A gold mine of insight and practical counsel for getting through the emotional train wreck of being abandoned by your husband.
Pat Hudson, Ph.D., author of The Solution-Oriented Woman and You Can Get Over Divorce.
Vikki Stark provides women whose husbands have left them abruptly an invaluable guide to understanding what has blindsided them, and offers the healing kind of help that comes from hearing stories of survivors of this often overlooked form of spousal abuse: abandonment.
Louise DeSalvo, Ph.D., author of Writing as a Way of Healing
If you marry Dr. Jekyll and get Mr. Hyde and he walks out the door with no warning, then this is the book for you. Stark's Seven Steps for Moving Forward are right on and will get you back on the path - or, as she suggests, move you to an even better one.
Catherine Gildiner, Ph.D., psychologist and author of Too Close to the Falls, After the Falls and Seduction
Runaway Husbands is a wonderfully moving and informative book that will help thousands of women, as well as the men who have the courage to read it.
Jed Diamond, Ph.D., author of The Irritable Male Syndrome: Understanding and Managing the 4 Key Causes of Depression and Aggression
Vikki Stark shares her personal story, along with the stories of many others she interviewed, and guides the reader through the difficult stages of recovery. This hopeful book shows not only how to cope but also how to claim yourself again.
Constance Ahrons, Ph.D., author of The Good Divorce and We’re Still Family
PLEASE NOTE: This website is dedicated to helping women who were abandoned by their husbands but it is important to state that wives also abandon their marriages without prior notice, although not at the same frequency. It is also important to highlight the fact that not all men who choose to end their marriage do so in this way.
If you're a woman struggling to recover from the sudden unexpected end of your marriage, you're in the right place. In these pages, you will find answers to the question of how your husband could have left out-of-the-blue from what you believed to be a happy secure marriage. But more importantly, you will get the support and strategies that will start you on your way toward rebuilding your life.
No matter how long ago your husband left, recovery from Wife Abandonment Syndrome isn't easy. You need to grieve the loss of your life as you knew it. But once the initial grieving is done, the next step is to turn your focus from the past and thoughts of what could have been, to the future and plans for how you will make it meaningful.
You are not alone!
The Abandoned Wife's Guide to Recovery and Renewal, the new book by family therapist Vikki Stark, M.S.W.
Based on The Sudden Wife Abandonment Project (S.W.A.P.), in which over 400 women contributed their stories and strategies, RUNAWAY HUSBANDS will help you not only understand what happened to you, but learn how to get your life back from wife abandonment.
Vikki will help you understand Wife Abandonment Syndrome (W.A.S.) – a pattern of behavior that begins when a husband leaves his wife out-of-the-blue without ever having told her that he was unhappy. Based on premier research in the field, she will explain the deeper meaning that led to this crisis in your life.
You'll hear the poignant and inspiring stories of S.W.A.P. participants and about Vikki's own journey of recovery from W.A.S. You'll learn what to do to help yourself when you're really struggling with obsessive thoughts, hurt and anger, and how to move on to the next stage in your life.
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WHAT IS WIFE ABANDONMENT SYNDROME (W.A.S.)?
A woman has experienced WIFE ABANDONMENT SYNDROME if:
HOW W.A.S. AFFECTS WOMEN
- She believed she was in a good stable marriage until her husband surprised her out-of-the-blue with the news that it was over
- She was completely unaware that he was thinking of leaving, or even unhappy
- He moved out quickly (often with a girlfriend)
- From the moment of his announcement, his treatment of his wife changed dramatically from protective to persecuting
A woman who has experienced Wife Abandonment Syndrome is hurt, bewildered, enraged, obsessed and deeply traumatized. Her life has been turned upside-down and she's desperate to make sense of how the husband she trusted could betray her. It doesn’t matter whether she was abandoned last week or last decade, she won't be able to come to terms with the end of her marriage until she can solve the mystery of how a man who seemed so loving and committed could morph overnight into an angry stranger.
W.A.S. IN MY LIFE
I am a family therapist and writer and I care deeply about helping women recover from the shock of Wife Abandonment Syndrome. I know how devastating it can be – it happened to me. After my husband of twenty-one years suddenly left what I believed to be a happy marriage and moved in with his long-term girlfriend, I began researching the phenomenon of wife abandonment. I found out that his behavior during and after his bizarre flight from our marriage was uncannily similar to that of many other husbands who suddenly left their unsuspecting wives.
THE SUDDEN WIFE ABANDONMENT PROJECT (S.W.A.P.)
That realization led to the establishment of the definition of Wife Abandonment Syndrome. I decided to conduct a study to learn from other women who had experienced the same thing and The Sudden Wife Abandonment Project was born. By the end, I had interviewed more than 400 abandoned wives worldwide! The Project led to the publication of Runaway Husbands: The Abandoned Wife's Guide to Recovery and Renewal.
UNDERSTANDING THE MYSTERY OF W.A.S.
These pages will begin to clarify the mystery of Wife Abandonment Syndrome. You will start to understand how a man who seemed to be a devoted husband could have hidden his true intentions from his wife until the day that he suddenly left. You will learn the vocabulary necessary to describe what happens. These pages will act as a "town square" in which women can meet with others who have walked in their shoes; women who will provide each other with the support needed to become fighters for their happiness – not only to pick up the pieces, but to build an even better life for themselves.
Here are some stories from S.W.A.P. participants about the early days following the announcement that their husband was leaving. Each of these women had previously believed that she was in a good marriage:
From Eleanor in San Diego
One afternoon, he called me from work; there was a stand-offish tone in his voice. We spoke briefly, about nothing . . . no argument, just small talk and then he said, “I can’t do this anymore.” I said, “Do what anymore?” suspicious, but thinking, he must be talking about this dumb conversation we were having. And he said, “I can’t continue this relationship anymore.” And I said, “What? Why? What do you mean?” And he said, “I just can’t.” And that was literally the last conversation I ever had with him. He came and took his things from home while I was at work. He never took any of my phone calls. I never got an answer about why this was happening. I never even got another glance-in-my-direction from him.
From Naomi in New York City
I was most certainly physically affected. I threw up every morning for about six months and the sight of food made me feel sick. I weighed about 125 lbs. the day he left and within a couple of months, the scale said 98 lbs. I decided to stop getting on the scale, but I know when my size 12 clothes were falling off and I was able to get into size 6. On top of that, I could not stop crying. The doctor gave me pills to sleep. However, thanks to my mother, I stopped taking them. When I did, I cried even more and it took a few nights before I could sleep. My mother’s advice was, "Eventually you will get tired enough and sleep."
From Barbara-Anne in Vancouver
I felt humiliated, angry and very hurt, betrayed and completely confused. It seemed to come so out-of-the-blue – so dramatic – so final and no explanation. I was so confused as to why? Why something so dramatic and so serious – point finale? "It's over! Deal with it!"