You Don’t Want “Closure.” Please, Shut Up.

This is my "Please, shut up" face.
This is my “Please, shut up” face.

Today, after a hiatus, one of my favorite writers Demetria Lucas revived her Q&A forum. Grateful for yet another digital distraction, I periodically trolled the thread throughout the morning. One of the questions was from a woman who needed to tell her ex-boyfriend goodbye but was questioning how important closure is.

To quote Demetria, “By and large, what ‘closure’ really means is ‘let me give this one more shot.'”

I’ve had closure in a hot NYC apartment. I’ve had closure on Skype. I’ve had closure via email, Facebook messages and texts. And each time closure has only been a willing trip to the guillotine of withered relationships.
I had “closure” on June 18. “It makes me feel better to have read that email and not have things end on a completely shitty note,” I wrote in response to an email informing me post fling fizzle that he “really liked me though.” Admittedly, I felt a tinge of regret when I saw the message in my inbox, wondering if maybe I could overlook all the red flags about the situation that were blinding me less than 24 hours before. But, the truth is, things still ended on a completely shitty note, email or not. “Closure” couldn’t and wouldn’t change that, nor would it retract my decision.
Closure sounds good in theory. You want to be the bigger person. You want to right your wrongs. You want to put a neat bow on what may have been a hurricane of a breakup so you feel an iota less shitty about another failed relationship or non-relationship. You have faith that maybe once your wounds aren’t bleeding all over the place, you can return to past lovers with clarity and openness to hear the answers. But, closure was some fantasy conjured up by Carrie Bradshaw in an attempt to get free cake at Aidan’s restaurant opening and pry her cheating ass back into his life. And, if Carrie Bradshaw created it, then closure is everything but real.
The agonizing irony is that we don’t really want the answers. We don’t want to really know why he cheated or stopped returning our calls. We don’t want to who she was. We don’t want to know why his feelings subsided or why the sex waned. The more we know, the more questions we have. The answers only leave us more confused and usually far more enraged than we were before we decided to put our big girl panties on and be “mature adults.”
Sometimes things end and they are fucked up. They are incomplete. The strings are untied and even all the king’s horses and all the king’s men will never put them back together again.  You know what closure is? Closure is building a bridge and getting the hell over it. Closure is the quiet acceptance that it did not work, it will not work and you may never know exactly why. Closure is swallowing the bitter pill of relationships gone wrong and moving your sassy little ass on.

6 Replies to “You Don’t Want “Closure.” Please, Shut Up.”

  1. Sooooo true! I’ve been hanging on to my ex for years (I’d rather not say how many!). Every so often, I’d convinced myself to leave him alone and then contact him to tell him how I feel and get some closure. All that would do is bring up questions and doubts and then I’d fall right back into that ol’ routine. A few months ago, I came up with a new idea: stop talking to him altogether. No explanation. No closure. Just stop. What do you know, it actually worked! Lol! With confidence, I can finally say that I’m done. No doubts. No questions. Done!

    1. Nicole, I feel you! I’ve tried to fool myself with “closure” many times and have always, always failed. I applaud you for finally walking away from your ex. That’s never an easy, but always a necessary, thing to do if you stand any chance at preserving yourself.

  2. Closure is the quiet acceptance that it did not work, it will not work and you may never know exactly why.

    This is such a smart sentence.

    My best friend (who I have know for decades) has kind of checked out of our friendship, but for no reason that I can understand. When she sees me, she still smiles big and comes over to say hi and kiss me hello, but she never attempts to get together with me and rarely checks in. I sent her an email to propose we be better about seeing each other and she didn’t answer me for two weeks, and when she did it was a text to tell me she was too busy to answer me, but she wanted me to know she didn’t forget. Over a month later and well… I’m glad I wasn’t holding my breath waiting for a response.

    Every now and then I feel a twinge of wanting to reach out and find out what the hell is going on. Now when I feel that urge, I’m going to remember this line!

    1. Despite the unfortunate circumstances with your friend, I am so glad you connected this piece to friendship. The untied strings of our lives occur in so many different ways–families, relationships, friendships, etc.
      I hope that sentence does somehow help you in the future. Hell, I hope it somehow helps me.

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