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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!

To order a paper copy of the book through Amazon.com, click here

To immediately download a PDF version, click here

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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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Friday, January 25,2008

Moving on

My husband of 22 years walked out the door and disappeared like smoke in the night. I will never forget his words..."I am not leaving the children, I am leaving you". Everytime I felt like I was going to cave in from the shame of being left for another woman...I boosted my ego by saying to myself...why would you ever want someone in your life who does not want you?

I am 10 years past the end of my previous life. My kids have survived. I have survived. I am stronger, braver, freer, more empowered and proud of my independence. I can eat popcorn for dinner at midnite. I can paint when I want. I can light candles and have bubble baths at 2am.
And I am continually amazed by the silence...the silence of not being criticized.

I too had an absolutely happy marriage. I too believed in the perfection of our family unit. I too cried for months. My youngest wrote in her journal about being left.....(she was 10 at the time)"don't worry if your mother looks like that"
I think the biggest change for me has been the fact that I totally accept myself..imperfections and all, and no longer believe I need the approval of a man to make me whole. It took a long time to realize that his leaving was not about me....

Posted by



My ex said the same words,but my teenage boys 17 & 15 at the time said the opposite. So in the midst of my own suffering i had to say to my three kids Daddy didnt leave you , he stills loves you blah blah blah !! It was so hard because i had lost all respect for the man , but as women we gather strenght from unknown places when it comes to our kids and i would do anything to take the pain away for them!

Friday, February 01,2008


I hope for your acceptance and insights, Diana. My husband left me without warning after 33 years. My children are grown and gone. My silence is the silence of the nearest neighbour 1/2 mile away, no lights from any source other than my own, my horses and the companionship of two (surprisingly quiet) Jack Russell terriers. I long for conversations in the evenings, a reason to create a fabulous dinner and someone to sit in front of the fire with me.

Thank you for your support.


Monday, February 04,2008


WOW! There must be a script they hand out to these guys! He told me the same thing, not leaving the kids just you (my son doesn't understand that, he said how can he leave you and not us? To him we were one unit, the family). The other one I hear from others is they tell us not to refer to their girlfriends as whores, sluts, etc., all the same.

Wednesday, February 13,2008


I had to break the news to my son, living at home. Two things were and are very difficult:

1) I've tried very hard to keep him from being smashed in the middle. That's means that even now I don't feel free to talk as I would to a friend about the way his father cleaned out investments in my name, claimed that his cards were stolen (so that I have no access to our joint chequing account, for example), and pushed for a quick settlement while I was still picking myself up off the ground. My son knows times are tough, of course, but he doesn't know the half of why.

2) My son may have had some idea my husband was leading a double life. When I was not at home, he (like the neighbours, as it turns out) probably noticed that my husband's lover (his best friend's wife) showed up a lot, driving almost two hours from her town for things she just HAD to do in the city. And if my son did see goings-on I didn't, what was he supposed to do anyway?

I wonder if anyone else feels that some men have an enormous disconnect once their DNA is "out there". A runaway husband can't exactly be selective about what he's running away from: has anyone dealt with a man who ran away with adult or nearly-adult children?

Saturday, February 23,2008


I was left suddenly after 20 years of marriage and two teens. He left for my son's school monitor (classroom assistant) 25 years younger than him. Seven years later, they are still together. While my children are now grown and independent and I have moved on in so many ways, I still struggle with 'letting go'.
True, I like myself better and have accomplished some significant goals, I still get swept away with grief sometimes - especially when I hear that 'they' are off to some exotic getaway or have returned from an amazing adventure. Grief and despair can still wash over me.
I feel like I will never get to the point of total acceptance and be able to truly let go. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, March 05,2008


Do you *have* to completely get over it?

I think that's putting a lot of pressure on yourself.

Losing your husband this way was like a death. Would you expect yourself to "get over it" if he had died? I don't think so. There will always be memories and feelings, no matter what.

What you need to do is get ON with it.

