A woman on The Steve Harvey Show shared a break up that left her stuck. When he inquired further about it, she said, “I didn’t get closure.” Steve’s response? “Men don’t do closure.”
Suffering a traumatizing break up is hard. It doesn’t matter whether you experienced it yesterday or 30 years ago, or whether it made sense for you to become so attached so fast or not, or whether it is puppy love or an epic romance, a broken heart is a broken heart. I think that more excruciating than the disappointment is the why. So many of us get stuck on why. Why did he stop calling? Why did we break up? Why did he change? Why was I so wrong about him? Why did he treat me/us this way? Why wasn’t I enough?
We rehearse it and recount it over and over again in hopes of gaining something that will help us fix the relationship or fix ourselves. After all, if it’s something we did, we want to know. And if it is something as simple as a misunderstanding, we want the chance to remedy it. And if he’s about to make the biggest mistake of his life, we want the chance to stop him. It was that kind of thinking that sentenced me to 12 years of emotional prison. I tried dating other men, but I was emotionally stuck on one. I even got married, but I was emotionally stuck on one. Imagine how I felt when I got up enough courage to ask him if he ever felt about me as I did about him. He said he was attracted yes but he was never in love with me. It had not even entered his mind though it was so real in mine.
You might say as I did, if I had gotten closure, I could have saved myself 12 years of “name that tune.” My hope for writing this blog is to save you 12 years. And you don’t have to talk to the person who broke your heart to get it. Closure does not require it. What it requires is three things: accept that he did it the way he did it because he chose to (the why doesn’t change that), shift your focus on healing your heart and move forward to the great love that awaits.
I know it sounds too simple. He did it the way he did it because he chose to? Yes! Understand this. Men don’t just up and do something for no reason. They give it considerable thought – looking at it from all sides – and come to their decision. That’s why having a meeting to talk with him isn’t going to change it and it’s also why, for him, closure does not require a heart-to-heart with you. Men process things in private. Once the decision is made; it’s made.
So the kindest thing you can do for yourself is to accept it and shift your focus and energies to healing your heart. That is your responsibility. It isn’t his. You have to make your emotional health a priority. As tempting as it is to be friends, it isn’t wise. It might be easy for him because he’s detached from any other outcome but you haven’t detached yet. To try to act as if you can still talk, still laugh, still text, still have those ‘remember when’ trips down memory lane without subjecting yourself to re injury is only going to make you feel more humiliated. Change your phone number, throw out the memorabilia and set up an appointment with a relationship coach.
Last and certainly not least, move forward. Disconnect from things that would make you want to look back. Stop conversations dead in their tracks with girlfriends who want to tell you what he’s doing and who they saw him with. Do not put yourself in risky situations. Even if you don’t feel affected initially, it’s those constant reminders of him that will have you sitting on the edge of the bed one night deliberating calling him just to say hello or to talk about returning his toothbrush. Working with a coach will help you to navigate those urges, recover those mistakes and shake you awake when denial threatens to rock you back to sleep.