Schlepping Through Heartbreak

Making sense and bouncing back when the one you love leaves

Dating After Abandonment

On the subject of dating again after abandonment, women often tell me that they are not looking to meet anyone because they’re not ready. Months, years go by while they’re waiting to become ready. If you’re a cautious women like one of these, I suggest you need to start before you’re ready. The act of getting out there makes you ready. Read More

On the other hand ... it is O.K. not to be looking to meet anyone!

As someone who was abandoned after a long term marriage .... I believe that it is "O.K" not be looking to meet anyone!! I take offence to the writer's advice that we all need to "get out there" and that the act of getting out there makes you ready. I don't want to be "ready". Yes, I am lonely at times but I was also lonely in my relationship at times. I do not measure my completeness nor judge my level of healing based on the fact that I am not interested in meeting another man! I feel satisfied with my current life and certainly am not ruling out the possibility of meeting someone... but I have no desire nor need to be "out there".

I agree completely! Not

I agree completely! Not everyone needs to be in a relationship. The blog post is really directed to those people who wish they were.

If you had really been out there that long

... then you would know if you put yourself "out there" to meet one person after the next, men are not interested in dating. They expect sex on the first date and are looking for sex then on to the next conquest. So to keep "dating" in these times means we are expected to have sex with one person after the next. No thanks! I like sex, but I don't want to be used by first one stranger then the next nor do I want to risk STD's which is what happens the more different people you sleep around with. I'd rather be happy than miserable so I keep on doing what I enjoy and quit worrying about finding the right one. The right one is most likely going to be someone you meet doing what you enjoy not some horny loser cruising the personal ads for fresh meat. To constantly be "dating" reeks of desperation and to sleep with a continuous string of people screams low self-esteem.

Dating After Abandonment

I was abandoned after a 35-year marriage. I am 63 years old, but frankly I am not at all interested in getting involved with someone else. I attended a Divorce Care program and I learned that, whatever your age, you have to recover from the devastation of being disrespected, abandoned, betrayed and whatever else you endured before you can even think of another relationship; to do otherwise is not fair to you and not fair to the other new person. It has taken me over two years to get to the point of being able to manage my new life surrounded by my children and grandchildren, who my ex-husband also abandoned, my faith and wonderful friends. I was a very devoted and faithful wife and never did anything to cause my ex-husband to cheat and then leave me for another woman half my age. It may sound selfish, but putting that kind of effort into another person is not anywhere on my bucket list.

dating after abandonment

I was with my husband for 30 years before he abandoned me and my son I always made myself look the best I could and am what I would consider an attractive and slim 48 year old. It is only 5 months on and I need to get out dating I am so lonely for someone to hold me again but am terrified of the thought of dating. I cannot get over how he could do this to me as he always led me to believe how he thought I was so wonderful and he would love me forever and he still found me 'hot' as he would say and still acted like this up to the day he left. Since he left I have had constant abusive texts for no apparent reason and can't believe he could do this to someone who loved him so much and ignore our son. I relive every second of our past constantly although I try not to I have no contact with him if I can help it but I long to have someone to care about me again, hold me and make me feel special as he did. I want to start dating but don't know how to I don't get out much either so the chances of meeting someone is very slim.I also doubt everything about myself and wonder why anyone else would want me as he threw me away.

Dating After Abandonment

Chelle, What you are experiencing is completely normal after being abandoned. It is very miserable in the beginning, but in time you will start to get used to your new life. I thought I had a very good marriage until I caught my husband cheating and then he announced that he had not loved me in years and he wanted to be with his girlfriend and that was that. If you read Vikki's book, "Runaway Husbands", you will see that there are similarities among abandoning husbands and one is that they turn on their spouses once they have announced they are leaving or have left and become their enemies. My husband also claimed that he was happy, but once the cat was out of the bag, he became very emotionally and mentally abusive, disrespectful and actually carried on his affair in my house in front of me until my divorce was becomming final and he had to move. Give yourself some time; I know you can't see it now, but it does get better. God Bless You and your son.

trying to move forward

Thankyou for your words of kindness I have read the book twice and still refer back to it all the time. Even though the book answered a lot of questions for me why do we think our situation is unique and although I know I can never be with him again just want him to want me to give me back my self worth and get rid of my sense of failure at being a good wife. I hope time does heal just really miss the cuddles and security of having someone there and I miss the physical side more than ever. He did a really good job on me when he left made me feel totally humiliated and worthless and blamed everything on me I know this is what they do but doesn't hurt any less.Once again I thank you for taking the time to wish me well and will try my best love Chelle x

Dating after abandonment

It's coming up to a year since my husband confessed to his wedding plans with my son's music teacher and left. The thought of dating turns my stomach, I am still hurt and vulnerable and would probably ruin any dates by sobbing about the separation! I think I need to be stronger and happy with being alone before I contemplate looking for a relationship again.

I agree. It's been a year for

I agree. It's been a year for me. I am not ready to start dating again. Enjoying my children and grandchild and being thankful for what I have.

...after abandonment....

Hi All,

After 23 years he left....and after 24 years he filed for divorce....not before he attempted to tear me to shreds before leaving....I have seen 2 different men, and talking to a 3rd....and not ready for anything serious at all....I have been too hurt to allow that part of myself available to anyone...

I too am involved in Divorce Care. and find it so healing...I do want to go to dinner or see a movie with someone...but nothing more right now...

Tear after tear, hour by hour, day after is a rough journey...and getting to know myself all over again...

