Closure is an illusion, ladies. Closure after a breakup simply does not exist. Take it from me...
I got dumped over the phone after a seven-year relationship -- blindsided, actually. So I was desperate for some kind of closure. I just wanted to friggin' understand what went wrong. Really... we're talkin' Anna Mangnani scenes here (if you don't know this fabulous icon, do look her up, darlings)... begging him for one last explanation over a double vodka straight up, one more romp in the hay for ole time's sake so I could show him what he was gonna miss, or -- and this was the most pathetic -- pleading with him to write me one of his long, feverish soul-stirring tomes to explain "THE END." And boy, did I have a script in my head for that letter. Don't we all have a script we want played out? But the reality was this: My ex hadn't written a love letter to me in the last year and a half of our relationship, and he sure as hell wasn't gonna bother to write one now that he was halfway out the door to... "follow his individual path." I don't even know what the hell that means. I never will... and that's just the point that I finally came to accept.
My final closure pleas to the ex came in the form of texts. I was even texting him from Morocco (we made plans to go there on holiday together, but when the date for our departure arrived, two weeks after he'd dumped me, I went with a gay pal instead). Once there, surrounded by exotica and erotica, I was texting him like a madwoman... and getting zip in response. I was banging away at the 497th text when it finally hit me: HE DIDN'T LOVE ME ANY MORE. Duh! That was the bottom line. And there was nothing I could do about that and nothing he could say to me to make it better. It was over and a tough one to accept... but I was finally ready to shift from my broken-hearted neediness for "an explanation" to rage and finally, to acceptance. Besides racking up a $749.38 text bill, I came away from the experience with my very own set of 10 commandments to live by after a breakup... and I hereby share them with you now so you can remind yourself why seeking closure is such a god-awful idea:
Cut off, cut off, cut off any and all contact.
Oh, you will think about calling him. Sometimes multiple times a day. Sometimes it's to tell him that you are still there... the real love of his life. Other times you want to tell him that you hope he dies in a fiery plane crash. Sometimes the two thoughts come at once. I love you I hate you I love you I hate you.
But what you have to do every time you want to reach out is ask yourself this question: What's your motive? If it's because you're seeking some sort of reaction (and of course you are), then you know you're already dead in the water.
The no-contact rule is not about our ex. It's about YOU. You can't control outcomes with your ex, but you can with yourself. YOU get to drive the bus!
Delete him and all his buddies and clan from your online world.
Dump him, not only from your Facebook, Foursquare and Instagram accounts, but also dump his parents and his friends that are not really your friends. You know who they are. Stalking the dude on FB and peeking into his online life after a couple of cocktails is fairly impossible to resist... and a brutal wake-up call is bound to be lurking around that cyber corner. Have a pal block them if you just can't do it yourself! That's what I did... and I was writing his mother deep wretched diatribes for six months after our breakup. What the hell was I thinking? Don't throw yourself off that cliff...
You are not gonna be best friends...
You have to dissuade yourself from thinking that you can be best friends with you ex. Probably never, but especially not NOW. If your ex pushes you to "be friends," tell him to f*ck off... okay, okay... take the high road: Tell him to respect the boundaries you've created, chill out and maybe someday, he can reach out to you... but not for a mighty good long time. Like when you're happy, healthy, married, remarried, living in Paris and have forgotten his name.
Do not, under any circumstances, have breakup sex with your ex.
No idealizing the man and the good ole times you had.
Reality check! Watch out for the nostalgia that is sure to kick in... the man is still exactly who he was when he was with you. It's not like your ex has miraculously changed. Stop mourning the fantasy and accept the reality.
Don't get into the trap of "trying to get him back."
There is a staggering amount of pandering and stupefying videos available on YouTube, offering "workshops" designed to "get your ex back"... and the amount of women takers is bewildering -- they have literally millions of viewers. "Systems" taught to you by guys (after you've coughed up $47) to teach you things like, "text your ex back." That's right, ladies... techniques to live by for the rest of your life... a "step-by-step" guide to avoid being "alone and miserable"... and dumped again by the same dude.
How about being alone and powerful? I'm not suggesting being alone for the rest of your life. But take this opportunity to think about what you want, not just who you want. In order to move forward, you have to just sit in that void for a minute, get comfortable with yourself, and love yourself. Have fun filling your time up with new adventures like salsa or, you know, hot casual sex. Just go forward! Don't spend your time following methods to scheme and manipulate the ex dumper back into your lair. Women Power!!!
And if you do take him back...
I am going to quote my DUMPED coauthor and pal, Caryn Beth Rosenthal, on this one... firsthand:
It's over for a reason -- never look back. Although I dumped my ex after 10 years, he had dumped ME intermittently throughout the relationship. The first time was after five years. He wanted me back after a month and I went like a sucker. A friend looked at me like I was nuts and told me point-blank, "Don't do it! From here on out you're just gonna be 'love me love me, love me.'" I was furious with my pal and clearly I was terrified of being alone. So much so that I was willing to take the crumbs my ex dished out. My friend apologized and sent a gift but I'll tell ya... she was friggin' right. I never felt secure AGAIN. I was constantly begging for my ex's love and attention. I never knew when he was gonna drop the bomb again. Not a way to live. I had zero self-esteem and felt unattractive and insecure like you wouldn't believe -- and I'm a confident, good-lookin' chick! What up with that BS???? After another five years of this nonsense I finally dumped HIS ass and I told my friend that she had been right all along. I apologized to HER. Once it's over -- it's over. She got the memo and now I got it. There ain't no going back!
It's a bitch. But you have to do this in order to move on, to not be bitter and to not get stuck in the past. After you forgive him, forgive yourself. And move forward.
Check yourself before you wreck yourself.
Remember, when you approach that ex for closure, you are approaching him with an expectation. And they are NEVER going to meet them. Never. They are never going to give you the answer you need... they are never going to say, "I love you. I was so wrong. I will spend the rest of my life making up for this mistake." And really, if that ex came to you and said those things, would you really want them back? Which leads me to....
Accept that there is no closure.
You may be desperate for resolution, but you have to accept that there won't always be resolutions in life. You have to close that chapter without answers.
The only way to get closure is by giving closure to yourself. Just move on and never look back. Stop wallowing and embrace the new fabulous life you deserve!
Maryjane Fahey is the coauthor with Caryn Beth Rosenthal of DUMPED, a breakup bible for women to get off their asses and over their exes in record time. AVAILABLE NOW. Find, tweet, facebook, whatever them... they're very friendly.