Why Women Leave Men – ALSO – Why Men Leave Women

Why? LetterpressHere are some of the reasons women leave men and then we’ll follow with some of the reasons men leave women:

  • “I hurt all the time because I feel alone and abandoned.”
  • “My husband is no longer my friend.”
  • “The only time he pays attention to me is when he wants sex.”
  • “He’s never there for me when I need him the most.”
  • “When he hurts my feelings he doesn’t apologize.”
  • “He lives his life as if we weren’t married; he rarely considers me.”
  • “We’re like ships passing in the night, he goes his way and I go mine.”
  • “My husband has become a stranger to me —I don’t even know who he is anymore.”
  • “He doesn’t show any interest in me or what I do.”

Women tend to be more concerned about their marriages than men. They buy most of the books on marriage to try to improve them and initiate most marriage counseling. They often complain about their marriages to their closest friends and sometimes to anyone who will listen. And they also file for divorce twice as often as men.

Why do women seem so dissatisfied with marriage? What do they want from their husbands? What bothers them so much about marriage that most are willing to risk their families’ future to escape it? Why do women leave men?

Each day I’m confronted by women who are extremely frustrated with their marriages. They usually express no hope that their husbands will ever understand what it is that frustrates them, let alone change enough to solve the problem. From their perspective, marital problems are created by their husbands who do little or nothing to solve them. Wives tend to see themselves as the major force for resolving conflicts, and when they give up their effort, the marriage is usually over.

When I talk to their husbands, they usually have a very different explanation as to why their wives feel the way they do. They often feel that the expectations of women in general and their wives in particular, have grown completely out of reach. These men, who feel that they’ve made a gigantic effort to be caring and sensitive to their wives, get no credit whatsoever for their sizable contribution to the family. They feel under enormous pressure to improve their financial support, improve the way they raise their children, and improve the way they treat their wives. Many men I see are emotionally exhausted and feel that for all their effort, they get nothing but criticism.

The simpler role of husbands in decades past has now been replaced by a much more complex and confusing role, especially in their relationship with their wives. Some conclude that women are born to complain and men must ignore it to survive. Others feel that women have come to expect so much of men that they’re impossible to please, so there’s no point in even trying. Very few men, these days, feel that they’ve learned to become the husbands that their wives have wanted, and the job seems to be getting more and more difficult.

Grounds for Divorce: Men’s perceived failure to satisfy their wives is punctuated by the fact that women file for divorce twice as often as men. In other words, their unhappiness with marriage often results in divorce. The most common reason women give for leaving their husbands is “mental cruelty.” When legal grounds for divorce are stated, about half report they’ve been emotionally abused. But the mental cruelty they describe is rarely the result of their husband’s efforts to drive them crazy. It’s usually husbands being indifferent, failing to communicate and demonstrating other forms of neglect.

Another reason for divorce reported almost as much as mental cruelty is “neglect” itself. These include both emotional abandonment and physical abandonment. Husbands that work away from the home, sometimes leaving their wives alone for weeks at a time, fall into this category.

When all forms of spousal neglect are grouped together, we find that it’s far ahead of all the other reasons combined that women leave men. Surprisingly few women divorce because of physical abuse, infidelity, alcoholism, criminal behavior, fraud, or other serious grounds. In fact, I find myself bewildered by women in serious physical danger refusing to leave men that threaten their safety. Simply stated, women leave men when they’re neglected. Neglect accounts for almost all of the reasons women leave and divorce men.

I have little trouble convincing most men that verbal and physical abuse are legitimate reasons for their wives to leave. And there has been increasing social pressure on men lately to avoid hurting their wives physically and verbally, which makes my job even easier. But neglect is a much tougher sell, and it’s also much more difficult to overcome than abuse. While it’s the most important reason women leave men, it’s hard to convince men that it’s a legitimate reason, something they should avoid at all costs.

Some of the common complaints I hear from women is, “He ignores me except when he wants sex, he sits and watches television when he could be talking to me, he rarely calls me to see how I’m doing, he hurts my feelings and then never apologizes: Instead, he tells me I’m too sensitive.”

Most husbands are mystified by these complaints. They feel that their wives demand too much, and that most other women would be ecstatic if married to them. Their wives have become spoiled, take their efforts for granted and have unrealistic expectations.

