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How to Leave Your Husband When You’re a Stay at Home Mom

How do you even start thinking about divorce when you’re a stay-at-home mom who is financially dependent on your husband? These four steps will get you started.

“I am so sad in my marriage,” says M. on How to Leave a Man You Love – But Can’t Live With. “I am a stay at home mom with 5 kids, ages 12 to one year. I DESPERATELY want to divorce my husband, but I have no means. My family is so far away. The pain of not leaving is killing me. I don’t trust my husband at all, even though he’s my children’s father. He is a pathological liar, and having him in my life is a growing cancer. What do I do? He is a good dad – actually, more of a good provider for me and the kids, but that is not enough for me. Please tell me how do I divorce my children’s father?

She added that they’ve been married for 14 years, and he’s been with up to four different women at the same time, plus being involved with ladies outside the country. I have no magic solution or marriage advice that will solve her problems, but here are a few things to think about…


4 Steps to Leaving Your Husband When You’re a Stay at Home Mom

I wish I had an easy answer for you, but I don’t. There is no simple, uncomplicated way to divorce a man when you have five kids together and you’re a stay at home mom. My heart goes out to you, because I know from your comment that you’re in a lot of pain. I don’t know what it’s like to be in your shoes, but I know how heartbreaking it is to feel powerless, sad, and trapped in a situation you have no control over.

1. Find good sources of emotional support

The first thing you need to do is contact a women’s resource centre and a legal aid organization. I don’t know where you live or what social services-type support you have access to, but I do know you need to start doing some research. My friend’s husband just left her and their three kids – she’s also a stay at home mom – and she had to find a lawyer. It’s a difficult step to take, especially when you have financial concerns, but it’s necessary. If you want to divorce your kids’ father, you need to know what legal rights you have.

Online forums for stay-at-home moms – and relationship blogs – can be a great source of emotional support for financially dependent women. For example, here’s what one reader said to another on How to Help Your Children Through a Painful Divorce:

How to Leave Your Husband Financially Dependent Stay at Home Mom

How to Leave Your Husband When You’re a Stay at Home Mom

“I am sorry you are dealing with that situation,” says Amanda. “I know that is tough to want to leave your husband when you’re a stay-at-home mom but you’re stuck. My ex-husband left me 15 months ago, we divorced nine months ago and he married his new wife three weeks ago. They work together. I know it is hard to hold your head up when you’re financially dependent on a husband who cheats on you. There are times when you feel that no one notices or cares but that is not true — don’t let yourself go there! You are strong and wonderful and you can get through this. Keep your mind and feelings on finding ways to leave and support yourself financially – not what is going on with your husband and his affair partner. You can get through this regardless of the outcome. Take care of yourself.”

2. Move closer to your family – even if you don’t want to

The second step is to consider moving closer to your family. I know they’re far away, and I know how stressful it’ll be for you and your children to move! But, you need to compare the short-term pain of divorcing your husband with the long-term pain of staying with him, and continuing the path you’re on now. Call your closest relatives, and talk about the possibilities. Can you stay with someone for a few weeks, while you look for a place?

Sometimes, stay-at-home moms are embarrassed to ask their families for help. They feel guilty and ashamed, or bad about their past family relationships. But when it comes to your survival…you must do what you need to do. You have to swallow your pride and become vulnerable if you want to leave your husband.

And, know that one day you will be in a position to help some other woman who needs help leaving her husband. You’ll be financially independent and able to lend a hand to someone else. By helping her, you’ll show your gratitude that you were helped when you need it.

3. Research different ways to get financial support

The third step – which is actually of primary importance – is to figure out your finances. I assume you don’t have much money, as a stay at home mom of five children! If you’re divorcing your children’s father, you’ll probably need money to support yourself. Don’t forget that he will have to pay child support and alimony (that’s why you need to talk to a legal aid representative).

Buckle down, because it’ll be exhausting and frustrating to look for support for financially dependent women. This might take days, weeks, or even months. But it will be worth it because you WILL succeed if you keep looking for sources of support. There are sources of income assistance for stay-at-home moms who are financially dependent – but you really have to stay focused and disciplined. Don’t give up! It’ll be hard, but it will be worth it.

Read What to Expect at a Women’s Shelter or Safe House to start learning what your options are.


