One of the greatest fears of a loving and devoted wife is that her husband might leave her.

That he might just call it quits.

There are many things that can go awry between two people.

Look.  I understand. One of your biggest fears is that if your husband leaves you, he will never return.  Living with that fear in your heart can cause you to act impulsively and as a result stumble.

After all, you have a lot invested in your husband and the last thing you want to ever happen is for him to walk out of your life.

But you have to be careful you don’t become a victim of your own fears.

Such thoughts can lead to problematic behaviors such as pleading and begging for your man to stay and not leave you.

You might find yourself at a crossroads.  You might even be thinking about how you can encourage your husband to leave.  If you fall in this specific camp, take a look at this article I recently wrote.

Some of these feelings are triggered by insecurities and fears that are spurred on by thoughts that something must be terribly wrong with the relationship and the worst will happen if he walks out.

don't hold on too tight

It certainly is possible something is wrong with the marriage. But panicking and resorting to desperate measures to hold on too tight is counter productive.

When the marriage appears to be on the rocks, one’s mind can start racing, taking on a life of its own.

Unfortunately, when all seems lost, it is easy to give in to desperate feelings.

I won’t pull punches.  If your husband is giving you indications he wants to walk, the risk of the marriage coming to an end is raised.

But there is another way to handle the onslaught of emotions you might be feeling.

Don’t Give In To Your Desire To Cling To Your Estranged Husband

avoid clinging to husband

We all can become victims of overreacting in the moment.

After a fight with our spouse we often look to regain the certainty that our lover still sees us as their pride and joy.

The last thing we want to think is that he is wanting to beat a path to the door and leave us forever.

So to combat these feelings, some married women will often look for a verbal or physical cue that their husband, while he may be agitated about some things, is not going to leave them high and dry.

Many wives will prod their husband to get assurances.

And there is nothing wrong with that.  We all need to be reassured that our husband or wife loves us still, particularly if there has been an argument.

Where some wives run into problems is when they come off looking too desperate or resort to holding on too tight or relying on clinging behaviors.

These  shows of emotions in and of themselves will often cause the husband to push away from you further.   Not only does exhibiting these kind of behaviors make the wife look weak, but a manipulative minded husband can use this reaction to his advantage, giving him the upper hand.

There is what exists in every marriage a range of personal power.  In theory, it should be balanced between husband and wife.  But when that balance is out of whack, sometimes inequities come into play.

And while your husband may not be of the type that takes advantage of such a situation, some married men do.

So if you are reduced to begging for your man not to leave, you have already backed yourself into an emotional corner.  If you are spending your time trying to convince him how what he is doing amounts to abandoning everything the two of you worked so hard to establish, you are already swimming upstream.


So what are you to do?

When you are in a position when you think your husband is going to leave you and you feel overcome with emotions, the worst thing you can do is to succumb to your fears and anxieties.

That voice of fear in your mind can cause you to do and say all the wrong things. And it is so easy to fall under its spell.

So here are my top suggestions on what kind of things you should not say or do if you feel the relationship is eroding.  In other words, if you fear your husband is slipping away and you feel desperate to keep him from doing anything rash, like leaving you high and dry, then take these suggestions into account.

