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Wife Abandonment Syndrome--happened to anyone you know?

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BlueIris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-28-10 01:06 PM
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Wife Abandonment Syndrome--happened to anyone you know?
I recently heard about a new book, "Runaway Husbands: The Abandoned Wife's Guide to Recovery and Renewal," while driving home a few nights ago. It's about Wife Abandonment Syndrome, a pretty interesting topic. From the product description:

"Based on a study of over 400 women worldwide, Runaway Husbands: The Abandoned Wife's Guide to Recovery and Renewal, is the first book to explore and offer healing strategies to women whose lives have been turned upside down by Wife Abandonment Syndrome. Wife Abandonment Syndrome is a pattern of behavior on the part of a husband who leaves his wife out-of-the-blue from what she believed was a happy marriage. Following his sudden departure, he replaces the caring he'd typically shown her with anger and aggression. He often moves directly in with a girlfriend, leaving his bewildered wife totally devastated. Written by family therapist Vikki Stark who was herself affected by Wife Abandonment Syndrome, Runaway Husbands helps women understand what motivated their loving husbands to turn into uncaring strangers and provides them with the tools they need to move forward and rebuild their lives in new and unexpected ways."

What the author said in the interview I heard about the thought processes of the husbands in these stories was interesting (if repulsive.) She said the abandoners are most often men in their 40s, 50s or 60s who desperately want to "change" something significant in their lives. They can't change careers, jobs, or their age/physical status, but the one thing they can "change" is the presence of a wife in their lives. So, she has to go. Disturbing! And a truly callous illustration of the way men are taught to think of women, even or especially those they built life partnerships with, as disposable.
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raccoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-29-10 08:56 AM
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1. I'll have to read that book. Thanks for the heads up.

Also, over the decades, there's been a lot of "wife abandonment syndrome" by men who just got tired of kids and paying bills. Or couldn't support their families (I'm talking about decades ago here, 1930's, but it could still happen.) and decided to just hit the road.

I bet nearly everyone out there knows a senior(s) whose father just up and left the wife and a bunch of kids.

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ismnotwasm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-29-10 02:40 PM
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2. Hmm
Some of these the type of guys that flew high in College School football and never recovered status? Whiny bastards.

Everybody wants a 'wife'-- I think you hit it, female and replaceable or interchangeable. I've talked to female medical residents who say they want a 'wife'. Interesting syntax usage that word, 'wife'.
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musette_sf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-29-10 03:32 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. One of the first issues of Ms. had the classic essay, "I Want A Wife":
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ismnotwasm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-29-10 03:44 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. Hey thanks for that!
I think I remembered it somewhere back in my brainpan, but now I have it as a much needed bookmark. :)
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raccoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-02-10 08:20 AM
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5. Thanks for the link! Great essay. nt
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supernova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-02-10 01:34 PM
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6. There's a a lot to this topic
Where do I start?

I started to write a long essay about how I "abandoned" my husband 15 years ago (from his POV) . Believe me, it was necessary. And I wasn't going to stick around and listen to his "victim" act. He might have needed to have that, but I, in equal measure, didn't need to witness it.

I'm sure there is a subset of husbands doing just what the author describes, for whom even personal relationships are disposable and interchangeable like car parts This is entirely reprehensible. For others it's more complicated. It can be quite easy for a man or a woman to realize in midlife that what they have isn't what they wanted or even needed. There are a whole host of cultural and personal reasons that can result in just that situation. it takes a partner willing acknowledge that you need a change and to change and grow with you. That's a an unobtainable luxury for some. I can see it being doubly so if you have a partner who is so invested in the present, possibly with kids in tow, that they don't see a need for any change or are indeed frightened of the prospect. So much so, they can become resistant, even recalcitrant to a "new" you.

If you feel a genuine need for a mental and emotional growth spurt, but have a partner who is not lovin' it, what do you do?
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ismnotwasm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-02-10 02:32 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. In midlife or even younger
Generally, it's a whole lot easier for men, socially, economically and emotionally to 'abandon' a long term partner. Women make less. Women are primary caretakers for children. Women often fall into supportive roles in relationships, neglecting their own 'personal growth' and are left bereft of support and shell-shocked. Women who are not feminists, (or; 'I'm not a feminist but' type) embracing a traditional or even quasi-traditional subservient role in marriage are especially vulnerable--and they're only trying to do what they consider to be the right thing.

I understand what you're saying, but Hetero-women tend to carry the more than their fair share of making relationships work, and I think that's what the article is about. I don't know what the dynamic would be in a Gay woman's relationship, I'm sure abandonment occurs, but I suspect even there you'd find one partner carrying much of the emotional load in this type of situation.

Yet another reason I hope someday instead of 'til death do us part type marriages', we have time-limited, renewable contracts, that allow for financial sharing, children, living situation etcs. (or no children) Reasonable agreements when couples commit to one another. If at the end of the contract one partner is ready to move on, that would be communicated in advance. It wouldn't lessen emotional pain, but it would help with expectations and help people move on in a healthier manner.
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roxiejules Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-31-10 06:36 PM
Response to Original message
8. Thanks for this link
Isn't it sad being so disposable....

NYT had an article a while back about the large number of husbands who abandoned their wives during life threatening illnesses: /

But the striking part is with life-threatening illness, how often women are abandoned compared to men. That does not speak very well of my gender.
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BlueIris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-03-10 07:37 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. The tendency of men to allow women to put up with their every outrageous
Edited on Tue Aug-03-10 07:39 PM by BlueIris
dysfunction, yet to bail the second the going gets tough with their female partners is one of the sadder things about the male half of society. Really sad.
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Behind the Aegis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-04-10 12:08 AM
Response to Original message
10. I will pass this along to my friend.
I think it has been three years now, but two days before Thanksgiving (2007), my best friend's husband disappeared. He didn't show for work, he didn't answer his phone, no one knew where he was. Thanksgiving came and went, then came his youngest daughter's first birthday...nothing. Two days later, Christmas and no call. Two weeks later, his eldest daughter's birthday...nothing. I helped my friend by doing internet searches, calls to hospitals, jails, etc. We couldn't find anything. Burdened with his debt and hers, she had to leave her job and move to another state. It was difficult to find work because she was "overqualified" for everything. She moved to small town, near her brother-in-law, who helped as much as he could (him expecting payback). More birthdays passed, more holidays, her mother passed, and not a peep. Almost two years later, he was finally with HIS PARENTS! I was told the next day and I lost it! She was cool as a cucumber; oh, she was mad, but mainly because of how he treated his daughters, not her. I offered to pay for a lawyer so she could start divorce proceedings...what a damn mess.

Anyway, flash forward to this year, and my friend has moved, yet again, and now is near two wonderful sisters who are helping and three months ago, as the divorce was finalized, by paper, no calls or contact, the SOB shows up at his oldest daughter's school demanding to see her; of course, this was also the day she lost another job. (She really should write her own book!) He wants to have contact with his daughters, which my friend will allow because she wants them to have contact with their father, but he still refuses to pay child support, something like $400 a month (for TWO kids). She has had to go round and round with civil, state, and federal laws and has found little support. It is very frustrating, but she is a very positive and strong woman. Hearing her trials and tribulations, I realized how staked the deck is against women in regards to divorce and even child support. We often hear how women get favored, which is often true in custody, but they get NO support when it comes to financial stresses.

I wish I could do more, but one thing is for sure; there needs to be BETTER, hell, ANY, protection for those who are abandoned, especially when children are involved. His reason for leaving: who the fuck knows?! He's never said!
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