4. Find and keep evidence of your husband’s affairs

The fourth step is to start gathering evidence of your husband’s affairs. You’ll have an easier time seeking a divorce and getting child support if you have concrete evidence that your marriage is unhealthy. Again, a women’s resource centre in your area can help you with this.

I’m really sorry you’re facing this. It’s a very difficult time in in a woman’s life – even if you weren’t a stay at home mom! You have to remember that you’re a survivor, and you can make huge, positive changes in your life. Take it one small step at a time, my friend. Make one phone call a day, and give yourself time and space to process the information you get about divorce.

Help for Stay-at-Home Moms Who Are Financially Dependent

How to Leave Your Husband When You’re a Stay at Home MomIn A Woman’s Guide To Financial Security After Divorce: The Basics: Creating A Solid Foundation (Think Financially, Not Emotionally®), Jeffrey Landers describes the critical first steps you need to take after your divorce to establish long-term financial stability. It’s extremely important for you to learn how to support your goals and vision with a sustainable spending plan that ensures your long-term financial security.

You need an immediate source of income if you want to break free from your financial dependence on your husband. But, you also need to start thinking about smart ways to use your retirement and investment accounts – and other sources of income – to increase your cash-flow and extend your financial future. You have to learn which assets are best and what strategies will help you manage and pay off your financial debts and liabilities. This is part of taking action towards leaving your husband, and it will help you feel more independent.

How to Survive a Christian DivorceIn The Christian Chick’s Guide to Surviving Divorce – What Your Girlfriends Would Tell You If They Knew What To Say, Suzanne Reeves tells you what your girlfriends would tell you about leaving your husband when you’re a stay-at-home mom – if they knew what to say. With a good dose of humor, Suzanne offers life-giving encouragement as well as practical guidance for getting a divorce. This is a book full of hope from someone who has been there.

“After I realized my marriage was over, I walked into my local Christian bookstore with my head down, hoping no one would see the tears streaming down my face,” writes Suzanne. “I didn’t want the usual version of surviving divorce – have a glass of wine, slash his tires, head to Jamaica, and party like you did in college. I needed Godly advice from a woman who had walked in my shoes and lived to tell about it.”

Every year, 900,000 women of faith go through a divorce. This book is full of the wisdom and encouragement that Suzanne received, as well as the lessons she learned while the Lord was exchanging His beauty for her ashes. There is a life full of hope, healing, and triumph on the other side.

You can heal from this divorce, become financially independent even as a stay-at-home mom, and come out on the other side in triumph.

Read How to Leave Your Husband When You Have No Money and learn how to start saving up for your future. You don’t have to divorce your husband today, or even this month. Take a deep breath, and find an in-person support network to help you figure out what step to take next.

I welcome your thoughts on how stay at home moms can gain financial independence, but I can’t offer marriage advice. I read every comment, though…and you may find that writing your experience might give you insight and healing.


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20 thoughts on “How to Leave Your Husband When You’re a Stay at Home Mom”

  1. It has panned out good. His threats and stalking still continue. But I am very meh! (Read Chump Lady) I got a job with a company making good money. I traded lawyers and found one that was willing to help me. He had to pay me out of all marital assets he choose to keep. Guess he got a loan. It was enough to pay off my car and huge deposit on a house. My kids are in a great school district and have made huge progress. Don’t count on child support! They probably won’t pay. My best Advice “Good Attorney”! I got my from an abuse shelter I was in contact with. Life does go on. You deserve better. I wish you the best.

  2. This is almost exactly like my current position. Husband and I have 3 children and live in a home we built together. I have been a sahm since 2011, while also doing the books and clerical work for HIS company. I found out two weeks ago that he was having an affair with a professional that he has had a longterm aquaintance with. He says that he wants to work on our marriage but is basically refusing to let go of communication with this other woman. I will not let him do this to me, but am so scared of how this will be financially. How has your situation panned out?

  3. Awww MMG you poor thing.. That’s horrible your going through that, that’s not right. I really hope you find happiness and peace, and I wish I had a magical solution but I don’t… Just remember it’s not you that causes him to act like that, it’s him. There is nothing you could do any better, he’s still going to be the same. The issue lies within him, not you. So don’t ever think your not good enough, because you are.

