When you don’t get that closure

This post was inspired by a conversation I had the other day with a group of wonderful, beautiful women, who are all going through some pretty bad breakups of 4 plus years-long relationships – and the common theme among all of them was they were missing a proper, decent, human closure. Which of course makes it much harder for them to move on and continue living their lives without the burden of too many “whys” and “what ifs”.

You might have noticed I try to avoid being gender-specific in my posts – since I think we can all make the same mistakes and end up at the wrong end of good relationship etiquette. But I must admit I am tempted to conclude that in this case men seem to be responsible for a disproportionally large part of the blame. They just simply hate confrontations, and to avoid them efficiently – they often tend to resort to “run-and-hide” tactics, rather than face the music and communicate openly about how they feel and why they think breaking up is the only viable solution to their relationship anxiety. If you had the courage to leave – then be a man and have enough courage to tell this same girl why you are leaving her. She deserves that much. Anyone deserves that much.

(Sorry guys, but this had to be said – and if you think I am wrong in this assessment, please feel free to contradict me: I am always open to a good, argument based discussion and critique.)

We all need closures in life, and when it comes to romantic relationships they are a crucial element of a successful healing process. Breakups leave open, bleeding wounds on our hearts, and we all know that a properly applied bandage is one of the first and foremost conditions which will help the wound heal quickly and successfully, leaving minimum or possibly no scarring in the process. So what do we do when a bandage is not provided?

In that case, I am afraid – you will have to give yourself your own closure. It does seem a bit of a stretch – but think about it – a no-closure is a message too, albeit a very different message. And this message says:

I don’t care for you enough to get over my discomfort and openly talk to you about my feelings, to actually give you a decent explanation of why I left you.

I am a weak, confused individual, and I am so out of touch with my true feelings that I can’t even find the words to explain what I feel to the person I shared a few years of my life with.

I can’t face my own reaction to your questions and your tears – so I will refuse to meet and talk to you as long as it takes for you to pronounce me a complete a**hole and give up looking for me and my answers.

I will do this even if you decide to cross the street when you see me coming towards you, and it is not because I never cared for you – but because I am just too terrified to tell you that I don’t care for you any more.

Being left without a closure can sometimes even speed up your healing process, if you have enough clarity and sobriety to see through it, and for what it really is. But I know it’s hard to be sober when your heart is in shambles – and I don’t condemn you if you can’t.

I do hope though, that this post will help you see your ex-partners in a slightly more realistic light. If they had been there for you all those years while you were together – and if they had truly loved you, they should have loved you enough in the end too: at least enough to give you a proper closure.


Have you ever been left without a closure? How did it feel?
Did you ever leave someone without a closure? How did that feel?

Join the conversation in the comments section!

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19 Responses

  1. mochabeanie says:

    I love this entry! I wish there was some screaming, some yelling, and open admission. That never happens, the breakups are usually some weird excuse that leaves us ladies hanging. But at a certain point I told myself I will never find the reason, but one day he’ll be someone whose reasons I don’t care for.

  2. I think what I like most about this post is this: “a no-closure is a message too, albeit a very different message.” Basically, we are given the authority and authorship to fill in the blank, to decode the message. The hard part is filtering through all the hurt one feels when rejected and getting at the true nature of the message.

    • Thank you for your thoughts. I agree, strong emotions do get in the way of clear thinking. And it is definitely not easy to get to the other side of the pain and hurt – it takes time to process everything the right way. Wish you to get there as soon as possible.

  3. Si says:

    Us guys just don’t like confrontation! Could put it down to feeling like being reprimanded by our mothers. If a man feels like he is being accused of anything or he needs to answer about something, he will do whatever it takes to avoid confrontation. Most men prefer to bottle up their feelings and prefer “self-silence” than to have it out with women in an argument, and from personal experience it’s usually because we invariably lose! With regards to a relationship breakup it is a cowards way out for a guy not to have a face to face. By not having the “talk” the guy has definitely chosen the path of least resistance, it’s easier to go back to our cave and hope it goes away :/

    • Petra says:

      Thanks for the male perspective… yes it’s true, silence is the path of least resistance!