Stop looking back. Stop looking at his life. I know the feeling, believe me. He did a horrible thing and you want him to have a horrible life and be punished and regret what he did.

But that's out of your control.

Look forward. Look at your own life.

What do you want for you? Do you know? If so, go out and get it.

Remember. Living well is the best revenge.

Thursday, March 06,2008

Helen O

Yes, my ex said almost the same thing "The kids are grown" he said, leaving me after 26 years of marriage, for a woman 15 years his junior. My son was already out on his own, but my daughter was still at home, and didn't leave for eight years. I suffered many health problems - a silent heart attack, a stroke, luckily minor, I lost 30 pounds in weight, and went down to 103 pounds in two or three months time. However, being the stubborn Scot I am, I have got through it, not got over it. People kept telling me to move on, but it is easier said than done. Prayer, returning to church, looking after and caring for myself has brought me to where I am today. I will buy myself flowers and little treats- needless to say I have put back on all the weight,plus some. I miss him for the person he used to be, not for what he has become, selfish and self-occupied. His words ring false, as being a justification for leaving me, not them, but of course he left them too. Our son didn't speak to him for 5 years. So he missed out on that. We definitely do not see what is coming - other women cloud their minds and thinking process. But they justify by saying they have NEVER beeen happy, which is a load of codswallop (I know here they usually say b.s.) but it is they who have to look into their hearts and make peace with God, however they conceive Him. God did not send us here to be happy. He sent us to serve Him, and serve each other. But most men have no conception of this. It is through prayer, church, bible studies and a deep and abiding faith, that I have come through this - not got over, but come through. Just keep taking these steps and one day you will find yourself smiling again. Cheers, blessings and prayers on you all Helen O

Sunday, March 09,2008


It sounds to me as if he got the goods and you got the grief.

I'm not sure why people who were friends of us-as-a-couple feel the need to tell me how happy he is with his new woman -- but they do. To a certain extent, it's water off this duck's back: he may appear to be in great circs nowadays, but he's still basically the same person with the same twisted nature. And, in my view, he has become more narcissistic and selfish since he ended our relationship. A second childhood? Fear of ageing? What?

I don't understand but have reached the point where I don't really WANT to or NEED to figure out why he changed. Whatever he contends happened, I know I pulled way more than my share of the weight during 35 years together.

Thursday, April 24,2008


Well that is what I have been told by people that have seen him with the second other women..
So ya there will probably soon be a third, talk about commitments. He will soon realise when he doesn't have my income too, that HE HAS MADE THE BIGGIST MISTAKE OF HIS LIFE..AND LOVE HAS TO BE BLIND,, AND THE BESTEST OF IT ALL, IS THAT i WILL SOON BE A GRAMMA IN APRIL FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE. AND HE WON'T BE THERE TO ENJOY THE NEW LIFE INTO MINE. I am sure that my extended family miss me more then they let on, cause i was the one that "made things happen" Thing's like Christmas dinners, bridal showers, Easter dinners, and best of all Lazonia....never piss off an ITALIAN WOMEN....

Thursday, February 18,2010



Thursday, February 18,2010


So good to come back to this website and look at the sections that have to do with moving on and moving forwards. It will be 3 years for me this summer and sometimes I feel "stuck" so it is helpful to come back and look at how others have worked and are working at moving forwards. ...I am realizing that the feeling of being "stuck" is just another part of the whole process.I also realize that as more information unfolds about the "other woman",(who has likely been in the picture for a long time)... the momentum of moving forwards seems to get "derailed" at times and then ... I get back on track. Am learning to be patient with myself and am learning the difference between being alone and being lonely.It has taken me a while to accept that my ex-husband really doesn't feel the need or want to connect any more on matters relating to our adult sons. Really, he hasn't been much help anyways so I have to ask myself why have I been looking for this? Am looking forward to Vicki's book. Carry on my friends ... we really are better off. As Helen Keller once said ... "it is time to cross the street into the sunshine." Easier said than done but -- one step at a time.

Sunday, February 21,2010


This is from the First Wives Club...


