How to Get Out of a Controlling Marriage

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A person living within a controlling marriage may have every purchase, conversation or trip to the store closely monitored. Though leaving the marriage can bring you freedom, you should prepare ahead of time for the most effective departure. Acknowledging that the relationship is unhealthy and unlikely to change may give you the encouragement you need to break away.

Support System

Building your support system before you leave your marriage is essential. Storing important documents with family and friends and ensuring that you have a place to go at any time of the day can be helpful if you leave your husband suddenly, according to Building up a network of support can ensure that you have someone to check in on you or give you rides if you need them.


Leaving a partner whose controlling behavior spills over into physical violence can be especially daunting. The National Domestic Violence Hotline recommends paying attention to warning signs that your controlling husband may get aggressive with you and rehearsing plausible reasons to leave the house if escape becomes necessary. Needing to give a parent a ride or pick up one of your children may be a reasonable excuse. Keeping the car fueled and a suitcase of clothes and other necessities inside at all times may also be helpful.

After Leaving

After leaving a controlling marriage, consider renting a post office box or enlisting someone you trust to receive your mail in order to protect your safety, suggests the Office on Women's Health. Alerting your job and your child's school can also protect you from your partner after you leave the marriage. If law enforcement makes your spouse leave the home instead, consider changing the locks, replacing doors with sturdier ones and changing the times of day you arrive at or leave the house.

Additional Help

Using someone else's phone or computer ahead of time can help you identify resources for abused women in your area, such as domestic violence organizations and shelters, according to the Office on Women's Health. You can also call the National Domestic Violence Hotline for support and advice (see Resources). If you are currently unable to leave your marriage, working on your skill set and seeking out work could help you leave in the future.