My Husband Left Me: How To Move Forward In A Healthy Way After He Leaves

By ReGain Editorial Team|Updated June 23, 2022
CheckedMedically Reviewed By Karen Devlin, LPC

Few things can bring your world screeching to a halt, like when your spouse decides to leave: my husband left me. The intention of getting married is to have someone to spend your life with. When that bubble bursts and your husband leaves you, it shatters so many of the dreams and plans you had for your life once he has left. But your life is not over. Here are some tips on how to move forward healthily.

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Struggling To Move Forward After An Ended Marriage?
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Tips For When Your Husband Leaves

1. It's OK To Be "Not OK."

Your life has just been drastically changed. You may be tempted to put on a brave face and act like your OK, while inside, you feel like you're dying. You don't have to do that. It's OK to be not OK. In fact, it's normal.

You have to allow yourself time to grieve your marriage. And, the grieving process is going to take you through different stages. Some might take a long time to work through, and you might move through others quickly. That's normal.

You will probably have people that want to check in on you and make sure you're OK. If these people have been through a divorce or know someone who has, they may want to tell you how long things will take or their own experience. Don't get caught up in comparing your recovery process to others. It's different for everyone.

Eventually, you'll be OK. But it might take a while, and it's OK to struggle.

2. Take It One Day At A Time

When your husband left, your mind might have filled with all the things you have to figure out. You need to know how you will continue to pay the bills, raise your kids, and handle all of your other responsibilities. There's a lot that is going to demand your attention in the coming days. But don't get caught up in it all at once. Take it one day at a time.

Some days, there might be a lot that demands your attention. Some days, you might struggle to get out of bed. Then, other days, you might feel empowered and like you can conquer the world. It's normal to go back and forth, so focus on one day at a time. Please don't get caught up in figuring out how to make it through the coming year. Just take it one day at a time.

3. Accept That You Might Never Have The Answers That You Want

You probably have a lot of questions about why your husband left. And, you probably think that if you get the answers to those questions, you will be able to move on and be OK. It can be hard to accept that you probably won't get all the answers you want.

But know that you don't need those answers to move forward healthily. Healthily, it's better not to know all the answers. They can give you more things to have to deal with and recover.

4. Forgiveness Is Necessary

Forgiveness might be the farthest thing from your mind right now, and that's alright. However, there's going to come a day when you need to be able to forgive your ex-husband for being truly healthy in the future in your own life and with any relationships that you have.

It's important to know that you might never receive an apology. Your ex probably isn't going to ask for your forgiveness. But you don't need him to. This is something that you need to do for yourself, not him.

You may never feel like forgiving him, but you must do. Forgiveness is a choice, and when you make the decision and act on it, the feelings will eventually be there. Living in forgiveness will free you from some of the hurt in your divorce and allow you to move forward more healthily.

5. It's OK To Fake It A Little After Your Husband Leaves 

While it's true that "it's OK to be not OK," you don't always have to live like it. Feelings can be fickle, and we should let them control our lives. If we always act on our feelings, we can go down a dangerous road. You may find that there are times when you need to decide that you're going to pick yourself up, put on a happy face, and act like everything is better than it is. Sometimes when you do this, you will feel a boost in your mood inside. Your feelings will try to match the decision that you made.

One of the reasons why this works is because your behavior influences your feelings. When you decide and start to act on it, your insides might feel a little spark. Sometimes you have to fake confidence before it shows up.

6. Practice Self-Care

There's a reason why self-care is talked about so much these days. We live in such a busy world where we feel like we need to be constantly running. Women especially have a hard time making time for themselves. It's easy to get so caught up in making sure everyone else is OK and that they have what they need.

If your husband left and you have children to take care of, this might be where you find yourself. You're concerned about your kids and how they are going to adjust to the change. You want to do everything in your power to take their hurt away and make the situation easier on them. And, honestly, it's a little easier for you to deal with the situation when you can use your kids as a distraction from having to process through your pain.

But it would help if you took care of yourself during this time. You might be struggling to eat or not eat. You may be sleeping too much or not enough. And, it might be hard for you to want to do anything at all. Take time to figure out what you need to be healthy during this time. Several things are necessary:

  • Sleep - You need to be able to get rest at night. Your body needs to be able to refuel and get ready for the next day. Stress and anxiety can make it hard to sleep, but some things can help, like meditation, deep breathing, and you can ask your doctor about the use of medication to help you fall asleep during this time.
  • Eating right - Two extremes are easy to jump to when you go through major stress-eating too much or not eating enough. You may find that you're turning to food for comfort when dealing with your divorce. And, you might find that you're grabbing unhealthy foods, like hitting the drive-thru, because your schedule is extra busy as you adjust to life without your husband. This type of eating can hurt your physical body and mental health. Not eating enough can do the same thing. That's why you must focus on eating balanced meals and snacks.
  • Movement - This might not be the right time to take up a serious workout regimen, but exercise can help your mental health. As you exercise, you receive a boost in brain chemicals that improve your mood. Getting in better shape can also help boost your confidence which may have taken a major blow when your husband left.

