I Want Out of My Marriage With My Husband But Feel Guilty

If you feel like you are cornered and need to escape your relationship, just know that getting out of a broken marriage with your husband may very well be in your best interest.

Of course, that is not always the case, but what if it was?  How would you know?

When can you be certain that the marriage is truly broken and without hope?

Can you ever know such a thing?

But before we rush to judgement and conclude that your marriage is going down the tubes and that you need to come up with an exit plan, let’s try to look at all possibilities.

Sometimes one’s emotions can run away, causing one to think that escaping out of marriage with your husband (or wife) is your only avenue.

emotions of marriage lifting away

Perhaps you and your husband are struggling on the sexual front, so you are thinking should I get out of a sexless marriage.

Perhaps you and your husband are fighting like wildcats to the point where you want out of an abusive marriage.

Maybe you are a woman who still loves her husband but knows that the future does not hold any promise, so you want of the marriage but feel guilty.

Getting Out of A Marriage Is Not As Easy As One May Think

running out of a damaged pairing

There are many tough marital situations women sometimes have to cope with, particularly if you know deep inside that you want to break things off with your husband but there are also extenuating circumstances.

Is It Time To Call It Quits

You may wish to run away and get out, but something could be pulling you in.

For example you may be overcome with uncertainty as to when to leave a marriage with kids.

Possibly your personal finances are very dependent on your husband which can throw a loop into your marital exit strategy.

Or you may still be on the fence.  There have been as many good times as bad times and you have not yet reconciled what it all means and whether you and your spouse can ever get on the same page.

So you may be asking yourself, “how will I know if  and when I should leave my husband”. 

I think it is important for you to know that you are not alone in your suffering.  There are plenty of other women who are indecisive about whether they wish to remain married.

Many women are plagued with doubts and feel guilty about calling it quits for all sorts of reasons.  Breakups, Separations and divorces come in all forms and flavors.  No one’s story is exactly the same, but there are often a lot of commonalities.

Let’s listen to a few other women weigh in on this topic before we get to some advice.

Chris we have been together for so long.  I am not even sure what to do with myself if I do follow through with leaving him.  I don’t even have a clue how to get back into the dating game.  Nor do I know what to say to my husband any longer.  All I know for sure is that I can’t continue this way.  We are way beyond having grown apart.  It’s like we coexist in the same house, barely tolerating each other.  Do you have any advice on how to leave a marriage after 20 years of an incredibly bumpy ride?

I am seeing it all now.  The unhappy marriage signs are flashing red and I need to get off of this train wreck of a relationship.  My husband is trigger happy with insults.  I am fed up with his crap and he is fed up with me and I simply don’t have the patience for this marriage anymore.  We have a kid so it’s not just about us splitting up but we need to consider how to end our bad marriage with a child without disrupting his life.

Look, all I want to know is how to leave a marriage peacefully because I can’t take this chaos anymore.  We have talked about ending the relationship.  We both agree we are part of hostile marriage.  Neither of us are giving an inch when we confront each other.  But privately, I am struggling with what it all means.  I feel guilty all the time for failing myself and failing him.   I know it’s not that simple and my husband did a lot of things (like his affair) that made this whole marriage a big joke.  I just don’t understand why I feel so bad when I should be thrilled with the prospect of getting him out of the house.

As you can see from these individuals it is not so easy to extract yourself from a damaged marriage.  Often, irrespective of how bad things may have gotten, there will be parts of you that may hold on to some hope that he will change….that he will get better…that he will learn from his horrible mistakes….that he can be trusted when he says he is going to make it work this time.

Sometimes it is the guilt and uncertainty that overcomes a wife as she struggles with whether what she is doing is right.  Many wives who I speak question whether she has done enough on her end and if they, as a couple, have exhausted all options.

It’s not unusual at all to get trapped inside you own head wondering “why do I feel guilty about divorce or separating from my husband.” 

Are Your Emotions Tearing You Apart

So feeling guilty over leaving a marriage or staying married out of guilt is not that rare, but it can be debilitating as it takes a toll on your psyche.