Do women expect too much of their husbands or are men doing less for their wives than they should? I’ve proven to husbands over and over again that their wives usually don’t expect too much of them, and when they understand and respond to their wives’ frustration, the complaining ends and a terrific marriage begins.

What’s more, their wives aren’t expecting more effort from them. Instead, they expect efforts in a different direction. It isn’t more difficult to please women these days; it simply requires a change in the priority of effort.

What are women looking for in men? They want a soul mate, someone they trust who’s there for them when they have a problem, who takes their feelings into account when decisions are being made. Someone to whom they feel emotionally connected.

I use a house as an illustration to help husbands understand how their wives feel. Each room in the house represents one of the husband’s roles in life. There’s a room for his job as a production manager, there’s another for golf, another for his new sports car, one for his garden, one for his children, one for church, and, yes, one for his wife.

As he makes his way through an average day, he visits various rooms when he’s faced with the role the room defines. And when he’s in a certain room, the others are blocked out of his mind so that he can focus his undivided attention on the role he plays at the time. He does his best when he’s not faced with distractions, and prefers to deal with each problem with all his energy and creativity so that he does the best he can in each role he plays.

The wives of most men are only one of many rooms in this imaginary house. It represents the “husband” role. When they’re in that room, they usually try to give their wives undivided attention and make a special effort to meet their needs. They also go to that room to have their own needs met, particularly the need for sex.

What frustrates wives most is that they’re relegated to only one room in their husbands’ imaginary house instead of every room. In other words, they want to be integrated into a man’s entire life, not relegated to one corner. Without such integration, there can be no emotional bonding, uniting of the spirit, feeling of intimacy, and in many cases, no sex.

To help husbands learn to avoid this unpleasant outcome, I’ve tried to show them how to become and stay emotionally connected to their wives by inviting them into each room of their house. They learn to become more than the role of “husband” to their wives. They learn to integrate their wives into every aspect of their lives.

When I counsel a husband, I explain that he’s to invite his wife into each room of his house. Regardless of his role or responsibility, his wife should be considered in each decision he makes. Once the invitation is made, the results are startling!

When a husband invites his wife into each room of his house, she helps change his priorities. She reminds him that her feelings are very different from his. As a result, he begins to live his life in a way that’s compatible to her needs and values. He learns how to avoid habits that cause his wife to be unhappy, and he learns how to meet her most important emotional needs. He also learns how to give his undivided attention to her and schedule time to be alone with her.

THE POLICY OF JOINT AGREEMENT: To help men integrate their wives into each room, I’ve encouraged husbands to follow the Policy of Joint Agreement: NEVER DO ANYTHING WITHOUT AN ENTHUSIASTIC AGREEMENT BETWEEN YOU and YOUR SPOUSE.

This policy helps men take their wives’ feelings into account whenever they make a decision. They avoid thoughtless habits, learn to meet emotional needs with mutual enjoyment and resolve their conflicts. All of this creates marital compatibility and emotional bonding.

The word “anything” in the policy applies to all the activities of a husband that go on in each of his rooms. So whenever he follows it, he learns to think about his wife’s reaction to everything he learns to think about his wife’s reaction to everything he does, not just what goes on in the “husband” room.

Some argue that just an agreement would be a big help, why insist on enthusiastic agreement? It’s because I want couples to avoid agreements that are coerced or self-sacrificing. I want couples to learn how to come to agreements that take both of their interests into account at once. I’ve encouraged couples to continue to negotiate until they arrive at an enthusiastic agreement because they’re the ones that stand up to the test of time.

Most men complain that if they invite their wives into every room of their imaginary houses, their wives will take over completely and they’ll lose all their peace and freedom. They imagine their identities shriveling away and find themselves a shadow of their former selves. But the Policy of Joint Agreement prevents that unfortunate outcome. Joint agreement means that both husband and wife must be enthusiastic together, and no one risks losing their identity or subjecting themselves to slavery when they themselves must be enthusiastic about each decision. The goal is to become united in purpose and spirit, not to overpower or control each other.

How easy is it? Couples that are already emotionally bonded have little or no trouble following this policy because they’ve already learned how to behave in sensitive and caring ways in each of their life’s roles. But emotionally distant couples have great difficulty with the policy at first. They’re accustomed to doing what they please regardless of its effect on each other, especially when they play certain roles. But if they follow the policy for even one day, they begin to see how their thoughtlessness has created emotional distance.

