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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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Sunday, May 11,2008

I thought I was healed

Since my ex-husband left me more than 10 years ago, I married and started a family. I have run into my ex twice in the past decade and have behaved in a mature and confident manner, approaching him and his wife (formerly his mistress) to say hello. I thought I had forgiven him and that I was "healed." While I used to have regular (2-3 times yearly) "nightmares" about seeing my ex and his faceless new wife, after seeing my ex again recently, I haven't had another recurrence of the ex themed dream.

Yesterday I received a call from a mutual friend of mine and my ex who is getting married soon, asking my permission to send a wedding invitation to my ex (I have already been invited). The very bizarre thing was that when my ex's name was mentioned, I barely heard it, as if I heard it underwater, and then I had an unexpected physiological reaction to the news. I started shivering uncontrollably and my voice was trembling as I told the mutual friend that I would probably be uncomfortable but I would be "okay" with it. The mutual friend's fiancee went on to say that 10 years have passed and I have a good marriage now... so... it shouldn't bother me?!!! Outrageous.

I am in shock that it seems that I am still not really "okay" with my ex. Why the heck did I start shaking? And, as I described my most recent meeting with my ex with his new wife acting like the ice queen, I found that I was raising my voice to my friend. I worry that I am just kidding myself about being healed.

I thought I had forgiven him and that I had moved past what had happened. I went on this website to try to find out how to heal, and I have done everything as suggested. I don't mean to depress my fellow readers, but when is this going to end? My friend also suggested that I may gain some type of closure from this forced meeting. Who knows.

Posted by


Emma V

It does not surprise me that you react this way. You have been traumatized and you have learned to go on with your life, but the trauma is still there and it just got triggered from your memory. I do not expect it will be any different for any of us. We have feelings and memories and it means you are alive.We will never forget, but hopefully we will be able to live meaningful lives after, ie we will be able to be happy and receive and give love. As long as we are not confronted with the painful memories, we are ok, and when we are, we are not of stone and we react.
I think closure will occur only if he shows respect and compassion and regret about hurting you this much, but I would not count on it.
For me, I was perfectly content to live with my ex, in spite of his shortcomings, and because of the fact that he was not, gave up, cheated and lied, part of me has been destroyed. And my feelings, deep emotions will remain, that is why it hurts. And when I see him, his car, hear his voice, etc, I start shivering too. My mom who has been separated for 20 years, still has those emotions. Be proud of yourself, you are alive, you have loved, you have felt pain, and you were able to go on, in spite of it all.

Sunday, May 11,2008


Emma V., you are a wise woman.

Monday, May 12,2008


Six years later, I thought I was healed as well. Then I get the news that he is getting married in a month.
This has left me numb. In some ways I expected this to happen one day, but I am still in shock. Our children tip toe around it, I guess they have known for months but didn't want to tell me. I wish I knew how to stop hurting.

Wednesday, August 06,2008


Less time has passed for me, only 2 years since he left, but I really thought I was over it as well. I did and do feel happy and fulfilled in my life without him, but when I bumped into him and his girlfriend (the one he had cheated on me with) at a jewelry store looking at rings everything came right back. The nausea, the 'I'm never good enough' feelings and the rage.

I am so sorry your friend did such a thing, I found my friends were great in the beginning but many feel that I should be over it by now... I want more then anything to be over him and not to care and I hope someday I can get there.

Sunday, October 26,2008


well it started out that i really didn't want to be married any more to the horrific creature,i knew all along that he and the "mud-duck"were involved and yet when it came down to the crunch i was horrified,only because as a strong woman,it was'nt so nice being dumped for a woman of a lessor station in life...and yet it took me 7 years to get over it...why? even i can't answer that!Now as i look at either one of them i feel so smug knowing that i have come out of it all with dignity and the knowledge that it was for the best for me and my personal growth...

Thursday, February 05,2009


Mud duck?? I really like that remark.
He lost I won.... that is all that really matters now.
Now that I look back I got what I always wanted anyways. Two fabulous kids, the house , the stocks, the RRSPs and what did she really get. Well a very weak person, I won't even call him a man, to do what he has done to me...and when I see them together, I am going to laugh my ass off....Honk for me cause now I am free. And the next time he cheats, It won't be on me......think about it ladies, what is that relationship really built around???? Can't be trust, cause neither one of them can be trusted....