Saturday, April 10,2010


Hip hip hooray!!! He picked me up at the airport, took me to one of our favorite restaurants for dinner and announced he was leaving me for a younger woman after 28 years of what I thought was a good and happy marriage. Disbelief, shock, anger...this all resulted in probably the fastest divorce on record in Oregon...three days because there were no kids or property to fight over.
An almost two year gypsy lifestyle followed for me as I tried to determine who I am and what's next. Vikki Stark's book, Runaway Husbands provided insight, help, and understanding.
Abandonment turned out to be a blessing as it freed me, in time, to reconnect with a high school classmate who'd lost his wife to cancer several years ago. Our reunion after over a half century is truly a magical fairy tale. We plan to marry early next year...fulfilling our destiny. Yay!!!!!!!!!11

Monday, June 07,2010


I can identify with so many of you. And I will spare you all with another story of how he left. If the truth be told I was thinking of leaving too. I just did not have the means to leave. I was a housewife, was not working and two kids that loved their dad. So I stayed and tried to honor my marriage. But I knew I was not feeling him either. When he did leave this time (there where many in our 20 year marriage), I really did not give a flying rat's a%*. I was not perpared to make it on my own, but I sure as hell was not going beg him to stay like I did so manytimes before. This made him even mader. He tried all kinds of things to make it hard me and the kids...and it was hard. But he was not going to know it.

Ladies, they do this because we let them. My husband cheated and told me that It was not in me to do it, when I asked what would he do if I did it to him. So you know what I did, right? It went on for 6 years right under his nose and because "it's not in me" he was not looking for for me to cheat on him. That made it too easy. I'm I proud of it? No, not really. But it felt good at the time. Now I'm free and he has lost everything! EVERTHING! And I think at one time wanted to come back. There is no way in hell I will ever go back!

My point is that you may feel powerless now, but you will not always feel this way TRUST ME! My friend warned me before the divorce was final, that when the divorce was over I would feel differently. The emotion will come then. Well, when the judge sent down the order and it was final. I sat in my car, trying to drum up some kinda sad emotion and feel sorry for myself. Well, that didn't work! I felt no different at all. Just gald it was all over!

Tuesday, August 10,2010


Hi All,

My counsellor has put me onto this.

My husband of coming up 3 years (together 5) walked out on myself and our 1 year old over New Year.

He seems to fit the pattern of the men on here. Left us for a new women (but about 15 years older than me - think she has money). After the death of his father in early December he became depressed, his whole personality changed over night,starting seeing said woman, tormented me and then left.

I can't get over that he will come out of his depression and come back to us, at this point I would still have him.

Can anyone give me some good coping mechanisms to get through this initial period??

(I have ordered the book but in New Zealand so thinking it will take awhile to get here).

Tuesday, February 08,2011


As much as I try to make sense out of it, I cannot. So, I am going to quit trying. Why would a man leave his wife, 20 years his junior, who had been by his side 13 years? We were happy, well-employed, social, a handsome good-looking couple. He left me for a woman two years older than me that is a felon, alcoholic/addict, with no credit, and about as coarse/unrefined as they come...I am just dumbfounded. My husband has thrown caution to the wind, lives on the "wild side" with her, staying with her many nights in her apartment in the ghetto. No matter how many times I try to figure it out, I cannot see what caused him to do this. You seriously doubt your sanity and the world's at large!

Wednesday, February 16,2011


Your story was so much like mine-we were together for 6 years married for 3 and a half. He left out of the blue too. He never had one sign of depression until about 2 years into our marriage and then when it hit, everything changed. He was always down and I was always tiptoeing around him, worried I would upset him. He ignored the depression and it became worse and worse, accompanied with anxiety. He never acted like he was going to leave since he was always talking and planning in the long term. We bought our passports for a trip to the UK and the next day he was "done". I hate that I know when he gets help for his severe depression he'll know what a mistake he's made and I'm worried that I'll not be strong enough to stand my ground. I still love him and I'm worried that he'll do this again, and again, if I let him. I dread the day he "wakes up" -will I have moved on? Will I cave? I know I'm worrying about something that is so far in the future, out of my control, and may NEVER happen-but know you are not alone for thinking that way. Their depression will cause them to blame you in any way possible, and it completely fogs their reasoning and emotions. This is not your fault. We are all not perfect, but WE CANNOT HELP SOMEONE WHO DOES NOT WANT TO HELP THEMSELVES. That is hard for me to accept at times because I love him and want him to get help, but I have started coming to peace with the fact that it is out of my hands and in GODs hands now. Prayers to everyone.