As couples apply the policy to each of their daily plans and activities, they begin to feel cared for by each other and are encouraged by each other’s thoughtfulness. Over time, their emotional binding becomes more and more firm, and the policy becomes easier and easier to follow as they become soul mates.

Men who follow the Policy of Joint Agreement think about their wives throughout the day, because as they make decisions they ask themselves how their wives would feel. Phone calls are made whenever there’s doubt. As time passes, these men become increasingly sensitive to their wives’ feelings. If men consider their wives feelings in each decision they make, asking their wives when there’s any uncertainty, they create a compatible lifestyle.

The Policy of Joint Agreement helps create understanding, emotional bonding, intimacy and romantic love in marriage. Men that learn to take their wives feelings into account meet their most important emotional needs. They also learn to overcome the selfish habits that make their wives so unhappy, because these habits don’t meet the standard of mutual agreement. Over time, they experience what every couple hopes to create in marriage: A loving and compatible relationship.

A woman doesn’t leave the man who has invited her into every room of his house. That’s because she doesn’t stand outside the rooms of his house feeling like a stranger. She’s welcomed into his entire home as his cherished life partner.

The above article was featured a while back in New Man Magazine, which provides wisdom and encouragement to men from the approach of real masculinity and Christianity. Even though this is an American Magazine, it also provides international subscription services which you can learn about on their web site at Newmanmag.com, plus you can read some very interesting articles there also.

Dr Willard Harley, who is a well known author and speaker, also has a great web site that you may want to check out at www.marriagebuilders.com because it has a lot of very helpful articles plus a Discussion Forum that is also available for your use.

— AND —

For those of you who want to know why men leave women, the article we found is posted on the E-Harmony web site. To read what they have posted on this subject (plus comments they have posted below the article), please click onto the link below to read:


If you have additional tips you can share to help others in this area of marriage, or you want to share requests for prayer and/or ask others for advice, please “Join the Discussion” by adding your comments below.


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94 responses to “Why Women Leave Men – ALSO – Why Men Leave Women

  1. Well, nowadays women are sleeping around more than ever, and that is very sad for us serious men looking for one woman to settle down with.

  2. I wish I could report that this is sensible advice and that this will work in the 21st century, but I can’t. This is from a husband who tried for years and years to make his wife happy, then if not happy at least just mollified. It led to late passionate nights for us all right. If you consider arguments long into the night passionate. The one place it didn’t lead was where I desperately wanted to go, the bedroom. We’re divorced now, and I’m reduced to be the sort of dad that I never ever wanted to be.

    Much of this boils down to “make her happy” which is nothing more than an ever growing black hole that will totally wreck any man that tries it. Not only will this approach emotionally exhaust him as he tries to meet an ever growing and often contradictory list of demands, and that is what it is, of behaviors from his wife, it isn’t going to lead him to some sort of promised land. The problem is that women, in fact, are generally placing demands on a man that he’s neither meant nor suited for.

    “I hurt all the time because I feel alone and abandoned.” Yet your $200,000 home with $100,000 of all the latest stuff inside is getting paid for, right?

    “My husband is no longer my friend.” Fair enough, why don’t you ask him to go do stuff with him? You have by now made your opinion of his friends obvious.

    “The only time he pays attention to me is when he wants sex.” In the past a man coming in from the fields, washing up, and wanting sex after dinner was considered normal.

    “He’s never there for me when I need him the most.” No wonder, you never have sex with him anyway.

    “When he hurts my feelings he doesn’t apologize.” It doesn’t matter if he does or not, at this point you are going to hold it against him any way.

    “He lives his life as if we weren’t married; he rarely considers me.” How often do you consider his needs? Sex became icky about a year after marriage unless you wanted a baby, right?

    “We’re like ships passing in the night, he goes his way and I go mine.” Well, you aren’t having to touch him, which is what most women seem to want after they marry.

    “My husband has become a stranger to me —I don’t even know who he is anymore.” Nope, remember he liked watching football and baseball before you got married. It was you that started demanding more and more for what you gave away freely before you married.

    “He doesn’t show any interest in me or what I do.” So find friends that do. Just because you married doesn’t mean that all of your interests and hobbies are the same. Were you perhaps confused and believed you were marrying another woman?

