missing during settlement.

12. Think about the kids

The welfare of your children, if you have any, should take precedence over all else if you’re leaving your husband. It’s not enough to say “I want to leave my husband?” what about your kids? How is this going to affect them and can you handle being a single parent? How do you break the news to them, can you cater for them on your own without child support?

Is joint custody an option? In case your partner is abusive, can you guarantee their safety in your absence? All these and more are questions you have to answer before you take the next step. You have to factor them in every step of the way, including the verdict on where you’ll live after the split.

13. Change your passwords and get a new forwarding address

You’ll need to make a lot of changes no doubt, especially if you prefer to keep your spouse in the dark about your plans while you make arrangements. It is not uncommon to share sensitive information like passwords and pins with the person you considered your life partner.

If this defines your relationship with your husband, then you need to start taking your privacy back, one password at a time. From your social media and bank accounts to your insurance beneficiaries, change and update what you need to before you leave. While you are at it, change your mail forwarding address as well, so he doesn’t catch a whiff of your plans by accident.

14. Make a new budget to suit your post-divorce lifestyle

Depending on how much money you have to fall back on, chances are that you might have to adjust to a new standard of living after your split. Many women get by fine after filing for divorce, but not everyone gets to be so lucky. A way to even your odds is to start preparing from now.

Based on your income, estimate how much you’ll need to get by, and cut back where it’s needed. If you have children, make provision for their care. Budget for every possible expense plus miscellaneous ones, and balance it with an extra source of income if your current pay won’t be enough. It’s a lot of responsibility to take on, but at least you’ll be free.

15. Confide in people you trust

There is a time for keeping to yourself, and there is a time to speak out. No matter how you look at it, deciding to split your family is a massive step to take, even if it was your decision. Even if it’s the best move for your safety, mental health, and overall happiness, you will have doubts. Anxiety will set in, you’ll get cold feet; it’s all part of the process.

Nevertheless, no rule says you have to go through it all alone. Lean on people you trust in this difficult time, family members, or friends, anyone who can offer listening ears. Preferably those who have successfully gone through a divorce, and can keep your secret from your husband.

16. Consult a divorce coach

Whether or not you have the luxury of confiding in a loved one, you cannot get too much emotional support in this difficult time. Divorce coaches come highly recommended, and you should consider consulting one before you leave your husband. Like a good therapist, they can offer you much-needed guidance from an objective point of view.

A divorce coach can answer all your questions on standby, they cost less than an attorney, and will generally make things easier for you during the whole process.

17. Start packing

With an exit strategy, a financial plan, and your kids’ welfare in the bag, you can now move on to the physical tail end of the process. Starting with the small stuff or all at once, it’s time to pack your belongings from the home you share with your spouse.

If your husband is still not in on your plan to leave or there are still some lingering emotions between you, you might want to do it when he isn’t around. You could also ask some friends to come around while you pack if your situation warrants it.

18. Finally, leave

Eventually, the D-day you’ve been planning towards will come, and it is left to you to choose which way best suits your situation. If what you are leaving behind is an abusive situation, then you couldn’t get out of there fast enough. Otherwise, you may decide whether to have that conversation you’ve been putting off with your husband or to leave without so much as a note.

Before you decide, though, consult your divorce coach/attorney regarding the laws of your country concerning spousal abandonment and how it may affect your settlement.

19. Settle into life after separation

When you finally leave your husband, single and finally free, all that is left is to settle into your new life, make no mistake, it won’t all be rosy. You’ll have lonely nights and probably busier days. You’ll have to do all your grocery shopping by yourself, and there will be days when you’ll miss your old life.

You’ll be free, probably happier, and ready to start the next step. Between the financial and emotional rollercoaster, getting back on your feet will take time. Your life will take another shape entirely, but in the end, it’ll be worth it.


How do I prepare to leave my husband?

The bulk of the preparation to do when you want to leave your husband is covering every basis. Plan for your welfare and that of your kids, if you have any. Contact a divorce coach, gather all the vital paperwork, keep evidence of valuable assets, save some money, and prepare yourself emotionally to leave.

How do you know when your marriage is really over?

You know it’s over when you and your spouse are no longer a team, just two people sharing the same roof. When neither you nor your husband shows interest in putting in the work required to keep the family together... When you feel like you’ve tried everything, but nothing is working, then you know it’s over.

How do I leave my husband if I have no money?

Some organizations provide shelter and financial support for women who leave their husbands without money. You can plan and save ahead of the split, or rely on your loved ones for help until you can get on your feet. You can also enlist social services and an attorney regarding financial aid and alimony.

Why is it so hard to leave my husband?

Many women find it hard to leave their husbands, and understandably so. It is not easy to turn your back on years of emotional, financial, and mental investment, even if it is the right thing to do. Factors such as family and financial background, as well as religious beliefs also contribute to the decision.

What are the signs of a toxic marriage?

Your marriage is toxic if it consistently leaves you feeling mentally and emotionally drained. When you’re chronically unhappy in your relationship with the person who is supposed to be your partner in love and when your marital home is filled with nothing but anger, judgment, and hostility; that relationship is toxic.

To Conclude

How about that, huh? Deciding to leave your husband is hard enough without having to worry about doing it right. No one deserves to be trapped in marriage, this list is a boon to women who have decided that leaving is the right choice. If you found this article helpful, do other women like you the favor of sharing it, and please leave a comment while you are here.

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April Maccario
I'm a huge nerd when it comes to understanding how relationships between men and women work, and what drives a certain behavior. I spend much of my time getting into the nitty-gritty and try to share my findings on this site with the hope of making life a little easier for women that are struggling in their relationships or love life.

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