“If you are brave enough to say good-bye, life will reward you with a new hello.” ~Paul Coehlo
Why won’t they call? Can’t they just have the conversation? What’s wrong with them? What did I do to deserve this treatment? Did I mean nothing?
Have you asked yourself these questions at the end of a relationship? I know I have. Actually, I was asking myself these very questions about six months ago. What do you do at the end of a relationship when it doesn’t really feel over or you aren’t ready for it to be done?
First there is the breakup. It doesn’t really matter who ended it, but it ended. Despite the ending, you are still bonded to this person. You were used to having them around, hearing their voice, getting their texts, cuddling on the couch. Then, suddenly, it’s all gone.
Sometimes you know why it ended, and sometimes not. Often, you wish you could talk to that person to obtain some closure and some sort of validation that the relationship truly existed and that you meant something…anything.
Why They Avoid You
If you have a habit of picking emotionally challenged partners (me—raising hand), who would rather stare at Facebook or play video games than have an actual conversation, then the chances of getting closure are quite slim. Sometimes you have to make closure for yourself.
What if they won’t talk to you? What if you follow all the experts’ advice on what to do after a breakup, and they completely ignore you anyway? I’ve had this happen.
Closure is something everyone would like. We would like validation and understanding.
We can accept that someone doesn’t want to be with us. We can accept that the relationship has changed or that they want something else. What we can’t accept is our partner’s inability to communicate that fact effectively and tell us what went wrong.
Unfortunately, sometimes your partner does not have this same need, or they may have the same need but they’re better at hiding it and pretending they don’t. They would rather just push you, and their feelings, away.
In my experience, people can’t always be honest with you because they can’t be honest with themselves. It isn’t about you. We always want it to be about us and our flaws and failures, but it isn’t.
Many people don’t know how to deal with the emotions that come with a breakup, so they prefer to avoid their feelings altogether, and this is the most likely reason they won’t talk to you. It has nothing to do with you or the relationship or something you did wrong or that you weren’t enough.
The First Time
I’ve dealt with trying to get closure a few times, and it’s awful. No one likes to be ignored, and no one likes to not get answers to their questions. But, what you have to learn is that any answer you get won’t change anything, and it may or may not be the truth anyway.
It has happened at least twice. One guy I dated off and on for two and a half years.
I wanted to leave him after a while because he would never fully commit, but for some reason, I couldn’t. So, every month or so, after the first year and a half, I would say, “Is it time to break up yet? I’m not really happy.” Every time he would shake his head and say, “No, no, no.” He looked so forlorn at the idea of me ending it, so I stayed.
But eventually, the time came. He was moving to another city, and I was planning to come visit his new place once he got all settled in. Then the strangest thing happened. During the moving period he started being super nice to me, abnormally nice, and I knew right then something was up. I knew he was struggling with trying to commit to me.
Of course he couldn’t, and so he ended things before I could come out for my visit.
I knew the breakup was coming, so I accepted it and wished him well. Despite the end of the relationship, he had come to be an important part of my life. So I called a few weeks later and said I wanted to be friends and that he meant a lot to me.
He said he’d call me later in the week. Do you think I ever heard from him again? Of course not.
I was devastated. I wasn’t really sad about the loss of the relationship (I knew he would never really make me happy), but for the friendship I thought we had. But apparently, we had nothing.
Like a dummy, I reached out to him again three months later, and he literally said the same thing: “I’ll call you later in the week.” I was trying to get something from him that he could never give me.
After that call I knew reaching out to him again would be a waste of my time and energy and would only cause me more pain, so I decided I would have to get closure for myself somehow.
When I look back, I realize I wanted him to validate our relationship. I wanted him to prove he meant what he said. I wanted to know I had meant something to him, anything. The truth is that I will never know, and I’ve had to come to terms with that. I’m not sure I have 100 percent.
The only thing I could do was to look at my mistakes and my behavior patterns and work on my side of the street, because I was never going to get answers or closure from him.
The Second Time
The second time I had to get closure on my own was with my last boyfriend. I actually ended things, but when I sent him on his way, I left the door open. I asked him to think about some things, and he said, “I guess I have a lot to think about.”
I figured I’d eventually hear back with a yes or no. I mean, isn’t that the right thing to do? Isn’t that what he implied? I thought so.
Apparently, I was wrong. Again. He didn’t call.
A few months later, after doing a lot of soul searching, I called and asked if we could try again. He said no. I accepted his decision. I was sad, but it was time to move on.
A month later he called and said he was willing to try again. So I tried. He didn’t. We spent a week together, then he left and I never heard from him again. I still couldn’t wrap my head around how he could never say anything. Not even talk to me. Why couldn’t he say, “I really care about you, but I can’t” or something.
