For most of us this is something we never get. When a relationship ends one partner is usually left wondering what changed, when it happened, where things went wrong, why now, and how they could have missed it. On top of all the emotions that come with losing someone, there is the not knowing. It eats at us, bringing out feelings of self doubt and mistrust, and often causes problems in our future relationships.
So given the opportunity for closure, would you take it? The easy answer is yes, of course, because if you know everything that went wrong then you can prevent it from happening again. Right?
Wrong. In most cases the things we call ‘closure’ wind up being more hurtful than helpful. Or they aren’t really closure at all, just excuses, or blame. They often lead to more hurt feelings, and further destruction of the relationship. And they can still affect your future relationships in negative ways, by adding to any lingering anger or lack of trust.
If you are given the opportunity to get closure from someone it is important to ask yourself some hard questions. First, is this person really capable of giving you closure? If they couldn’t tell you this information when things ended,why are they capable of telling you now? What has changed for them? Have they really been reviewing what happened and coming up with more thorough answers, or are you just going to get a regurgitated version of things you’ve already heard?
Second, are you capable of hearing what they have to say? If your former partner really does come to you with new or expanded reasons about why things ended, are you going to be able to really hear what they are telling you? This won’t be easy for them either. If you are going to ask for closure, and they are ready to truly provide it, you had best be ready to hear it. Otherwise it’s not fair to anyone.
Finally, is this closure really going to change anything? If you do get all the answers to every question you ever wanted to ask, what will that mean? It won’t bring back the relationship, and it probably won’t leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy about you or your former partner. What is you end game in asking for closure? Why is it important to you? If it’s so you can assign blame to someone else, don’t. That’s just a waste of time, it’s already over. If it’s so you know what you did wrong, be careful. Just because it was ‘wrong’ for your last partner doesn’t mean it will be wrong for your next one, or that it’s wrong for you. Changing yourself based on what someone else wanted is a slippery slope that can end up with you losing who you are. I’m not saying you shouldn’t listen to what the other person has to say, but remember to take it with several large grains of salt. Hold on to who you are and what you learned about yourself or each other while you were together, and let the blame and hurt fade away.