Most men seem to regret leaving their families. Each relationship is unique and there are lots of variables involved and potential reasons why men leave their families. Men are more likely to regret leaving if they were in long-term relationships or marriages and especially if they fathered children.
It can be hard to come to terms with a relationship or marriage that has broken down. Still, having someone you love walk out on your family can be far more devastating. Statistically, around 20.2%, or about 7 million men, are absentee fathers. You may have some insight into why men leave but still wonder if they regret it after the fact.
A few common reasons men leave their families are: infidelity, financial disagreements, lack of fulfillment or satisfaction from the relationship, and incompatibility. In addition, men are more likely to regret leaving if the decision to leave was made hastily. And especially if they left their children from the relationship or still have unresolved feelings for their ex.
Related Reading: Will My Husband Miss Me After Divorce? [FIND OUT]
Why Do Men Who Leave Their Family Regret It?
If men leave a relationship, they have some regret in most cases. Many difficult decisions that involve emotional attachment leave us with feelings of regret. For example, if men are emotionally invested in a relationship, they will likely regret leaving their families, if they choose to do so. This may not be right away but can happen over time.
As all relationships (and people) are unique, there is no guarantee that every man will regret leaving their families. However, there are a few reasons to keep in mind in these situations. First, many of the emotions involved can be complex.
Factors such as upbringing, values, and personality can play a role in men regretting their decision to leave. Many men who are not family-oriented may struggle to see the value in keeping a family together and are less likely to regret leaving. Family-centric men are more likely to invest in their families and maintain strong bonds with their wives and children.
Reasons Why Men Leave Their Family
At some point in any relationship, couples will go through ups and downs. These can be worsened by financial stress, managing a household, multiple children, infidelity on either side, and poor communication. Many couples fight and can resolve arguments but, sometimes, a lack of communication in a relationship over a long time can result in a breakup or divorce.
Among the lack of communication, there are a few reasons why men leave their families. To be clear, voicing these feelings or issues and working through them in couples (or separate) therapy or doing a trial separation, even if it ultimately leads to divorce, is very different than a man just leaving the marriage with no warning. This list is intended to explain the potential reasons a man might leave his marriage (and children) and not excuse them
Infidelity From One or Both Partners
Infidelity is a principal reason why men leave their families. Infidelity can come from either spouse and can be shattering to a relationship. Some individuals or couples feel unfulfilled in an area of their relationship and then reach out to someone outside of their marriage or relationship to find that fulfillment. In addition, daily stressors and significant life changes can put added strain on couples.
Many men who leave their long-term relationship or marriage for another person have regrets and, as a result, the new connection is often short-lived. Although this may not always happen, it is much more difficult to move on from a relationship you have been seriously committed to for many years without regrets (especially if you share children).
Relationship Lacks Fulfilment
Many relationships reach a point where one or both of the people in the couple feels unfulfilled. In some instances, they have grown apart, and their visions for the future don’t align with one another. As life progresses, you may find that who you were when you met your spouse differs from who you are now.
Besides growing apart in the relationship, the lack of fulfillment can result from an emotional void in the relationship, a lack of quality time together, and/or just drifting apart. Often couples who have been together for a long time are at greater risk of feeling unfulfilled when facing many relationship challenges.
This is also common for couples who have been married for a long time, who had children early into their marriage, and whose children are now grown and gone. They now have to work out what their relationship looks like when it isn’t focused on raising their children and may find that there is little left to bring them together.
Lack Of Intimacy
After the two-year mark in a relationship, statistically, there is a steady decline in intimacy. The initial excitement of the “honeymoon stage” fades and moves more towards comfort and trust. This decline in intimacy can be something that is longed for.
It also becomes harder to find time for intimacy with children and busy workdays. The lack of intimacy may make the relationship feel like you’re just going through the motions. This lack of intimacy can lead to infidelity or wanting to leave the relationship.
Emotionally Draining Relationship
Some relationships can be toxic. If you are in a toxic relationship, it can be emotionally draining. Unhealthy relationships are often filled with power plays, the need for control, gaslighting, and other forms of emotional or financial abuse.
