Home > Relationship Tips > Coping With Infertility > How to Cope When Your Spouse Leaves Because of Infertility

How to Cope When Your Spouse Leaves Because of Infertility

Not all marriages survive infertility – even if one spouse wants to stay married. Here are a few tips for coping when your relationship ends because of infertility issues.

How to Cope When Your Spouse Leaves Because of Infertility IssuesChicken Soup for the Soul: Divorce and Recovery: 101 Stories about Surviving and Thriving after Divorce by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, and Patty Hansen will help you grieve the end of your marriage. This book is full of support, inspiration, and sometimes humor on all the phases of divorce. The writers share their personal stories about the initial shock of the decision, to the logistics of living through the divorce, to the inevitable self-discovery, and the new world of dating and even remarriage. It is a wonderfully uplifting book, and it will help you cope when your spouses leaves because of infertility.

These tips are inspired by a reader’s comment: “My wife of 5 years and I have been through a lot since being married,” says C. on How to Let Go of Someone You Love. “We wanted to start a family so much and went through in vitro fertilization in which our dreams came true…but a short time after getting the great news, my wife miscarried. It was devastating. She stopped eating properly and has lost weight. All she does is stay on her laptop computer. We tried to sit down and talk but it didn’t get anywhere. We both have been very critical of each other and have started arguments for no reason. Our sex life, which was great, has not been the same.”

He explains that his wife said she was sorry, but she felt they needed to separate. She asked him to leave for a short time so they could sort through their feelings.

“Wow was I shocked,” he says. “I told her I did not wish to go and asked her for her reasons. She did not respond. I did pack and she said she was truly sorry and that it should not be that long as she needed to sort through things. She asked not to be contacted either phone or email. A few days later she said she thinks she is done and does not wish to be married anymore.”

How infertility affects marriage is different for every couple and every individual. Some people are so hurt by not getting pregnant, they withdraw from the marriage totally. Other couples draw closer together, holding on to what they have.

Here are a few thoughts for C., and all readers whose spouses left their marriage because of fertility problems.

When Your Spouse Leaves Because of Infertility Issues

Accept that you can’t change her response to fertility problems in your marriage

My husband and I can’t have children, and he’s more disappointed about it than I am. He’s always wanted six kids; I’d be happy with one or maybe two. When we found out he as azoospermia (no sperm), we decided to try fertility treatments with a sperm donor (intrauterine insemination or IUI). It didn’t work after six tries, and I didn’t want to try in vitro fertilization. We don’t really want to adopt…and so we don’t have kids.

I love my life, and am fine with not getting pregnant – though I would love a pregnancy miracle!  My husband feels the pain a bit more than I do, I think, but is choosing a positive, happy, resilient mindset.

My point is that for some men and women, infertility is devastating. C’s wife may be one of those people who wanted to conceive a baby and start a family more than anything…and she just can’t overcome her frustration, depression, and heartache at miscarrying.

If that’s the case, then there’s nothing he can do to help her. She needs to work through the pain and loss on her own. He has to do the hardest thing of all: give her time and space.

One of my infertility articles, Miscarriage Support – How to Cope With Pregnancy Loss, is written by a husband who has experienced his wife’s failed pregnancies. It may be particularly helpful for men, since it’s written from a guy’s perspective.

Gain insight into your response to the failed in vitro fertilization

spouse left I'm infertile

How to Cope When Your Spouse Leaves Because of Infertility

“I know I play a part as I also have been ignoring her,” says C. “This has pulled us apart.”

Yes, your response to your wife’s miscarriage affected your marriage. Maybe you didn’t respond in the best way possible – but we do the best we can. All married couples do and say things they regret; marriage is about overcoming our failures and pulling together despite our mistakes.

You can’t change your wife’s way of dealing with the infertility and miscarriage, and you can’t force her to leave the house, get a job, or take build a healthy life outside of her laptop. You can’t communicate with her if she doesn’t want to talk about leaving the marriage…and you certainly can’t force her to change her mind on the marriage.

But, you can talk to a professional about your response to the infertility issues you’ve faced. You can get as emotionally strong and healthy as possible, and gain some insight into your own style of coping with problems.

If I were you, I’d focus less on trying to let her go, and more on getting emotionally and spiritually healthy. If she decides she wants to talk about the separation or possibly reuniting, then you’ll be ready. Right now, you’re both blinded by pain, frustration, and fear.

This wife may need to change her focus

Also – C. mentioned that his wife doesn’t work and relies on him to pay the household bills. I think he should give her a set period of time (eg, two months?) to find a job and get financially stable. She can’t leave her marriage, and expect her husband to continue to support her financially!

Getting a job will get her out of the house, give her a reason to get out of bed in the morning, help her meet new friends in person, and instill a sense of confidence and independence. Or maybe she needs to get a student loan and go back to school. She needs to stop focusing on infertility, pregnancy, fertility treatments, miscarriages and the hope of having a family.

She needs to find the strength to rebuild her life – and hopefully she’ll find it before it’s too late to save her marriage.

