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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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Thursday, January 24,2008

Runaway wife

Two years of living together and 13 years of marriage with a woman I loved, madly, deeply. We have a daughter, 14. After a couple of shaky episodes we were getting along very well. The senior manager at the news corporation where she worked moved to our city to set up a new bureau. His family had stayed behind while he got things going here. My wife invited him to dinner. (What are you going to say? After all, he's the boss...) He seemed like a nice, decent guy and started coming over for dinner regularly and dropping by for drinks. When his wife and two kids finally moved to the city they all started coming over. He and his wife, my wife and I, often went out to dinner together. This went on for about a year.

One night my wife and daughter and I went out to celebrate my daughter's excellent report card. I went to lay down a tip (20%) and my wife said,"We're sure not paying with change!" I said I wasn't going to pay with change. When we got home and out of earshot of my daughter I asked her what was upsetting her. Her response: "I'm SICK of you! I want a divorce!!" And then, over and over again,"Who the fuck do you think you are?!!".

Next day she was gone.

I wrote her an email asking how we had gone from a discussion about a tip to a divorce -- quite a leap. She wrote back a rambling note, half of which dealt with an innocuous three-year-old email I'd sent my eldest son (from a previous marriage). None of it made any sense.

Three months later by chance I picked up Frank, a tab magazine that deals mainly in political gossip, detailing a long affair she had been having with her boss. Their names and mine were in bold type. It turned out there had been three earlier stories chronicling their affair. When I asked her about it that day -- and later in front of the mediation lawyer -- she denied the whole thing. ("Frank is full of lies!!!") I spent weeks trying to track down the truth, finally having a face-to-face with my erstwhile friend, her boss. He vehemently denied anything was going on between them. In fact, he lied so effectively I actually believed him, until friends sowed the seeds of doubt.

I finally discovered the truth only when I spotted his car outside her new home one morning. They now live together one week on, one week off (presumably so she doesn't have to explain the tricky situation to my daughter).

I had no indication whatsoever that this was coming. We had a wonderful life -- great friends, an active social life, a lovely house in a beautiful neighborhood, fun vacations. I worked at home, she worked most of the time at home. We ran together every morning. I brought her coffee twice a day. I worked with her on stories (she's a reporter), set up her office, helped her in every way I could.

A couple of weeks before she left we had been at the boss's house for dinner. As we sat on the couch in the living room, she stroked my leg lovingly. When we got into bed that night, she wrapped her arms and legs around me and said, "You're sooo smart...".

Two weeks later she was gone.

It's been two years but I think about her probably twenty times a day. I wake up every night with dreams about her. The almost physical pain has gone. My friends have been incredibly supportive. But I have to wonder if you can't trust the person you love more than anyone else in the world, someone you spend nearly every waking moment with who can you trust?


Posted by
Alan King



...like a used car, with most of it probably working very well,with some scrapes, scuffs on the cosmetics, and maybe a lot more miles than she thought she wanted. Here was a newer ( or different) model, more power, more money, maybe more social status ( as magazine indicates)

Dont feel bad any longer.It had nothing to do with you, you were quite likely like the rest of the 98% or whatever the statistics say.Suckerpunched, because she filed divorce... women do that.. most all divorces are initiated by women... check your government statistics..Wife abandonment syndrome my ass.. it means the wives are abandoning their relationships..that is the syndrome..

For the most part, North American women can be spoiled rotten brats that have little capacity for understanding the consequences of their actions, they are not held responsible in Courts or society in general although the men around them are doing everything they can to make their lives easier, rather than giving them "equal share" like they have been demanding for 30 years.

Lets make them take equal share.. send them to active combat duty, to the oil platforms..put them in underground mines, make them work as ironworkers and welders, tell them that they cant be beauticians and painters and poets anymore..
They certainly can do all that, but it is not a choice they make.They chose careers that dont pay and then whine about 75 cents on the dollar ( a myth)

They have little human empathy if it means they can find a way to dump blame, evade truth and hard work, and even will lie, cheat and steal in order to further their ambitions, whatever they are.