Either partner could be toxic, or both partners could be toxic together. This is one of the reasons men may leave their families or consider leaving their families. You may be heartbroken that your husband/partner has left; however, most couples ultimately find that little is achieved by staying in a toxic relationship.
Financial stress can be difficult for any couple to manage. Men often see themselves as the providers; therefore, financial stress like a job loss or dissatisfaction with income can disproportionately negatively impact men.
If the man is the sole provider in a household, this could also put a lot of financial pressure on men to ensure they provide enough financial stability. This can be stressful and negatively affect the relationship, leading to them leaving their family. If your husband was the sole provider for you and your children, this also means that if he leaves you are left with very little option.
You need to hire a lawyer as soon as you can If you are able to get a court order, the court can find your husband and put a lien on his taxes and paycheck to ensure that child support and/or alimony is paid (even if he has gone into hiding)
Taking On Too Much Responsibility
Many men may not be open about their emotions and take on more responsibility than they can manage. They may also take responsibility for financial obligations, caring for the family, and day-to-day household management. However, with too much commitment, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and sent into a fight or flight response. This could lead to men leaving their families.
Loss Of Identity
In many relationships, the loss of identity is a common factor affecting both people. As roles change from dating to marriage to parenthood, it’s easy to forget who we are. This can be confusing and prompt a desire to escape and rediscover who we are. This is a common reason why men leave their families.
Incompatibility In the Relationship
Opposites attract, and they work well together in a relationship in most cases. However, this could also strain a relationship over time, especially if the couple has little in common. Without common interests, it may become harder to connect with one another or find activities that can be enjoyed together.
This could also strain the relationship, leaving men feeling like they want to leave the relationship.
Not Making Time For One Another
Not making time for one another in a relationship will ultimately hurt your relationship. Couples often get lost in their daily routines and don’t prioritize time for one another. This makes it seem like they are just roommates or coparenting with one another and does not allow them to re-connect.
Men need quality time too, and they may feel neglected or unimportant if no time is spent together. With these unresolved feelings, men are more likely to be unhappy and looking to leave the relationship.
Lack of Respect and Appreciation
Respect and appreciation are the foundations of any good relationship. Often, we may take our partner for granted and not show that we respect and appreciate them. Respect in a relationship means each partner is thoughtful and considerate. Respect and appreciation are also a two-way street and something each partner should be doing for the other. Sometimes, if we deal with a lot, it may negatively affect our emotions, and we often take this out on our spouse.
We may also not appreciate the little things our spouse does daily, like fixing the dryer or taking out the trash, or even doing the dishes. Lack of respect and appreciation can leave you feeling like what you do doesn’t matter, and this could make you second guess the relationship.
How To Tell If Men Regret Leaving Their Family?
There are a few signs that might indicate a man regretting leaving his family. These may be subtle hints but could help determine if he regrets leaving.
- Reminisces about the past. Suppose your partner is reminiscing about the past. In that case, this may indicate that he regrets his decision to leave his family. Often looking back over past events and trying to figure out where it went wrong could be a sign of regret.
- Talks about his regrets. If he constantly talks about what he regrets doing while you were in a relationship, then he may be second-guessing his decision to leave. For example, after being away from his family, he may sometimes realize that he made a mistake by leaving his family and want to come back. It is up to you whether you allow this or not and is something you may want to seek counselling to work through.
- Mentions his emotional state. Being filled with emotion can be challenging for most people to manage. If your partner seems highly emotional and wants to talk about what went wrong in the relationship or what led to him leaving, he may want to fix what happened or regret leaving his family. This may only occur after the initial feelings of leaving have come to pass, and he realizes he misses his family.
- Calls and checks up with you regularly. If your partner calls and checks up on you regularly, he may regret leaving. If he asks about the kids and how they are, he may be considering the consequences of leaving and may be feeling lonely. He may have regrets about leaving his partner and children, and by calling and checking up, he can still remain in touch with you.
- Wants to be part of family activities. If your husband suddenly starts asking to join in on family activities like movie nights or your child’s football game, he may regret leaving. By asking to be part of family events, he may be trying to be part of the family again. He may want to show that he has some regret in leaving his family. This could also be a way to show his feelings and try to make an effort in being part of family activities.
Can Men Regret Leaving Their Family and Not Come Back?
