Your marriage could be at breaking point – don’t miss the signs of walkaway wife syndrome

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  • Marriage can be tough, and there comes a time when every couple needs some professional help dealing with marital issues.
  • The latest marital crisis is called 'walkaway wife syndrome', which refers to women being frustrated with their partners' lack of investment.
  • Women feel they must carry their relationship alone, then they get burnt out and walk away.


Believe it or not - women leave relationships more than men. It's a marital crisis that does not get enough attention. Psychotherapist Mary Jo Rapini talks more about 'walkaway wife syndrome'.

"It's true, and it's real. Lawyers and counsellors see this phenomenon in their clients frequently. It's mostly seen with women who feel like they've taken over the relationship, that they are the relationship, and if they don't do something, nothing happens. They're frustrated and angry, and then one day, they just quit and walk away."

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This is also when women feel disconnected from their partners and get no feedback, making them frustrated, nagging, and complaining, and their partners tune them out. The more they try to get attention, the less they get it. Then they give up.

Before walking away, here are a few things both parties can do:

1. If you want to walk away, reconsider and know that divorce is not always the answer.

Divorce is never easy if you have children, and it’s worth your while not quitting until you’ve gotten professional help. Your marriage may seem broken beyond repair, but you owe it to yourself and your children to see if the help of a therapist can turn things around. If it doesn’t work, at least you can leave knowing you tried.

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2. Husbands: prioritize your wives. 

If you’re the husband and your wife is complaining about not having enough connection, instead of getting defensive, be grateful. Thank her for not giving up. Listen and spend time with her, wake up and pay attention to her.

3. No one wants intimacy without connection. 

If your wife is not open to your advances, it may be because she feels you don’t see her unless you want intimacy. She may have already left you emotionally. Show her you care, make changes she will see instead of talking about them, and try to convince her to give your marriage another chance.

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4. Talk about your expectations for each other and your marriage. 

When you get married, you have expectations, and so does your partner. Talk about these before you get married, and make sure you agree on 50/50 chores. No one person can or should do it all. Many walkaway wives had expectations of their husbands and what a marriage should look like that were never discussed or shared.

Their husband had no idea what was expected and may have followed the course of their own parents. In families where marital duties fall solely on the wife, resentment and anger result. It takes both partners to contribute equally to make a marriage work. 

A marriage ending is always difficult; however, if you’re the partner left behind, there is no emptier or more confusing time, especially if you didn’t see it coming. Talk to your partner about how they feel frequently, listen to them when they complain and work with them to plan ways to resolve issues that cause strife. You’re a team, and the health of the team depends on your ability to talk honestly and openly with each other.


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