Hey, I am not saying they are all like this. I am happliy remarried to an older woman that honestly loves me, appreciates the things I do for us, and works her butt off as well, even though she is retired now. So they are not all like that, but I'll tell ya, from all I have seen prior to marrying my Good Wife, I wouldnt give a plug nickel for most of the women I met in the 10 years I was single.

After my first wife openly and publicly assaulted me, pillaged my life savings, destroyed and sold my personal belongings, had me fired from work, brainwashed my children, (virtually no contact in 10 years!) destroyed my social life and plotted my death, lied cheated and stole, I still give all women the benefit of due and proper respect but sometimes I wonder why, because frankly I dont see a worthy character, spirit or soul in this past 2 generations of women that deserve it.

Sunday, January 27,2008


Wow. Sure got your licks in, didn't you guys?

Funny -- stories by women on this website are far less venomous.

But it's interesting to read what men have to say about the very few women who initiate a break-up. What I don't trust is the way these two present themselves as victims. Women who run away are taking real risks. Men who run away are . . . running away.

Tuesday, February 26,2008


It does seem to be true that men are much angrier than women about this. As a guy, I can't believe that women are even willing to say that they are so hurt, that they miss their exes, etc. Guys won't even give their exes that much.

One can't generalize too much, but I think that men deal with this differently. Their masculine honor is at stake; something must be done. But they are powerless to do anything without acting even worse than the one who left. It's infuriating.

Donna says: "What I don't trust is the way these two present themselves as victims." Don't let your own hurt blind you, women: men absolutely *do* get screwed over, all the time, even if they express it differently. Men lose their children just because they are men. They often have to pay alimony and child support to the very partners who screwed them over. That's no more fair than what women have to experience. It's wrong regardless of the gender of the offender.

"Women who run away are taking real risks. Men who run away are . . . running away." Depends. My ex was a professional woman who made her own way. She moved away to be with a lying jerk who cheated on *his* wife, and thus lost custody of her child. There was no latent oppression here, just a damaged, selfish woman who chose ego gratification over responsibility and maturity. Now I get to be a busy professional *and* a single dad, and my beautiful daughter has to wrestle with this new life and the fact that her mother did not care enough about her to lift a single finger on behalf of her parent's marriage.

I think it's important to resist the urge to generalize based on gender. These are not the old days. We need to consider the specifics of each situation.

Wednesday, March 12,2008

Helen O

Well Joe : I couldn't agree with you more. Due to the no-fault divorce system here, my ex got a divorce I certainly didn't want. It seems the lawyers hammer it out, and as my ex had more money than I, he got "out", and was able to move into the States and remarry. I feel she was getting desperate. Having come out of a "ten-year relationship with a rich man" she needed to have someone, anyone, and he was willing to get involved, and try to "rescue" her. She even said to me one time "I'm very fond of _______" She didn't even say she loved hime. He didn't even have the guts to tell me he was remarrying, he left that to our son. The complete hurt and shock doesn't so much dissipate, as deaden. Two friends described his actions as ruthless. I would never have described him as a ruthless person before. But the uncaring and horrendous way he did this, with no regard at all for my feelings,(especially as he had first told me he had "finished" with her)seems to indicate a complete disengagement from his wife and kids. And yes, it could be either gender. I'm sure some guys are screwed over too. It happened to my nephew, but it wasn't a long-term marriage or relationship. I miss the caring, tender partner and husband I had, and no matter what he says, I know, and God knows, what our marriage was like. He is becoming an American, with American- like values and principles (not happy - get a divorce: want a man or woman - take one,no matter if they are married or "taken" Yes, the hurt and anger are still there, if you scratch the surface. But there are upsides, like being independent, really caring for others, opening yourself to other people. Hope I didn't ramble too much. Blessings on you all Helen O.

Thursday, March 20,2008



I don't know you but your story sounds like mine, except in reverse. My soon-to-be ex left me for a career woman who was cheating on *her* husband!

Since this has happened to me, I've been wondering about this woman's former husband and really feeling badly for what he must be going through.

Thursday, April 03,2008


Let me tell you the story of a friend of mine who had a runaway wife.

They were high school sweethearts married more than 30 years. Had one child. He's a great guy. Good looking, personable, very handy around the house - you should have seen their house! - great with kids, got along well with her family (his parents had died young so his mother and father-in-law were like parents to him), good provider, didn't cheat, drink or do drugs. They did all kinds of things together, went on vacations etc.