I have spoken with many women who are largely ready to break things off with their husband.  They often reached out to me seeking to get some advice on how they should proceed.

Of course, everybody’s situation is different.

Some wives (husbands too) are plagued with waves of inaction and can become paralyzed by their fear of proceeding with what they know in their heart is the right thing to do.

Sometimes they just need a little push.  Sometimes it helps for them to talk it out with another person…a neutral observer….who can offer their perspective.

How To Get Over The Guilt Of Wanting To Leave Someone

stepping away from your guilt


He may no longer be the apple of your eye, but tearing away from your husband can be confusng.

I find that sometimes it is easier to see things more clearly when you share your story.  I have told some of my clients to simply write down what they are going through to get closer to what has been going on in their life.

Sometimes just detailing it on paper helps you see the scope and impact of the troubles you have been enduring for so long.  Just going through this kind of process can, in itself,  help erase the guilt you may have.

There is a well-known therapeutic effective of chronicling in writing your sorrows and difficulties.  Many women who have gone through a breakup with their husband find relief in their journaling.

And this same effect can help you with clarifying your thoughts as to what has transpired in the past and why you have come to a place in your life where you feel you need to move on.

This approach also applies if you feel guilty for already leaving your husband.  Letting go of guilt from a divorce or separation that has already occurred is not always as easy as it may sound.  Sometimes the affected partner needs a healthy outlet.  Writing it down can help you see that you have come from a bad place to a much improved situation.

The two of you may have been together for many years and promised each other many things, yet everything you know to be the truth is pointing at a dysfunctional and damaging marriage.

Our minds and the emotions that run through us are complicated to the extent that you can logically conclude (left side of brain) that staying with your husband and trying to save the marriage would be a poor choice, yet that other side of the brain (right side of brain – emotion control center) can cause you to second guess your decision.

Emotional thinking can pull you back into a poisonous relationship.  Certain needs and vulnerabilities you may possess can contribute to your sense of guilt or desire to try one more time.

Of course there is no wrong with trying again and again to make your marriage work.  Saving a marriage should always be something you give your best at accomplishing.  But the desire to try and try and try again can be self-defeating if the marital situation between you and your husband doesn’t improve or worsens.

How Do You Get Over The Hump of Breaking Away?

do you just keep pretending

So how does a wife get over the hump of finally making the break away from a painful marriage?  Do you just cover your mouth, remain silent and keep pretending that all will be well?

And what about those women who are in abusive and destructive marriages?

Do you think it is easier for them to escape and put their guilt aside?

Sadly, sometimes the answer is No.   The battered wife syndrome is testament to how some women act against their best interests.

It is strange sometimes to make sense of it, but experiencing guilt over wanting to leave or actually leaving your husband comes in many forms.

Guilt has many faces and can negatively influence your mood, but more importantly, this knot of emotion can tie you up from doing what may need to happen.

You can feel guilty because you realize that you chose poorly.  You can feel bad about your own contributions to a failing marriage.

You can feel guilty because you have children with your husband and now the two of you are going through a difficult separation or divorce.

It can be a complex web of emotions that overcome you.  Perhaps you had an emotional affair or cheated on your husband.  So there may be guilt stemming from an affair you had with another man, though there may be extenuating circumstances for why the affair even occurred.

Perhaps your marriage was a wreck and you were just looking for someone to show you support, affection, and love.

So getting past all of these thoughts that may cause you to second guess your decision to leave may require a deeper perspective of what is really transpiring in your marriage.

How do find that perspective that can give you the confidence that you are acting wisely?

It’s Time For a Husband Reality Check

is he really the guy for you


Should you continue to keep your husband in the dark about how you really feel? Is this the man you ar married to really the guy you want to walk into the future with?

To overcome whatever guilt or uncertainty you may be experiencing as to whether you should leave your husband, it often pays to participate in a reality check.

So you think you want out of the marriage but you need that extra perspective or confidence or whatever it takes to finally take things to the next level, right?

What if I told you that what happens in these situations is that people are of often guided by their right brain.  This is the part of the brain this is dominated more by your emotions.