    1. I think your wife made absolutely the right decision in leaving you. Your comments strike me as being selfish, insensitive, dismissive of her needs and feelings, and the opposite of kind, caring, loving. If God worked a miracle, you might change, but I’m guessing your wife knew this leopard wouldn’change his spots anytime soon.

      1. I think we should be careful to justify anyone leaving his or her spouse…after all we have no idea of the true story or what GODs plan is. I do believe J is misguided in his comments because nothing he mentioned was based on loving her unconditionally and vice versa. This simple principle is hard for some to grasp which is why GODs spirit has to be in both husband and wife in order for a marriage to reach its full potential. However as the husband it is our job to lead the family in love as GOD intended and let HIS spirit live in us to begin living in our wife.

        This principle I unfortunately hadn’t learned early in my marriage and now my wife is convinced I do not love her and therefore she wants to move on from this marriage. However I know what GOD can do and who HE is. As HE changes my heart to love unconditionally I will believe that HE will touch her heart to see HIS spirit in me.

    2. J from United States is spot on! I am convinced that the decades-long notion of chasing each other’s needs is the single reason for the sorry state of marriage today. There is simply no end to fulfilling the emotional needs of any person who has no concept of his or her own emotional self-agency and responsibility, let alone the ability to manage his or her own internal emotional dialogue.

      Today’s adults have been raised to expect that their needs should somehow be met by the one they are attracted to. This needs-based concept of relationships and the enduring “meet my needs or else…” mentality it produces only destroys marriages and offers no possible hope for the success of any intimate relationship. Individual’s needs as expressed in today’s relationship discussions are infinite, undetermined, and even arbitrary when an emotionally immature person expects these needs to be satisfied by another person. It’s absurd.

      Only a person who has the awareness, maturity, and the conscious integrity to support themselves emotionally in order to join – and remain joined – to another along the journey of life, possess the true character to be a real spouse. If your spouse lacks this character, you are married to little more than an obstinate child. Marriage is only for real emotionally competent adults who can contribute to one another. It’s long past time to get off the crazy train of “meet my needs”. The worst advice ever.

    3. I’m so sorry to see that even after a divorce, you still cannot take any responsibility for any part you may have had. The comment that prompted me to respond was: “I hurt all the time because I feel alone and abandoned” to which you replied “yet your $200,000 home with $100,000 of all the latest stuff inside is getting paid for, right?” This is the one that drives me crazy! Guys just can’t seem to understand that it’s NOT about money or possessions. Providing for your woman and providing love for your woman are two entirely different things. Money cannot buy your woman’s love nor can it buy her happiness. Eventually she is going to want,and should have, more of the little things like, kisses and cuddles and all the things that show her that she is irreplaceable to you.

      When a woman says she feel alone and abandoned, trust me she knows that you provide for her monetarily, but what she really wants is you to show her that love, affection and attention that you used to show her all the time. I just hope for your own happiness with future women that someday you can look at the big picture and see that you very well may have had an important role in why your marriage ended. Maybe she wasn’t just crazy and unpleasable like you may think.

    4. Yes… you are describing the feminist thinking in it’s total clarity. Entitled, often selfish attitude of woman…men can and do try, but woman can be emotionally exhausting and often don’t even know what they themselves want because their roles in culture have been so confused. Happy one day, miserable the next. Darn bipolar culture. Woman often are thinking well if he changes and makes an effort, so will I…. ha, ha, yeah, right. If your wife is emotionally immature or damaged chances are nothing will change even if you do try, until she makes a decision to transform her life and thinking.

  3. We have only been married for more than a year yet it feels like as if we’ve been fighting all our lives. It’s very obvious to the both of us that the main cause is my impulsiveness and short temperedness. I want everything my way and he always says I’m a spoiled brat. Aside from this, I’ve got no stable job since we got married. And he is left to pay all our bills.

    To be really honest, I feel so down and depressed of not having a job to support my personal needs. He thinks I’m being stubborn and lazy while he works so hard for our future. We have no kids yet and everyday I’m left alone at home. His job is very demanding and tidious that most of the time he feels he has no time to relax at all. When he arrives home he opts to be alone to relax. He doesn’t want to engage in any conversation with me unless it is his interest.