After those three areas, there are plenty of other things that you can choose to do for self-care. Think about what activities help you to recharge and feel better. It could be taking the time to read a book, meditate or journal as a few examples.

7. Surround Yourself With A Support System That Isn't Your Husband

There's a chance that your major support system in the past was your husband. Now that he's gone, it's time to build a new one. Find family members and friends that you can turn to during those hard days. These can also be the people that get you out of the house and help you start having fun again when you're ready.

Make sure that these are people that you can trust with your feelings. Not everyone you come across is someone you should let on these deepest feelings and hardest days. But there will be some of those people that you can be completely open and honest.

Struggling To Move Forward After An Ended Marriage?

Conclusion

While a strong support system can help, a therapist can help by providing added support. And, not only will they be able to be a listening ear, but they can also provide you with helpful tips and strategies to move forward healthily. Being left by a spouse can leave you with a lot of emotional pain and doubts about yourself, and you're worth. A therapist can help you address these areas and recover. ReGain has therapists available 24/7 that can help you through this difficult and confusing time.

Therapist Reviews

“Dr. Anstadt is amazing. I appreciate him always reaching out to make sure things are going smoothly in between our sessions. He follows up and genuinely cares about my situation. I would recommend Dr. Anstadt to anyone who is seeking insight on coparenting and new relationships after divorce. Thank you for everything!”

“Christina was very helpful when I told her I left my spouse. I wasn't sure what I wanted, a divorce or reconciliation. She helped me start processing where I was, to where do I see myself, to what do I want, to how do I see myself getting obtaining these goals. She did not influence any of my decisions, but guided me with thought provoking questions. Throughout our short sessions, she continued to reassure me that she or someone else, would always be there for me. Thank you Christina for your professionalism, your guidance and your compassion to help others. I look forward to continuing my therapy sessions with you, as my goals are not yet met.”

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

What are my rights if my husband leaves me?

The rights afforded you will vary from state to state. Some states consider all marital property even and require as close to an even 50/50 split as possible. In contrast, others have extremely variable laws and rules regarding what occurs with a couple during a divorce.

The immersion of your lives will dictate some of the rights you are or are not afforded. If, for instance, you never fused your bank accounts during the course of your marriage, your money may not be touched by your husband, and you may not be able to touch any of his. If the two of you do not share property—you have your own cars, are renting your home, and have no shared investments—dividing your assets will be fairly straightforward and will likely mean allocating your existing property and assets. In other states, even if your lives were not fused, all marital property or all wealth accumulated during the marriage is to be split down the middle.

Determining your rights if your husband leaves you requires either reaching out to a lawyer or thoroughly investigating the laws in your country, state, or country. Marriage may seem simple enough when the two of you are in love and eager to spend your lives together. Still, the process of dissolving a marriage can be extremely confusing and difficult to navigate and often requires you to involve divorce mediators or a series of lawyers. If you are concerned about finances, mediators are often far less expensive than lawyers and provide a two-in-one service, offering both relationship and legal guidance.

What do you do when your husband suddenly leaves you?

Having your spouse suddenly leave you is always a challenge. When a partner unexpectedly leaves, it can feel as though the world you’ve built has come crashing down. Although you cannot avoid or replace the grief that will come crashing down on you, there are some steps to take to increase your chances of landing on your feet and recovering from the loss. These include:

  • Take stock. It might feel impossible to be practical in the days and weeks to come. Still, if you and your husband shared property, paid an equal share of the bills (or an unequal share), and have your finances tied together, you need to take stock of the financial responsibilities coming your way. If you have children, you also need to account for the expenses associated with your children. Take a few hours or even an entire day to evaluate how much money you need to survive and what financial responsibilities need to be taken care of.
  • Create a plan of action. Your plan of action might be to do the bare minimum for the next three months and wallow in your sorrow. That’s okay! As long as you create some plan that allows you to take care of your bills and fulfill basic responsibilities, you can take time to grieve and fully experience the pain of being left by your husband.
  • Ask for help. Whether you need help at work, at home, or with your mental health, make sure you reach out and ask for help when you need it. You may need to ask your parents or friends for help with housework and childcare. You may need to ask your boss if you can restructure your work schedule. You may need to ask a mental health professional to help you develop coping mechanisms to effectively and thoroughly deal with the mental and emotional aftermath of your husband leaving.
  • Take time. Recovering from emotional trauma and pain takes time. If your husband has left you unexpectedly, it is going to take time to heal. Ignoring your pain, forcing yourself to pretend everything is fine, or throwing yourself back into dating before you are ready are all great ways to delay healing and increase grief. It may be months, or it may be years, but make sure you give yourself plenty of time and grace as you learn how to heal and move on.

