The Selfish, Unnecessary Act of “Closure”

November 12, 2014

Do you remember what things were like in the beginning of your relationship? When you actually liked everything about the other person, largely because you barely knew him/her. After months evolved into years, awareness entered and you no longer loved the quirks or had the patience for the misalignment that became your connection. Maybe you went through one cycle of ‘incompatibility awareness’ before cutting the ties. Or you fell into the trap of doing what most of us do, repeat the cycle of it’s-not-working-but-we’ll-pretend-we-don’t-see-it-until-we’ve-broken-up-so-many-times-it’s-now-impossible-to-ignore. Oh, and did I mention how much resentment you accumulate in those final weeks while simultaneously losing a tenfold amount of respect? However, for some strange reason, everyone speaks of finding closure at the end of that heartbroken, complicated road. Not a refund for the money spent and time wasted. Not a rewind button to go backwards and skip that chance encounter at a local coffeehouse. Instead, we seek something so elusive, so ambiguous, it’s akin to hunting the Loch Ness Monster.

After a few messy breakups, I quickly realized how impossible it’d be to end with any form of closure. I wasn’t interested in giving it to someone with whom I’d debated ownership of a $15 ramekin set nor would I ever expect to receive it. Instead, I marched forward resigned to the reality that my once fairytale love story was no more and I was back to blasting “Me, Myself & I” while cruising down I-75. Interestingly, many of my friends were not adopting this strategy. They were still searching for closure, a way to force the misshapen puzzle pieces squarely into place. They wanted conversations with their ex-beaus to give clarity to actions. After thinking about the notion of ‘closure’ and the conversations they demanded, I discovered an obvious truth. Closure is a selfish, unnecessary act.


Why it’s Selfish:

Let’s say a couple parts ways and the woman wants closure. For most women, asking for closure is really a last-ditch effort to say any and everything she’s been wanting to get off of her chest. Very rarely, it also doubles as an opportunity to say the ‘right’ things in an attempt to score another round on the wheel of misfortune. Her feelings, thoughts, and beliefs regarding the relationship will be laid out as meticulously as Annalise’s case on HTGAWM.  For the guy, they are now forced to listen (again) to tales of what went wrong with only two acceptable reactions, agreement or acknowledgement. Agreement is accepting her point-of-view while acknowledgement is doing a skilled dance of saying little and nodding lots. Any comment that could be viewed as contradictory, opposing or negating to her point will lead to a trail of confusion. This is why it’s a selfish request. It’s rarely about listening to one another and being open to a different perspective. She cares little about his feelings or the why’s behind his actions. She simply wants to say her piece and walk away. Does anyone consider how much maturity is required to be open-minded and introspective? If the couple engaged in effective communication and respectful exchanges, they’d most likely not be in the midst of a break-up.


Why it’s Unnecessary: 

In a previous post, How to Lose a Girl in 10 Ways, I mention the effect of allowing silence to speak for you. Well, closure conversations might be worse. Referring to the couple mentioned above, two scenarios are likely. Words will be said to increase the already ill-feelings they have for one another OR they’ll create confusion by offering niceties and apologies which incite “what if” conversations in their minds. I’m not certain which is better as neither is peaceful or considered closure. Closure is about resolution and conclusion. When a relationship ends on a positive note, it often leaves the door slightly ajar for later re-entry. Where’s the conclusion? When it ends on a sour note, we’re typically just happy to break away in one piece. Arguments occur because people have different opinions and many times can’t (won’t) allow someone else’s position to prevail. When a couple goes their separate ways, that is the conclusion. That is, by the very definition, the resolution.


So again I say, closure conversations are selfish and unnecessary. They rarely serve both parties and often don’t prove productive or beneficial. So can we discontinue forcing people into these uncomfortable discussions or engaging in late-night rants about how immature someone is for not allowing you to give a face-to-face sermon on their faults? Instead, let’s vow to move forward thankful for whatever mistakes we left in the past, remaining in the past.


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1 Comment

  • Reply Conrod April 9, 2015 at 6:49 PM

    Great post. What I have realized about closure is that it doesn’t actually require the person you were involved with. It is an exercise in introspection. Bringing someone else into your closure process is only a ploy to do that last dump or try to see if there is still something there to make yourself feel better about yourself.

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