  1. Keep Your Emotions in Check: If you fear that your husband is on the verge of packing his bags and leaving you, don’t panic.  The last thing you want to do is ratchet up the stress of the situation by becoming overly emotional.  Avoid begging your husband  to stay.  That simply puts you in an inferior position. Stay away from pleading with him to come back if he has left you.  By begging for your guy to come back home, you give up a part of your personal power. Your pleas becomes his weapon to use back on you, so just don fall into the trap. There will be time to sort through potential solutions.
  2. Call Your Husband’s Bluff:  Sometimes guys will act like they want to walk away from the marriage.  They will say and do things that may convince you that they are finished and want out.  But think of it this way.  If they truly intend to quit the marriage in that moment and make for the door, then there is not a lot you can do about it at that time. I know that sounds depressing, but in reality it is not.  The fact is that emotions and feelings can be fleeting.  In one moment your husband may be ready to bolt out of your life.  But then later, after he recover his senses, he may calm down and realize the foolishness of his ways.  So avoid giving in to his bluster.  If he is planning on abandoning you and give up on the marriage, you will not likely be able to stop him or convince him to stay in the short term.  Let him huff and puff and blow the door down as he leaves.  There will always be other opportunities in the future, when things have calmed down, to explore reconnecting again.  And if your husband is indeed bluffing, then allow him the space to recover from his overreaction. You have more to lose if you allow yourself to get caught up in any of the dramas that may be playing out.
  3. Mirror the Opposite of Your Husbands’s Emotions.  The more agitated, loud, or obnoxious your husband becomes, then the more controlled, reserved, and cool you should behave.  There is an uncanny calming effect you can have on your husband’s behavior if he gets upset and starts talking about bringing an end to the relationship.  If your husband is talking about giving up on you, he is in that moment raising the stakes. Every word and action that follows will be magnified. So  when the stakes are that high, don’t fall victim to engaging in emotional combat about any of the issues that are driving the two of you apart. It is better to be the calm one.  Don’t give him the satisfaction of reacting in a negative way to his threat to leave.  When he flies off the handle and threatens to give up on you, keep your cool and hold your ground.  If you show aggression in the form of what you say or even your body posture, you will just end up contributing to the chaos and tension.
  4. Show Your Husband the Door:  Sometimes using reverse psychology on your husband can help with diffusing the situation.  While it is not a foolproof strategy, sometimes the best thing you can do is give your man as much freedom as he thinks he wants.  The odds are poor that you are going to talk him off the ledge.  If he wants to walk out, then chances are there is not much you can say or do in that moment to change his mind.  So with this in mind, calmly show him the door.  Don’t do it with malice or be mean about it as that will only come back to haunt you.  No man wants the image of their wife screaming at them seared in their mind.  That is not the image you want to project.   Simply tell him you love him, but that feel incredibly hurt. Then go on to tell him that if he feels he needs to spend some time alone, you will support that. Reinforce that you too need time to be alone and away from his confusing signals.  Avoid arguing.   You might end up getting a strange reaction from him.  And that is OK.  Just let it play out and follow your instincts as to your next move.

Why is Begging For Your Husband To Stay Such a Bad Idea?

avoid begging him to hang around

It is seldom a winning strategy when your husband sees you as someone he has wrapped around his finger.

Here are a few cases from women  illustrating that when you resort to desperate measures, nothing good usually comes from it.


Hi Chris! I so much need your help with what is going on with my husband.  He says he doesn’t want this anymore, meaning he is through with me.  I think it is terribly unfair so I told him so and begged him to stay.  The more I pleaded for him not to leave the more he pushed me away.  I cried.  He cried.  But then he got angry with me like it was all my fault and said I was keeping him from doing what he wanted. I can’t believe I am even having to reach out to you for help because I never thought this kind of thing would happen to us in our marriage. It seems none of my assurances to do things better on my end even phased him. It seemed to make him turn it all around on me, using my vulnerabilities against me and telling me he hates being around a weak woman and that we are not meant for each other. He said he is getting his own place and will be packing and leaving me as soon as things get squared away. How should I handle the next few days?


“What could I have done differently, Chris? I have worked so hard to please my husband and now he says he doesn’t like being around me.  I know I can get insecure about things and you say we women should not cling and hold on too tightly to our husbands.  You talk about being independent and able to stand up. But I thought I was just showing him how much I cared. I love him and all I want is him to love me too. I tell him these things over and over again and ask him to please give us another chance but he acts like he despises me.  He covers up his ears and tells me to shut up. What kind of husband tells you to shut up when you beg him to stay.  Am I ruining everything?”

In both of these cases, my clients are reacting as many of us would in a time of emotional stress.  All of your worst fears are realized when your husband utters those awful words that he doesn’t love (or even like you) anymore and wants out of the marriage.  So what people naturally do is to try to grab a hold of what it is you want to keep and not let it go.

