The “Abandoned Husband”

When Wives Leave
  • Ellen Halle


Women’s changing social roles and social expectations pose new problems for men. One of the troubling issues some men are forced to face is that of adapting to rapidly changing marital relationships when women choose to discard traditional wifely roles.1 Much has been written about the pain of separation and divorce from the viewpoint of women, but little has been reported on the problems of the “abandoned” male. This paper will describe twenty-six men seen at a mental health clinic at a time of marital turmoil, men who had married in their early twenties, who had been reared in traditional homes, and who had traditional expectations of their wives. The focus of the paper will be on their responses to separation and divorce in their thirties, separations initiated in each instance by the wife.


Chief Complaint Mental Health Clinic Male Therapist Marital Dissatisfaction Traditional Home 


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  1. 1.
    Epstein J: Divorce in America, Marriage in an Age of Possibility. New York, Dutton, 1974, p 76Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Moulton R: Some Effects of The New Feminism. Am J Psychiat 134: 1–6, 1977PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Chessler P: Women and Madness, New York, Avon, 1972, p 114Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ellen Halle
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesJohns Hopkins University School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA

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