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"The Hug" by Lauren Goldman

The Abandoned Wife's Guide to Recovery and Renewal, the new book by Vikki Stark, M.S.W. will help you understand what happened in your life and learn how to use this crisis as an opportunity for a better future!

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Reactions from women who have read the book:

Thank you so much for this wonderful book! I experienced a whole range of emotions as I read along sometimes tears, sometimes giggles but a whole lot of head nodding and "Yep, that was him all right!" as I turned the pages. Your book and your website have provided invaluable comfort and support in my journey towards recovery from this life altering event.

Jean from Philadelphia.

I sat down and devoured your book - read it so fast with lots of highlights in yellow! I'm sure I will reread it many times. Lying in bed, out jumped your belief about brain tumour and abduction by aliens. I burst into hysterical laughter until I collapsed in hysterical tears. Those were my exact same thoughts.

Carmella from San Diego.

I received your book and couldn't put it down until I finished it. It is an absolutely outstanding book that has so eloquently portrayed almost to a tee everything that I've experienced in the last several months.

Linda from Sydney, Australia.

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.

What we need most of all to recover from Wife Abandonment Syndrome is each other!

Here you get the chance to tell your story to other women who really know what you are talking about. The goal of this "town square" is to provide support and encourage healing for yourself and others. Please feel free to write about your thoughts and experience, but most of all, let's all share the tricks we used to "make it through the night" in the early days, and the wisdom we gained that helped us "bounce back better" when we were further along the road to healing. There's strength in numbers - let's give each other that strength.

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Wednesday, April 09,2008

Why Me?

I know that all of you have been through this so I will spare you most of the details. Four and a half weeks ago my husband came home, said "I want a divorce. It's over. It's done. No counseling". He already had an apartment and managed to gather his things and leave in under 10 minutes. Sound familiar? This is the man I have loved for over 25 years. Stayed by him when he lost his job due to alcoholism and drug addiction, entered rehab, couldn't find work, was rehired by the company that fired him and rose to the top. That was 8 1/2 years ago. He is now in danger or losing his job again, drinking and possibly doing drugs. His company is in deep financial and legal trouble and he has been under a tremendous amount of stress in the past couple of years.

Believe me, I am not making excuses for him! Perhaps he was quieter than usual when he was home after spending the week on the road. (He travels almost ever week). I gave him many opportunities to tell me something was wrong by asking "Is there something on your mind? What's wrong?" But like the rest of you, he never said a word. I had no reason to ever think that anything was wrong with our marriage. We have been each other's best friend for over 25 years. On top of that, I am working on a Ph.D. and I have had some wonderful doors open for me in the past few months. I was the happiest I had been in years.

So here I am, at the bottom of a deep hole from which I see little chance of ever getting out of. To be blind-sided and crushed from such heights of happiness is unfathomable. I still do not believe that this is happening to me!!!

Everyone who knows him is shocked and thinks he has lost his mind. Meanwhile I am left to cry hysterically, just short of hospitalization. I am on anti-anxiety medication which helps with the terrible anxiety but it sure doesn't take away the pain. My heart feels like he has cut a huge hole out of it. This is my second marriage and I married him for life. Obviously, I don't want this divorce. As far as anyone can tell, there isn't a woman involved unless her name is "the bottle".

So here are my questions. When do you finally give up asking why? Please don't tell me it never stops because I don't think I can stand that. When do you start getting angry? My therapist says (and she knows me well) that the pain will be less when I start getting angry. I love him with all my heart. I feel that he is emotionally unstable. How can I get angry at someone with a disease?

So that's the short version of my story. I am devastated, alone, lonely, trying to finish out a very difficult semester in school, dazed, confused, shocked and ..... I know that everything I am feeling is normal but I don't seem to be getting any closer to acceptance and letting him go. I feel I have lost everything, my love of live, my future (I'm a young 54), my goals and aspirations, everything. He has taken it all from me. In the back of my mind, I know I will survive this as I have other crises but right now it just seems impossible.