But unfortunately, in the world of  love and lost, a husband will usually react in the opposite way in which you would hope for.  As you tell him verbally or even physically reach out and hold on to him to stop him for walk out of your life, it can only serve to agitate your spouse further.

Whether he is right or wrong or even fully knows what it in his heart doesn’t matter a lot in that moment.  All that your husband knows and feels is the desire to escape.

He wants to get away from you.  And try as you might to change his mind or even physically try to detain him, it only serves to embolden his desire to quit the marriage and get out the door even faster.

And when things between the two of you go sour and you come off as needy and begging and pleading,  it just results in a big turn off for your guy and encourages him to make a beeline out of the relationship.

So as we discussed earlier what you should do is not give in to the feelings churning up inside of you.

In those moments when emotions are running in every direction, just know that your husband may not be in his right mind.  Whatever he is feeling (e.g, anger, resentment, outrage, resignation), it is best not to do or say things to ratchet up his intensity.

The thought here is to maintain your dignity and to live to fight to get your husband back another day, if that is truly in the cards.

Trying to hold on to something that is wiggling to get away in that moment is a losing strategy.  Let him go, even if it goes against everything you feel is right.

Tomorrow is another day so to speak.

There will be other opportunities to explore getting the marriage back on track.

By clinging to your husband, you risk alienating him further and hurting your chances in the future to reconcile.

Men (and women too) have a psychological desire to retain their freedoms. And if your husband is convinced he wants out, it usually pays in the long run to not stand in his way.

Remember, emotions are fleeting and unpredictable.  So avoid contributing to the chaos negative emotions can often bring into your life.

Chances are if you employ the right tactics, your man will learn that he acted prematurely and should revisit his earlier notions.


How likely is your marriage to succeed?

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13 responses to “Should I Beg For My Husband To Stay and Not Leave Me?

  1. My husband of 28 years moved out three weeks ago.Have about 6 months of him trying to decide if we could work on our differences .We both neglected each other and our marriage and found other ways to fill our times.We didn’t communicate , I asked for a divorce in January to try and get him to realise how unhappy I was…..long and short he says that I can have it. He no longer wants me the marriage has run its course and he is not coming back. I have done as much as I can , pleaded, went for counselling myself, changed jobs, gave him time and space and compromised until I realised I was losing my self respect in the process.
    Kept hoping it would change but he is set on what he wants and it isn’t me.
    Last night I found your post….great reading and common sense ideas….I need to heal, concentrate on who I am and what I want as well……not just to get him back and have told him I need to be left alone for a while to make decisions. He came back with “OK take your time.x”
    Am I doing the right thing . I miss him so much, I want to phone or text but I haven’t.I started a diary with letter to him of how I am feeling .Does NC really work

    1. Yes, I do think NC really works. It is hard. Harder for some. Somewhat easier for others. The two of you have been married for a long time, so those routines and habits are well established. So it will take some time for you to get accustomed to your new routines and that will help. There is a physiological reason too why you miss him so much. Helen Fisher (renown anthropologist) has done a number of studies about this topic and reported that getting over and through a breakup is synonymous with a drug addict overcoming his/her dependency. So keep yourself engaged and involved in life and new experiences. And remember….you are a strong woman….even much stronger than you realize and better things are yet to come. These things are true and if you have a mindset in which you embrace the future with positive anticipation, good things are much more likely to happen.

      1. Chris I would have him back tomorrow and am hoping that NC will make him realise what he had,but things would need to change for that to happen. When we were meeting he was so angry all the time and when we met 2 nights ago he said that when I rejected him sexually because I was so fed up being ignored he just shut down to me. Even although he is at his parents he won’t talk to anyone about us. His best friend says he is “deep” and that he hasn’t even discussed it with him except to say we have drifted apart. Everyone who knows him says he is miserable .
        I know my husband but the person he is today just isn’t him.
        I have asked if there is anyone else ….not naive enough to think there might not be but he denies it. He looks unwell isn’t taking care of himself and looks lost.
        When do I know to give up on him and us and him….just at a loss as just now to know what to do

