In theory, “enough” time has passed since your relationship ended. You’ve settled into a new life, you’ve grown emotionally and spiritually and for all intents and purposes, you are moving forward. You’ve (almost) accepted the fact that your life is never going back to the way it was. You’re (almost) okay with it. In part, there are many things that are better than they were before. You know yourself better. You accept your shortcomings and celebrate your strengths. You’ve even found new strengths! You’ve gotten WAY out of comfort zone, tried (and liked) things you never thought you would do.
So why are you still suffering? Why does the pain linger there, in the depths of your soul? Why can’t you fully put the past where it belongs?
Some say you need “closure” before you can completely put the past behind you. I didn’t have any. I was treated in a way that no human being deserves to be treated. Ever. Especially by someone who claimed he would love you forever. In my case, getting closure (from him) isn’t an option. At least not in the way Wikipedia defines it.
But what does “closure” mean? It’s an honest, open-minded discussion about why this person is choosing to leave. It shows a basic respect for the person who is being left. Or is the excruciatingly painful explanation of why he doesn’t love you anymore more harmful than helpful? I’m unsure if it really makes any difference to have your break-up wrapped in a neat little box.
Think about WHY you want this closure. Do you think that one last conversation will unveil all the hidden truths about why he really left? Maybe you think if he sees you just once more, he’ll change his mind and come running back. It’s possible you’re in denial about why you want closure. No one wants to be rejected but you also can’t convince your spouse to stay. Chances are, their minds were made up LONG before they deserted you. And you definitely don’t want to be with someone who doesn’t want to be with you. But you still want to know why. That’s the problem when there is no closure…you begin to come up with your own reasons.
I’m not pretty enough. I’m not thin enough. I’m not smart enough.
I. am. not. enough.
Or, most likely, he was having an affair and lied about it. So the betrayal, deceit and dishonesty is on him. But if the motivation for cheating was his unhappiness with you, then you unintentionally played a role. Closure may help you understand your own part in the ending of the relationship. Although, none of it excuses his actions.
Some say you have to “forgive” in order to get closure. Never once were the words, “I’m sorry” uttered from his mouth. And there are so many reasons he should be asking for my forgiveness. So how do you forgive someone who isn’t even sorry? I haven’t yet so I don’t know.
Ideally, it takes two people to have closure. In my reality, my husband walked out of my life and never looked back. So maybe you don’t need the other person to process the end of your marriage. Can you create your own closure?
Introspection, reflection and therapy in every form (lots & lots & lots of therapy) teach you to absorb the pain, feel it move through you and let it go. It’s that last part that keeps getting tricky. On some level, letting it go seems to diminish the significance of your relationship. If you could do that, does it mean your marriage had no meaning? Not necessarily. But if you can’t let it go, then what? You won’t have the “closure” which seems to be the key to unlocking your heart and finding happiness again.
It takes patience and time to heal from traumatic experiences but there are ways to guide you through without feeling so stuck. This is my Top Ten List.
- Be careful not to let your divorce define you. When you meet someone new, this should not be the first thing you tell them.
- Write. My therapist told me to write a letter to my ex everyday until I didn’t have anything left to say (you don’t actually have to send them).
- Change your environment. If you can’t move to a new place, refresh your current place. Remove all physical reminders of your ex. Discover all your new closet space!
- Explore your spiritual side. This sounds cliche — and many divorced women (like me) find themselves on retreats exposing their deepest emotions to a room full of strangers — but it really helps!
- Read. Not just the self-help, healing and break-up books but the kind that let you escape into someone else’s world for awhile. I advise you to do this on a tropical beach somewhere far away.
- Pet your dog. If you don’t have one, seriously consider adopting. I honestly do NOT know what I where I would be today if it weren’t for the unconditional love and affection from my pup!
- Travel as often as you can. This is not to escape your baggage but to take a break from the familiar. You’ll gain a fresh perspective and maybe even meet people. Go anywhere. It doesn’t have to be far or expensive. As long as it’s not home, GO.
- Practice self care. Try a new workout. Or a new haircut. Get a massage or soak in a relaxing tub with candles and bubble bath.
- Set personal or professional goals. Make them challenging so the reward is even sweeter.
- Clear negative energy from your space. Burn sage or smudge each room. Take it a step further and bring in a Shaman to perform a blessing or cleansing ritual in your house!
I know some of these things may sound trivial and somewhat hokey but I’ve found that each one brings me a step closer to an un-traditional type of closure. My hope is that you may find the same.