When you get your heart broken, there’s one thing that tends to obsess you: Getting closure. How many times did you or your friend use that excuse to contact the ex, have a phone call or meeting? Or even sex? “Well, I just have to get some closure,” you or your friend say. Hey, I’ve been guilty of it myself. In fact, I recently found myself in an email discussion with an ex, and at the end of it, I wrote something like, “Well, it’s nice to get some closure.”
I didn’t really feel much closure, to be honest. He still said things I knew to not be true. I still wondered why I’d given the relationship so many damn chances, despite my gut telling me things were not right. And I still wondered why he’d done X, Y, and Z. But closure — that thing that ties up your relationship in a big bow and explains all — is that elusive unicorn we chase after a split. Why?! Hannah Brecher writes poignantly in The Huffington Post about the illusion of closure.
Hannah writes of her own misguided efforts to find “closure”:
When I was 16 years old, my best friends and I used to hold “Closure Ceremonies.” If you can imagine four girls sitting around in a circle smashing necklaces and teddy bears to bits with hammers until the voice boxes that said “I love you” fell out from their stuffed guts, then that was us. We were lovesick girls with anthems of bravery within us. We burned love notes. We screamed and cussed a bit. And then we held one another. We didn’t give answers.
Maybe that’s it. We just need some kind of ritual. Burn the love letters. Photoshop him out of the photos. But can you ever really find closure? Here are five reasons closure is a myth:
1. The Big Talk
You might be tempted — or even demand — some kind of big talk with your ex to find out what went wrong. But the truth is, there is no truth. There’s his, there’s yours, and there’s somewhere in the middle. You two wouldn’t have gotten to this point if you had good communication. Don’t expect it now. Chances are he’s just going to say a lot of stuff to irritate you — and if he does say something nice like, “I really did love you,” then you’ll just be all the more upset that it didn’t work out.
2. You’re Both Different People
You may finally figure out that your obsession with dogs was a dealbreaker with him, or you may finally acknowledge that his selfishness is abhorrent, but you’re both different people than you were in the relationship. You can never go back and undo anything, or even understand it fully, because you’re not that person anymore. And chances are, he has changed too.
If he’s changed for the better — oh, so NOW you love dogs too? — you’re just going to hate the fact that he couldn’t understand your love for them while you were together.
4. Not Knowing
Asking someone why he broke up with you, or why it didn’t work out, is an exercise in futility. Chances are, he may not even know himself. And if there are concrete reasons on his end, such as, “I hated your parents” or “I fell in love with my coworker,” do you really need to know this? No, you don’t.
5. Life Is Messy
Unlike a movie or book, where there is a clear beginning, middle, and ending, there usually isn’t with life. For every “why” your ex might be able to answer, there are probably 10 he can’t or won’t. Or will, leaving you even more hurt and confused.
While it can be really difficult to live with not knowing WHY, and not quite understanding, love can be like the weather. Meteorologically, we understand hurricanes. Emotionally, we don’t. We will never get an answer to “Why did this hurricane destroy my house?” other than “You were in its path.”