    • js says:

      but I mean do you guys even care? It feels like you don’t. After my split up I didn’t really get an acknowledgement or an apology until an angry email months later.

      • Petra says:

        Hey, hello. Some guys care, some don’t. When they don’t offer an apology or response that means they are scared, embarrassed or both and too weak to face someone’s anger or tears. It’s a very cowardly and childish way of interacting, but the key here is that you understand it’s their issue, not yours, if they can’t be grown up and treat you with respect. And to move on because you know you deserve better!

    • Ms Jones says:

      I have to say the excuse of not answering to your girlfriend because you feel you are being reprimanded by your mother is very telling. You are dating an adult female person who you are probably having an intimate physical relationship with. This is a relationship between 2 grown ups. Leave your mother issues between you and your mother and don’t subject intimate relationship with your girlfriend to them. Your girlfriend is not your mother. And you are not her son. You are a man.

      • Si says:

        Thank you I know my girl friend isn’t my Mother and no I don’t have Mother issues, I had a great upbringing and continue to have a wonderful relationship with both my parents. It was simply an example, hence the “could”

        • Ms Jones says:

          Well that is great! I thought you were speaking in the first person. Since you are a man maybe you know other men who feel that way and that is why you wrote that comment.

  4. Ms Jones says:

    Hi Petra – Your posts are so applicable to my circumstance it is unbelievable, except for the fact that you state that you’ve had this type of conversation amongst many people!

    I think part of the reason that I keep hoping that my ex will come back is the lack of closure. This man told me he loved me so many times and I loved him so. We were friends then romantically involved all told about 4 years. Then he just turned, just like that. Would not call or reply. I ran into him in the street one day and he would not even look at me. I knew there was some kind of grave misunderstanding or some untold explanation, but I certainly wasn’t getting even one word out of him. I could never understand it and was SURE that one day he would come to his senses and at least offer me an explanation. That is why I keep hoping he will come back.

    Your article sheds light on the possible reasons why this may never happen, although I cannot pretend that it still does not make me very sad. I have to say that twice in the past I have had men come back several years later and apologize for their strange/bad behavior towards me, and that did help with peace and closure.

    But each man is different.

    On a separate occasion there was a man who told me he never wanted to see me for the rest of his life and then he moved in on the same street as me with another girl. That was so surreal I could barely walk down the block. Then one day I confronted him with his girl and asked him why he had moved here if he never wanted to see me for the rest of his life. After that every time he saw me he ran away or hid behind a parked car. This was a 40 year old businessman with college degree. Eventually they moved away, but it became very evident that he was certainly not the man for me, after the hurt wore off.

    Sometimes I feel like it’s a minefield out there. I have something very simple to offer and want something very simple in return. It’s not that complicated.

    Thanks for another helpful article.

    Ms Jones

    • Petra says:

      Thanks again for your insightful commenting. This sounds like a true horror story (the guy who moved to your street) – and the other one hasn’t behaved like a grown up either. I know it’s very hard to close the door sometimes without a closure, but the best we can do is love ourselves a bit more and understand that a guy who behaves like that is just not worth it. It’s his loss and you deserve better. Just by acknowledging that and being aware you don’t need to beg or wait for undeserving men to come back – you’ll start meeting those who will be deserving and a much better match to you.

  5. I received zero closure from my first girlfriend. No reason or explanation was ever given. I just had to speculate and figure it out on my own. That was my first heartbreak but it wasn’t my worst or most painful. My first girlfriend was a fairly immature and capricious person it turned out.

    • Petra says:

      Well that is your closure then – an immature person can’t have a mature relationship or breakup. I know when you are dumped and hurt it takes some time to realise you are better off without the person who left you this way, but it is the truth – if they haven’t been straightforward and honest to give you a reason, they are not mature enough to have a grown up, loving relationship.

  6. That’s very true.

  1. 17 January, 2013

    […] Closures (petralovecoach.com) […]

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