Read How to Live Without the Man You Love to help you cope when your spouse leaves because of infertility.

Have infertility issues affected your spouse or marriage in devastating ways? Do you have any tips for this husband? Comments welcome below…

Are you trying to get pregnant? Fairhaven Health's Hormone Balance Bundle improves egg quality, encourages cycle regularity, and helps your body ovulate regularly.

Need encouragement? Sign up for my weekly "Echoes of Joy" email - it's free, short, and energizing. Like me!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

6 thoughts on “How to Cope When Your Spouse Leaves Because of Infertility”

  1. To be honest, for me it is quite difficult to understand how people can do this. How they can leave their partner? This is so mean! I feel like if the couple has really strong, healthy relationship in all parts of their life, some fertility problems can’t ruin their family. I think that even if we are talking about the inability to conceive biological children it wouldn’t cause divorce. I think that as soon as couple gets to know about their fertility problem they have to think together how they can deal with it. The couple should be prepared to find a solution together! However, nowadays there are a lot of different options: IVF, donor eggs, adoption, surrogate motherhood… But I must say that recently I also was at that place. Together with my partner we have been trying to get a child naturally for 4 years. You can’t even imagine how many times we were visited different clinics and awesome doctors! But nothing happened. One day my husband said that we have to move on. And I was surprised when he suggested me to use the help of the surrogate mother! That was an absolutely new experience for us but I agreed. I just wanted to have a full family so much! So once we found Ukrainian Center for Human Reproduction where we chose the program that cost only 30.000 Euros. Nobody knows what will happen in future but I believe that everything will be ok.

  2. Dear Shelly,

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts here! I’m glad you found a connection with Mwangi. If he is willing to give you his email address, I’d be happy to email you it. It sounds like you and he have a lot in common.

    Infertility is so stressful on a relationship, especially if both partners have different ideas of how to proceed. I didn’t want IVF treatments, but my husband would’ve probably gotten them if he was in my shoes. I didn’t want kids that bad, and I’m fortunate that my husband supported me no matter what.


  3. Mwangi- leave your wife. I am recovering from a similar situation- married to an African man for 12 years, I’m from US. We had no children. (Guess I’m infertile although dr found nothing wrong with me) I made so many sacrifices trying to help us move to Africa- that was our dream. The only way we could do this is for him to live in Africa for a year while I stayed in US to work. We were so close to our dream when I visited Africa last summer and he had a baby on the way with some woman his mother had picked out for him. Be careful I guarantee you your wife is having unprotected sex with other men. Don’t suffer this agony any longer it will never end. Do whatever you have to get out of this situation. Hmm. This is agony and torture- don’t prolong it. If your wife can’t overcome the African brainwashing that life is not worth living without bearing children, there will be no end and it is a disgrace to you. Since you already have a business, maybe there will be another avenue to getting permanent residency status. I wish you and I could talk!

  4. My wife told me she is leaving me after a visit to an infertility doctor. Our situation is complex. My wife was born in an African country to a prosperous family where we live and I was born in the U.S. We married in the U.S. and we moved to her country after eight years of marriage in the U.S and she finished school. Her expects children and my wife really wants children. My wife had very bad 14 fibroid tumours that caused bleeding. I paid for the surgery to have them removed. I have gone for 3 sprem counts now. Everything is healthy, but there is a minor morphology problem. My wife insists on IVF and has now refused to have sex with me.She tells me I have caused her fibroids through my penis and it is my fault we don’t have children. In today’s appointment I asked the doctor to clarify that I did not cause her fibroids and she screamed at me when we got into the car telling me she was leaving me. I don’t have the money to do IVF treatment and am the only income earner. I am also in her country illegally as she has not filed my immigration papers which she hold over my head until I give her a baby. She also has refused to go back to the U.S. and I am afraid of leaving the country illegally as it would mess my passport. Today I missed work to go do another sperm test after she accosted me. I don’t know what to do. I am isolated from friends and family. I am scarred of going back to face unemployment in the U.S. as I have business and property here (albeit under both of our names). I enjoy a standard of living here that I never had in the U.S.that I also fear losing. I dread trips to the infertility doctor and fear her reaction and the insults that follow. No one knows how much pain I am in and I don’t know what to do. My wife’s family is well connected in this country and my business and social standing are connected to her as I am a foreigner. While I have been successful my wife reminds me daily that “she has made me who I am” and “I have wasted the last 10 years of her life leaving her childless”. This is when the insults fly from her mouth and sometimes she throws kitchen utensils at at me.

  5. Jennifer Potrykus

    I know my husband really wants to leave me because I cannot have children but he is too afraid of being alone. Should I leave him and let him live his lifelong dream of having children of his own?

    1. I am afraid of leaving my husband I feel sad that he will be alone. I think I love him but as a friend but I feel like ai would be heartless if I leave him. The thing is he has azoospermia but hes not willing to go to other treatments, adopt, or IVF. After 6 years of marriage I think theres nothi g to work with. Im not sure but I think Ive fallen out of being in love.