From the malicious to the benign, there are any number of things that can cause a relationship to end or fail to launch, and as someone who’s been dating the better part of half her life…
I’d venture to say I’ve experienced it all.
And of all the things I wish I could tell my younger self, this is one of the biggies: “Stop asking for an explanation or closure.”
This outlook is a result of the radical self-love, self-acceptance, and self-validation I’ve cultivated, especially in my 30s, and I am so thankful for the healing journey I’ve been on.
Why looking for closure is unproductive: 6 reasons to stop asking for closure
After a few rollercoaster relationships in my teens and 20s, and a crushing rejection in my early 30s, I now practice an entirely different outlook when it comes to dating — one that’s much more centered in me, my goals, my standards, and what I want — instead of society’s expectations, what would please him, or how I’m told to be HIS ideal woman.
And while this doesn’t mean I’m immune to being hurt, it does mean I take a healthier approach to break-ups, ghosting, and the end of “potential.”
When a guy disappears (or shows his true colors) early-on in dating, I take the below to heart — I don’t need an explanation, I don’t need closure, and I certainly don’t need his excuses. My emotional energy and time has value, and asking for closure is a waste of my emotional energy and time. Read on for why.
Note: Don’t be turned off by my use of pronouns, as I tend to speak from my personal experience. The essence of my message is true for both sexes and all orientations.
- He’s going to leave you on-read / not respond.
The amount of time I’ve wasted, holding my breath, waiting for those chat bubbles or an email reply? Those are hours of my life spent in absolute inner turmoil that I’ll never get back. What was the point of asking him those vulnerable questions? Why did I give him the satisfaction of knowing how much I cared, and how much he affected me — when he didn’t even have the f-ing decency to respond? Didn’t he owe me a response?
Hard truth, ya’ll — no response IS a response. (And some people don’t owe you or me a response AT ALL; I think it depends on the length and depth of the relationship.) So no response = you’ll see exactly how he regarded you and your relationship — don’t let him live another second rent-free in your headspace. Get ahead of that, and don’t ask for closure at all.
P.S. It goes both ways. Unpopular opinion — if I rejected you early on, you are not entitled to an explanation from me. My lack of response should tell you what you need to know about how I regarded you and our relationship — and it wasn’t a thing for me. You don’t owe him anything, sis.
- He’s not going to be truthful because he doesn’t want to hurt your feelings.
Ok. Let’s just say he does respond… but it just makes you go, “Huh?” Best case scenario, he makes something up because he cares about YOU and doesn’t want to hurt YOU… so he says some nonsense that leaves you with even more questions than before (and you feel even worse, thinking he’s such a nice guy, and your inner turmoil only expands). WHY DID IT HAVE TO END?!?!
- He’s not going to be truthful because he doesn’t want to look like an asshole.
Worst case scenario, he makes something up because he doesn’t want you to think poorly of HIM… maybe because he is terrified of burning a bridge, or maybe because wants to leave the door open or keep you on the back burner. No thank you. So he says some other nonsense that leaves you with even more questions than before.
He could’ve ended it because of any number of asshole-ish things — I don’t look how he wants, I don’t have the lifestyle he wants, or maybe because I was just a conquest to him — whatever, fill-in-the-blank — but he tries to butter me up to make himself look better. Asshole.
- He’s not going to be truthful because he doesn’t actually know why he lost interest.
This guy is just unevolved, and nothing out of his mouth is going to contain logic. Bottom line — it is not a good use of anyone’s time trying to decipher peoples’ nonsense!
- It’s not a “lesson to learn” if his “reasons” and circumstances are completely unique to him and could be based on a hundred different things with absolutely no connection to you — his wounds, insecurities, assumptions, moods, etc.
A lot of people will say, men included, that we should ask for closure or a reason why. That a kind and decent person will respond, and maybe even share valuable feedback with you — maybe a behavior turned them off, maybe you said the “wrong” thing, maybe there’s something you could change and learn from. But what this implies is that you need to change yourself, that you’re not good enough, that something is wrong with YOU… and while we all could seek to grow and improve, we’re not going to find those answers IN HIM.
Your self-worth, your self-esteem, and your self-validation should NOT be thrust into somebody else’s hands, especially somebody you barely know. Why would a random guy be allowed that power? (And yes, you don’t really know somebody you’ve been dating for only a few weeks or months.) Take your worth, your esteem, and your validation into your own hands — and maybe discuss with someone who you respect and trust, like a best friend or a therapist.
In most cases… seeking closure and looking backward for answers is just a waste of emotional energy. I don’t care what his reasons were. I don’t care what his motivations were. I don’t care why his upbringing and history and wounds and triggers caused him to behave how he did. It won’t make sense, I won’t understand it, and that’s fine — I don’t have to. Use your emotional energy to look forward, to learn, to heal from the disappointment, and to become stronger.
- Finally… it doesn’t change anything.
It’s called a break-up because it’s broken, right? Him explaining why he betrayed you or hurt you or ghosted or whatever, whether it’s valid, honest, or not… does not negate the fact that it happened. What happened is all the closure you need. His actions tell you what you need to know, not his words.
I get it. We humans are curious. Most of us seek to understand, to empathize, and it’s my natural tendency as well. But most of the time, in situations such as this… all I need to know is that it happened. And my “understanding” of it will not reduce or negate it. It happened, and it’s verifiable. Why bother?
The truth is, we will never truly know the source of or the reason behind a rejection, and we could spend days or weeks or months thinking “what if” and what you “coulda, woulda, shoulda” done differently — or we can trust in the divine wisdom of the universe. THEIR DISAPPEARANCE has cleared the way for someone else’s APPEARANCE, whenever or whoever that may be.
While we can’t control how people treat us, we can choose how we let it affect us, and control how we react.
Dear readers… you deserve the best, and if someone doesn’t see that, well, F ‘em. Let’s stop giving people so much credit when they haven’t earned a space in your heart and the time on your mind.
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