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A lot of people crave closure. At the end of a dramatic breakup, whether it be with a significant other or with a friend, it is normal to want a perfectly tied up ending. I was always that person. I never wanted to leave people with an unfavourable impression of me, and I never wanted to leave with an unfavourable impression of them. Even when I knew that the relationship was not working, I wanted an ending that felt satisfying. The problem is that sometimes messy endings are just that. You can’t force someone to respect you or give you the answers you need. I can completely understand the desire to know where things went wrong. I’ve never been the type of person to think that ignorance is bliss, being brutally crushed and hurt by the loss was always better than being in the dark.

During the first breakup I had, I felt that we were being more honest than we had been in a long time. When you’re in a relationship with someone, it is common to suppress emotions and concerns because we risk upsetting the other person, and we risk losing them. When you’re at the point where you know it’s ending, it becomes so much easier to let it all out there, because now you have nothing to lose. Getting everything off your chest is an incredibly cathartic experience. Even when we were expressing painful truths, I knew I needed to say and hear all the reasons why it wasn’t working. It always stuck with me when my now ex-boyfriend told me that he felt like I was giving up. That hurt, but I knew he needed to say it. I was content with letting him hurt me because I felt like I owed it to him. In this situation, I felt that closure was needed because we both respected what we had but could acknowledge that it was over.

On the other hand, some people fear or reject closure altogether. There is a certain advantage to keeping things vague. When you try to establish what happened, you are opening yourself up to criticism, and some people would rather not face that reality. When someone refuses to give you closure, it says more about them than it ever would about you. Some people are not capable of giving you the closure you need, because they lack the emotional intelligence and empathy to do so. The harsh truth is that whatever is unfinished to you, is finished to them. Some people may not give you complete closure because they want the door to still be open. They want you to still be thinking about them, but this doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll come back. Some people just like the idea of their exes being “fair game”, as in, they could have them if they wanted to. Sometimes exes will reach out, but if you’re expecting closure or thinking they’ll come around and sincerely apologize for how they hurt you, it’s possible you’re in denial.

Gaining closure for yourself can come in many forms. I find that writing down everything you would like to say but never sending it can be very helpful, or even just talking to a close and trusted friend. I find that it’s easy to assume that this person wasted your time and that everything was a lie. I would say that just because they are over everything now, does not necessarily mean that what you had was not real at one point. Regardless of closure, this experience is a part of your life story and it wasn’t for nothing.

Her Campus at Wilfrid Laurier University
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