Open Thread: Is Closure Real?
Not to sound all Carrie Bradshaw, but when a relationship ends, does it ever really close? More clearly and less Carrie Esoterically, is closure something you really need to get over someone? (Really as in — do you really need those shoes?) Are you stuck on that person forever until you get closure? Do they give it to you?
Or do you have to close the door yourself?
Team Man Repeller procrastinated their work midday to discuss as much in our third open thread. Here’s our group chat:
Yvonne: My thinking is that you close the door for yourself, cut them off completely, block them on all social media and do not ask mutual friends what they are up to. If you stop giving yourself opportunities to think about them, then eventually you actually will stop thinking about them.
Elizabeth/Deepak Chopra: Closure doesn’t exist until there’s a new opening.
Elizabeth: Social media prevents closure — it is the devil who haunts you and makes you continually hurt yourself just by looking.
Haley: I think closure is real in that you can seek it out and sometimes find it, but it’s a personal journey and not something you need another person to achieve. That we need closure is just the lie we tell ourselves, I think.
Harling: I feel like the meaning of the word “closure” has eroded. It no longer means what we think it means. Whenever someone says, “I just need closure” what they’re usually saying is, “I just want an excuse to see [that guy] or [that girl].”
It’s one of those buzzwords that’s used in pretty much every conversation or article about relationships because it sounds like such a nice thing in theory. But the idea of “closure” is a vicious cycle. If you have a nice moment of “closure” with your ex, it will probably make you want to get back together. But if you end on an ugly note, you’ll think to yourself, “I still need closure.” So where does it end?
Haley: Agreed. I think seeking closure (the real kind) requires mental discipline and some serious soul-searching. Moving on from something is a solo act, not a physical thing or literal words requiring someone else with a parallel agenda (AKA, coffee with an ex).
Amelia: We often talk about closure as “needing answers.” But maybe you don’t always NEED all questions answered. Maybe it feels like you need those things answered, but you don’t. Sometimes what you NEED is just to accept that it’s done. And to know that ~*~time heals all wounds ~*~
Haley/Deepak: Maybe closure is no longer needing the answers.
Amelia: Time plays a role. If you’re dating someone for 10 years and assume marriage is the next step, it’s not as clean of a break as if it were a three-month-long relationship. A break up after ten years is likely a lot harder to accept the fact that you’re not going to get back together than a two-month relationship. I’d legitimately need answers after ten years. I might not after two months.
Also, people confuse one another in their attempts to be nice during break ups. Saying, “I see us together, just not now…” to soften the blow makes it very hard for the person on the receiving end of that to close a chapter.
Leandra: Closure is 100% the construct of a weak mind, the same way that “period cravings” are. Closure tricks us into thinking that we are experiencing a justified experience that lets us temporarily suspend doing the emotional work we know we have to do. Like eating to put off homework or something. The thing is, eventually you have to do it, or it gets done for you, so why not elect to go out with your dignity?
Haley: Maybe a sense of closure isn’t something you can seek out, but rather something you naturally feel once you’ve done the mental work to move on. Which could mean different things to different people: independence, a sense of self-worth, a reason to get up in the morning, etc…
Which is a good place to leave off and turn to the readers: what do you guys think? Is closure real? Do you really need to meet with your ex for coffee with a side of answers? Do answers come in soy and almond variety? I’ll leave the fake sugar metaphors up to you.
SheBee ring on clamshell; photographed by Krista Anna Lewis.