    Lately he has been going out with his friends for a drink and goes home between 2 am to 5 am in the morning. When I question him why, he says he has been working 6 days a week and that he needed some time to relax. I get angry because we rarely go out and yet he makes time for his friends. He says he doesn’t want to be with me because I’m a war freak and he is stressed out when he’s with me. I admit I get upset easily and that’s when we start to fight. I get upset because I feel neglected and unwanted.

  4. My husband and I had been married for more than 25 years. For a lot of years we follow ” His needs and her needs.” We used to have date nights and he used to bring me flowers or chocolates. We have been doing ministry in a difficult and very stressful area for 18 years.

    Ten years ago he started drinking heavily. Then I found out that he is suffering from depression. His drinking became a burden to me and to our 4 grown up girls. I started losing sleep because I worry about his health and the side effect of alcohol since he is taking an anti-depressant, sleeping pills and anti-anxiety medicine.

    He became emotionally distant. I thought we have very good marriage and a lot of people say we are a perfect couple with a beautiful family. Recently he said that the song” wake me up inside” by Evanescense is what he has been feeling for ten years and that story “Silver Chair” by CS Lewis is very similar to what is happening to him.

    His depression is affecting our marriage and he said he does not have emotion or feel any love towards me. He has been sleeping in his office. He said he is very confused. We still live like husband and wife but I am afraid to lose him because of his mental sickness. Please pray for our family.

  5. I only have one thing to say. You stated in this article that men often say they feel that for all their effort all they get it criticism. So basically they stop trying. As for myself and most other women I’ve talked to who have been unsatisfied in their marriages. The criticism has usually only started after our men have started ignoring us. By ignoring us, I mean that they come home from work and get on their computers or make plans with friends or do something other than spend time with their wives.

    Their wives either work full time or spend the entire day taking care of household tasks and taking care of the kids if they have any, and all their husband does when he gets home is plop himself in front of the computer or TV, wait for his dinner to be cooked, eat, MAYBE butter his wife up for sex, go to bed. The wife is left cleaning up the kitchen. But then men complain that all women do is criticise them. I’m sorry, but I’m no man’s maid that he happens to have sex with. Husbands and wives are supposed to be friends and partners.

    Of course men don’t think anything is wrong with the marriage, as long as the wife is there to clean up after him, cook for him, and have sex with him when he wants it. And most women I know, including myself, are NOT exaggerating the scenario. We really are left with most of the daily work around the house, no matter if we’re housewives or career-minded women. How can any man expect his women to be excited about bedroom action when he ignores her outside of the bedroom…or when he DOES pay attention to her outside of the bedroom, it’s for the soul purpose of scoring points to earn bedroom action?

    1. Wow! I couldn’t have said that any better! Exactly how my marriage is and that is why I am getting divorced. He sees nothing wrong with the marriage as long as I continue to do everything for him, when he wants it. God forbid I am tired, or sick. Well after 25 years of this, I have had enough. Yes I have lost respect for him, but I gained respect for myself!

    2. It gets frustrating, especially after 25 years. Not only do I manage 98% of the house, I also have a lot of negativity coming from him. He mocks me if I ask if we can pray before dinner. I no longer tell him if he does anything to upset me because he will store that information away to try and pin on me and say “See, you do it, too!” If I suggest outings or doing anything I get “Why would I (we) want to do that?!” I am trying to make a life for myself with friends and stay out of his way as much as possible. I spent years being available to him and trying to do everything for his convenience, but he always finds something to get mad about. He refused to dance with me a a wedding. He tried to get out of going at the last minute, too. I usually go by myself, but this was an important one. Then he wouldn’t dance with our teenage daughter for the father/daughter dance although she was asking him and standing in front of him the whole time. He doesn’t even care if I have a plate in my hand of dinner and have not even sat down to eat, he’ll argue and ask pointed questions about the most mundane things while my blood sugar is dropping and my feet are aching from grocery shopping. Asking him to do something gets such a resentment or outright attitude “You mean, now?” I love him and am sad. At least I realize that it’s him and not me that is the problem, as I believed for years. His parents are the same as him.

  6. What happens when the rooms in the mans house do not feature any of the mans qualities or belongings? Not that one is perfect but the Mother of your offspring and even the offspring are working on only needing him when it is convenient and is meeting there needs and almost none of your own? Would that he was comfortable in any of the rooms, which are taken up by the space of her happiness. Is he not to understand the agreement was made with vows such as til death do we part in front of our Heavenly Father?