There are many reasons why men leave their families. Although some may regret their decision, it does not mean they will return. For example, if there is infidelity and the man moves on with another person, then there is a good chance he won’t come back. However, a man may wish to return if he leaves his family in other instances.
Men are typically not as expressive with their emotions as women are and may find it challenging to express their feelings about issues in the relationship. Often couples ignore warning signs and bury unresolved feelings, which leads to them breaking up. This negatively impacts both people in the relationship but can be damaging if men leave their families, especially if children are involved.
Related Reading: Signs Your Father Might Suffer From Depression
Are Family Orientated Men More Likely to Regret Leaving?
In theory, family-oriented men are less likely to leave in the first place and more likely to regret it if they do, because family means so much to them. If family values are essential to a man and he leaves his family, he is more likely to regret his decision and may even want to come back.
Men that are family orientated are not likely to leave a relationship quickly. Although there are many reasons why men leave their families, men that are family-oriented are much less likely to do so and often only go if it’s initiated by the spouse.
Why Are Family-Oriented Men More Likely to Stay?
Being family-oriented is one of the most essential values in a relationship. Family-oriented people are more likely to invest in family bonds and make consistent efforts in keeping their families together. Family-oriented people are also happier and have greater life satisfaction. Men that are family-oriented are more likely to spend more time with their spouses and children.
Men who are family-oriented are less likely to leave their families and are more likely to be present fathers and play an integral part in their child’s life. Their value systems differ from men who are not family orientated. Men who do not have strong family-based values may find it easier to leave their families.
What Makes Family-Oriented Men Stay with Their Family?
There are a few reasons why family-oriented men stay with their families. First, they have a sense of responsibility to their family and understand how important family is. Being family-oriented can be defined as being family-focused and putting the family in the center of everything you do.
A few examples of being family-oriented are being present for birthdays and other special family moments, keeping family in the center of decision making, and making time to spend with family. In addition, men who are family-oriented have the following qualities:
They Understand the Importance of Family
Family-oriented men understand the importance of family. They consider the impact of their decisions based on how they will affect their family. They lead a life with family at the center. They are present for family events and special moments like the first day of school and graduation. They hold family time high on their list of priorities and focus love and attention on growing family bonds.
Sense Of Responsibility and Loyalty
A sense of responsibility and loyalty are essential when raising a family. As a parent, you need to make daily decisions for your children; most of these are important decisions that affect their well-being. Family-oriented men understand their responsibility as a husband and a father. Therefore, they remain loyal in their relationships with their families.
Sometimes, a sense of responsibility may not come naturally and needs to develop over time. Still, family-oriented men have a sense of duty to look after their families and are less likely to give up on this responsibility.
High Level of Emotional Intelligence
Men who have family-based values often have higher emotional intelligence. This allows them to take care of their family and understand the emotional needs of their loved ones. In addition, emotional intelligence helps build better relationships. Family-oriented men can better handle difficult emotional situations and are more likely to go to therapy to work on their relationships to keep their families together.
Family-Oriented Men Are Caretakers
Being a good caretaker means being able to care for your loved ones. Men who have strong family values understand the importance of being available to look after and take care of their loved ones. As a result, family-oriented men can face hardships and comfort their loved ones when faced with challenges. In addition, family-oriented men are better suited to helping take care of their children and partners.
Able To Handle Stress More Effectively
By putting, family first, family-oriented men are more adaptable to handle difficult situations and the stress that comes with that. They are more likely to show compassion and stick around even if things get tough. They are also able to help family members cope with stressful situations.
Continue Reading: The Importance of Family Support & Why We Benefit From It
There is no way of knowing for sure if a man will regret leaving their family. There are too many variables to consider; however, it’s safe to assume that most men will regret leaving.
This is more likely to happen if there is a bond with their family and emotional attachment. Family-oriented men are less likely to leave their families. Family values play a significant role in whether a man will regret leaving his family.
After earning his Master of Social Work from the University of Toronto, Stuart gained experience working with families in community mental health settings and in the child protection sector. Since becoming a father himself, Stuart now works in private practice offering psychotherapy services. FatherResource is an opportunity for Stuart to share what he learns on his journey as a father with a larger audience.