What to do when your spouse blindsides you by wanting out of the marriage…

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“My wife has told me that she’s no longer happy and wants out.  I’m desperate and honestly, blindsided by this as I knew things weren’t great but didn’t realize they were this bad either.  I never saw this coming and am in shock.  I feel myself wanting to lash out at her from frustration and yet, beg for her to come back all at the same time.  I’m completely lost. What can I do?” 

Such a good question and one that we get, unfortunately all too often being the ICU unit for marriages.  But you’re in the right place and there are things you can do. 

First, accept the situation.  (Cringe) I know this is hard.  It’s perfectly normal to have a hard time accepting that your spouse feels the way they do.  And a common instinct is to try and convince them that things can get better. BUT, this is actually the worst thing you can do in your situation.  As alluring as it may be, getting angry, crying, begging and pleading will not change their mind and will not help improve your marriage. 

These types of reactions will only make you appear weak and out of control.   

If you want to save your marriage, you are not going to get there through pitty, cruel or dramatic actions.  Lashing out at her will only have a negative effect upon you both and things can quickly spiral out of your control.


Take some deep breaths.  


It’s okay for your spouse to know that you’re upset, but more important for them to know that you are in control of yourself and to be seen as approachable, someone that she wants to turn to, rather than run further away from. 

Second, accept that you are part of the problem.  This may have blindsided you, but you need to acknowledge that you played a role in the marital problems.  Take a step back and look at the situation from a 30,000 ft view.  How did you contribute to the situation?  What could you have done better on? 

The point isn’t to beat yourself up or drag yourself down with guilt, but to step up and own your part in it.  Taking responsibility is actually empowering, freeing and will alleviate the tension you feel.  It will also help you understand better where your spouse is coming from.  

When you can accept that the situation is what it is and you accept your part in it, much of the emotional distress you feel will dissipate and you will be in a clearer-thinking and feeling state to proactively move forward. 

Now, to understand exactly how to move forward in this situation, I would recommend getting immediate, qualified help from experts who have guided others through similar situations successfully.  If you need heart surgery, you wouldn’t go to your dog groomer or your dentist.  Get the help you need and do so fast because time is not usually a friend in these types of situations. 

Have you been blindsided by your spouse?  What helped get you through it?

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