Although there is no one-size-fits-all approach to healing from unexpectedly being left by your husband, everyone who experiences such a dramatic upheaval of their life needs to give themselves time, grace, and a plan to tackle the daily responsibilities will face in the aftermath.

Do husbands come back after separation?

There are never guarantees when it comes to separation. For some partners, separation acts as a cooling-off period, in which the couple can better gather their thoughts, collect themselves, and move forward. For others, periods of separation are designed to result in permanent separation and divorce ultimately.

Several components can inform which couples make it past separation and which couples move forward with divorce. Couples who go into a separation already thinking about or planning to divorce are far more likely to follow through with divorce than those who do not. These couples likely move into separation less to get some space to think and more as a way to begin the divorce transition.

Ultimately, the best way to know where your husband is and what he’s thinking is to ask. When you separate, ask your husband where his head and heart are. Is he looking for some space to divide what to do about your relationship or evaluate your life? Or is he pursuing separation as the first in a series of stepping stones to move the two of you toward divorce? Suppositions might offer you some comfort but very rarely help you arrive at the most accurate conclusion. Straightforward, respectful, and considerate communication are the best avenues forward.

If you want your marriage to remain intact, and your husband is open to it, you are both likely to fare well if you involve some form of couple’s therapy or mediation. Although therapy cannot magically fix all of your marital problems, therapy can dramatically improve communication efforts and help the two of you conclude your separation that is best for your unique relationship and situation. If, after speaking to your husband, he communicates that he is not sure what he wants or has hope for your relationship, consider proposing therapy and asking your husband if he would be willing to attend therapy with you.

What are the signs that your husband no longer loves you?

The signs that your husband no longer loves you can be subtle, or they can be overt. In both cases, the signs that your husband no longer loves you will likely follow the same trajectory you follow when you have fallen out of love with someone. If the signs your husband is exhibiting match your own tell-tale signs of losing interest, you can reasonably conclude that your husband is in a similar boat. What are these common signs, exactly? Common signs of a crumbling relationship include:

  • Declining affection and intimacy. Sex and physical touch are certainly not everything in a marriage, but they can be powerful and consistent indicators of a couple’s interest in and devotion to one another. If your husband has suddenly stopped hugging you, kissing you, holding your hand, or initiating sex, it could indicate he is under stress or has some mental health and communication struggles of his own—or it could suggest that he is quietly distancing himself from the relationship.
  • He begins disappearing frequently. Marriages are not healthy if two partners only ever see each other. That being said, if your husband seems to be outside of the house constantly or seems almost reluctant to spend time with you, it could indicate that he is no longer in love or is no longer interested in being in a marriage.
  • He stops communicating with you. If calls and texts are few and far between or attempt to communicate are met with half-hearted responses or mere grunts of acknowledgment, it could indicate that something is amiss in your relationship. Communication is vital in a relationship, and someone who refuses to communicate may be inappropriately telling you that they are no longer interested in your relationship.

The exact signs that someone is no longer interested in a relationship will differ from person to person. Still, it is usually safe to assume that someone has lost interest in doing the marriage work if they are constantly absent, refusing to communicate, and denying or avoiding attempts to display affection and intimacy. If your husband is exhibiting the signs above, it may be time to have a heart-to-heart about the state of your relationship.

How do you know when your marriage is really over?

Not everyone experiences a sudden “knowing” about the end of their relationship. The end of a relationship can come on dramatically and unexpectedly when a partner announces without warning that they want a divorce. The end of a marriage can also come as a gradual understanding between your partner and yourself, at which point the two of you decide to split amicably. Although every marriage is different, some classic signs that your marriage is truly over include:

  • You and your partner are not interested in reconciliation. You cannot exist in marriage alone. If one or both of you is not interested in working on your relationship, it is usually safe to assume that the marriage is truly over.
  • Abuse is present. Abuse can take on many forms, and it has no place in a marriage relationship—or any other relationship. If abuse has gone on in your marriage, and it is either not addressed at all or has not been successfully addressed, it is time to determine that your marriage is over. Although many anonymous programs can assert that spouses merely work their own program instead of leaving an abusive spouse, abuse is never acceptable or appropriate, and your safety takes priority over your marriage.
  • Infidelity has been ongoing and unrepentant. People make mistakes, and not every single instance of infidelity warrants the end of a relationship. All relationships will endure difficult times, and infidelity may be a part of that. If, however, your spouse has continually cheated without remorse or has entered other relationships without express permission or a previous agreement, it may be time to acknowledge that your marriage has truly run its course.

Letting go of a marriage can feel impossible, particularly if your marriage is all you know or has taken up most of your life. Still, there are some instances in which a marriage cannot come back to life. If you are uncertain about the state of your own marriage, consider communicating your concerns to your partner or reaching out for professional relationship help.

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