How To Cope With Abandoned Wife Syndrome

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Last Updated on August 31, 2023 by Lori Pace

One spouse can feel numb and confused when a marital split occurs suddenly and without warning. They are left wondering what happened and feeling overwhelmed by the flood of emotions that comes with losing a partner they love so much. This predicament has a name. This is called spousal abandonment disorder, or more specifically – abandoned wife syndrome.

Spousal Abandoned Syndrome (Wife Or Husband)

There are usually signs that a marriage is not working out. The interactions between spouses become more difficult and less pleasant. Spouses tend to avoid each other. Multiple disagreements can result from shifting priorities. It all feels hard.

What if one spouse doesn’t see the end coming for their partner? Imagine if one spouse comes home and finds their spouse gone. You are ready to move out and start a new life.

Spousal abandonment syndrome (or abandoned wife syndrome) is not a condition. It does not refer to the many emotions and stressors you might experience if your spouse abruptly leaves you. It’s a term that describes the trend in society where spouses leave their families suddenly.

Reasons Behind Spousal Abandonment

One of the most important questions to ask if your spouse suddenly leaves you is “Why?” While understanding the reasons behind your spouse’s sudden departure won’t solve the problem, it is helpful to have closure.

A spouse who abruptly leaves may not be able to disclose the reason. It is possible to never receive the clarity you seek in states that don’t require you to disclose your reasons for divorcing, such as California or 16 other states. Nevertheless, it is possible for one spouse to leave the other without warning.

  • An affair
  • A crisis in the middle of your life
  • Financial difficulties
  • Mental illness
  • A physical illness

Consequences Of Abandoned Wife Syndrome

The overwhelming feelings resulting from your spouse’s abandonment can overwhelm you. You can feel any of these emotions: anger, fear, anxiety, sadness, self-blame, self-doubt, guilt, low self-esteem, emptiness, nullness, and loneliness.

There is hope if you cannot see the light at the end. If you feel your mind drifting towards suicide or self-harm, there are people who care about your well-being and will help you save your life. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255.

The abandonment can cause a tsunami of emotions in the spouse who is left behind. The effects of abandonment can be: poverty, debt, homelessness, insecurity in food, access to healthcare is not available, and lack of transportation which results in the inability to travel to work.

Grieving The Loss Of The Spouse Who Left

The sudden death of a spouse from abandonment is similar to that of a loved one. To heal, you have to allow yourself to go through the grief cycle.  The stages don’t come in the exact same order, and some people experience different stages. Learn more about grieving divorce. You might also consider therapy or joining a support group for divorce.

Getting Help From Abandoned Wife Syndrome

Survival should be your first and foremost goal if your spouse suddenly leaves you. You may also need assistance in completing a divorce or annulment.  This will be possible, but you don’t need to do it alone. You should surround yourself with people who can help you. You might not realize how many of them there are. To name just a few, your helpers are your family members, friends, and community members such as your clergy and physicians. A good lawyer can also be a great resource to advise you about your options.

These people are not the only ones to consider. You might also want to work with a caring therapist or join a support group for others in similar situations. These are some resources that we recommend:

Therapist for Divorce

A therapist for divorce can help you recover from the trauma of Spousal Abandonment Syndrome. Learn more about the therapy available for divorce.

Therapist for Divorce

Psychological Therapist

Psychology Today’s search engine for a therapist can help you find a mental health professional who isn’t necessarily a divorce therapist.

Support Groups For Divorce

The internet has access to many support groups for divorce. Some people are more focused on specific themes or topics. You might find support groups of people who have gone through similar situations to yours. 

Lori Pace
Lori Pace

Lori Pace is a single mother of three daughters ages 7 and under. As a working mom from home, she balances kids, work and two crazy dogs with humor and love. Follow Lori as she honestly gives tips and advice based on her own experiences as a single mom!