Dear #HurtBaes… Is “Closure” Overrated?

Opinion

So I eventually watched the #hurtbae video (yes, I was living under a work when it all happened, but better late than never) and I must have watched it five times back to back because in those few minutes, those two people talked about a lifetime of hurt, of miscommunication, of doubt, of a lack…

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So I eventually watched the #hurtbae video (yes, I was living under a work when it all happened, but better late than never) and I must have watched it five times back to back because in those few minutes, those two people talked about a lifetime of hurt, of miscommunication, of doubt, of a lack of trust, of infidelity, and six minutes just seemed too disrespectful an amount of time to give it. As I listened and watched, I could feel that girl’s sadness. Not because she was crying, though that was sad too. But because she was having to relive those moments in the relationship when she was unhappiest. She had to go through everything again, and to make it worse, she had to do it with the young man knowing that he was hurting her and yet hurting her all the same.

A lot of thoughts crossed my mind while the video was on repeat – and no. I didn’t judge the guy for being a seeming bastard, because we really have no clue why the people in our lives do what they do. I’m sure in his head, he had a clear logic (no matter how flawed) as to why he cheated on her and treated her the way he did, in spite of the fact that he claimed she was his best friend (this is one of the pitfalls with best-friendships crossing the line into amorous relationships – but that’s fodder for a different article). However, the one big thought that kept dancing around in my head was this – that girl was brave. And I’ll tell you why.

In cases of infidelity, the one who has been cheated on is often at a loss for why the cheater has cheated, especially when he/she has been faithful and devoted to the person and to their relationship. They start off by being hurt (some are completely devastated). And then angry. And then hurt again. It is often during this second ‘hurt’ period that they begin to come to terms with the (often erroneous) realization that maybe they weren’t good enough. They deal with feelings of inadequacy, trying to figure out where they went wrong – Were they not good-looking enough? Did they not have enough money? Were they not good in bed? Did they not give the cheater enough attention, enough love? Was their religion or ethnic tribe the problem? Were they too fat? Were they not sophisticated or tush enough? And while all these questions run amok in their heads, the truth is many of them (of us) do not have the courage to ask. And even when some people are able to ask either in their anger or in their quieter, resigned moments, they don’t really have the courage to know. Because it’s one thing to ask, but it’s a whole different ball game to have your fears confirmed – to be told that you weren’t good enough. So it’s easier to blame the cheater (which is fine because you didn’t tell them to cheat) and attribute their behaviour to a fundamentally flawed character.

This is why I think Kourtney was brave. In trying to get closure, she made herself vulnerable and went head-on with a monster whose face and form she really didn’t know. She had a picture in her head, something she had imagined – she may have decided that she wasn’t good enough for him, and I’m leaning towards this conclusion just by virtue of how she stayed with him even knowing he had been with other girls. Her self-esteem took a beating every time she contemplated the fact that he was messing about with other girls. She probably questioned her level of self-respect, of dignity. Why was she staying and forgiving him and staying still? (This love thing is a bitch though).

But when she decided to actually sit and have that conversation, she was offering herself up for judgement. It doesn’t matter that she did it sometime after the relationship was over. In my opinion, it didn’t make it any less difficult, and I’m sure she would agree with me judging from the gamut of emotions she went through, caught unfortunately (or fortunately) on camera. It was like she had made herself an archer’s target, standing pinned to a stake, knowing the arrows would come and knowing they would hurt as f**k. She literally took herself back to the old days (and this was no case of sweet nostalgia), to the old hurts, to the old pains. And when he admitted the things he did, when he said them, he gave life to the fears she had had. He breathed life into that monster she had imagined but not really known. He hurt her. All over again.

So, was it really worth it, putting herself through that? Did she really feel better after feeling worse? She says she’s moved on and it helped her move on. But I wonder, wouldn’t she still have been able to move on without having that boy tell her to her face that he “did everything”? Maybe the question should be has she really moved on? Is there any comeback from that? She mentioned a time when she had gone to his room and met another girl there, and he had told her (Kourtney) to leave. Jeez! I would never be able to recover from that. And I wouldn’t even want to ask why he did it. The answer would be too scary, frail-hearted as I am. It would be so much easier for me to just call him a bastard and walk out at that point never to see him again.

But #hurtbae (wo)manned up and not only confronted her errant ex-boyfriend, she did it on camera for the world to see. And even managed to gracefully step down from the chair and leave the set when her emotions were highest. Me, I’d have been bawling like a cow in labour and my face would have looked like a rotten tomato, all bent out of shape. And I’m not kidding.