  4. This is horrible for me to say… BUT push your feelings down and stay until your young kids are teenagers. I have a step son that visits every other weekend and he’s the most nasty, lying, disgusting kid I know. I want a divorce from my husband BUT my son will not be allowed to stay with his dad if his lying step brother is over. My husband will be able to have our son when his son from the ex girl friend isn’t over. No way. If you have small kids, and I know how you feel believe me keep an eye on those sneaky little brats when your kids are around them. It’s a HUGE sacrifice, it really, really is but just put your feelings in a jar until your kids are old enough to know to stay away from them when your not there. Take your kids to a family members house and go out, have fun. If he’s doing hell you have every right to. Get a part time job so you can go out and maybe have a male friend to keep your mind off things. I’ve stayed for years when I didn’t want to, when my son gets just a little bit older I’m out! I can’t stand the thought of putting him with strangers at a day care him being so young, so once he’s around 8 I’m getting my own place. Sometimes we have to put ourselves on hold for the good of our kids. It’s a tragedy…

  5. I’m so glad I found this post.. I’ve been looking for help everywhere..but secretly. 24 years married, I’ve stayed home for all of those years in addition to homeschooling my kids.. they are now a senior in high School and a Junior at University.
    Thank you for posting some resources!

  6. I’m a SAHM of 4 ranging from 16- 4. I’ve been unhappy for several years but this past year was my final straw. He’s a good father and provider but there’s something missing. We’re very different and as I grow we are certainly moving in different directions. I don’t know how to tell him that I want a divorce because I do love him and would like to remain friends. I’ve given myself 1-2 year to get my stuff together.

    It takes careful planning and patience not this bs in this article. Get yourself together and find some independence… go back to school work on your skills.

  7. My husband has been on a 3-4 month tirant where he believes fully that i am.masturbating 24/7. He thinks i have some kind of vibrator inside that i control with clicks or wiggleing my nose or runbing my lips. I have not got a decent nights sleep in forever as he busts in if I had to switch rooms sue to toddler crying. And even when I lay beside him. He has ripped open mattresses insisted he put his fingers inside me to check and on one occassion without permission.
    I can hear him rant an rave from whatever room or basement he is in about me masterbating. He accuses me of having orgasams while i am changing the wash, loading the dishwahser sitting on the couch watching tv with my 2 and 7 year old sons.
    He is constantly spying on me and hiding secret recorders around the house to “catch” me. He has never found anything because this IS NOT the case and he says he has video proving this and when he shows me……..i am sleeping.
    He has never is 20 years laid a finger on me but he has done and said things in this whirl wind of chaos that I never thought I would hear. It comes and goes we have good days and we have bad days but WTF!
    I am a stay at home mom with no access to money unless my husband gives it to me to pay bills. He is becoming so controlling i don’t know what to do.

  8. I was as stay at home mom/ office manager for our company. In march I found out he was involved in an online relationship with a woman; when I confronted he said it was nothing and he would end it. One month later he left said he needed to clear his head; while he was gone I found out they were together. When he got home he said he wanted a divorce. I told him to get out. He tormented and terrorized me and our 2 daughters for the next month. He even forced us out of our joint marital home ; which we built together. It hasn’t even been 3 months; divorce is nowhere near final and he already moved the whore and drug addict in our house. I have a attorney and have decided even if I don’t get a dime and it all goes to lawyers I’ll fight him till every last dollar of our estate is spent. Just so he doesn’t get it! Because I am a survivor! Trying to land a good job; everyone wish me the best! I am wishing all you survivors of #### men the best !

  9. I have been married 15yrs to an emotional abuser. Stay at home mom 5yr old and 10 yr old girls. I love my daughters like you, I’ve even homeschooled oldest. I left in April after found out about his affair. Still in the divorce phase. He has everything, kicked us out of house. My family has been my strength, we’ve stayed a week at a time with them. I don’t know how you do it on your own. But I do know you’re child suffering from you leaving will be less than the suffering they endure staying. My ex got 30 custody every other weekend and Thursday nights is less emotional abuse than every hour their home. Your child will have to get tough. And someday they will know you’re struggle, but be strong! You left and trust me you are better off! You have to get tough and realize your child in daycare missing you is better than abuse. Find the better job and make the compromise. The child will be in school at five. Hang in their, you deserve better.