These men have walked away from some of the most amazing women I have ever come across...

Blessings and all of us.....

after abandonment

Its funny how they all seem to follow the same path once they decide to leave and treat the person who has loved and looked after them for so many years so badly.I don't think we will ever understand abandonment fully can only hope to heal ourselves and move forward with our lives I hope you heal enough one day to find someone to treat you how you should be treated. Bless you and sending my love Chelle x


It takes time! It took me over 2 years to get to the point of where I was able to stop that conditioning in my mind that was "You're married!" to start believing that I was single. The first time I left myself open to being in a relationnship, I got hurt, bad. I just thought, screw it. I can't do this anymore. So I just reveled in being single for the next 5 years. I actually enjoyed it! The freedom of it. I traveled, had experiences that I coulbn't when I was married & was raising children. Then out of the blue I met the most amazing man. A man who sees and appreciates the real me! He is so good to me & I love him. I do believe that as much as I love him he could never hurt me the same way as my ex did. I have learned that men can come & go but you always have yourself and your family. I can be happy in this without thinking or feeling that this man is my whole world!

My issue is that I'm under

My issue is that I'm under 30, chidless and in a relationship with a man I love; however, I will never trust any man enough to beqr his chile. I also don't want to marry ever. If I do so, it would be solely so I could attempt to screw him in the case of partner abandonment.

Fundamentally, I think men are feral, untrustworhy cheaters. Things like this only kind of validate my belief.

Anonymous under 30

I can't allow my ex to jade my feelings to all men otherwise it would be impossible to ever trust in finding love again I know I could never be hurt as much again and as I know I will get through this so hope one day to find a loving caring man who treats me how I should be treated.

Moving on?

My ex husband left after 24 years of marriage, because he disliked himself but needed to blame me for his unhappiness, my problem is trusting the man Im with now. Sometimes I imagine he will dump me as well. Not sure how to get over this paranoid feeling.I dont want to drive him away! He hasnt done anything to make me think this way, but I panic if I dont hear from him and he lives 3 hours from me.

Children affected by was

Has anyone else had the same experience as me with one of their children I haven't mentioned that I also have a 20 year old daughter who now treats me as her dad has.I have always loved and supported her and would do anything for her but since her dad left she has constantly used verbal abuse and it got so bad I had to ask her to leave which hurt so much but for the sake of her younger brother and indeed my own sanity I had to do it.She now lives with her boyfriend and will not talk to me but constantly tries to contact her dad who doesn't show any interest in her.I still contact her but she is not interested in a relationship with me all this makes no sense as I have always shown her so much love and she just seems to hate me.I no longer know what to do about her just hope she comes to realise how much I do love her and will always love her.

Children Affected

I think abandonment is worse than death and sometimes we are in so much pain that we forget that abandonment is very destructive on many levels and to many others. I have not had your experience, but I do have two grown children who were devastated when their dad left. Adult children have had that person for many years too and feel a terrible loss. Maybe you could have a conversation with your daughter and try to get her to talk about her feelings and assure her that you are there for her. What she is doing is very hurtful, but you can bet she is in a lot of pain also and may not know how to deal with it or even approach it; she's very young and probably not equipped to handle such loss and so many different emotions. Also her friends are probably her age so they are not able to give her much advice or help either. Once you find out how she feels, you can go about helping her get through this and don't be hesitant to suggest professional help. I spent a year with a Christian therapist and it was one of the best things I ever did because he helped me see that this had nothing to do with me, but rather with my ex-husband's selfishness and lack of character. Early on, my son, daughter and I sat down and made a pact to stick together and that also helped all of us.

children affected

I have tried to talk to her on many occasions but she justs gets angry and then leaves.I have tried to talk to her about counselling because I know how helpful I have found it but she just says she doesn't need it when everyone around her can see she does and other family members have tried to suggest it too but she just gets angry with them.She is angry all the time and it makes her act horrible I wonder where my sweet daughter has gone and all her anger is usually aimed at me not at her father which I find hurtful as I'm still here for my children and he is not.

Children Affected

Since you have apparently had counseling, maybe you could ask your therapist for advice on how to handle this and how to help her. Abandonment causes destruction everywhere and everyone reacts differently. Sounds like the only way your daughter can vent is through anger because she doesn't know how to handle her pain and this is probably not unusual for young adults. Maybe other readers could comment; I don't have much to offer since I have not actually experienced this problem. God Bless You and Your Daughter.

dating after abandonment

Why would a man pursue you relentlessly for five months when they know you have just gone through WAS telling you how they could really love you as you should be loved, help fix you, and when you finally fall for it they say your pushy and needy and back off. I have now been rejected twice in six months once from my husband of thirty years and then from a man who made it his business to contact me and pursue me just to reject me when I wanted him.I feel sick to my stomach that I am back where I was and now feel completely unlovable.I can't eat or sleep I am already having therapy and just try to get through the day for my son who lives with me.I can't now imagine any man wanting me and can see no future for me.The weird thing is I think about this latest man all the time he made me stop thinking about my husband and I thought when I was ready we was going to have a future together just from what he told me.I am devastated and don't know what to do.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • You may quote other posts using [quote] tags.

More information about formatting options

Vikki Stark, M.S.W. is a family therapist, educator and director of the Sedona Counselling Centre. She authored Runaway Husbands and My Sister, My Self.


Subscribe to Schlepping Through Heartbreak

Current Issue

Let It Go!

It can take a radical reboot to get past old hurts and injustices.