14: Thoughts on the Pros and Cons of a Disappearing Act by Lisa Arends

One of the few things Painter said to me after the initial reveal was not to ghost on her. “Don’t disappear.”

And I didn’t.

I would periodically call and send love notes over the first forty days of my Odyssey in an attempt to reassure Painter that, as Esther Perel would say, “You are the one. You have always been the one.”

I was trying to communicate I value Painter in my life and my behavior was not a reflection on her.

I didn’t do this every moment and every day. I was working to give Painter time until she was ready. In response, Painter sent me a couple of notes telling me she loves me and was heartbroken.

Since then?


Somewhere what is intended as a sincere, heartfelt passionate outreach started to be described by others as part of a harassing, controlling, and dark pattern. If anyone is hijacking the narrative it is those people projecting their issues onto our relationship without any experience inside our home, finances, history, or sex life.

I became someone with pathological issues and Painter became a victim.

The arrogance of Victim-Villain narrative is the assumption that Painter, in her jealousy, grief, and pain, isn’t smart enough to know what she needs and wants. After all, as a liar and adulterer, I’m clearly a real catch.

For weeks I’ve been cycles through:

1. It’s my fault. I did all of this. Painter ghosting is the consequence of my infidelity

2. But after 7 years?! Not a fight? A fuck you?! Not one question?! It must be a fair weather relationship! Painter wasn’t really committed! She loves me when I take her dancing and set up her booth but when it gets hard she abandons Us. She abandons me.

3. Although, it is entirely likely Painter looked at the totality of our relationship and decided there was nothing of value to salvage. As such, ghosting makes perfect sense.

Repeat one more restless night.

Is it any wonder I’m not sleeping? My brain is trying to kill me.