Lisa had told me about family therapist, Vikki Stark and Wife Abandonment Syndrome one night recently when she ran into me in the laundry room, and I hadn't looked very good. She'd read an article about her in MacLean's.
So, I looked her up and I found that after a comprehensive study of other women in similar predicaments as mine (and her own), she's compiled this interesting list:
- Prior to the separation, the husband had seemed to be an attentive, engaged spouse, looked upon by his wife as honest and trustworthy.
- The husband had never indicated that he was unhappy in the marriage or thinking of leaving, and the wife believed herself to be in a secure relationship.
- By the time he reveals his feelings to his wife, the end of the marriage is already a fait accompli and the husband moves out quickly.
- The husband typically blurts out the news that the marriage is over "out-of-the-blue" in the middle of a mundane domestic conversation.
- Reasons given for his decision are nonsensical*, exaggerated, trivial or fraudulent.
- The husband’s behavior changes radically, feeling to his wife that he has become a cruel and vindictive stranger.
- The husband exhibits no remorse; rather, anger is directed toward his wife and he may describe himself as the victim.
- In most cases, the husband is having an affair and moves in directly with his girlfriend.
- The husband makes no attempt to help his wife, either financially or emotionally, as if all positive regard for her has been extinguished.
- Systematically devaluing the marriage, the husband redefines what had previously been an agreed-upon view of the couple's joint history.
The only thing different about what happened to me, is that he wouldn't get out of the house. So I had to.
I told The Therapist how tired I was of thinking about this "after all this time". I don't want to think about it anymore. I want it to GO AWAY. Out. Of. My. Head. Right now. "Well, how long has it been over?" she asked, and I said it was around a year and a half.
Her response was, "Women are living well into their 90s these days. A year and a half is nothing in the course of that timeframe. Nothing."
Vikki Stark's website says: "It doesn’t matter whether she was abandoned last week or last decade, she won't be able to come to terms with the end of her marriage until she can solve the mystery of how a man who seemed so loving and committed could morph overnight into an angry stranger."
But is it really a mystery that can even be solved?
So where does that leave me? (Thinking that everybody else will turn into an angry stranger too, so I don't even start).
* "You wouldn't eat the muffin, I was mad." / "You wanted me to eat the roast at your mother's. You know I don't like roast."