Closure is What Happens When You Stop Looking for It

5 conversation heart candies, the one in the foreground is broken and reads "XOXO"
Image by Kate Ter Haar / CC BY

“It’s not fair,” they say. “They basically broke up with me out of nowhere. And now they won’t talk to me. I didn’t get my closure.”

It’s not just limited to people who are broken up with. Those who initiate breakups can also experience feelings of uncertainty and that nagging sense that there’s unfinished business. Just because you know breaking up is the right thing to do, you don’t necessarily know why.

Things can feel profoundly unsettled on both sides of a breakup.

It’s something I hear a lot talking to people: “I didn’t get my closure.”

There’s a problem with this: Misery results when we stake our happiness on answers that others can’t or don’t want to provide. Closure isn’t a thing you get. Closure is a thing that comes and finds you. And only when it’s good and ready. Not on your schedule.

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I recently experienced this after I wrote Poly Sherpa. The ex-boyfriend who is the subject of the piece read it and reached out to me the same day.

So it would seem you’re not mad at me, I wrote back.

Why would I be mad at you? he asked.

Well I wrote a thing, I replied. But you’ve liked it and are texting me.

I wanted to make sure you knew I was okay with things.

As we texted back and forth, he shared a lot he had realized in hindsight  that happened that finally, finally, FINALLY made everything that happened between us last year make fucking sense.

You know, I wrote. You just sidled up and gave me closure. I never expect such a thing. What a lovely gift.

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“To respect the dignity of a relationship also implies accepting the end when it comes. Except in my mind, except in my dreams, where the aftertaste of her still lingers.”

-André Brink, Before I Forget

 

 

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