Sixteen years ago, Eileen Doyle’s husband, an engineer, kissed his four children early one morning, packed a small case and was never seen or heard of again. Eileen was astonished and was in a state of despair. They had been a happy family and, as far as she knew, there had been nothing wrong with their marriage.

Every day of the year a small group of men and women quietly pack a few belongings and, without a note or a goodbye, close the front door for the last time, leaving their debts, their worries and their confused families behind them.


Many return home within a year, but a minority reject the past completely and start living a new life somewhere under a different identity. For those left behind, this form of desertion is a terrible blow to their pride and self-confidence as they usually tend to blame themselves for the situation. Some say they would prefer to be dead rather than be abandoned like this.

Worse than that, people can be left with an unfinished marriage, not knowing whether they will have to wait seven years, as the law says, before they are free to start a fresh life.

Clinical psychologist Paul Brown believes most departures of this kind to be well planned rather than impulsive. “It’s typical of the kind of personality which seems to be able to ignore other people’s pain and difficulties. Running away, like killing yourself, is a highly aggressive act. By creating an absence, the people left behind are made to feel guilty, upset and empty.”


According to Bramwell Pratt, head of The Police Investigation Department, men and women run away for very different reasons though lack of communication is often the biggest motive. ‘The things that disturb a man’s personality are obscure problems like being tied up in debt, or serious worries about work. Women usually leave for more obvious reasons, with fear at the root of everything. Men are more often prepared to give their marriage another try than women, but we are aware that, for most wives, it would be difficult to return after the way they’ve been treated.’







Mark the best choice.

1. When her husband left home, Eileen Doyle .

a) could not forgive him for taking the children

b) had been expecting it to happen for some time

c) could not understand why

d) blamed herself for what had happened
2. Most people who leave their families .

a) do so without warning b) do so because of their families c) come back immediately d) change their names


3. The man or woman left behind usually .

a) feels responsible for the situation b) wishes the person who has left were dead

c) plans his or her life carefully d) knows he or she cannot get married again


4. Paul Brown belives that leaving home is usually the result of

a) an act of confidence b) an act of selfishness

c) a sudden decision d) the end of a marriage

5. The police believe that .

a) men and women leave their families for similar reasons

b) men’s reasons are more clear than women’s

c) women never want to give men another chance

d) women are often afraid to give their marriage another try

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