Ghosted: The Role of Closure
When we move on from a past love, most of us want closure. But what do you do when you don’t get that? How can you move on if your partner has gone quiet? Or sometimes even worse – has adopted a formal way of relating that feels as if you made up the entire connection. Immediately, most of us we want an explanation. We want to understand. How can we move on when there is nothing but silence?
There are two types of relational silence – a healthy silence, and a violent silence – one that serves the connection and one that damages it. In the first, silence comes after it has been talked about. This is healthy and honors the connection. You are in relationship around why the silence is happening. In the second, silence comes with no communication and others are left to wonder what is happening. The partner withholds. Withholding makes it impossible for the receiver to truly know their feelings and it makes the withholder cold. In this case, silence is violent. A passive aggressive attempt to cause suffering, or a careless self-absorpt. Or perhaps the path of least fear.
So, what do you do if you are in the second boat? How do you move on without closure?
We may be tempted to abandon ourselves in the heart of loss. We may want to make the other persons presence in our life more important that our own presence. We lock ourselves in and wait for that external liberator to set us free. If we find ourselves faced with a silent partner, we eventually find that we can’t put our lives on hold waiting for an answer that may never come. Maybe they will tell us one day, or maybe they will never understand it themselves. Eventually, we find the reason isn’t that important. Eventually, we learn that closure is something that we give to ourselves. Ultimately, when it comes to love, we must start at home. If they left. We have to leave too.