Pros and Cons of a Disappearing Act

Being abandoned sucks. The shock alone is enough to stop your heart. And then, once it starts beating again, all you want to to is yell at your so-called partner who thought it was acceptable to simply walk away with no notice and no dialog. It steals your voice. It leaves you in a perpetual state of uncertainty and doubt. It means you never had a chance to fight for your marriage and you’re left alone to try to sort through the mess of what’s left. Friends and family question what about you was so bad to cause your spouse to slink away like a thief in the night. It calls the entire relationship into question. And there are no answers to be found.

Yeah, there’s no doubt. Being abandoned sucks.

But, as with everything, there is another side. One I have fully embraced (it was either that or go crazy). And one explored, somewhat humorously, by Chump Lady. One of my favorite lines from her? “You mistook this ice cube for a human being. It happens. Maybe you bred with the ice cube. I’m sorry.” Thank goodness I didn’t procreate with my ice cube and his vasectomy ensures he never will.


So, here are the pros and cons of abandonment as I see them. I’d love to hear your additions as well.



-It’s efficient. There’s no long, protracted “do we stay together or split?” period.

-You never get your hopes up. You know it’s over.

-The no-contact advice is really easy to follow.

-You know he/she is a jerk (regardless of what you thought before) and you don’t waste time pining over him/her.

-You don’t have to make the difficult decision about divorce. Even if your spouse leaves it to you to file (as in my case), it’s a clear course of action.

-You may have been lied to (for years, even), but the lies are over. You don’t have to listen to any more deceptions.

-You don’t have to spend any awkward time living in the same house as your soon-to-be-ex. Although you may have to clean out his/her underwear drawer if they left without their belongings.

-If you need evidence to prove “fault” for the divorce or custody laws in your state, you’ll have plenty of fodder.

-You’ll spend less time divorcing so you can get busy healing.

-It makes for an interesting divorce story.



-The shock is horrific. It literally almost killed me when I dropped 20 lbs in a week and developed an abnormal heart rhythm.

-You feel discarded. Like you weren’t even good enough to have a discussion with.

-You feel so angry, yet there is no one to yell at.

-You will always wonder what happened. And answers, even false ones, never come.

-You may discover a hidden life, complete with betrayals from sexual to financial.

-You will be blamed. Everyone always insists there are two sides to every story. Even when you didn’t know there was a story.

-You have no time to get used to the idea of being single. You’re married and then “poof!,” you’re not.

-It makes it hard to trust again. If one partner disappeared without warning, what’s to stop the next from doing the same.

-It’s difficult to sort through the marriage and identify areas where you could improve without assuming the guilt for the whole enchilada.

-If you have kids, their relationship with the disappearing parent will be affected at best and absent at worst.


Looking at those lists, I’m sure glad that I didn’t have to make a choice between the two. It goes without saying that they’re both awful, horrible, no good, very bad experiences. But, as I’ve said before, happiness is divorce in the rearview mirror. Get through and get on.






18 thoughts on “Pros and Cons of a Disappearing Act

  1. So completely correct. Also in the Pros column, you never have to question that he was a good guy…..clearly he wasn’t. I see a lot of my divorced friends pining away over their decision…”Maybe we shouldn’t have broken up”, “Maybe I should have stayed with him.” I have none of that, he left like a thief in the night and as horrible as it’s been, I’ve never once wanted him back.

  2. This is a great summary.
    As horrible as it was, the thought raging through my head in the first 30 seconds was ‘If you are about to say what I think you are about to say, then this is it. It is over.’ With that thought in mind, all your pros fit exactly (except the quick divorcing / settlement issue). I have not had the problem of pining, wanting to still be together, guilt etc

  3. What a great article. It helped me realise why I can’t heal. I need to be angry at him but even if I hunted him down, his ego would swell at me still being broken 1.5 years later and he has anger issues that may create more trouble than heal. I may have to send him one of those letters without actually posting it.

  4. It is so helpful to see posts like this. I feel these things all the time and I’m still working on not blaming myself. I know in my head that he was sick and it wasn’t my fault but some days his voice tells me that I’m wrong and that’s crazy.

    It’s not easy to let the truth sink in but for me, I just need to hear it (and say it) over and over.

  5. >>>The no-contact advice is really easy to follow.<<<

    As much as it hurt when he first left and went weeks without contacting me, not even to check or see our daughter, it was much easier to move on…

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