What to do if your husband leaves you

9 Kick-Ass Things To Do If Your Husband Leaves You

Adulting isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, especially when painful adult experiences throw you back into an emotional childhood. If your husband leaves you, for example, you may feel the somatic eruption of memories from long ago. Abandonment. Disapproval. Rejection. Being unwanted… and the last to be chosen (if chosen at all).

It’s remarkable, really, how instantly a painful experience can connect the dots separated by a veritable lifetime.

Your psyche, though, never forgets. It stores the most affecting memories in every cell of your body.

Even if your husband leaves you and you have no point of reference for the emotional flood, the abandonment will still be all-consuming.

And with that abandonment and the litany of emotions tied to it comes a wave of destruction to all that is self-defining.

Your self-esteem, your self-worth, your self-confidence, your dreams for the future, your belief that you can survive…even your identity. They all take a beating.

Perhaps the most egregious feeling that comes from abandonment is powerlessness. 

With the swipe of one person’s actions, you become helpless to control a huge part of your own life. And you’re left standing alone with that new reality.

Is there anything you can do to re-empower yourself if your husband leaves you?

You know, don’t you, that we are here to restore the inherent yes in your life?

This is the place where others who have already earned their stripes are going to surround you and lift you up with a resounding “Absolutely!”

Here are 9 powerful things you can do now if your husband leaves you and you are feeling powerless:

  1. Be TOO proud to beg.

    It doesn’t matter what your husband has done or why he has chosen to leave. In the movie Where the Heart Is, Ashley Judd’s character says to a young mom-to-be (Natalie Portman), “I know [he] left you. But that’s what makes him trash, not you.”

    If your husband leaves you, he does so with forethought and planning. And trust us, you are above begging for that kind of base energy to come back into your life.

    Do. Not. Beg.

  2. Document, document, document.

    This isn’t about revenge – although success and happiness earned through integrity make for the suh-weetest revenge!

    This is about being smart and protecting yourself and your children.

    If you’re going to have to look out for yourself going forward, the time to rehearse is now.

    Save everything. Documents, emails, texts, voice messages (let your voicemail pick up instead of answering your phone), pictures, everything.

    Keep a dedicated journal for documenting dates, times, communication, and financial actions.

    Basically, be a grown-up Girl Scout: Be prepared. You’ll reap the merit badge in the battle to come. Read our “If You are Thinking About Divorce: Important Steps to be Prepared.

  3. Think like a lawyer, but hire a really good one.

    This isn’t the time to DIY your future. There is too much at stake if your husband leaves you.

    Chances are he has been preparing for a while, and that means you have catching up to do.

For both healthy and smart things to do if you are thinking about divorce, or not wanting to be taken advantage of, read our “36 Things to Do If You are Thinking About Divorce.”

It’s important that you learn to separate your emotions from the pragmatics of this severance.

By researching how to find a divorce attorney and in particular the right one for you, you will learn how to prepare for the most advantageous outcome.

  1. Join a support group, or two… or three.

    This is a time when you need support.You need the professional support of legal and financial experts. And you also need the emotional support of others who have been where you are.

    Be prudent about where and with whom you share this journey.

    Consider hiring a female divorce coach to keep you on-track through this painful and confusing journey.

    And join a group or two (one online and one in person, perhaps) to give you a sense of empathetic community.

    Annie’s Group, for example, is an online divorce support group and program for women who are thinking about or just beginning divorce. What a godsend opportunity to surround yourself with assurance, compassion, and guidance in a confidential place.

  2. Keep the details off social media.

    As I mentioned above, prudence is key at this time. You want support. You need support.

    And you also probably want to drag your husband through burning coals, literally and figuratively.

    But let’s review the previous two points: Think like a lawyer…and seek support in the right places.

    It’s all part of the next point…

  3. Take the high road.

    Remember Michelle Obama’s famous tagline? When they go low, we go high.

    Politics and political preference don’t even matter. It’s an awesome mantra to live by, no matter what the circumstances are.

    Taking the high road has nothing to do with acquiescence or playing weak.

    It has everything to do with staying out of the muddy trenches and connecting your energy only to people and choices of integrity.

    Never, ever, ever doubt that staying on high ground will deliver the best results.

    You may feel the temporary agony of delayed gratification, but stay true to what is right and good.

  4. Protect your kids and prepare for their future.

    If you have difficulty standing up for yourself or fighting for what you deserve, think about your kids (if you have them).How you navigate the aftermath if your husband leaves you is about more than just getting through the divorce process. You need to look far down the road while also checking your rear-view mirror.

    Children are expensive. They need health insurance, food, clothes, tuition, activity fees, college funds, and on and on.

