Friday, May 11, 2012

Closure, or lack thereof

Closure has been a frequent topic lately (see here, here and here) on the Love Letters blog. There are, it seems, an endless supply of letter-writers going through confusing breakups -- usually after a short, whirlwind romance -- and trying to understand why he bailed (usually it seems to be a man). Meredith gives the same advice again and again: Closure doesn't exist. Just move on. At one point, she instructed a letter-writer to imagine her ex saying this to her:

"I'm sorry. I don't know why I bailed but I did. I was all excited about our relationship and then things got … normal. And scary. And I couldn't say for sure that I wanted to stick around and get closer to you. I know that's lame, but that's where I am. At the end of the day, losing you was less scary than keeping you around. That sounds awful, but it's the truth. And that stuff I said about trust? It was just something to say. I trust you. I just can't sustain what I started."

Good advice, as always. 

Like Meredith, I know that closure doesn't exist. Or, at least, it's not something you can get from the other person -- you have to find it within yourself. But also like Meredith, I'm not always good at following my own advice. (She admitted this when I went to hear her read from her newly-released first fiction book, which I'm now reading.) It's one thing to know it in theory, but quite a different thing to resist the urge to seek an explanation when you've been through a difficult, confusing breakup. 

My own strategy, adopted from my friend Snood in Seattle, is somewhat more succinct. I just tell myself -- and others, if they ask -- "He died." She came up with it last winter when friends asked me about someone who had just broken things off, and I thought it was the perfect response. His death was sad, and sudden, and tragic. But it's over. He's gone. Now it's time to mourn his loss and move on. 

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