Is There Walkaway Husband Syndrome?

When we think of marital separation, we often think of one spouse leaving the other – walking away, so to speak. 

In a previous blog, we explored the signs of walkaway wife syndrome, a phenomenon in which a wife leaves her husband with seeming abruptness. When we peeled back the layers, we discovered that these wives don’t just do an about-face one day and leave. The desire to walk away is something that builds within them long before that.

Could a husband reach a point where he feels so disconnected, so unheard and unappreciated that he chooses to walk away from his marriage? In other words, is there such a thing as Walkaway Husband Syndrome?

Yes, absolutely.

Any spouse can be a walkaway spouse

As the saying goes, "It takes two to tango." This applies to marital issues as well. A common misconception is that only wives can reach a breaking point and decide to walk away from a marriage. But this isn't true. 

The feelings of despair, disconnection, and emotional exhaustion often associated with "walkaway wife syndrome" can also be felt by husbands.

Men can become overwhelmed and reach a point where they feel like divorce is their only option. They can experience the same feelings of frustration, sadness, and loneliness as wives who decide to walk away from their marriages.

Why would a man leave his marriage?

There are many reasons why a man may choose to walk away from his marriage. Some of the most common are:

  • Feeling as though he is an afterthought in his relationship
  • Believing his wife doesn't respect or appreciate him anymore
  • Having an affair, or feeling like his wife is not providing the love and attention he needs (in their sex life or otherwise)
  • Feeling disconnected from his wife and sensing a lack of intimacy in the marriage
  • Suffering from depression, anxiety, or other mental illnesses that make it difficult to stay connected 
  • Becoming increasingly overwhelmed with stress at home, leading to depleted emotional energy
  • Having a spouse who refuses to take responsibility for her actions and constantly blames him for everything

How a walkaway spouse feels before they leave

Before a spouse decides to walk away, there is usually a prolonged period of dissatisfaction, frustration, and emotional disconnection. The spouse could feel unheard, unloved, or unappreciated. This leads to a slow build-up of resentment and despair. It's like a volcano waiting to erupt; the pressure builds over time until it becomes unbearable, leading to the final decision to walk away.

The situation that precipitates such feelings varies from couple to couple. It could be a lack of communication, emotional or physical abuse, infidelity, or merely growing apart over time. Regardless of the reason, the feelings of despair and hopelessness remain the same.

A multitude of precipitating factors can drive a spouse to feel unheard, unloved, and unappreciated, ultimately leading to the decision to walk away.

For instance, a continuous lack of communication can cause feelings of loneliness and isolation. When a spouse feels their voice isn't being heard or their opinions aren't valued, it creates a sense of emotional distance. This distance can foster feelings of neglect, leading to resentment and frustration.

Similarly, when a marriage is plagued with instances of emotional or physical abuse, the victimized spouse may feel trapped, unheard, and unvalued. The constant mistreatment can instill deep-seated feelings of low self-worth and despair, making the prospect of walking away appear to be the only viable solution for self-preservation and happiness.

When infidelity occurs, it shatters the trust in the relationship and can cause intense feelings of hurt, betrayal, and rejection. The affected spouse may question their self-worth and feel unloved, leading to a buildup of anger and bitterness that may ultimately set them on the path to separation.

In cases where couples grow apart over time, feelings of disconnect and loneliness can creep in. What once was a loving and supportive partnership can slowly change into a loveless coexistence. This lack of emotional connection and intimacy can make a spouse feel unappreciated and unloved, precipitating the decision to leave.

In all these situations, the underlying emotional response is largely the same: feelings of despair, hopelessness, and the belief that walking away is the only option for emotional survival.

Is there a walkaway husband syndrome?

Men, just like women, can reach a point where they feel so disconnected and unheard that they see no other option but to leave the marriage. The warning signs could be subtle: withdrawal from family activities, increased time spent away from home, or a lack of interest in marital issues.

However, it's important to note that not every husband who shows these signs is on the brink of walking away. These could also be signs of stress or depression. Therefore, it's crucial to communicate openly and honestly when such signs are noticed.

Can walkaway husband syndrome be prevented?

Prevention is always better than cure. This principle applies to marriages as well. Open communication, mutual respect, and understanding are the pillars of a healthy relationship. Engaging in couples therapy, discernment counseling, or divorce coaching can help address underlying issues before they escalate. 

Sometimes, just spending more time together – making time for date nights, for meaningful conversation – can go a long way toward making a marriage work. Other times, the issues go so deep that outside help from a professional would be warranted.

Remember, it's okay to ask for help. If you or your spouse are showing signs of disconnect, consider seeking professional help such as couples counseling, marriage counseling, or another type of therapy.

Here at Hello Divorce, we know sometimes divorce is the right choice. You both need to focus on your own lives, and an exit strategy is needed to gracefully end the marriage. Other times, there are divorce-busting techniques you can use to patch up the relationship.

If you need us, we are here with affordable online divorce plans and divorce coaching to help you navigate these challenging times. It's never too late to reach out.

Divorce Content Specialist & Lawyer
Divorce Strategy, Divorce Process, Legal Insights

Bryan is a non-practicing lawyer, HR consultant, and legal content writer. With nearly 20 years of experience in the legal field, he has a deep understanding of family and employment laws. His goal is to provide readers with clear and accessible information about the law, and to help people succeed by providing them with the knowledge and tools they need to navigate the legal landscape. Bryan lives in Orlando, Florida.