Recently there was a comment in one of the posts where a reader recommended the book Runaway Husbands: The Abandoned Wife’s Guide to Recovery and Renewal by Vikki Stark. Whenever a reader recommends a book it peaks our interest, so we had to check it out further.
A couple of disclaimers… First, we want to be upfront and tell you that we did not actually read the book. The information in this post comes primarily from the Runaway Husbands website . Our aim is not to do a book review but to educate you a little bit on the subject, as well as get your opinions on this topic.
Second, though this post is about Runaway Husbands and Wife Abandonment Syndrome, we certainly are of the opinion that there exists Runaway Wives and Husband Abandonment Syndrome as well. We imagine the two are probably quite similar in many ways – but feel that men probably emotionally process abandonment differently than women do. (We know…we’re writing a lot about abandonment lately.)
Vikki Stark, MSW is family therapist, author and internationally renowned divorce expert, as well as the director of the Sedona Counseling Centre of Montreal. She is not only an expert when it comes to ‘Runaway Husbands’ as a result of her formal training, but also from a personal standpoint. A while back, her husband of 21 years up and left her for another woman – his secret girlfriend of 6 years – with no warning and with no real signs. She was completely blindsided.
Ms Stark’s book is based on a study of over 400 women worldwide. One of the commonalities among the study participants was that they were in marriages where they had no doubt about their husbands’ honesty and loyalty and had entrusted their husbands to protect them emotionally. The change in their husbands’ behavior was dramatic, sudden and unexplained. These women experienced a profound and traumatic betrayal of trust, to say the least.
“The type of man who abandons often appears to be unusually moral and trustworthy, making it even harder for the wife to accept that his words are empty justifications. The most important first step in healing for a woman in this situation is the realization that her husband is not the man she thought she knew and that he never was.”
The wife is left bewildered, confused and usually feels like she is losing her mind as the husband, in his attempts to justify his actions, rewrites the history of the relationship with explanations that are typically far from reality.
The wife is often presented with statements that are contrary to those her husband made prior to leaving. For example, the man who used to say that his wife was “his everything” now says, “I never really loved you”. The wife is forced to question her own memories and is at a loss to know what to believe – it’s almost impossible to accept that her husband is just out-and-out lying to strengthen his position.
Listen to the author
Here is a really good recording of a radio interview that Vikki Stark did awhile back. She goes over some of the concepts and tips that are in her book in greater detail, as well as shares her personal story. It lasts about 50 minutes.