“Closure” brings things full circle after a relationship ends. What happens when it isn’t available?
‘I NEED closure!!’
When we’ve been dumped from a relationship – romantic or otherwise – it is somewhat of a realistic expectation that we be told WHY we were cut loose. In a perfect break-up world, the dumper would sit the innocent party down and tell her exactly what went wrong – why he no longer saw fit to be a part of the relationship.
This conversation would result in relationship closure for the girl, and she would henceforth be well equipped to go out into the world and put that chapter of her life firmly behind her. Although heartbroken, she would take some comfort in that final conversation.
No bones about it, closure brings comfort. So what do you do when the ‘dumper’ is unwilling OR unable to provide that closure? When there IS no final conversation to wrap everything up and make it all nice and tidy? When you’ve pleaded for answers … and have been met with silence/unanswered texts/ignored calls/blank stares?
Well, believe it or not, you don’t NEED him for closure. You need to HEAL. And healing can happen without the pleading and begging and stalking of an ex who, in all probability, doesn’t have the answers himself. Once we accept that there will be no external closure, we allow ourselves to look within for the closure we so desperately crave. And that is when our healing can really begin.
So if you’re looking for closure, keep your dignity – DON’T become a stalker! Do these four things instead:
1. Reconnect with YOURSELF
I did the stalker thing when my husband left. I begged for answers. Even when it was evident he was struggling to come up with anything (other than ‘midlife crisis’) I persisted. When it became clear that he was literally plucking answers from thin air, I made myself back off.
Hard as it was (and it was BLOODY hard), I made myself accept the fact that I may never know his reasons. That maybe he didn’t have any good reasons. So I grieved (boy, did I grieve) and turned my attention elsewhere. I focussed on being a good mom and looking after myself.
Some days I felt horrible, other days I felt half-okay. On the bad days, I would force myself to spend time alone. I would lie in the bath, close my eyes, breathe, and just FEEL. At the time, I did this because I couldn’t face being with people, but I soon began to recognize the transformative and healing processes taking place DEEP within me.
Without the distraction of people, places, television, books and noise we are able to focus purely on ourselves – not our ‘ego’ selves, but our REAL selves. We can feel whatever we are feeling and know that all feelings eventually pass. We can allow answers to come to us in their own time, without help OR interference from us.
2. TALK it out with someone else
On the days that I felt up to being with friends, I would talk their heads off. I would tell them how I was feeling and they would listen. I would ask questions of them (stupid questions a lot of the time – but questions nonetheless) and they would do their best to answer. Even when they didn’t have the answers – they provided reassurance.
Just as it’s important to spend some time alone to reconnect and reflect, it’s important too to spend time with the people you love. Don’t go to your ex for support and answers – your friends are there for this. Your friends WANT to help you – just as you would want to help them in their hour of need.
Give YOURSELF the closure you are craving
If you can’t get it from him – do it yourself. Take charge of your life and tell yourself, very deliberately, that you will no longer be a prisoner of your past.
As I eventually realized with my ex, you cannot wait forever for answers OR for permission to let it go and move forward. Consciously choose NOT to torment yourself by staying in a place of uncertainty and grief.
On a practical level, remove traces of your ex from your living space. Take down photos, ensure that none of his stuff is hanging around, redesign your space to make it more ‘you’. Have a big clean out and TELL yourself that you are moving forward – even if you don’t believe it at the time. You will eventually, I promise!
And if one day your ex decides to come forward with answers for you, guess what? You’ll no longer care. If you’ve done the work on YOURSELF, you’ll find that you no longer need anything from HIM. You’ll realize that closure that comes from within is infinitely more valuable than anything external.
4. And lastly, give it TIME
Even after doing all of the right things, you will still need that most precious of resources – TIME. Why? When you and another have been joined at the hip for a significant period of time, emotional bonds and attachments will have been formed – there is no escaping this fact.
So, go easy on yourself. Use the time valuably. Reconnect with yourself. Find out who YOU are. Spend time with friends. Remove visible traces of your ex. Think positively. TELL yourself that you are moving forward and that you are OK. One day, you will wake up and realize that you actually are OK.