7 Signs You're a Walkaway Wife

You’ve heard the term “walkaway wife syndrome.” After years of marriage, seemingly out of the blue, a woman up and leaves her steadfast spouse without a backward glance. Her family is confused. Her spouse is devastated. He had no idea something was wrong!

Or did he?

As for the “walkaway wife,” she spent years feeling emotionally and physically invisible. Little by little, she pulled away until there was no reason left for her to stay. First emotionally and then physically, she was gone, and there was no looking back. 

What is a walkaway wife?

While “walkaway wife syndrome” and “neglected wife syndrome” aren’t clinical diagnoses, the concepts are very real. 

The walkaway wife has trudged through her marriage feeling unheard and unfulfilled. She’s asked her spouse to talk about their disconnect with little success. On the outside, she’s kept up appearances. But on the inside, she feels alone and frustrated. 

After years of trying to change things, she’s finally given up hope. She’s moved further and further away from the core of their relationship until, one day, she’s physically out the door. Her spouse and family wonder what precipitated the exit. How could she have left out of the blue like that? But to her, the years of trying to make it work is anything but “out of the blue.” She can’t spend one more minute in the isolation that’s become her marriage. 

Are you headed in that direction? 7 signs

You get it. You and your spouse lead virtually separate lives, and even when you’re together, you go about your daily routines with little real communication. You’ve tried to do the “right thing” and stay for better or worse, hoping things will change, but you haven’t gotten much for your efforts in return. You’ve tried to talk to your spouse about how you feel, but you’re met with a disconnected nod or a halfhearted shrug. The years roll past, and things have remained the same. 

As each year moves by, a walkaway spouse feel less and less invested. In fact, it’s very tempting to walk away. 

1. You feel emotionally distant from your spouse and have for a long time.

Over the years, the bond you once shared with your spouse has worn thin. All you encounter is emotional distance. You feel more like roommates than romantic partners. You’ve tried to reconnect, tried to talk, maybe even suggested getting counseling, but it’s met with indifference. You wonder where the person you once were wildly attracted to has gone. 

2. Your conversations feel flat, and there’s no longer any meaningful communication.

When you’re alone, there isn’t much to say but idle chit-chat about your day. The only thing you seem to have in common is your kids. You can’t recall the last time you had a meaningful conversation.

3. Your sex life has died of neglect.

You may have had a pretty healthy sex life once upon a time, but that deteriorated over the years. On the rare occasion that one of you shows some interest, it feels more like a chore than something you enjoy. 

4. You find yourself daydreaming about a new life.

Lately, you’ve started thinking about your options. What would your life look like if you were freed of this hollow marriage? You’ve begun finding others attractive and wondering, “What if?” You may have even indulged in an extramarital affair. Your fantasy life has become much more fulfilling than your real one.

5. You’re at the point where you feel like couples’ counseling is a waste of time.

You’ve spent years trying to address problems in your relationship, hoping they could be fixed. In the past, you thought your marriage might have a fighting chance if you could work with a therapist and get some help. You’ve suggested getting marriage counseling with your spouse only to get a tepid response. Now, you doubt counseling would help anyway. It just feels pointless.

6. You don’t even bother complaining anymore.

You used to put some effort into voicing your complaints, but you only got push-back or felt ignored. Now, these conversations feel futile and downright exhausting. Instead of interacting, you just close down. Why bother when whatever you say seems like a waste of time? 

7. You’ve already begun to develop a real exit strategy.

You’ve started to put some wheels in motion, even if it’s only a mental exercise. If you left, what would that look like? Perhaps you’ve saved up some money and thought about where you could stay. Perhaps you’ve done some research on the divorce process and the steps you’d need to take. The more you learn, the more doable it seems. You are one foot out the door. 

Have you already left?

After years of feeling unheard and neglected, a walkaway spouse hits their breaking point. 

If divorce is the result, it may have been unexpected by the other spouse. But it had been a long time coming for the walkaway wife. 

Walkaway syndrome doesn’t just happen to wives. Husbands can experience it, too. Read our article about walkaway husband syndrome here.

Fortunately, divorce doesn’t have to be angry and adversarial. At Hello Divorce, we have a team of professionals here to help you through the process. From our online legal services to our flat-rate divorce plans, we can walk you through the process so you can go on to create the life you really deserve.

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Divorce Content Specialist
Mediation, Divorce Strategy, Divorce Process, Mental Health
Candice is a former paralegal and has spent the last 16 years in the digital landscape, writing website content, blog posts, and articles for the legal industry. Now, at Hello Divorce, she is helping demystify the complex legal and emotional world of divorce. Away from the keyboard, she’s a devoted wife, mom, and grandmother to two awesome granddaughters who are already forces to be reckoned with. Based in Florida, she’s an avid traveler, painter, ceramic artist, and self-avowed bookish nerd.