        1. He too is feeling the pain of the breakup. Time has a away of reconciling the uncertainties of what you both want and need. If you end up move away from each other (from a relationship perspective), do it in little steps. And if you move toward each other, also do it in little steps. You both have it in you to make meaningful changes in your lives that can better the relationship. But it takes full commitment. It seems you have tried to move in that direction in the past. But he has not. Perhaps with what is happening now, sometime in the future he will see things through a different prism and commit to being a better relationship partner. Or perhaps not. Try not to torture yourself with all the different possibilities. You can only control you own attitude and actions. I do think you are on the right track as you focus on becoming the best version of “you”. Hopefully he will use the time to do the same. And that might help with him agreeing to get counseling or work with you seriously on the problems you both encountered.

  2. Chris

    My husband calmly told me he wanted a divorce after monthsof fighting. I kept suggesting and asking to go to counseling and he didn’t want to. I’m a hard person to get along with someone and very intense. He broke a lot of promises he made to me before our marriage (financially didn’t include me on joint accounts, wouldn’t add me to the deed of our house we bought together, didn want to go out and do healthy things together, continued smoking after he promised he had quit). These really made me resent him and rather than go to counseling or acknowledge my feelings he shut down more and more. We fought a lot. He would get angry sometimes, take off his ring and then we would make up. Well it got so bad that one day I suggested I should leave for the summer since we were fighting all the time and he wasn’t talking to me. I felt space was needed since he was shutting down. I guess around this time he got an infection “down there” and he took my comment of leaving for the summer as I was going to cheat on him because he had an infection, I always accused him of cheating, and I was always going home up north on the weekends to visit my family that’s it’s all made sense to him now that I must have given him something because I had cheated. ( another reason he felt this way is because long ago someone had messaged him on social media telling him I was a cheater and we never found out who it was). So anyway, I went to get tested to prove I hadn’t given him anything and it turned out it was another issue and not an infection at all. But during that night he accused me of giving him something he said to get the hell out of his house. I left on and off for about a month as the fighting got worse and worse. By then, I was angrier than ever (and I already have anger issues) and I would repeatedly message him saying he caused all this drama and I deserved an apology. I just could let go of my rage. Then I found out I was pregnant. I finally came home. He said he would do counseling. We got to ONE session before one day he came home and I was upset from yet another fight and asked if maybe we really should get a divorce. He agreed calmly… I wasn’t wanting him to I was just thinking out loud. Ever since he has said he won’t change his mind this time and he has caused me so much pain (including the fact I got an abortion because I didn’t want to being a child into the world with someone who was telling me they wanted a divorce). The fighting took its toll on him. He said he couldn’t go on hurting me. He still wants to be friends and live together until the divorce is final and it’s too unbearable for me. He acts like we are buddies now and it’s so painful. It’s like he doesn’t hurt at all. He said no matter what I say he means it this time and he wants me to get financially stable and move on. We used to be so close. We used to be so in love. I really believe this man was a good man and that he absolutely cares for me and I do think he is the one for me. he for a year and a half resisted my pushing him away but he finally gave up and said that was it for him and I hate myself for it.

    I finally after 3 weeks of crying begging pleading and trying to remain friends… left the house last night. It’s too painful for me. He feels sorry for me. Can our marriage be saved?

    1. Hi Cassandra. You have been through a lot. Just know, however all this turns out, you are a smart and capable woman and you will land on your feet. It is natural to feel still strongly attached emotionally to your husband, even after all the things that have happened.

      From the outset, it seems to me that there were a lot of very important broken commitments on his end. So I can understand how you would feel betrayed and distrustful given that matters dealing with ownership of a home, joint banking accounts, healthy decisions and continued conflict are not trivial matters.

      I think that living together while you are still working through a potential divorce is probably not a good long term solution. It seems likely there will be more friction and that will only complicate things.