Tuesday, December 27,2011


I just wanted to comment that my husband DID leave both me and the kids. I read in the book about how it is difficult for the Runaway Husband to face or deal weith the kids sometimes because he has to deal with the wife. I feel no compulsion to further lie to my children (aged 24 and out of the home and 15 and with me). The saying goes, by their fruit you will know them...? Well - his fruit isn't even rotten, it doesn't exist! And the few times we have spoken or emailed he said that anything he does regarding our son (he has said our daughter is grown and shouldn't have an opinion on this per se) is wrong in my book. The night he told me, "We know it's over" he said he wanted the house (it's been in his family) and I said I wanted out son...and he said OK. Just like that. So while I will not bad-mouth their father or try to keep them away from him or discourage them from seeing him, I honestly don't have to. He does that himself. A text a week (or less) barely constitutes spam advertising let alone an attempt at parenting.

And yet his girlfriend told his mother that our son is "his number one priority." Right. Every comment - and they are few - that he has made to me about our son are relative to him in his narcissistic manner..."I WANT to see him" "I WANTED to go to his practice" "If HE had a problem He should tell me; I don't believe it when you say he doesn't want to see me." He actually made my son get on the phone and tell him that...and when our son said his father could come to his sports events but he "never wanted to see her there," his father yelled at him, made him clarify who "her" was (stupid game), and then told him to "chill the he*l out abuot that" and hung the phone up on him.

So...why should I say "Daddy didn't leave you" to my kids? Daddy did. What I do say is "your father loves you in the best way he possibly can, sadly right now that is not enough to be an active parent because he is trying to figure out things in his own life, but maybe one day he might realize his mistake...and you need to be aware that can and may happen and come to terms with what has happened to ALL of us so that you will be able to respond if and when he wants to be back in your life."

Sorry...that's the best I can do.

Monday, January 16,2012

A Spring of Hope

I married my husband overseas and it was unhealthy from the start, although I rationalized everything away in the hopes that things would get better. He worked in law enforcement (close protection officer for a politician) and suffers PTSD. He suffered depression, nightmares, paranoia, etc. - I suffered PTSD a number of years ago after being sexually assaulted and recognized it in him.

When I became pregnant with our first son, he disappeared to work for seven of the nine months of my pregnancy. When his employer died of cancer, he became lost. After 10 months of unemployment, I was able to talk him into at least working in a restaurant so he could get out of the house and have an income, albeit a small one.

Fast forward to 2011, I was suffering extreme burnout from raising our three year old and seven month old sons with no assistance or support, and living with a man suffering from complex PTSD. We lived in hell with him either sleeping all day and staying out all night, or working in a restaurant from 8am to 11pm. With chronic aggravation and sporadic episodes of violence, I finally made the decision to return to Canada. My father bought our tickets to come home.

He became increasingly volatile as the date approached and was checked in for emergency kidney stone surgery the week before leaving, so he was precluded from flying for several weeks. In the end, all he had to do was submit his immigration file and rejoin us. In retrospect, my Higher Power was paving the way for me to escape safely.

I have not heard from him for nearly a year. He has ignored my telephone calls, and does not respond to my emails. I have tagged him in Facebook photos of our sons who are now two and four, but he does not acknowledge them.

I think he has abandoned us and cut all communication because he is pained about the state of his life. I told him if he got PTSD treatment for a full year, then I would give things another try, but that I was exhausted at trying to hold things together and take care of two babies.

