Regardless of how you experience the intention and impact of infidelity, we all are manipulated by the stories, expectations, promises, ideals, traumas, and fears we bring to the experience. We are the fictional Everyman seeking to protect the imagined safety of the stories, even as the stories eat up our lives.
The willingness to truly see Painter as who she is means seeing myself as I am in that pattern. And to see this truth is to live with remorse and regret, and experience sorrowful grief.
I'm not ungrateful. Painter's gift is really a reminder to myself that she is not who she pretends to be, and because of that, I owe her nothing but time and distance.
I was never confused about Painter’s decision to end the relationship. Although I was hurt and sad, I was never confused. I understood.