  10. I leave this comment as my own personal way of healing what I live daily. I too am a SAHM of 6 girls ages 16 down to 3. I’m 37 and been married for 20yrs. My spouse started straying in 2012 but I didn’t realize that till that other person started sending msgs. To my then13 yrold. I asked her to stop msg. Her thinking it its a fake profile from a stranger. Then she said who she was and by the way just letting me in on the secret. We argue and fight since then. Yes he has hit me and no I never reported it. (But I always took pictures) I’ve stayed because of my kids. I never reported it so my kids won’t have to testify against him or feel they have to choose sides. He still cheats but no more hitting. But I’ve collected numerous. Boxes of proof of the affairs receipts of the cars and gifts he gave away. Bank statements and pictures of msgs documents and anything I can to prove my “accusations” I’ve been researching shelters and counseling forme and girls. And I’ve looked into going back to school to schoo. I know my journey is a long and emotional but im taking my life back! I need to be happy for my girls to help ease this horrible transition and to live as normal as possible. The first step is always the hardest but I know it will be worth it. l

  11. I am a stay at home mom with 2 young children and 2 teenage stepkids. I am miserable in my marriage. My stepkids are manipulative, conniving, and sneaky. I do not trust them at all. They make up lies about me and anything that will benefit them. I feel they border on being a danger to me and/or my kids. Along with all of this, I do not really trust my husband fully. He has never cheated on me, but he has done things behind my back with other women in the past and I am to the point now that I feel if he were given the opportunity, he might not be able to help himself. He also lies about just random things, so I don’t trust him with regular, normal things in life. He is also not honest about finances.

    With all of these problems, I am to the point that I am very seriously considering leaving him, but I am so afraid that I might cause worse problems for myself and my children if I do leave. I’m scared of being unable to support myself and my children. Most likely, my husband would be able to keep our house since he has a job, and even if I got a job today, it most likely wouldn’t pay even half of what it would take to keep the house. I don’t think he would be able to keep it either, once he started having to pay child support. So my children would lose the home they love, with the neighborhood kids they are so close to.
    I don’t want to share custody and be away from my kids at all. I don’t want them to be around my stepkids without me there to supervise. I don’t want them around my husbands family without me because they don’t have the same views on safety as I do and they also care more about my stepkids than my kids, so I would feel like they would be ignored and left out constantly without me there to protect them and keep them away from them.
    I feel basically stuck, unless I am willing to sacrifice things for my children for my possible happiness. This is just so horrible.

  12. Thank you for sharing your perspective, Elizabeth. I really appreciate hearing from you – I had no idea how difficult things can be for women who don’t have highly marketable skills or job prospects.

    I grew up with a single mom; her lifelong struggle with schizophrenia made it impossible for her to work. And, her mental illness created all sorts of problems not just at our house, but also in our neighborhood and at my school. It was really, really hard – I was in foster homes for much of my childhood.

    So I think that if a woman is physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy, then she can conquer the world! I really do believe that. I know firsthand how debilitating a mental illness is, and I believe that if a woman is healthy, then she can rise above.

    Of course, I don’t know all women and all circumstances. That’s why I really appreciate your perspective, and I’m glad you shared it here.

    All good things,
    Laurie

  13. “You can heal from this divorce, become financially independent even as a stay-at-home mom, and come out on the other side in triumph.”

    I think it is really ridiculous that you are writing this. I see that you are happily married with no children to worry about. You should take this article down – it is spinning a woefully unrealistic view of what it is like to leave a marriage without a career position waiting in the wings.

    As a single mother who left an abusive relationship, with no family to help, and no child support thererafter, no career or home business or college degree (which I went on to finish later) I have to say that becoming financially independent as a stay at home mom (or even a working mother as I have learned over the years since) is a pipe dream for all except those who already have a highly marketable skill that they can leverage – either for a telecommuting job, or a regular commuter job. Otherwise, good luck paying your bills. All of the stay at home jobs are either scams or pay very little.

    I am sure you have only the best intentions, but really this article is just making me angry.

    Even with my college degree that practically killed me to finish while also working and caring for my then three year old daughter, I am back to looking for minimum wage jobs that don’t pay the bills, because that is all that I can find. I have never gotten out of the cycle of poverty, and continue to acrue debt.

    After seeing what working and finishing school did to my relationship with my daughter (who I had been nursing on demand and spending every waking minute with up until bravely leaving my abusive husband), I vowed to never again put myself in a position where I am unavailable to her. Which rules out 99% of all the jobs I could apply for.