Thanks to all of you for reading this.

Posted by
Broken Hearted


Emma V

Dear Broken Hearted,
I feel very much for you. I wish I could give you a big hug, I am sure you need it very much.
I am glad you say that you will survive this, eventhough it seems impossible.You will survive, and you sound like a strong woman. You may have to go from day to day, but it will get better.

I am happy for you that you are studying and have doors open for you. I am also a professional, and was offered a dream job (out of the blue) at the time my ex left. I had to do an enormous amount of learning and adapting, and I think it saved me. It made me feel as if I was still someone, and still had something to do and give. Because I felt like a piece of shit in my personal life, it somewhat compensated for that, my self esteem. It is also good to focus on something else, something you care about, and has nothing to do with your ex and the misery you are going through.Be proud of who you are, and what you have accomplished.

Drugs and alcohol were also present in my relationship, and they are perhaps a sign of something missing, but are not the real issue, I would think. I would be very suspicious that there is another woman.

You will need to cry. And it is ok. If you don't cry it is worse. Allow these feelings, you have a right. When I was crying hysterically (and I still do occasionally, after almost 2 and a half years)I told myself that every time I cry, I will not have to go through it again, I will have advanced. If I have to cry a hundred times, each time will count towards the end...It was one way to make me feel better and able to let go.

I took medication for 8 months. i am not sure if it helped. I had enough of it one day and I quit. I do drink wine and started smoking again after over 10 yrs of quitting.I made me feel like a teenager, so stupid..
I am 50, was married for 18 years and have three teenaged kids with him, so you know my situation a bit.

I am sorry to say that I have not stopped asking the question: why? I will never find the answer but I still look for it. Some people it will stop after 4 years...I do not know. I became angry about a month after he left. But it did not stay. I switch from anger, to sadness, to frustration, to anger, etc. I am mostly mad now, or more "not caring". I see how he is, and all the nights I suffered, I do not want that, and he is not worth it. But there are moments I still cry for his love, eventhough that love will never return. It is best described as a death I think. Some people here have described it so well. I also thought that my ex was sick, he was going through a burn out. I even told my kids, we have to give him some time, he is not well etc. I also phoned the suicide line, I wanted to help him and be there for him. But it was all not true. He knew what he was doing and had made his decision. There was another woman, and I think he was in love, eventhough he strongly denied it.
Just remember the song by James Blunt: Goodbye my Lover.I can't listen to it without breaking down. There is a line in there: It's my dreams, and not my spirit that you take, or something like that. Only you have your spirit. And it is precious and beautiful. People around me have told me that I was ok, that what he did was selfish and cruel (not so much that he left, it happens, but the way he left) and that kept me going, and my kids. Your spirit is yours, and it is beautiful, and he cannot touch it. It will get you through, to another part in your life, worth waiting for.
You will not be the same person, and you will go through hell, but you will come out better.
If ever you are really at the bottom of the black hole, and it gets really scary, remember that I and others were there too, and we came out. I am not well yet, but I can laugh again, and have fun, and I am discovering who I am, and now I am curious about all kinds of things. I have made some contacts with other men, but nothing serious and I am not in a hurry. It is slowly coming, and me too, I have to believe and be positive, we can love again. But first we need to love ourselves again.Take all the time you need, be good to yourself.
We are here for you, hang in there.

Wednesday, April 09,2008


My brother died a few months before my husband left me, and I came to realize that the emotions you feel at the end of a marriage are very much like the emotions you feel at a death.

There is:

Denial - He can't be leaving!

Bargaining - If you stay, I will ...

Anger - How can you do this to me?

Depression - I don't care about anything anymore.

Acceptance - I'm not happy about it, but I recognize that what has happened can't be changed and I am going to move on with my life, although I will never be the same.

You move back and forth through these stages. I don't think you ever completely leave one. And you don't necessarily do it in this order.