While I understand the so-called advantages of closure, there are days when I doubt its usefulness. I was once in a relationship that ended quite abruptly. I don’t know that he cheated but he just sort of left. To be frank, he left me before he left me. He pulled away mentally and emotionally before he left me physically. I didn’t understand what happened, though I know he had his demons. But I honestly believed I was helping him fight them. In the end, I wasn’t enough (yes, I drew that conclusion too) and after trying to pull him back and hold on to him for 6 months, I eventually gave up. It hurt. A lot. I had never felt so low, so inadequate in my life (well except the time when the father of my muslim ex-boyfriend wrote him an email telling him that he didn’t want a Christian as a daughter in-law and especially not a Catholic. But that’s another story for another day).

For months after this guy left, I warred within myself, trying to understand what and why. Several times I picked up the phone to call and ask him why, but I never quite made it to dialling point. I was afraid. I was afraid that he left because I didn’t matter. I was afraid that it didn’t matter to him that I was hurt, that I felt inadequate. I was afraid that he would dismiss my questions the same way he had dismissed me, dismissed us. I was afraid to hear him say that he just didn’t want to be with me anymore. And my fears kept me from taking that bold step. But I moved on, I think. Even though at random moments, I would think about him and wonder what he was doing, if he had found someone who made him happy the way I couldn’t, if he thought about me the way I did him or if I was just a distant memory in his head.

I called him a year and a half later – it took me that long to summon up the courage to dial his number. My heart pounded with trepidation. I wasn’t sure what I was going to hear on the other end of the line – Surprise? Indifference? Coldness? Warmth? In the long seconds it took the call to connect and ring, our two and half year relationship flashed through my head, and I felt the old waves of hurt. But he answered before I could hang up. And I asked how he was doing and what he was doing and if he was fine and if he still drove his Honda Accord, and so many other random questions that popped into my mind at the time. He sounded measured – not indifferent, not cold, not warm either. Just measured. And guarded. I didn’t ask any of the things I really wanted to ask. He didn’t offer any explanations for ‘disappearing’ nor an apology for just leaving. He spoke to me like we were acquaintances and I decided then that closure was overrated. I didn’t want to know anymore, because I didn’t think it was worth the trouble.

In a way, you could say that was my own closure, coming to terms with the fact that there isn’t always an explanation for everything. Because what good would it have done if he told me all the things I had been afraid to hear? And I agree that the possibility existed that he would tell me something different, something unexpected. But I wasn’t brave enough to take that risk. Not like #hurtbae.

In case you were under a rock like I was, you can watch the #hurtbae video here.

And when you’re done, tell us if you would go for closure after a failed relationship or like me, just let sleeping wounds lie.

Responses

  1. CeeCee
    First, I’d like to say, this is lovely.
    We all think we need “closure” after a relationship or hookup ends, but is it the best thing for us? You know, that guy you were sort of seeing, and then, all of a sudden, he fell off the face of the earth? You can’t necessarily call it a breakup because you weren’t “together,” but you still need closure. I’m not much for closure and obsessing over past mistake with an ex.

    Closure they say can be mean; it can be nasty, hurtful and regressive. Your past will always be your past, and it’s important to appreciate the past because it molds you into the person you are and the person you will become. But, the past essentially doesn’t exist anymore; all of your power and purpose is in this present moment, and dragging problems from the past is only bringing you down.

    You didn’t get closure? Guess what? It’s time to move on. LET IT GO. The relationship didn’t work out because it just wasn’t meant to be or the timing was off. Do you really want to reopen old wounds with pieces of closure you can obsess over for the next six months? Stop rereading every text to try to figure out what went wrong. Trust me, if your ex broke up with you over one text, you’re better off without that critical lunatic. Stop stalking him or her on social media; it will only make things worse.

    You’re never going to be able to have all the answers as to why things didn’t work out. Uncertainty is in every aspect of life, and you will be brought much more uncertainty in future times. Closure isn’t a need, it’s something we THINK we need. If you can’t get closure, you’re probably better off. Let it go, move forward and start the next chapter of your life with the lessons you have learned.
    *******************************************************