I finally spoke with one of his sisters on Skype the other evening and she was very angry with me, saying that I was a bad wife and mother and that I destroyed our family by taking his children away from him. I tried to explain to her that my father had even paid several thousand dollars for our tickets and that all he had to do was take some time to heal and then rejoin us. It was such an insane conversation, that I can't still get my head around it all.

I feel sad that he is suffering because I have suffered PTSD and know it intimately. But I am so angry that he refuses to acknowledge me and that his sister and other family members blame me for his state. I want to remove him from my Facebook because it is too painful for me to be checking on his page and seeing that his is friending people, yet not acknowledging my sons and I.

I'm so hurt and angry right now. I wrote him an email early last week telling him that I still love him and that I want him to get himself into treatment. This situation has been disfunctional from the onset. Would I be wrong to unfriend him on Facebook and essentially cut off his access to photos of our sons? I don't know what to do. I feel so humiliated that he has cut us off and outraged that his family blames me.

Sunday, February 17,2013


Hi everyone,

"I'm not leaving the kids, I'm leaving YOU," he screamed at me. Now I'm starting to get my head around the fact that he was screaming his own guilt and insecurity. It's such a mess. He is such a mess. And he's completely and utterly devastated me and our family. ALL of us, including himself.

But he's obsessed with the kids now. Suddenly it's all about them. No, it's really all about him and wanting to prove that he's a "good father." It's maddening.

Dawn, thank you, thank you, thank you for your example of what to say to the kids. My kids are older -- 19, 17, 12. But of course, they still feel abandoned. And because I've been told that children need their father -- even a bad one -- I've been leaving it up to them, but ENCOURAGING them to see him. But it doesn't feel right. It just doesn't.

We lived what I think of as a fake life for three years. Even when he was with us, he wasn't really with us -- he was with her.


So I don't want to encourage the kids to be with a man who is a bad man. Who hurt them. Who hurt me. Who lied, deceived, stole money and time from us, who betrayed us, destroyed our finances and left us. I'll still give them the choice (they're old enough to choose for themselves), but I won't encourage them anymore. I certainly won't say, "Dad loves you. He didn't leave you, he left me."

I'll say something along the lines of: "Dad loves you as best he can right now. It's not enough to make up for all the bad he did. But there's nothing we can do about that. We can't change anyone but ourselves. So, if you want to see him and keep up the relationship, you can, of course. And take the love that he can give. But if you don't want to right now, that's ok, too. You have to do what's best for you right now."

What do you think?


PS A question about using this site... How do you find the chat you've been following unless you remember exactly what page it's on and exactly what it was called?? Thanks.

Sunday, March 10,2013


Someone or something must be guiding me and my sons towards a new life without this man who lived with us for 33 years, but walked out in September 2013,

The reason I say this is because some new and exciting and sometimes shocking, have happened to me. It only took me 4 months to stop crying after "he" left and that was special in itself considering we had been married for 33 years.

Our son of 23 got drunk a few days after he left, and had to be hauled away to jail. That was a bad thing. But... he finally stopped drinking and he realized he did so to cover up the continuous pain of a neglectful father, who really didn't care about him or his feelings.

Then, On January 20th, 2014, I got a call from my brother, David, who lives in NY late one night (I live in Washington State). He told me to sit down because he had something important to tell me. Our Dad had fallen down a few weeks before, and Dave was cleaning out his apartment and found----My ADOPTION PAPERS! Wow, I never knew I was adopted, And the best part of it was I even had another birth name, and was born to a French woman in Germany. Talk about a real identity crisis... your husband leaving is bad enough but the family you thought were related to you ,aren't at all. I know that family isn't always blood, but the people who want you in theirs, who love you no matter what.

So, I am moving on bit by bit, day by day, and even though I an mot a religious person, I do believe in a higher power that helps us through our lives, to the next phase and happiness. I am taking a DNA test now to find out my roots and maybe others who are related to me. How exciting is that? !!!

Sunday, April 13,2014

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