As has been said in countless books, movies and songs, about love and romance — nothing stings like moving on without closure. My rocky relationship with my ex husband has been something along those lines. A love story that blossomed at first with zest and life, has now left me riddled with a difficulty that I am unable to shake off.
Can You Move On Without Closure?
Once upon a time, I had a husband whom I adored and who adored me too. I was still in high school when we met and he was in his freshman year at university. After seven years of embodying relationship goals, we had a small, intimate wedding ceremony in our backyard, followed by one cold beer and one hot Chinese lunch shared with our two guests. Bride and groom then blithely departed for his hometown and off we went on his motorbike.
Over the next five years or so, life happened. He grew up very quickly to provide for his family who needed his help. I grew up equally quickly when my in-laws [father-in-law, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, several aunts-in-law, one uncle-in-law, one niece-in-law and sundry pets] had to be negotiated with every step of the way and for every slice of life. His side of family was quite involved in our marriage and I tried to get used to it. Magically, a very bonny babe appeared on the scene and fitted rather neatly into the domestic circus.
I wish I could say that we all hung in there and lived happily ever after. But that was not to be. Things escalated and lots more life happened. We separated and eventually divorced (not getting closure, of course) but with the usual drama of tears and fears that sent us along different paths.
The Babe came with me, of course, thanks to a very civilized legal provision, which believes that the female parent is more capable of handling life’s U-turns than the male; at least in regard to bringing up children in a single-parent situation.
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But there was no relationship closure conversation between us
Despite having no relationship closure conversation, we turned away from one another, without even looking back. We seemed to move on successfully. He remarried and had two more beautiful children, but I’d decided that on my means at that time, my one sweet babe was just fine. Years became decades…the pain of loss subsided and sorrow eventually vanished to a hidden spot somewhere between my toes. That turned out to be a good hiding place to tuck sorrow out of sight. Or so I thought.
Since we lived in different cities, our paths rarely crossed. The Babe grew up into a very beautiful and accomplished person who today holds her own as a top-notch professional in an international setting.
The hurt of getting no closure in a relationship hit me later on
As for me, I looked the wolves right in the eye and walked as tall as my 5′ 4” allowed me to! Over the years I accepted several professional challenges that came my way which helped me transit from dependence to independence. Moving on without closure stopped feeling difficult as I eased into my routine, work-life balance and whole new life.
These opportunities helped me journey all the way from teaching in high school all the way to corporate responsibility in a group of schools as a quality assurance nerd! Eons ago, I’d also crossed the high seas to work abroad, which provided me with a very satisfactory retirement package. Earning one’s own financial freedom is a very, very sweet reward indeed.
All of these decades had passed with not much thought about my ex-husband; with the exception of the odd snippet that reached my big ears now and then, I remained in a totally different orbit around the sun.
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Here is when I realized the importance of closure
At first, I went about life only worrying about me and my child. The importance of closure or ending things on a decent note with my ex did not hit me. Until the wee hours of a never-to-be-forgotten morning, when I got a call from The Babe to tell me that he’d passed away.
A completely sudden, completely uncontrollable and completely inexplicable reaction overtook me. A strange wail escaped my lips, carrying on to release the long hidden sorrow from that spot between my toes, nearly unhinging my soul. And I rapidly sank into a very dark abyss, deep within from where I had to cope with my loneliness by myself and face my loss for the second time around!
I now understand that what I suffered is called ‘disenfranchised love’. In layman’s terms, this means that my love and loss had no visible place, since it’s socially incorrect for an ex-spouse to grieve along with the others who mourned his death. The comfort of ensuring closure will never be mine. And moving on without closure is all that is left for me to do now.
Most of life has now happened to me which includes not getting closure from the one I used to love. Can you move without closure? I don’t really know anymore. Because of no closure in a relationship, I feel like I have come back to square one. A sordid game of Snakes and Ladders where the snake has caught me and taken me right back into that whirlpool of feelings I did not want to ever feel again.
(As told to Team Bonobology)
No closure in a relationship can foster a sense of longing in you. It can make you keep going back to all your past relationships and ruminating over what went wrong or what could have been. To avoid overthinking the same, it is important that one understands why closure is important and also work towards the same. That way, you can emerge brand new after your breakup, with a better sense of self.
Moving on without closure is often considered difficult and makes one uneasy, because the unresolved issues and feelings seem to keep circling their mind. Which is why people need to understand the importance of closure in a relationship. Once you have worked out and resolved your feelings, moving on seems to get easier.