It took me about six weeks before the anger kicked in. I had gone through denial, bargaining and depression. It wasn't until my husband told me that he wanted me to take on a greater share of our debt so that he could have more money when he started life with his new girlfriend - and hey, if that meant I had to sell the family home, well, the children could probably handle it - that I got angry.

It's sad to read the messages on this board from newcomers and feel the pain you are going through. I remember feeling this same, raw pain a year ago. You hope no one else ever has to go through it, and yet there are more people all the time.

Please don't feel that he has taken everything away from you. He has taken himself, and his love and the trust you felt for another human being. And I know you wonder if you will ever love again and if you will ever be able to trust again. I know I do, and I bet everyone here does.

But he hasn't taken your future, your goals and your aspirations. He has changed them, but they are still there for you. Now it's up to you to mould them and make them fit into your new life.

You will survive. We all will. But we will be changed.

Thursday, April 10,2008


Hi Broken Hearted, I am new to this, just since March 26th. I have tried to stop the pain with pills, i have cried I have been angry. What has helped me is that my husband lets me ask questions and gives me answers if he has them. He expresses remorse at hurting me. I feel that I am doing very good at this moment. I did cry a lot yesterday and was in hysterics over something that I had thought of and came to find out wasn't even true. My husband's drug is work. He is driven and I do not think he will ever feel pure joy outside of work and maybe not even within. I have put up with a lot and excused a lot about him because I took the whole package. Now that I have been around him I am seeing those negative traits and grumpy moodiness and it occured to me..hey, I won't be living with that anymore. It felt good. I hope that you are able to stay focused on your educational goals and do that for yourself. A friend visited me today and she witnessed a phone conversation between me and my hubby. I then told her of my revelations. She said to me, "this may be what God wants for you too." And it may be. Change is hard but it's not always wrong. I pray for everyone on this board who is in pain and hope you get some relief soon.

Thursday, April 10,2008


hi Joan,

I read the part about how your husband (what do we call our husbands after they've left anyway?) wanted you to take on more debt so he'd have more money to start his new life with the girlfriend. That just burns me up.

The same is happening to me. When my husband left, he announced that since both our finances would suffer, we should be watching our pennies. At the time, I was on maternity leave and my sole income was employment insurance. He told me he was "living a frugal lifestyle" and yet he'd gotten a swanky apartment in a very trendy neighbourhood. Months passed, and I had no idea of what his new spending habits were like.

Then when went through financial disclosure for divorce proceedings and I went through his Visa statements for the past six months. My goodness, there was so much money being spent on his rent, fancy restaurant bills and what looked like weekend getaways. What a honeymoon these two are having! And at the same time, he was arbitrarily cutting back on support payments for me and the children. I was outraged. I had wanted my older son to get to go summer daycamp this summer and he'd told me that he didn't have the money. Well, no wonder! With what he'd been paying for his honeymooning, he could have sent my son twice over!

Saturday, April 12,2008


Well SK, I'm getting the last laugh as far as money goes.

My ex was never very good with money.

Less than two months after they met, he and his girlfriend bought a house. But she, it seems, was in such bad health that she was unable to work for more than six months, so they were just living on his income.

(Funny, when he told me he was dumping me for this woman, he said she had offered to help him support the children financially. Some women will say anything to get a man, and some men will believe it.)

Anyway, he has complained to friends that they had no money and he might have to go out and get a second job to support them.

(Also funny, he told me they knew they were going to be poor and would have to live with someone when they got older and retired. I guess the lustre wears off of poverty pretty quickly.)

They had been together more than six months before she was well enough to find a job.

I had been working two part-time jobs when he left. I added a third one for a while, then found a very good paying full time job. (I still work one of the part-time jobs.)

I was always the careful one with the money and I'm doing OK financially now.

But, of course, they have each other.

Saturday, April 12,2008


Thanks, Joan...

