Wife Says She Wants a Divorce but Hasn’t Filed [WHAT NOW?]

If your wife says that she wants a divorce but she hasn’t filed, you have to ask yourself two questions. First, why is your wife hesitating to file for divorce? Does she have second thoughts or other reasons? The second question is; do you actually want a divorce? The answers to these will help guide you.

On your wedding day, everything was perfect, and divorce was the last thing you were thinking about. Unfortunately, life happens and, before you know it, your marriage is not what you expected it to be. Sometimes this is entirely unexpected and it could happen for any number of reasons. But how should you handle it when your wife says she wants a divorce, but she hasn’t filed yet?

Getting the answers you need may not be easy, but this isn’t a matter that you can just ignore. It won’t just go away or be resolved by itself. There’s some work to do before you can get closure, so let’s work through the possible answers to those questions. Hopefully, that will give you some guidance on dealing with the situation.

wife with back to husband after telling him she wants a divorce

Related Reading: How to Respond to Divorce Threats [ANSWERED]

Why Hasn’t Your Wife Filed for Divorce Yet?

There are a couple of potential reasons why your wife hasn’t yet filed for divorce. If you can determine the cause, that could also give you an idea about how to handle the situation. Let’s look at what some experts say about the reasons why someone could hesitate with the filing process.

They Don’t Really Want to Divorce

Sometimes things happen that make one of the partners think a divorce is possibly the right option. This does not necessarily mean they aren’t serious about it or haven’t really decided. However, especially if they’re hesitant with the filing process, there’s still a possibility that they don’t really want a divorce, and they may have just mentioned it in a moment of anger or weakness.

So how do you know if she means it when she says she wants a divorce? There are a few signs to look out for. Note that the presence of only one or two of these signs don’t necessarily indicate that your wife wants a divorce. The more signs you see, the more certainty you will have. The signs are:

  • She’s emotionally distant or cold towards you. If she doesn’t want to try and talk about your issues, it generally means that some part of her has already given up hope of ever saving your marriage. She will usually close herself off from you and your family completely. She may seem to feel absolutely nothing, and it’s no longer possible for you to connect with her.
  • She’s always critical or resentful of you. If she never has anything good to say about you, that is a vital warning sign (even if she hasn’t actually mentioned divorce).
  • She’s away from home more and more often. This could be work, hanging out with friends, or visiting her family. Anything that takes her away from home will fall into this category. Note that this one, in particular, is not necessarily a sign of wanting a divorce, especially if she has a demanding job. But it is definitely a warning sign of problems in your marriage.
  • There’s no intimacy. This does not just relate to sex, though that is also a part of it. If you can’t have moments of intimacy with your spouse anymore, it is a bad sign, with or without the threat of divorce.
  • She’s always busy on her phone or another device. Again, this is difficult because many people spend way too much time on electronic devices these days. But if she isn’t willing to put down the phone and talk, she’s already checked out of your marriage emotionally and could even be using online dating apps or chatting with other people.
  • She is fighting without a good reason. Picking a fight when there’s no real reason for it is often a sign of either a feeling of guilt or an attempt to justify breaking up. It’s never a good thing.

On their own, each of these signs is a warning, but the more factors you can tick on this list, the higher the chances that she truly wants a divorce.

Related Reading: What to Do if You Filed for Divorce but Regret It Now?

There’s Inconvenience Involved with Divorce

Sometimes, living in an unhappy marriage can be outweighed by the inconvenience of getting a divorce. Perhaps she’s unable to afford a divorce, or she’s thinking of your kids. Maybe she can’t afford to live a life on her own.

Perhaps she’s afraid of the social stigma, especially if she comes from a more traditional or religious background. There could be many reasons.

Do You Want a Divorce?

This question may or may not be relevant. Unless both parties in a marriage want to make it work, there’s no point in trying, and you’re only going to cause frustration.

If your wife said that she wants a divorce, and you want a divorce as well, maybe it’s time for you to just take the leap and stop waiting for your wife to file. You’re both just making yourself and each other miserable and even kids can be happy after a divorce if the parents handle it in a healthy way.

If you don’t want a divorce, though, there are a few things to look at.

You Don’t Want to Divorce, but Your Wife Wants to

In this case, there’s no real point in trying to work on your marriage. If she’s made up her mind, the best you can do is prepare yourself and take the leap.

But first, be 100% sure. Ask her directly if she definitely, absolutely, wants a divorce, and tell her that you’re willing to file if she’s sure about it, but that you’re also willing to work on it if she’s willing as well. No difficult communication, just a plain statement and question is all you need. If she’s sure about the divorce, make it easier for both of you and just go ahead and file.

There are certain advantages to you filing for divorce first, but this differs from country to country, so talk to a good divorce lawyer as soon as possible to get the specifics that apply to you. Importantly, don’t be the one who leaves the house or the children, if you have any. Keep living your life as close as possible to how you’ve been living it. It shows stability and could sway the court in your favor.

If She Isn’t Sure About a Divorce Either

If she hasn’t entirely made up her mind yet, there’s some potentially good news: there’s a chance that your marriage could be saved. Encourage her to go for counseling, then go together to a couple’s counselor. Try to find a happily married couple with a good track record and ask them to share their “secrets” with you. But note that counseling is not the full solution. The real key is implementing the answers you find in your day-to-day life.

It’s evident by now that the strategy you’ve been following in your marriage so far isn’t working. You both have to decide to implement new techniques every day to improve your relationship, which takes compromise on both sides. But if both partners are willing, just about any marriage can be saved and turned into something beautiful.

Continue Reading: Divorce Bifurcation Explained [Pros & Cons]


No matter how amicable, a divorce is never an easy or a pretty process. Hearing that your wife wants a divorce could also be a shock that emotionally sends you into a downward spiral.

The important thing is to know that life will go on regardless and that you will come out okay on the other side. Focus and do what you have to do. Take the necessary steps. You will make it all right.

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