I remember it well. A woman I worked with --and whom I couldn't stand --was crying in the cubicle next to me. She was on the phone, telling someone her story. "No", she said sobbing, "I didn't know. The first sign I got was when he pulled up in a UHAUL".
Even though she was a creton who had made my life almost unbearable, I found myself feeling sorry for her. And that started me wondering, why didn't she know? Why didn't she see it coming? For that matter, why do most women not see it coming? Here they are living with a man, day in and day out. You know he didn't just decide a second before the UHAUL pulled up, so it must have been brewing in his mind for awhile. So, if he has known for awhile, and you live with him every day, what were the signs that you missed.
Here then, for all the other women who don't see it coming, are the Ten Signs That He's Going to Leave You.
1. Withdrawal. The clearest sign, according to marriage studies, that a man is going to leave you is his withdrawal from interaction. Most people think that constant fighting is a sign he'll leave. But it's not. If he's fighting, he's still in the battle. If he's eerily quiet, even though you want him to fight, he's not in the battle. Because the battle is over. And so is the war.
When he stops fighting, and gets real quiet, he's making his plans.
2. Long-term Plans Suddenly Change. Say you and he have always talked about one day, after the kids are raised, taking a trip to the Grand Canyon. Or Tahiti. Or wherever. And, then, one day, you mention Tahiti, and he doesn't smile or join in. That's a sign. His mind may be on Tahiti. But when he forms a mind picture of Tahiti--you're not in it.
3. Reproductive Decisions Change. Let's say, you want children. Or say, you never want to have children. And you and he have agreed on this. But then he for some reason seems reluctant to talk about your joint decision of what your family will look like. That's a major league bad sign. If a man reverses himself on what you thought you and he had agreed upon about children--watch out. See, Jennifer Aniston didn't see it coming. Brad Pitt wanted children. She wanted to wait. Brad Pitt got his children. But not with Jennifer.
4. Money. Everybody fights about money. No problem. The bad sign occurs if you find out that he has hidden something significant about his pile of money. Or if he is no longer contributing the same amount to your household. Disappearing money is going somewhere. Somewhere bad for you.
5. An Affair of a Certain Type. Men have affairs sometimes. Women have affairs sometimes. People cheat. But no one will necessarily leave the marriage unless it is a certain type of affair. That type is an affair with a woman who also can make him a home more comfortable than your home. Truth is, most men love structure. They love the structure of a home. I don't care how good she looks or how hot the sex is, if she is living in a dump, she can't cook ---sorry, sexist but true---he's not leaving you for her. He may keep her on the side but he's not leaving. Men like to slide into a nice, comfortable structured food-and-roof situation. The only exception is if they are both extremely wealthy.
6. Kids Are Growing Up. If he's been staying with you for the sake of the kids ---and you know plenty of you have these situations --then watch out when Little Johnny gets ready to go to college. Because just as Little Johnny may be starting his new life, Daddy may be starting his new life too.
7. The Ultimate Vacation. A woman I know told me her husband asked her for a divorce. Not after a fight. But after they had come back from what she thought was their dream vacation with the best sex they had ever had. It turns out, that many men who know they are going to leave, plan one last big, hoorah. What was that song--Let's Just Kiss and Say Goodbye. They often have Good-bye Sex --the best sex ever--before they exit the door. Thank you, mam.
8. His Friends Treat You Differently. Ladies, most men, contrary to popular belief, blab everything to their buddies. It's 100% sure that his best buds will know your marriage is over before you do. So, if they suddenly drop the social courtesies, change the tone of voice, watch out.
9. Payroll Deductions. If you find on his pay stub any change in deductions you have not discussed, that's a bad sign. A man planning to leave you may change his deductions, so he can increase his cash flow, in anticipation of reduced family income or just to tie himself over in case you out him out. He may also change the beneficiaries on his insurance or his pension. Watch out.
10. His Mother. Some men start distancing you from their mothers, in an effort to wean her off you before the Break. He may break it off suddenly with you but chances are, he will tell his mother something ahead of time, to soften the blow. Less baggage, my dear.