    So riddle me this: how does a single mother, who cares deeply for their child(ren)’s emotional wellbeing, survive in this day and age?

  14. If you want to get money to leave your husband, look into websites that pay well but don’t require skills. Just research “work from home jobs.”

  15. Dear Janice,

    It sounds like you love your children and husband so much, and you want to do what’s best for them more than anything. They’re so lucky to have you! You’ll make the right decision for them and for you – but you have to listen to your intuition.

    What is your heart telling you to do?

    I did some research on the effects of divorce on children, and wrote this article for you:

    Should You Stay Together for the Children? What You Need to Know
    http://howloveblossoms.com/how-to-know-if-we-should-stay-together-for-the-children/

    Read the article, and let me know if it helps you make a decision. Most importantly, listen to your heart and intuition. You’ll find everything you need to know within you – especially when it comes to your children. Trust yourself.

  16. My husband and I have been married for 12 years. We have two children, ages seven and nine. My husbands had an affair that lasted almost a year. I’m a stay at home mom, but I have friends and family who can help me leave him. The only thing is, I don’t know what to do about my children. Should I stay with my husband because of our children? I don’t know if a divorce would cause problems for them the rest of their lives. They love their dad and they would want us to stay together. But I don’t think I want to be in this marriage anymore, after she cheated on me for that long. How do you know if you should stay together because of the children?

  17. Dear Jasmin,

    I am sorry to hear what you’re going through in your marriage. It sounds painful both emotionally and physically, and your husband doesn’t seem to care. Being a stay-at-home mom makes it especially difficult because you aren’t financially able to just walk away.

    Of the four steps I listed above, which one seems most likely to help you? Or, is there another option that you might be able to follow up on?

  18. I am also a stay at home mom but with 2 kids. I too want out of my marriage. Husband is a pathological liar who pays for on the internet. Check your husbands trash in email. Its not the first time. I think he is spending on someone or something else because he is very cheap towards me and my kids. I dont know what to do. He is hardly a husband. He thinks marriage is about sex and not friendship. He rather not talk or say anything. Go to work, eat, watch tv, go to bed and thats it…no sharing of any thoughts. He has become a mute. I feel like a prostitute not a wife. I hate him so much. There is no love or ounce of thoughtfulness on his part. I have severe back pain and he still wants to get on top of me. I would be in so much pain after. I would always shower a long time after being with him. He just climb on top off me until he is done and breathes like an old disgusting smelly old man. I cant take it much long…its makes me sick to my stomach. I cringe when he near me. Never says i love you. I wish someone would help me. It feels like rape every time.

  19. Dear MMG,

    Thank you for being here, and sharing what it’s like to be a stay at home mom. It sounds like you feel so isolated — and it takes wisdom and strength to share what you’re going through! Many times we hide what we’re dealing with, so I really admire your courage. I’m sorry you’re going through this, especially since you’re new to this country.

    I wish I had good advice to give you about leaving a marriage – or that I had a magic wand that could help you get out of this situation!

    If I were you, I would consider going to a safe house or shelter for women. Call the womens’ support lines in your city, and ask what your options are. I know your English isn’t as good as you’d like, but I believe you know enough to be understood! Your writing is very good.

    Here’s an article to get you started:

    What You Need to Know When You Call a Shelter or Safe House
    http://blossomtips.com/womens-shelter-safe-house-abusive-relationships/

    I will keep you in my prayers, for strength and healing and comfort. May you reach out and find support and love in your friends and family.

    Take care of yourself, and stay open to God’s love, healing, power, and freedom.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  20. i am a stay at home mom, no relatives at all. i come from the philippines where all my families are. no friends here, i don’t now nobody but just my 5 year old, i am not happy anymore, i become very isolated were i become anti social, hated to be outdoor and talking to someone is very hard for me because my english are not that good. i am lonely and want a divorce but i stay at home mom. When we argue he always call me names and it hurts me. i did my best to a good wife and mommy from doing everything in the house even doing the mans job around the house. i feel like if i divorce my husband i have nothing and it is a shame to be a divorce lady my family would just blame me. that one thing he ever said to me was i am a dead weight to him. i wanna leave but i can’t and i don’t know how and where should i go.