If you’ve been with me for a while, you know a few years ago (two and a half to be exact), my heart was shattered by the man I called the love of my life.
I’m not going to dive back into the details because moving forward is about looking ahead not looking back.
What I’m realizing now is that we can have TRUE CLOSURE in life. So many times I have heard myself say, “I’m over it,” whatever it might be, but in my heart I know that’s not the truth. Last week, I finally experienced real closure on my past love and woke up liberated, like the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders.
Closure came after going out with him twice over the past two months. The first time I was scared to death, but armed with a well-rounded life and a killer blowout, I made it through dinner feeling confident. So to my surprise, when I got home, I broke down into tears on the couch. My outburst wasn’t due to uncontrolable love for him though…it was my first sense of release!
But, I didn’t know why or how or what was better now….It took date #2 to get that straight.
This time I think he planned so I would be wearing a bikini, he always loved me in a bathing suit…thankfully that doesn’t bother me in the least. We spent the day in Laguna laying out by the pool, reminiscing about our past life together, eating at the bar like we used to, and snuggling under the stars at an outdoor concert. It was sweet and comfortable, but not emotional. THANK GOD.
After these two dates, I have come to find out our extraordinary love is history. Those memories only survive in stories, really wonderful stories. Our friendship will never die, our chemistry will always be charged, but the desire to be with each other is finally gone.
Everything seems to be so much easier now. I feel more rested; the tension in my neck has subsided; daily activities are effortless. I never realized before how heavy his emotional baggage was for me.
After a few days of thinking around this concept of “closure” I’ve come to realize a few important things I can apply to other conflicts in my life in an attempt to find a resolution and a feeling of satisfaction.
1. Give it time.
I’m one of those people who likes to confront conflict head on and get it over with. Carrying a pit in my stomach is one of the worst feelings, in my opinion. “Why not just talk about it now and move on?” is my thought. Because time allows emotions to settle and the real issue to reveal itself.
If I had seen my ex last year and gone out on these two dates, I’m not sure I would have come out of with closure.
2. Let go of control.
It’s very rare that people do what we want them to do. All we can do is make the best decisions for ourselves.
As hard as it was, I moved on and built a life that makes me very happy. If I had seen him in a state of misery or even transition, I wouldn’t have been strong enough to meet him again with confidence.
3. There is no need to blame.
In my relationships, I never assign blame. How can we confine a relationship, something so volatile, to one instance? A big part of my ability to find closure was that I didn’t have to forgive him. I never had any resentment towards him. When we split, I fully understood his reasons and I accepted them as his reality. I hated the circumstances, but I accepted them. With that perspective, I realized I had no control of him and had to move on.
4. Learn from your loss.
When you come out the other side feeling like you’ve gained something, it’s easier to move forward.
When I felt nostalgic, I let my mind stumble down a road of memories which inevitably led to a waterfall of tears. Those moments allowed me to know how meaningful our relationship was. This wasn’t loneliness I was experiencing, it was loss. And when I knew I didn’t want to lose again, to feel like this again, I realized all of the things I had done to contribute to our demise. So many trips to that past have changed me to be a better person.
4. If you’re scared, it’s important enough to do it.
Going out with my ex for the first time I was tingling with fear and excitement. That’s how I knew that no matter what happened, I had made the right decision to see him again. Those kinds of strong emotions, the ones that overwhelm you, shouldn’t be contained forever.
5. Know exactly what you want the outcome to be.
When you go into any meeting, you have a goal: win their favor, make the sale, get the contract signed, whatever it is. The same holds true here.
When I told people I was going out with my ex, they all said, “Don’t have sex with him, you’re not going to have sex with him, right?” Right. If sex was what I wanted all along, I knew he would be a phone call away. Closure, which is what I was after, is much harder to get and exponentially more satisfying. (I’ll look back at that and probably disagree later;))
By no means am I suggesting this a formula, just hindsight presenting some signs to point me in the right direction.
The only issue I’m left with now is a very high bar for the true love of my life.
Or possibly he was the one and we missed our chance? If that’s the case, I feel blessed to have experienced that degree of love.
At 33, I’m optimistic. Life is more fun that way. At the very least, I look forward to sharing my life with some extraordinary people.