I really have to wonder what part of this arrangement she is paying. If the bills for restaurants, etc... are just half of what they are spending, then they really must be going out and whooping it up! Supposedly she is paying for half the rent, but if she is, then the total must be phenomenal. PLUS, she is keeping residence in another city (300 km away). She spends half the week here and half there because she split up her own marriage and now her child lives in that other city.

But that is their life now, and their LOVE will keep them afloat, right? (Sorry, it's hard not to get sarcastic).

Saturday, April 12,2008


my husband cheated on me twice, he has now moved in with another woman. this man was so deceitful, and fake that i was devested when he left. now he is trying to take my children too. he is so hateful and vengeful. why cant he just take his new life and let us share our children. but no, he wants it all. and not only do i have to deal with his hate, i am dealing with hers and her families hate for me, even though i dont know her. she and he slept in my bedroom in my house infront of my children. i hate them, but yet i dont. i just want my children and want to share them with them.. i am getting over him, and ok with them. i dont want him back. i am glad he is gone now. i realized that i was never really happy with him. and that his personality did not fit with mine. i am taking this time to get to know myself better and to fullfill my hopes and dreams and hope for a new love and relationship. the thing that i am most hopeful for is that my new relationship with whomever that will be will be healthier than my seventeen year marriage. i to am in pain. and when my kids leave it hurts to be alone. and too it is hard when the other woman wants my kids too. i am fighting a huge custody battle and may lose. but the most thing i can do for myself is accept the situation and not question why. it is what it is and even if i lose the custody battle he cant take my children they will always be my babies they might just be living somewhere else. i will survive this and the pain is lessening as time goes on. but it is the hardest thing i think i will ever go through. it is death, but the grieving and pain continues. until its over, i will have to be strong, and just give it all to god.

Sunday, August 30,2009


Why Me? Now 8 months since he left our marriage and it only took me 4 months to stop crying about it-that's pretty good, since we were married for 33 years, But stepping back from it all, with the love from our adult sons, who live with me, and my dear friends and brother, I realize this marriage should have ended many, many moons ago. In fact, this man "fully sucked the life out of me" because I married the wrong type of guy in the first place.

But who knows that when they are in love and only 22 and 23 years old? I realized that I was an extrovert, with a bubbly personality, creative, talkative, social and an unbelievably giving person. He, on the other hand was every intellectual, and introvert, shy and didn't have any friends around him to speak of during our entire marriage, Because he was a career military man, we spent 20 years plus traveling all over the U.S.A. going to various duty stations, and saying goodbye constantly to people and neighbors we met there. That wasn't a problem for him, but really made my life terribly lonesome and displaced. And our sons felt it too.

At first you are miserably hurt, and feel shame that you did something wrong that you could have changed, but then you wake up, and realize it wasn't you at all-but him and his issues. Period. Yes it hurts me that someone you gave and invested your entire 20's, 30's 40's and half your 50's could just up and leave you, is so utterly beyond words, you have to shine the real light on his inability to cope, to communicate, and show true emotions.

So, I have gone through the hurt phase of my healing, and now the anger phase to the point of being so angry at myself for allowing myself to be abused, used and then thrown out like I was the garbage, He is socially and emotionally stunted, and probably never will be able to fully grasp the concept of ever looking at who he really is-a buffoon, a schmuck, and poophead, and douchebag. Boy, that feels good to say.

My friends and family tell me they are happy he is gone, and compliment me all the time saying how much they admire my strength to deal with all that has happened to me since he left. Not only did he leave in September 2013, but in January 2014, I found out I was adopted, and I even had another birth name, born to a French woman, and also found out all the relatives knew I was adopted. Wow, at age 56 years old to find out your parents were not your parents at all, is a real identity crisis just by itself, but this will be another amazing adventure for me--without him,

Move on with your new lives,smell the roses and breathe, and keep your heads held up high-good and bad days come and go, but I am a good person, with a great heart and soul, and like they say-"he can't take away my birthday or rain on my parade ever again"!

Wednesday, May 07,2014

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