Thursday, February 25,2010


You are all very wise girls... I like reading your stories, it makes me fell that I will survive, although I understand that in some ways you never recover from the shock. Because it is a trauma, please don't forget that as brave and strong as we are, we have bene traumatized by seeing our world fall apart when we thought that everything was perfect and nobody had told us that it was not.
I am beginning to recover day by day. After almost two months I understand I am not in love with my husband any more. My husband was a creation of my imagination and of his deceitfulness. He has never existed. He has always pretended he was someone else. He made me waste 12 years of my life.. THe only good thing he has left me are my children, but I wish he had left me after the second was born and I was still 34 so that I could have started rebuilding my life immediately...However, amist all these things I sometimes think that we, who undergo this terrible situation, are in a way lucky because we learn to better understand ourselves and we become stronger persons.
I send all of you a big hug

Friday, April 09,2010


I just finished reading the comments from women whose husbands left several years ago and felt compelled to tell my story. I was married for 16 years, together for 18. We had a good marriage, in fact a wonderful marriage for many years. The last few years his attitude wasn't quite as good. However, we worked together and for the most part were never apart (he wanted it that way). The last year of our marriage our dogs were ill so my exhusband traveled for the first time alone. One of our beloved dogs passed away right after Thanksgiving in 2007 and a few days later he went for a few days on business to Vegas. Before he left, he kissed me goodbye, told me he loved me and said he'd see me in a few days and that was it!!! He was gone forever!!! I was still heartbroken over the dog's death (16 yrs old) and then, abandoned. I found that he had been stealing money for a year from our accounts and had already rented a house. Shortly after he turned off our office phone and completely cut me off from our business (unfortunately the company was a family business in his name). My pet, my husband, my best friend (or so I thought) and my career of 16 yrs were all gone in a flash. He always told me I was a survivor but in truth I almost died from the shock. If it weren't for the best, most loving family and dearest friends I wouldn't be here today. Even with medication I lost an enormous amount of weight. He left a few weeks before Christmas and my family did their best to keep going even though all their hearts were broken from the loss. He left EVERYONE! My other dog became my focus but she died a few months later and then I was completely alone. Yes, I had support, all the time, everyday. But now it's 2 1/2 yrs later and I found out he got married (our divorce just finalized) and bought an enormous house. He treated me well finanacially but the pain of learning of his 5th marriage still rebroke my heart. I have had grief counseling all this time and still go to a regular therapist and am off all meds. But there isn't a day that I don't feel incredible heartache at some point. People keep telling me to move on and he's not my problem anymore, just focus on my wonderful family. I do all that but I lost my dreams and hopes, I lost my career (haven't worked anymore and my dogs. I don't want another dog right now because I plan to travel, I'm retirement age and will not be working. My whole world disappeared in a flash. I don't want him back, I know he's terribly disturbed...normal people don't do what he did. I actually forgive him. I still love him and appreciate all the terrific years...when I saw him in Sept at our final divorce meeting, I cried and told him how much I still loved him. When he was leaving, he told me he loved me and wanted me to be happy and have a good life, that I deserved it. It's just so hard to let go and maybe, it's actually impossible to let go completely. I'm starting to think that's the case. I've broadened my life experience, done many fun things, made new friends and am in a new relationship, but the pain always comes back. My grandson still pines for my ex and wants to know why Grandpa didn't come back to see him. He still remembers him and misses him. My ex is in all of our family pictures, etc. He's everywhere in my world and it's impossible to remove him. Yet for him I'm dead. He has no pictures of me, none of our furniture and lives where I never lived with him. He's completely moved on without a look back. Regarding my friends, I believe they feel it's time to let it go. No one seems to understand that no specific time is "the time." The urgency to help is over, life has moved on but not for my heart. My new partner has been incredibly understanding and keeps telling me I will be fine, that it's normal to still cry. His support has been wonderful but at times I'm not sure I even want to be in a relationship. Yet I don't want to be alone. What happened to me? I used to be the most stable, grounded person I know, not anymore!!! Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Sunday, June 20,2010


To - "I thought I was healed" - JUST SAY NO!!! That's all you have to do!!

Tuesday, August 03,2010


I read your story and like you I've lost everything too. It's almost like PTS syndrome. We can't believe this has happened. My story began with the death of my dad and then my ex left for a woman he met on the internet while I was helping care for my dad. Three months later the ex was gone, 6 months later my home and possessions and the 3 cats were all gone. My joy then became my grandson's birth - now I find out my daughter and family are moving to the West Coast!

My heart hurts for you since I really know what this feels like. For me it's gotten better the last 2 months. I'm sending you a hug!

Thursday, October 14,2010

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