How To Move On Without Closure
When a relationship ends, we want closure. We want this because it helps us to understand the reasons it ended and psychologically, it allows us to accept what happened and to make a new start, free from the sadness and anger it caused. This need can feel even stronger if a conflict has caused the ending.
Each of us has experienced this need and it may be driven for different reasons. Perhaps you silenced your own needs in a relationship and now that it has ended, you feel comfortable asserting yourself with nothing to lose. Maybe, you want to punish the other person, or more constructively, you want to acknowledge each other’s role in conflict. Underlying these intentions is the desire to end the grief you feel about the loss, as well as other painful emotions.
The Problem with Closure
Ideally, a constructive conversation with the other person would satisfy your need for closure and it would end in a mutual apology for the role you both played. This, however, requires a great deal of humility, emotional maturity, courage, empathy, and communication skills which, not everyone has.
There isn’t always an explanation for what happened. Sometimes, we all do hurtful things and we just don’t care who we hurt. There is no other explanation, nor remorse.
If you get that kind of a response or an unwillingness from the other person to enable closure, that can feel like a rejection and it can make you feel worse.
How to Move on Without Closure
In a perfect world, you would instantly forgive and forget and move on while wishing the other person well. For the less enlightened of us, here are some ways you can accept what happened and start the transition towards a future without the feelings you have about the conflict.
- Give yourself closure by coming to terms with the feelings you have about the conflict. You can do this by discussing your feelings with a therapist, journaling your emotions and thoughts or writing a letter to the other person that you do not send.
- Shape your own behaviour and not theirs. You can’t control what other people do. If they do not wish to talk to you about a conflict, that is their right. It may even be a reflection of their limitations but that should not prevent you from taking steps to accepting the status quo and moving forward with your life.
- Ask yourself, what will closure give you? Is it realistic to expect a constructive, empathetic conversation or is it more likely to make you feel rejected and hurt again?
- Visualise a new beginning without the relationship in positive ways. A new start brings you opportunities to grow through conflict. You could realise that you are stronger than you thought. Or maybe, you could see your new independence as something challenging but rewarding.
- Consider the downside of hanging onto your need for closure . Clutching onto the past keeps you emotionally attached to a relationship that has no future. This stops you from moving on and keeps you in a state of anger, frustration and sadness. The only person to suffer from this will be you and you deserve to live a life of love and joy, no matter what happened in your past.
Moving on means exactly that. Taking baby steps towards something different. It’s not something passive which happens to you. It’s an active choice that you make because you want to free yourself of the pain of conflict and loss. Making that decision can only benefit you and if you’re constantly stuck in the past and can’t move on, that’s something that needs to be addressed.
As always, feel free to leave your comments, I’d love to read them!