Again, I had to accept that he is who he is, and he isn’t going to change. I knew this when I decided to try again, and looking back I should have known better. He wasn’t ready. He hadn’t changed. I was hoping for something that was what I wanted it to be, not reality.
I’m still not sure I have 100 percent closure with him either, but I know that reaching out to him will only hurt me more, and I know that it doesn’t matter what he thinks or wants. I can only control myself and my actions and how I deal with the ending of another relationship that I thought could mean something.
If people want to be in your life they make an effort. If they don’t, then you are better off without them.
If you are struggling with getting closure with an ex, ask yourself why you want to talk to them. Is it to get them back? Is it to get them to validate the relationship? Is it to try to get some type of reaction, or any type of reaction? Are you pretending that you really need to give back that t-shirt or get back that DVD you let them borrow?
If you are making up reasons why you need to talk to them, then perhaps you need to get closure from yourself. If they won’t talk to you, reaching out will likely cause you more pain and frustration. So instead, I suggest the following:
1. Write a letter.
Write one every day if you need to. Don’t send it; just get the feelings out there.
2. Write out reasons why they may be avoiding you that have nothing to do with you.
We all create explanations in our heads as to why our ex won’t talk to us. We imagine they think bad things about us, they don’t want us, that we weren’t enough, or that everything was our fault. Thoughts in your head are just your interpretation of what happened, and they are usually incorrect.
What if what they are really thinking is this? Do you think they are going to tell you?
- I’m afraid to be open and be hurt again.
- I don’t think I can give this person what they need.
- Being vulnerable is too scary.
- He/she is too good for me.
- My abandonment issues have triggered my unconscious need to be alone.
3. Unless this was your first love, remember that you loved before and you got over it.
You control whether you move on. And you can decide if you want to wallow in self-pity and misery, or pick yourself up off the floor and be the spectacular, amazing person you are and get out there and show yourself to the world.
4. Take your feelings and write them on little pieces of paper.
- “I am hurt.”
- “I am angry.”
- “I am sad.”
- “I am devastated.”
- “I am heartbroken.”
- “I feel rejected.”
Get a fireproof bowl and fill it with some sand. Put all the little pieces of paper in the bowl and light them on fire. Watch the words burn and with them, let the feelings go.
5. Be alone.
Be still. Cry and be sad over the loss. Accept that what once was, is no longer, and what you thought would be will never be. If it’s meant to be in the future, it will find a way to work itself out. Maybe now is just not the time.
6. Live in abundance.
They are not the only person in the world. There are literally millions of single people in the world. If you had love before, you will have it again. Stop thinking that you’ll never find someone else so wonderful. If they were so wonderful they would still be with you. They aren’t. They’re gone.
Think About It
What is it you are really hoping to hear? Do you think most people can admit their fears? Of course we all would like our partner to care enough to tell us the truth no matter how much it hurts.
There are a million reasons that relationships don’t work and tons of reasons why your ex won’t talk to you. Don’t take on their issues and make them your own. Realize that we all have insecurities, and not all of us can understand how they impact us.
I’m sure you would love for your ex to say, “You are truly amazing and wonderful, but I don’t think we are a match.” The reason most won’t say this is that they don’t want you to come back at them with all sorts of reasons why you are a match, so they’d rather avoid the topic altogether.
For whatever reason, your ex has chosen to cease all communication with you. The best thing you can do is take it as a sign from the universe that it’s time to move on, and that any person worthy of being your partner would never leave you in the lurch like that.
Remember this saying, “If not this, something better.” These words sound stupid and irritating when your relationship has just ended, but they are true for a reason.
We don’t’ always get what we want, but we get what we need. Change is inevitable. Change is good. If it was meant to be, it would have been, and if it is meant to be, it will be.
Unfortunately, life does not always go along with our pre-conceived notions of how things should be, and people aren’t always what we want and need them to be. Life isn’t always wrapped up in a pretty package with a bow on top.
Sometimes you get closure and sometimes you don’t. Sometimes the lack of closure is the very lesson that you needed to learn. Maybe you needed to learn to validate yourself and accept yourself.
Consider seeing this person as a gift sent to you. They were brought to you as a reflection of yourself. Thank them for being a part of your journey and send them on their way in your mind.
Lastly, if you are waiting for your ex to give you closure, it might be time to dig deep inside and give it to yourself.
About Carrie L. Burns
Carrie L. Burns is a blogger on a mission of self-discovery. As a sexual abuse survivor that struggled for years with depression anxiety, low self-esteem, lack of self-love, and relationship issues, she found her purpose through writing and sharing her story with others. Check out her other writing at www.acinglife.com.