Written by Michele Weiner-Davis
Each year over one million marriages will end in divorce. But here is something you might not know. Over two thirds of those divorces were filed for by women. Astonishing? Not really. There are many reasons women are walking away in droves. So, what’s at the root of the “Walk Away Wife Syndrome?”
Early in marriage, women safeguard relationships. They make certain that closeness and connection are an integral part of the marriage. If not, women set out to improve things. If their efforts are not successful, women become extremely unsatisfied and start complaining about nearly everything. For example, they chide their husbands about uncompleted chores, lack of parental involvement, how free time is spent and so on. However, complaints rarely lead men to want to spend more time with their wives. Men generally go into their caves. Marriages deteriorate even more with this sort of withdrawal.
After years of banging her head against the wall, a woman eventually surrenders and convinces herself that change isn’t possible. She becomes convinced that there’s absolutely nothing she can do. That’s when she starts to plan her exit strategy.
While she’s planning her escape, she stops trying to fix her relationship. She resigns herself to living with the status quo until “D Day.” Unfortunately, her husband believes that “no news is good news,” and assumes that the problems are resolved. That’s why, when she finally announces that she wants a divorce, her husband replies, “I had no idea you were unhappy.”
Then, even when her husband makes real and lasting changes, she typically believes that it’s too late. In fact, she thinks he is just manipulating her. That’s because she has built an impenetrable wall to shield her from pain and disappointment. The relationship is unquestionably at risk.
If you are a woman who fits this description, please don’t give up. You need to know that just because you have been thinking that you had tried everything to get through to your husband, you have probably only “said” everything. And since men are generally more action-oriented than they are verbally oriented, your words have gone in one ear and out the other.
It is only when you file for divorce- take an action- that you have your husband’s attention. And when you truly have his attention, miracles can happen. I have seen this occur many, many times. Countless men transform their lives once they truly understand how unhappy their wives have been. Their determination to turn things around can be astounding. It makes sense that you are cautious right now, however, many husbands have told me that they intend to maintain their positive changes whether or not there’s a divorce because they feel much better about whom they are as husbands and fathers.
So, give your husband one more chance. Let him prove to you that things can be different. Keep your family together. Divorce is not a simple answer. It causes unimaginable pain and suffering. It takes an enormous amount of energy to face each day. Why not take this energy and learn some new skills and make your marriage what you’ve wanted it to be for so long?
If you’re a man reading this and your wife has been complaining endlessly, thank her. It means she still cares about you and your relationship. She’s working hard to build your connection. Make your relationship the number one priority. Spend time with her. Talk openly to her. Compliment her. Pay attention. Acknowledge all she does for you and your family.
But if your kind efforts seem to push your wife away from you, stop pursuing her for a while. You need to give her the space she needs to think things over. Be patient. If you consistently show her that you have changed and she keeps her eyes and heart open, she just might give your marriage another try.