Closure is like the holy grail for people who are getting out of painful relationships. We think it’s going to be a moment of redemption, a rush of peace and self acceptance. But what it ends up being is late night text wars, phone calls that end in tears and coffee dates that tear open the wounds we’d just spent months of therapy trying to heal. Yikes. This constant cycle of self-inflicted jealousy/pain/ that breaks us down, and then the slow process of building our emotional wellbeing back to status quo is so unhealthy. But it’s not your fault! It’s our society’s idea of closure that we see people get at the end of rom-coms and hear about in Taylor Swift songs. (holy god – I can’t believe I just referenced her. I meant to say Paul Simon!)
Maybe we should get honest about what closure really is. It’s not redemption. It’s validation of our feelings, it’s a confirmation that our love and time wasn’t wasted. It’s a messy conversation about whether or not we will ever really find love, or if we missed our chance.
These are all important questions – but ones we need to answer for ourselves. We will never find that validation, time and love in anyone else. We have to get it from loving ourselves so hard. And that’s not always easy, we have to love ourselves so hard. Smother yourself in overindulgence, attention and love. Imagine if you redirected the energy that you are sending to your ex towards yourself. You would feel so loved, because you’re good at that! And the best part is, when you love yourself you know you will feel that love in return. After months or years of loving someone who can’t love you back, this feels amazing – trust me.
Love yourself so hard you can barely handle it.
We want to think that closure is the last piece of the puzzle. This magical door that will disappear once it’s been closed. But it’s not always that straightforward. There’s no door, there’s definitely no disappearing!
Closure comes with recognizing that you are responsible for your own happiness. And that closure doesn’t really exist.
Why do we lean on the person who caused up so much pain to relieve that same pain? That’s insanity!
There is this beautiful moment that I consider my moment of closure for my last horrific relationship; it came in realizing that my search for closure was the one thing that was keeping me from moving on. Accepting that knowing whether he cared about me, or whether he cheated wouldn’t get me closer to happiness. Happiness and closure would come with cocktails with my besties, kayak trips with my Mom, mountain biking in the White Mountains with whoever would go.
That’s the closure I’m getting now – and it feels frigging awesome.
Here are a few of the ways I have found true closure:
Focus on healing
Closure sounds like a single step process. Everyone apologizes and everything is resolved. done-sies. But this is not reality. Acceptance is the real goal, but that is only possible after you heal. You know those 5 steps of grief, yeah, you’re going to have to go through them. My relationship coaching clients come to me and say “fix me – I’m sad and I want to be over this feeling”. But there are only 2 things that can truly get you to acceptance; time and distance. Time and distance are incredibly powerful. And paying a therapist won’t make this time and distance any less important or move any faster.
Did I mention you should take time and distance? The only way to ensure a good friendship or relationship with your ex in the future is to take the time you need now to create a life of your own. Asking for your partner to stop contacting you does not make you a bitch or dramatic. We think that “staying friends” is the mature thing to do as adults. But that is crazy, you still have emotions that need time to resolve themselves. And your partner isn’t helping. You’ll be friends (maybe) in the future. Take as much time without the calls and texts that you need. Decisions made directly after a break-up are often fueled by what will save the relationship in the moment. You want to get him back, so you call and text and want to talk. Ironically, it has the opposite effect and drives our exes away, more often than not. Give yourself a few weeks or months to gain the perspective you need to decide whether or not to be friends. You’ll be able to tell what is best for YOU, not what is best for quick-fixing your situation.
Do other shit
Do you have a to-do list? Not at work – but in life? Start doing that. Take up a class or a hobby that you’ve always meant to try. Hobbies are the fastest way to pass the time that you need to take. I see the most frustration from my clients who are going through a breakup and make dating their next hobby. That’s not helping! Frankly, the only interesting thing you want to talk about is your relationship and your ex. Not great conversation for a first date. But if you are starting to paddleboard, or are taking a woodworking class, or taking bad self portraits; that is the shit that makes you exciting and interesting and will draw people in without ever having to try. Effortless sensuality? That sounds awesome – maybe that’s what I’ll write about next.