      Getting some separation from each other might actually be beneficial for both of you. Perhaps a trial separation for a spell. I am not sure of your financial situation or whether you have friends or family that can help you settle during a period of limited contact with your husband.

      But this approach might give you both a chance to re calibrate your feelings and re-evaluate what is in your best interest, without there being continued stress and pressure in your life.

      Love is not something that easily goes away. He might think he knows what he wants, but absence can make the heart grow fonder. Meanwhile, you should focus on being the best version of yourself. Become the Ungettable Girl. Men like that which they come to believe they can’t have.

      There is an art to this and I know what I am saying is probably a bit hard to follow. So I would suggest you go over to my other website called and there you will learn a lot about what you can do to re-ignite his attraction and becoming the Ungettable Girl and getting some control back of your own life (assuming that what you ultimately want).

      Recovery from an Ex is a two sided coin. Getting your man back is one path. But getting over a guy who is not truly in your best interest is yet another path. You eventually will come to terms with which path you should follow.

  3. Hi Chris, I am in a dire situation and I hope you can help me. I have been married to my husband for almost 4 years now and he has informed me that he is leaving me and the marriage in about a week (at the time our lease expires from the apartment we are in).
    It is a very long story, but in short, our marriage has been not very close since the beginning. We have struggled with intimacy issues. I recently was diagnosed with fibroids which have made intimacy matters more difficult. We have argued and fought as well. One of the arguments was over a financial dispute earlier this year and he ended up wanting to divorce me then. When he found out I had the medical issue, he stayed, reluctantly. He always seemed since then that he did not want to stay in the marriage, and was resistant to any amends I tried to make. Now, as the lease is about to expire, he says he is leaving. I do not want the marriage to break up, despite our troubles. When he told me he wanted to leave (which was as he was heading out to his out-of-town job that week), I was calm and told him we could talk about it when he came back. I made concerted effort not to ask why or beg him to reconsider. I asked him when he would come back and he said in about a week, but he came actually 1 month later (this past week). Now he is telling me that he wants me to decide what to keep and throw out in the apartment, etc (it was the first question he asked upon his return). Still, I did not react or have begged him to stay. I am wondering what I can do to possibly help him reconsider, as he seems like he is going to leave (in exactly one week). The peculiar thing is, he is not packing any bags, he is living in the house as normal, yet telling me what I would like to do with the items in the house. I don’t even think he has any lodging secured at this point, other than to live at his sister’s house. However, when he said he was leaving before (earlier this year, after the financial dispute), he did actually get a U-Haul truck and brought it to the house and only stopped his plans when I told him the same day about my medical diagnosis. I thank you for your time and attention and look forward to your reply.

    1. Hi Nancy. I am very sorry you are experiencing such a struggle with your marriage. Your husband seems hellbent to leave. I think by acting calm and not allowing the whole matter explode into a bigger mess has helped your emotional well being and may have thrown him for a loop as he was most likely expecting a great deal of opposition. It is possible that deep down, he is still somewhat unsure about what he thinks is best. It doesn’t seem like he has opened himself up to really working with you on coming up with solutions for the marital difficulties. It may be helpful to go to marriage counseling if he was amenable to that so that the intimacy issues can be addressed. But since he seems so gun-ho about leaving, I suspect that idea may have come and gone. I agree, no amount of begging and pleading will keep him in the marriage at this point. And if he is not open to really working on trying to talk and work on the marriage, then perhaps the best thing going forward is for him to leave. You should read my post on this site that deals with the No Contact/Limited Contact Principle. Because if he should actually go through with his plans and leave, instituting this approach may be the best thing to do. During the No Contact period, you can work on your own healing focusing on your needs and becoming the best version of YOU. He hopefully will begin to see things differently and perhaps commit to working on the marriage. Right now, the environment does not seem ripe for that as his mindset seems rigid. But in the future, he may gain more perspective and realize just tossing 4 years of marriage away without really working to solve the core problems makes little sense. Our futures are always moving. We have many life choices available to us depending on how thing unfold in the present. There are many paths available to people that can allow them to lead a happy and fulfilling life. So whatever happens Nancy, I can tell you are a woman who will land on her feet and do just fine, with or without your current husband.