    This is one of the most important reasons to build the strongest professional team you can afford.

  5. Find a new place to live.

    No matter how much you love your home, clinging to it will only keep you attached to someone who has abandoned you.This is the time to recreate yourself and your life.

    Give yourself permission to enjoy the creative process of choosing and nesting in a new place that belongs only to you (and your kids).

    Sure, you may have to downsize for the time being. But that just means less “stuff” to take care of while you do the following…

  6. Take really good care of you.

    If your husband leaves you, he may or may not ever look back.

    While it’s natural to want him to miss you and regret his actions, you are now in the process of clearing out his negative energy.

    Practicing self care is no longer about making his head turn in desire or regret.

    It’s about stepping out of rejection and abandonment with limitless energy, health, and self-confidence.

    Your kids need you, your friends need you, you need you.

    So, whatever that self-care looks like—exercise, good food, sound sleep, continuing education, spirituality/religion, hobbies, social gatherings—do it.


Abandonment is a vile, passive-aggressive form of rejection. It hurtsdeeply. And the wound doesn’t simply “heal” with time.

While there is no panacea for that kind of betrayal, one truth will ground you so you can step forward into healing:

The only abandonment with the power to destroy you is the abandonment of yourself.

And the only vow that must unequivocally last a lifetime is the “I do” you say to you.


Whether you are thinking about divorce, dealing with it, or recreating the life you deserve, one thing we see making a significant difference for women is the conscious choice to not do it alone. Since 2012, smart women around the world have chosen SAS for Women to partner them through the emotional, financial, and oftentimes complicated experience of breaking up and reinventing. 

SAS offers all women six free months of email coaching, action plans, checklists and support strategies for you—and your precious future. Join our tribe and stay connected.

Share these insights


  1. Veronica Anderson on December 25, 2022 at 03:41

    My boyfriend left me. He said he was going out of town to work but there was no job. I went to Calgary, where he was living and found out he was with his Ex. I’m hurt mad and lost. I put my all into a fake relationship.

  2. Monique on April 25, 2023 at 22:36

    My partner of 25 years went away on a business trip. He needed to ‘think things through’. He agreed we’d go to counselling once he had some time to see a counsellor himself. I was in therapy for four months waiting while he thought. He saw a therapist a few times, and then sent an email to say he didn’t want to see one together – it was over. A few weeks later, he was in a relationship with a woman a few years older than our daughter.

  3. Jean on May 26, 2023 at 23:03

    My husband of 18 years has gotten into the habit of every time we argue he will say “this isn’t gonna work”, “I’m not doing this anymore”, etc. I told him how upset it makes me and if he does want out tell me don’t threaten me. Oh, or he’ll walk around the house mumbling the comments. Today we fought and for the first time he actually left after I fell asleep, turned his phone off but then returned after just long enough to make me panic then get more angry. He’s 70 and I’m his 3rd marriage and I’m 60 and it’s my 2nd. No kids at home. He’s boxed me in financially as I have health issues that prohibit me working full time and he’s a complete control freak and has gotten worse. Side note, he knows I was verbally, mentally, and physically abused by my Mother and my 1st husband so I respond different than most in certain situations. This has been happening for quite awhile and instead of feeling “sad” I’m more worried how will I take care of myself, I wouldn’t even have a car as they’re in his name and I couldn’t afford a payment, heck I couldn’t even care for my furbabies! My only income in my name is my SSDI monthly and I’d be allowed to make an additional limited amount. I had always worked until I had to have 9 spinal surgeries and a Traumatic Brain Injury.

    • SAS for Women on May 31, 2023 at 16:50

      Hi,Jean, we hear your pain, confusion and fear. If you’d like to schedule a free consultation to discuss strategies, we’d welcome speaking with you.
      We can’t give you anything meaningful in a reply box to your dilemma. It’s going to take a dialogue so we understand more.
      Copy that link into your browser.
      We look forward to talking soon.

    • Natascha on January 29, 2024 at 18:31

      That’s so sad. 😢 I am 47, and have been in my relationship 8 yrs. I’ve always known what kind of piece of crap he is. However, it seems there’s 2 different sides to this man. Sometimes, he can be really sweet and still opens my door. But, he’s a bad alcoholic and drug addict. He’s a narcissist and a liar. Spends his entire paychecks on it. Has always lived with somebody, hop from couch to couch, clean or not. My daddy and I gave him a home 8 yrs ago. My daddy gave him money all the time. He died 2 yrs ago, and my now spouse of only 26 days, has left me again for the 13th time. We got married on Christmas day. He had asked me several times to marry him in the past, but he didnt mean it. For my Christmas present, he took me to the court house to get the marriage license. I too am sick and on SSI. I almost died the 1st time, 8 months after I lost my father, and again 3 months later. I have Cirrhosis/end stage liver disease. The reason I have stayed with him all this time was because I tried to love him like Jesus does. But, I guess it wasnt good enough. I’m all alone, and have not one family member or friend to even call to talk to. All I have is myself and God. 😢

  4. Jen on August 17, 2023 at 21:19

    These all sound like amazing steps…..for someone with money. We were barely affording like as it is. And now he’s off thinking about things while I’m left with this broken life and no life skills. I’d love to move. I’d love to have a lawyer. I’d LOVE to see a therapist. I’m lucky if I can afford to get milk.