A few years before she left, he lost his job when his company went bankrupt. He immediately found another job, but it didn't pay as much and they had to sell their large house and downsize.

She left him the day after Christmas about five years ago. Never gave him a reason. She says that he knew their marriage was in trouble. He says he didn't. She treated him like she didn't know him, had never loved him, couldn't wait to get him out of her life.

There was, of course, another man. This guy was in his 40s, never been married but had several affairs with married women. A momma's boy, who liked to have women look after him.

Her husband was devasted. Even years afterward, he would have taken her back. Everything that we're going through, he went through.

Years later, when someone asked her how she could have left such a great guy, she said that her husband was always in debt while her boyfriend had money and paid for everything.

Don't know if that's true - although I do know they had a huge house and all the toys to go with it, including cars, boats etc. - but I didn't hear her complaining at the time.

Even if it is true, what a shallow reason to leave someone.

Thursday, April 03,2008


Let's get real.

Runaway husbands are common. Runaway wives are not.

It's about power: men have it and exercise it; women . . . no.

It's about money: men have a better chance of making it; women work for what they can, when they can.

It's about children: men rarely do their fair share; women often carry most of the load, themselves.

Sure, I've read stuff on this site where individuals are sympathetic to stories by guys . . and why not? But the bottom line is that society-as-a-whole watches the action when men run away with nary a blink (maybe a wink); society-as-a-whole sees women "left behind" as failures.

Monday, June 02,2008


Donna, I really think you overgeneralize. It's hard to take you seriously.

Wednesday, October 01,2008



Actually the statistics disagree with you. Over 66% of all divorces are filed by women 35 or older. This is an accepted fact. In more than 1/2 of these the man is taken by total suprise. So, unless the othes "34%" are all men walking out on their wives, your statement is false.

Men don't talk about their hurt as much. Plus, while 33% of all men are probably abandoned. I would guess that the number that felt abandoned is much lower. It seems that in abandonment, most women go through a similar emotional process. But, there seems to be 2 processes for men. In one case they find their emotional side laid bare. On the other they suppress, and try to move on quickly.

I think the men that feel abandoned are typically men that truely loved their wives. And, I mean very deeply. She could have done anything, and I probaly would have forgiven her. In fact, I have through most of the abandonment.

But, I am in several groups now. And, I see a large number of men who have just been destroyed by their spouse. And, yes, it is due to the "Entitlement Generation" attitude that has risen up over the years. Everyone believes they are entitled to act in a way that makes them happy without regaurds to anyone elses happiness.

This syndrom affects both men and women. I really hope the final book lays out the deep effect that abandonment has on people, and the heartlessness of the people who do it.

Tuesday, March 17,2009


My wife is doing this right now. Relocating to a another state. The kids will live with me. She has no job, just decided she wants to live elsewhere. Her "true love" is in the city she is moving to. I really did'nt see this coming. Yes, there were rocky times but what marriage does'nt have them. Yes, she mentioned moving back to where she grew up, but my job searches in the past did not bear fruit. She also told me that children, the sub-division with the pool were never what she wanted. She prompted the move into the sub-division. I am convinced the no-fault divorce laws are simply indentured servitude, there is no relief for the grieved party and the person pulling the trigger seems to be empowered without empathy or responsibility. To be fair I know of women who have had men runaway who were able to leave in the same manner. So it can cut both ways. If it were me an my wife, so be it. I think it's most unfair to my kids. My wife comes from a broken home, so it is natural for her to accept this as a normal part of life for our children. She keeps saying "half of American kids are raised in single parent households, how bad can it be?"

Monday, June 29,2009


Golly gosh. Some guys get had. In no significant numbers, in the grand scheme of things -- just that us women are supposed to be sympathetic about if/when a guy whines.

Women are altogether too accommodating when it comes to the sensibilities of men. I reject the comments, in this thread, as fraudulent, self-serving, or worse.