  4. Hi Chris,

    My common law husband of 10 years left me and our teenage son more than a month ago. He never came home from work but didn’t bring anything with him. Morning came and I was frantically looking for him calling him and his work. He texted me that he was tired of being dragged down, scared and anxious etc. that he failed us and he feels unhappy, unimportant and neglected by me. I tried to talk to him and make sense out of the text messages. We were supposed to meet but he wasn’t ready and I wasn’t ready the next time he asked to meet. We never spoke in person or on the phone everything happened through text messages. The 2nd week he was gone I tried to beg and plead for him to come back or atleast talk to me but he only said texting him was stressing him out more and that I should stop texting him. I was devastated and had a hard time coping especially the thought of being alone with no one beside me to talk to for days and nights after work. Nights were hard and weekends were harder for me. He was always texting me everyday slowly and letting his frustrations out, he said he was scared of me. He is still there for our son. He said he doesn’t want to see me and that meeting me would not help me so don’t count on it he said. Twice I tried to put some sense through him but we end up fighting and angry through texts. After 3 weeks of not coming home he eventually texted he was done after I asked him if he has decided on our relationship yet and that was because we were fighting again but maybe I refuse to accept that our relationship had already ended. I did not see this coming and we didn’t have a big fight beforehand. I am very insecure about our relationship and I always joke about him having an affair when he is out, he doesn’t have a social life because he said I make him feel shit about it when he is out (I text him what time he will come home all the time when he is out). I am very clingy and needy as well. I was so scared of the thought that he would leave me. I also keep bringing up the past which annoys him all the time. He tries to get his stuff everytime he comes and picks up our son, little things and then would tell me why he needs it. He still has 75% of his stuff at home and he didn’t say anything about getting them. Yesterday he asked for his work jackets and I gave him all of clothes. Over the last 10 years we usually argue about money because he is a gamer and he spends so much on his hobbies and he couldn’t prioritize on his financial obligations at home. He also told me he is happy no one is controlling him and he can whatever he wants now and that he is not making anyone angry anymore. Our son says he looks calmer and not stressed out and happier. Is there a way to fix this or should I just move on? It’s been 3 weeks since we last texted. I am so confused and I miss him so much it hurts everyday..

    1. It sounds like he needs to grow up a bit. Putting his game playing ahead of his family will not roduce healthy longterm outcomes. It also sounds like he too often plays, “victim”. It is in part undeerstandable why your feelings are all over the place.

      I just can’t get over his selfish, self centered behavior. I think marriage coaching/counseling might help he realze what he is doing and how he is perceived

      Going focus, I think you should be fully comitted on meeting your own needs. When you become more attractive to yourself, you in turn make yourself attractive to others.

  5. My husband of 19 years my whole life met when i was 15 We had a loving marriage until my second daughter was born and things go hard. Around 3 years again my husband went to the doc who told him he was depressed and was suffering from stress and anxiety. He has never fully believe it and has not been fully commitment to the recovery journey. So 6 weeks ago he stopped all meds and has now said he doesn’t love me and is leaving to have a better life without me and he can make all his life choices now. I am so hurt and angry. I have fought for this marriage and listen to him tell me the reason he has depression is because of me. Even now i still want him back and still love him. I just dont know what to do

    1. Hi Sarah…of course you know when he says things like its your fault that he is depressed that it is simply not true. It is his depression talking. Going forward, focus on your own healing and recovery. Some things are outside of our control, though I think it is likely he will be back. Perhaps he will be open to continuing his treatment or changing his treatment regiment.

  6. My situation is different. I met a man that was in an unhappy marriage and we fell in love. He told his wife he was in love with another woman and wanted to leave, but she begged him to stay. He tried leaving twice and she begged and pleaded both times. He ended up staying with her. They do have a child together. I guess I’m wondering why you would beg to stay with your cheating spouse, especially since you didn’t have a good relationship to begin with… ?