  5. Shayne on September 24, 2023 at 00:45

    My live in partner is already decided that he will leave me we have 2 children and I don’t have any peso coin in my pocket then he told me that he want to support his children..how I could move on and how could I start a new biggining of my life together with my children I so much pain right now and my children ages 4 and 2 years old how could I found job because my children needs my present.how could I start my new life I don’t know what to do..

    • SAS for Women on September 24, 2023 at 17:26

      Hi, Shayne, because you have children, I urge you to consult with a local divorce attorney to learn your rights and to protect your kids. If you consult this legal directory http://www.avvo.com and pop in your zip code and “divorce attorney” you will find divorce attorneys near you. And some may offer you a free consultation. You need to ask the lawyer how do you best protect your kids and get child support for them? What legal action should you take? That would be the most immediate step. Don’t tell your partner you are doing this as it will maybe anger him. But you must protect your kids and yourself.

  6. Mary Jessie Medina on October 5, 2023 at 01:55

    Hello the link to find a local lawyer is wrong it takes you to some cigar online ordering website please fix this would be so helpful thank you.

    • SAS for Women on October 5, 2023 at 10:18

      Hello Mary Jessie, thanks for sharing that a link is not connecting to the right page. We can’t find what you are referring to in the article.
      We want to fix it, but we don’t see the error. Could you copy the article title and paragraph where that link is wrong? Thank you so much, The SAS Team.

  7. Sanga Martia on December 11, 2023 at 22:44

    What do you do when your husband is abusive…. and then you stick up for yourself? Once I didn’t want to argue because I had to go to work early the next morning. I left the room (the argument) and went to bed. I locked the door. He busted through the door (he was not done arguing) and poured a can of soda on my face while I was was tying to fall asleep. There was a lot of bad times but that one sticks out as such an example of disrespect. To be fair, after years of being treated like this I became my worst self. My self esteem was shot (no one likes you! he said. You’re a pathetic c*nt, I hate you!, I just want to get far away from you! All this and more.) Eventually I broke bad and gave a little back. I said things and did things I am not proud of. The thing is, I know I am not that person. I reacted badly. But still the black stain on my soul remains. To make matters worse, I am begging him to come back. Luckily, my health insurance kicks in next months and I can start therapy again.

  8. Helen on February 29, 2024 at 12:30

    My husband has been unfaithful several times. We have been married for 28 years and have 2 grown up children. I finally had enough in December and suggested we separate for a while and see how we feel. He has skipped off and loves his new batchelor life and has no intentions of coming back. He has cut me off. I know I am better off without an unfaithful man but he gave me security, love and happy times. I am now left struggling financially and working long hours. I miss him and I miss my old life. I feel robbed of the life I should be living.

  9. Cat on April 1, 2024 at 20:05

    I have 2 kids only one is my husband’s. We have been together since my oldest was a week old. We have been married 20 year. But two years ago I started hanging out with friends in a group. We played trivia together and occasionally different members got together to do different activities. Ride bikes line dance bar hope. I don’t drink so if I went out ever it was as th D.D. but always groups of three or more. The group was men and women ages 17 through 65 years of age. Kids didnt go to the bar. kids and grandkids joined events too.
    Anyhow one of the men is in a relationship and the other was in a rocky marriage which some how
    turned to me cheating with one or both.
    I’ve taken three pollygraph test passing each one. But my husband keeps on accusing me. He now is so obsessed with I must be lying because men and women can not be friend. Girlfriend and spouse of members of the group also hung out with us. It was a mixed group of people.
    Anyways Noone was ever one on one.

  10. michelle S Pedroni on April 3, 2024 at 23:10

    I have been married for 34 years. For the last 5 years, my husband leaves me. I spent last Thanksgiving and Christmas alone. He left me again last night. That is probably about the 50th time. Sincerely. He left last night after I gave him some advice. I am 62 and do not know what to make of the this situation.

    Here is my advice, to a younger female. If you see ANY red flags from the beginning of any bad behavior, please find the exit door.


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