What does closure mean to you? Some say that closure takes you double the amount of time you were in a relationship. Some say you need all parties involved to have closure. I’ve also heard that if you’re looking for closure, you’re actually looking for the relationship to continue. My experience? Closure is the process of moving forward, and the more things are left unsaid and the less tenderness there is, the longer it takes.
When the other person has no desire to meet you in the middle. closure can feel impossible. But, it is possible, even if it’s just you! Before I get into how I finally did, I should probably tell you a little about the breakup.
He was someone I trusted immensely. Someone who was my friend for a long time first. I would eventually call him boyfriend. Someone whose family I loved. Someone who said I wasn’t wife material. Someone who moved on quickly. Someone who talked poorly about me to people I later met. Someone who saw me limping but didn’t turn back once to see if I was okay. Whew, darker times. By God’s grace, I’m not there anymore, and if you are, I am sorry, ugh I am sorry… and I hope this post helps you.
Apologize For Where You Went Wrong
If you’re like me, you take time to process, and by the time you have your words ready, that person is in the wind. So, I wrote him a letter. I took accountability for where I messed up. Starting with humility is always a good idea. Letters are a great way to be slow to speak. You can’t recklessly write a text or emotionally call them. You have to put time and thought into every word when it’s handwritten, stamped, addressed, and mailed. I wrote this a few months after the breakup and had a mentor figure read my letter to make sure it wasn’t manipulative. After she read it, I sent it. I was hoping this would produce a peaceful conclusion to the nearly two-year romantic relationship and ten-year friendship. Did I get a response? No. Did I feel better? Yes.
Write the Breakup Apology You Wish You Got + Counseling
After he didn’t acknowledge my apology or apologize, I wrote a letter to myself filled with what I wish he said. Golly. I recommend this to anyone who is struggling to forgive. This also helps you understand what you’re looking for. Reconnection or peace? I realized in my second letter that I was most upset that the person I’d known for years was treating me like a complete stranger.
A counselor I saw once told me the end of this relationship was similar to me mourning a death because someone close to me couldn’t (in this case – wouldn’t) speak to me. She told me it made closure difficult, my pain was valid, to grieve, and then remove reminders of him.
Distance From Reminders
Out of sight, out of mind does help. I distanced myself from our friend circle, the city I grew up in, and anything that reminded me of him. That sport we played? The music we listened to? Those photos we took? Stopped, removed, and deleted. I took every reminder out of my life until I could play, hear, or see without having a tie to him. The letters, distance, and cleanout helped with closure, but it was prayer and scripture that propelled healing in my heart.
Prayer + Scripture
I prayed that God would keep him close. Wait, what?! Yes, I prayed that God would bless him. Why? Because you praying for them frees YOU. Every time bitterness tried to rear its ugly head with a thought from the past, I prayed. Plus, he claimed to be a Christ-follower, so if there’s anything I’d want for him, it would be for him to reflect Christ more. Judgment and justice are not up to me.
The more time I spent in the Bible, the more I realized that my definition of love was severely lacking. Yes, God is a truthful and just God, but He is a LOVING God, something I was still learning. Old me thought my heart was broken because I deserved it, I was “too sinful” (something my ex said to me once), but WOW, what a shame-filled lie! Yes, I knew I was a sinner, but I was repentant, and I would not cheapen God’s grace by saying His grace didn’t cover this contrite heart!
The way the Bible teaches about love and the way Jesus loved me, even to death on the Cross, is infinitely more tender, life-changing, and humble than any worldly love I had experienced. Love that leads me, not shames me. God held my broken heart, and he was gentle with showing me my skewed perceptions. Friend, I am telling you this with all sincerity. Scripture is a balm for any wound, even the ones you think you’ll never recover from.
Did I Completely “Heal?”
Closure means you’re moving forward and just like any healing wound, sometimes it itches. There were moments when something would frustrate me, like running into my ex and him acting like he never knew me. But even when he treated me that way, I prayed for him, fought to forgive him, and moved forward. He was my friend before he was my boyfriend and I didn’t forget that. Really, it was the complete loss of a good friendship that hurt most, especially at a time in my life when friends were few. I wanted his flourishing and goodness, and I refused to give in to bitterness.
Thankfully, I wasn’t alone in this process. Besides God, I also made new friends who patiently loved me and pointed me back to truth. My boyfriend (husband now, thank you Lord! ❤️) was patient when my past crept into my thoughts. In time, my ex became a scattered memory, and bitterness was no longer a familiar friend. I was finally, finally, able to say, “Thank you Lord for bringing him into my life, and thank you Lord for taking him out!” Freedom from the past is beautiful and I hope and pray that for anyone reading this that is struggling with closure.
Sometimes people aren’t right for each other, and figuring that out is what dating is all about! But we do a massive injustice to people we profess to love when we end relationships without the same tenderness we start them with.