Ask Ellie: Why do loving husbands leave their wives?

Advice columnist EllieDear Readers: Today, I’ve asked a question by reaching out to a post-divorce coach in Australia who’s provided answers: Why do some formerly loving, good husbands suddenly leave their wives?

Fiona May, a Transition and Relationship Coach with certification in life coaching, lives in Perth, married at 18, had three children by 21. She farmed with her husband of 28 years… until he went golfing in Thailand and remained there with a local woman.

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Today, retired from a manufacturing business she built from scratch, May works with women and men whose presumed life-partners suddenly left them.

May’s goal over the past four years has been to help both sexes with the life-enhancing task to “reset your life and shine after divorce.”

But first, she devoted herself to studying about family therapy, strategic intervention for herself and her children (early-to-mid-20s when their father left) and neuro-linguistic programming about how learned behaviour as children affects our adult choices. “I wasn’t going to remain heartbroken, bitter or stuck. I had to heal, grow and love myself.”

She addressed my question about men head on:

“There are commonalities in that some men were similarly abruptly left by their wives. Men also have been getting a raw deal. By the time a man leaves, the relationship usually had a problem including mis-communication and the wife shutting down. Men leave because they don’t have the skills to correct the relationship.”

Couples need to learn how to understand each other, not tear each other down, she says. “When women and men both accept responsibility, they actually recognize what happened. We empower ourselves.”

Her online program, through her website,, offers a free consultation, a 12-week paid program, other free resources, and has participants from Canada, the US, South Africa, etc. There are currently 13,500 in her Facebook group.

May is head female coach on the eight-person leadership team. Her son, Kody, head male coach, teaches men to “become leaders in their life and relationships,” May says.

Some coaching applies to men and women alike: “Don’t lose yourself in the next relationship you find. You need to take down your walls and be whole, to allow a good man or woman to love you.”

She adds, “Divorce doesn’t have to only be devastating. It’s the biggest challenge to face, yet some people do better after the divorce.

“We try to help them grow beyond what they know from their upbringing and past… to no longer hear a voice inside saying they’re “not good enough.”

The end goal? “To identify our own needs and what we’re expecting from a partner, and see what a healthy relationship looks like, while also learning to recognize red flags.”

Her own family life healed from her initially shattering divorce, when she, her children, and the “beautiful man” as she describes her second husband, all agreed to renewed contact with their father and his current partner, at family gatherings, weddings, etc.

Not all men who leave a marriage are “asses,” she says, and I agree, since neither are all women who do the same thing.

From my own experience, as well as learning from so many readers who write me their stories of once-promising marriages that ceased to thrive, Fiona May brings a positive and hopeful perspective wrapped in her own confident pitch towards a better life post-divorce.

We all need to learn to bring thoughtful selection to choosing a “life” partner, along with our own commitment to personal growth and open communication.


Regarding the Reader’s Commentary, on the woman with “must-haves” in a marriage (June 25):

“This woman’s clear about what she wants, and doesn’t need to “fully re-evaluate her priorities,” as a reader suggested. She’s 39 and it’s reasonable for her to want formal marriage and children.

“She’s flexible on how to have children and “open to the future” so I’m not sure exactly what the reader’s issue is with this.

“Her question pertained to ways to meet people other than dating apps, not whether or not her priorities were in line.

“A woman’s priorities shouldn’t change just because a man thinks she needs to re-evaluate them to better fit with his own. Both partners need to be honest about their priorities from the beginning, and determine together the compromises that can be made.”

Ellie: My own suggestion was that she “look for common ground” with someone while letting each other be themselves.

Ellie’s Tip of the day

Divorced women and men equally need to commit to positivity and open communication with a partner.

Send relationship questions to

Follow @ellieadvice.

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