Monday, August 24,2009


Apparently if a man doesn't have another pair of arms to run into he wouldn't run. CAUSE THEY CAN'T BE ALONE, they don't want to spend time with themselves alone, like a women would. They have needs, what about OUR NEEDS...tHEY ARE INSUCURE, HAVE NO MORALS, AND MOST OF THEM DON'T EVEN LIKE THENSELFS.. tHEY HAVE TO BE ENTERTAINED 24/7.Grumpy, holy grap if he was grumpy with me, He sure has to be worst now. He abanded his kids. Run, Run like the wind.....I think I was finally becoming successful and he was afraid I would realise how much of a moron he really was, so he ran first. I told him I would never have done what you have done to me and all he said was " I know" . that's it, just I know........they can't even take the time to explain to us what the hell happened..it is a glitch in the brain......well glitch all you want now..They can't be alone,,,,,,, well you will be one of these day and wake up and look around at what you got left and say" What the hell have I done to myself."Mean while I have moved on not just moved over...

Friday, February 19,2010


I really think it's a mistake to judge all men by the circumstances of your own story. No matter how legitimately tragic your story is, it makes no sense at all to say, as Donna does, that all men are awful and all men are abandoners, and all women are powerless victims. It does a disservice to all involved to overgeneralize. Donna, obviously you are hurt, and badly. That does not mean that every divorce in the country is the fault of a runaway husband.

I agree that such a phenomenon exists. However, it is a mistake to minimize real relationship problems and difficult divorces for both parties by saying that the man ran away and the woman was victimized.

The characteristics of the runaway husband are clear and specific. I think people who claim their relationship was perfect, there were no problems and the break-up came out of the blue, are either lying or willfully ignorant.

Friday, March 12,2010

Janne Sweet

Spoken like a true 'other woman'. You'll get yours too. Just hang in there and take care of all his needs - then one day wake up and look at what you've got. It's usually a fat balding 65+ old man with a multitude of health problems and he's all yours baby!!!

Thursday, July 15,2010

Mr Fat Little Boy

My wife left me and i didnt want her to but she went and married a king and i was a tramp whyy would you choose a king over a tramp ??

Wednesday, July 21,2010

Sarah Hannah

This past Thanksgiving, the kids and I were at a resort for the holiday weekend. My husband could not spend the entire time with us, due to work obligations. He was able to join us for Thanksgiving day which included dinner. The next day he planned to spend the full day with our son, who is eleven, after he was through with an early morning business meeting.

We got to the house early so that my son could have a full day with my husband. His car was parked at home and my son ran into the house so excited for a fun day. What he found was all of my husband's dresser drawers wide open and empty. His closet was also cleaned out with the doors side open. He was gone. Not only did he not tell us, but he set my son up for disappointment.

Apparently he took my name off of the joint account. I have learned that I was not a joint owner on the account. I was only a user. He also borrowed several hundred thousand dollars off of our jointly owned home without telling me. He has had another cell phone, for years, that I did not know about. He had a whole life that I did not know about.

He left us with nothing. He does not care nor does he have any remorse for how this has affected our teenage daughter and young son. He never calls our daughter, but only call sour son to tell him over and over how happy he is now. How nice is that? He actually rubs it in his son's face that he abandoned us. When I did speak to him about this and asked him to NOT do this to our son he asked me to "stop picking on him." He claims that he loves his children dearly. In the past three months, he has seen them three times.

I was a stay at home mother. We don't live in a neighborhood, per se. Both of my parents are deceased. I am isolated and alone.

We never saw this coming.

Tuesday, February 22,2011


My ex came home from work one day and announced he wanted a divorce. He is bipolar, so things had been bad. I believed you didn't leave someone who was sick. He did me a favor. It didn't feel that way at the time though. He also did the "cut off" and didn't answer calls or return texts or e-mails. This was the most hurtful part. Tore me into little pieces.

I'm now seeing a wonderful man who had a similar experience (except his ex is not bipolar.) His pain was just as real as mine.

I don't think either gender has a lock on pain when they are abandoned. I think it's equal opportunity pain. I think we should all be understanding and supportive of anyone who has been abandoned regardless of their gender.

It is helping me heal to realize I did all I could and "why" is an unanswered question that frankly, doesn't matter. Moving on to a happy life is the greatest revenge :)

Thursday, February 14,2013

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