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Closing the Door on Closure

Not all relationships last. And, let's be real, not all relationships are meant to last. I'm a believer that some relationships are meant to serve a purpose in our lives and then they're meant to end. Learn something about the person you are meant to transition to. Learn something about the people you chose and choose to invest your energy in. Learn more about who you are and build self awareness. And this is why, in my opinion, it's not typically "wasted time" as some people may refer to the previous months or years as they reflect on their breakup. But one of the common topics that come up with breakups is the desire for closure. So let's talk...

You may get the impression from my title that I'm not for closure. It's not as basic as that but short story, I'm not in the way people typically attempt. Typically people talk about closure where you meet up with your former partner and hash out what happened to reach a better understanding and peace. Sounds great. If this is possible for you and your former lover, don't let me stop you. Get your Issa and Lawrence on! (My apologies if you haven't made it through Season 4... But also, why haven't you?! Lol)

But let's be real, this doesn't happen that often. Typically what I have experienced and heard about is that these meetings with exes around closure tend to just be times to blame the other person for all the hurt they caused. We want to feel heard. We want them to understand and agree with our perspective. We want them to take accountability and apologize. We want to walk away feeling resolved. And when we don't receive this, we feel confused and additional pain.

But why? Why did we think saying the same things we probably said during the relationship would yield different results? More than that, why did we think that hearing someone's rationale would have us being like, "Oh ok. That makes so much more sense. Yep, I'm totally fine with how things went down. Thanks!" Okay, I'm overgeneralizing but I'm guessing you get my point.

What I encourage us to do instead is do the closure with us. We don't need to invite the ex. For the most part, they're not going to say anything that's going to make us feel better... that is, without us already being in the mindset to be ready to move on, see the situations from additional perspectives, tap into our empathy, show ourselves compassion, and ultimately learn new skills from it. Yep, that's what I'm saying. This closure is really about us and so we don't necessarily need to do any of the closure work with anyone else. Maybe take accountability and apologize for your actions to them in a one sided, no response needed message and keep it pushing! (Disclaimer: This perspective of mine of course may be different if you did a lot of damage in the relationship.)

So here are some possible strategies that you could utilize to work through the closure that you need and get you on your path to healing:

  1. Talk to a therapist. Duh, you knew I was going to say that. But, for real, an outsider's perspective may provide additional ways of thinking of the situation as well as provide you the validation you're seeking.

  2. Journal to further reflect on what happened. It may also help you to self validate and take accountability for your own missteps so you don't make those mistakes again.

  3. Review what you're looking for in a partner and what type of partner you want to be. And make sure you're being realistic. To take it a step further, you may want to also use this list to compare to this past relationship to help you from jumping back into an unhealthy but familiar relationship if you're considering going back.

  4. Do some other activities that you've wanted to do but have been putting off. Maybe even learn a new hobby. Self care and positive activities always help! And may help you to see yourself in a new light.

  5. Write down what you'd want to say to your partner and what your partner would need to say to have you "feel better". I know when I did this in the past, I realized that these were things that just weren't going to be said and so I had to learn to move on and give myself the forgiveness, compassion, or love that I was seeking from someone else.

  6. (Re)connect with your support circle. Not only does it feel great to be around those who we can lean on when we're not feeling our best, it's a helpful reminder that there are people who still love us.

And those are just a few to consider. Ultimately, you are the only person that can give yourself closure. And you will get through this... one day at a time.

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