Readers address desertion

WORKING WOMAN

June 06, 1993|By Niki Scott | Niki Scott,Universal Press Syndicate

It's time for the readers of this column to have the very last word. Your letters are still flooding this office after a recent column about a woman whose husband deserted her after 27 years of marriage, leaving her penniless and unprepared to enter the work force.

From Orlando, Fla., a reader wrote: "I understand exactly what that unfortunate woman in your column was talking about. Luckily for me it was 17 years of marriage instead of 27, but like that woman said, 'Now I know this can happen to anyone. Every woman on earth should be prepared for this, and should prepare her daughters.' "

A woman in Dallas wrote: "I sincerely believe that there are still men around who honor and keep their commitments, but a great number seem to believe it is perfectly acceptable to behave as they please -- regardless of the consequences.

"What is frightening is that you may never know which kind your spouse is until you are devastated by evidence you can't ignore."

A Warren, Ohio, woman who organized a Marital Rights Task Force in Trumbull County, Ohio, two years ago wrote to say: "The woman who devotes her life to being a housewife and mother -- and in some cases has been responsible for putting her husband through college -- often is the one who is left behind after her

children reach the age of majority.

"She has little chance of getting into the job market and gets little or no help from the judicial system. Most judges feel that with a year's alimony, these women should be able to re-educate and support themselves!"

And a husband from Elkhorn, Neb., who's been on the other side wrote to ask, "Would you like to hear from a husband of over 50 years who almost made the same serious mistake?

"I came to my senses in time and realized that true happiness was with my life-long wife. I don't see how I could have faced myself if I had really deserted her.

"This sort of philandering is tempting to consider, nevertheless, as a man gets older . . . but so foolish! I finally 'grew up' with the help of Christ, and feel sorry for the men and women who still suffer through these experiences."

Finally, from Altamonte Springs, Fla., a woman whose husband didn't see the light in time wrote: "I hope you'll write about a wonderful organization called the Displaced Homemaker Program.

"The program I joined was an intense 77-hour course that addressed everything from the pain and anger of divorce to raising my self-esteem and improving my job-hunting skills.

"I walked in feeling like a rejected failure, and walked out feeling brave and strong again." Displaced Homemaker Programs are excellent resources and exist in virtually every area of the country. To find one near you, contact your mental health center, community college and the community relations department of your local hospital.

Or call your United Way chapter or YWCA, the local offices of your state's Human Services or Social Services Department, or the offices of your state's Head Start, Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and Aid to Families With Dependent Children (AFDC) programs.

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