If you are married and are trying to work through whether you should leave you husband, spending too much of your thinking time on the right side of your brain can lead you to poor or impulsive decisions.

The left side of our brain is where our logical and analytical side is housed.  Now, most of the time we live in both worlds (emotional and analytical reasoning side).  That is perfectly normal and should be expected.  The problem is when our thinking and behaviors are unduly influenced by our emotions.  The problem is when we spend far too much time operating from strictly the right of our brains.  By the way, it is not such a good thing to spend all your time living in the left side of your brain.

But let’s get back to the right side….the emotional side of your brain.

It is often wise to let some time pass so those jumbled up emotions you may be wrestling with have a chance to come back down to earth.  If you are going to make the all important decision of breaking up with your husband and navigate through all of things you should think about, you are going to need a little help.

What I like to do with my clients who are struggling with how much more they should invest into their failed marriage is help them with finding their analytical side.

One way of doing that is participating in an exercise that helps you identify your key priorities and whether an ongoing relationship with your husband is going to be part of the solution or problem.

The 5 Steps To A Happy Tommorow

sizing up your guy

It call it doing a Husband Plus/Delta.

1.  Set Up Stage: You can do it by yourself just about anywhere.  You can complete this exercise on a piece of paper or if you need the visual reinforcement of a prop, you can make use of a flip chart.  You can also use a super large, poster size post-it note that you can stick on the wall.

2.  What Is the Desired Change: It works like this.  Think of the change you want to see in your life.  It might be something like leading a happy and fulfilling life in a relationship with a man who respects you, is considerate of your needs, and has the same values you possess.

Think of that future state as that which you wish to achieve.   That is the “Big Change” you wish to see happen in your life.   Your aspiration represents the place you are trying to get to.  It is what you and your relationship partner should be striving to achieve together. Write it down at the top of your poster.

3. The Plus Stage: Now what you are going to do next is objectively evaluate your current husband’s strengths and weaknesses and make an assessment as to whether your man exhibits the right behaviors and competences  that can help you get to that desired future state.  Those are the Pluses. Try to prioritize them as your write them down on the poster.

4. The Delta Stage: At the same time, you are going to also evaluate the “Deltas”. Prioritize these as well from most impactful to least impactful. These are the negative things about your husband or the environment you are currently in that is preventing you from reaching the desired state.  Often the things you might list are unattractive qualities that your husband possesses or conclusions you have reached about his readiness to be good husband.

Now, not all of these qualities you may write down are necessarily evil or unattractive.  But their existence is preventing you from realizing what it is you wish to achieve with your marriage.  It could be your husband’s value system is far different from your own.  Whatever it is, if it is preventing you from reaching your desired future state, then write it down.   If you could change these things or influences, it would mean greater happiness and fulfillment.

5.  The Conclusion Stage. So when you are through with this exercise, you should be able to better assess if all of these “deltas” are going to be too difficult to overcome.  If they far out number the “Pluses” then that speaks for itself. Obviously our partners in marriage have both  strengths and weaknesses.  One hopes that they have married someone whose strengths are far greater than their weaknesses.

But it may not be clear to you as to what you have gotten yourself into unless you have some objective way to look at the bigger picture of what your husband (or wife) offers in the way of relationship competencies that will enable them to be a successful marriage partner.

A lot can happen to cloud your judgement and perspective.  For example, our raw, vulnerable emotions can get in the way.  Anger can get in the way.    Any woman who is struggling in her marriage can get lost in her relationship situation, not realizing just how incompatible her husband may truly be.

This is one effective way of stripping away the emotions and guilt and taking a more critical view of whether it makes sense to invest any more energy into the marriage.


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Known in relationship circles as the, Ex Whisperer, Chris Seiter seeks to help men and women rekindle their love and passion and find their way back to a stable, successful relationship. As owner of the websites MyMarriageHelper.com, ExBoyfriendRecovery.com, and ExGirlfriendRecovery.com, Chris works closely with his clients, helping them see the bigger picture of how to get their ex back, recover from the pain of lost love, and become a better version of who they are.

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