    1. MissO Post author
      You make a very strong point here
      Sometimes, we think we need closure. However, moving on and closing chapters and beginning new ones is hard. Much easier said than done where real feelings are involved. For some people, being able to put a formal end to the past relationship (including understanding why it didn’t work) actually helps them to move on.
      For others, they could really get stuck in that rut.
      I think each relationship is different and people get stronger with every heartbreak that they endure, so much so that they grow to not need closure after another failed one.
      But then again, there are always exceptions to the rule.
  2. Hephie Brown
    I think closure and moving on are two different things? I have moved on, i am very happy, i am in a better place, i dont love him anymore, i dont miss anything about what we had, but i feel like i sometimes have the need to know why from his end. Did he ever really love me? or was it really a farce? was he ever going to propose? did his sister(family) even accept me or she was enduring? were they all happy i left their boy alone now? Was it my demons that scared him? How come i didnt get invited to his sisters wedding? how come he never ever ever called me after the nasty argument? not even to say he’s sorry. or that he got my point? or just make me say my point again? how come he never tried to reconcile? was he really cheating? was i just not good enough? was it because I didnt make nice meals? was i just that bad i didnt even deserve to be pursued after walking away? literally. WHY! in all fairness if he had attempted to make up i would have said no. In all fairness i broke up with him about 5 times he refused to let me go. In all fairness i wasnt happy for a long time, i wasnt fulfilled, he wasnt the one, i kept forcing my heart to beat. i kept pointing out issues and always making him fix them. No, it was never really a good relationship. It was one desperate lady and a complacent man. I dont want it back. But the questions in my head..

    But i doubt i want to know. I could just pick up my phone, and call, but i dont really want to know. cos he’s scum, i deserve better, and i am very very happy without him. so why ruffle the past? because bottom line is, its my past

    1. MissO Post author
      I agree it’s in your past . And there’s not too much good that can come from rehashing the past. But you know how when you drive, you have to look in the rear view mirror before you maneuver, I think it’s kinda like that.
      What if the relationship didn’t work because there were things I was doing wrong (even though they seemed right)? How do I potentially avoid doing those things all over again, and/or doing them in the exact same way? It would help if the other person was able to tell me why he/she decided to walk away. It might have been him, and he might have been ‘scum’. But it could also have been me.
      And yes, closure and moving on are two different things. But they can also be one thing, I think…
  3. #hurtbabenow
    Story of my life right now though it’s a bit more complicated or straight forward depending on your point of view.

    I had a close relationship with a guy who was not mine to have or keep. We always knew that and felt we were sane enough not to let our hearts go (at least i thought i was). But fast forward through years of closeness, deep feelings, fun moments and laughter to now that he seeks to put an end to whatever it was that we had. It’s straightforward – he was never mine so why break your head.
    It’s not so straightforward – the feelings run deep. I have shed tears i never knew i had. i just want to know if he really has to end it, if it has to be this way – severing all forms of contact and living like i never knew him, if there’s some hope we can ever be friends, why he wouldn’t tell me to my face that it was truly over.

    Today, three months after these questions i call him and ask all those and he tries to answer and i cry some more. But one thing is clear, this is the way things must be, very over! i feel like i have gotten the closure i need but tomorrow might find me asking more questions and hurting some more. I hope today’s closure is enough to tide me through the journey of pain and hurt till i forget to cry at the memories we made.

    For me closure is big, i don’t live well with questions when it’s a human being away. After all there are bigger questions in this life that could never be answered why add mine to them. but i’ve also come to know it might not always come from the other partner. Some times you have to make that journey by yourself and find it within yourself. And just like @MissO said, it might be knowing that there can’t be explanations for everything.

    Long epistle. I’ve been an ardent follower for years but have never commented until now. First time commenter. #sadsmile

    And MissO, i like reading from you.

    1. MissO Post author
      I know your pain. Believe me, this too shall pass, I promise. The questions? They’ll probably never leave your head. Even I still ask questions in my head now and again. But as time goes on, the tears will slow to a tear or two, and then become a moment of sadness, then a flinch, then a sigh, and maybe one day, a smile. You’ll get over it.
      In this case, I think you already know the answers to the questions you’re asking him, but you’re probably hoping he’ll tell you something different. I think you’re brave.
      And like you said, sometimes you have to make that journey yourself.
      I’m sure you can. One step, one day, one painful memory at a time.

      Thank you for reading and for gracing my post with your first comment 🙂

      Chin up.

    2. The Pilgrim
      “He was never mine to have or keep…” 👍👍👌

      Sometimes you just know, sometimes even before it truly begins so no need seeking ‘closure’ , one just moves on.
      But for the one (s) that there was that hope and promise from the very start that it would end well and things went gaga, then maybe closure is necessary to ‘move on’.
      The thing sha isn’t cut in stone so can go anyway and all ways.

  4. Bkd
    I don’t think it’s fair to call any guy a monster just because he fell short of your expectations. I feel bad for the girl(an sister you too) for the hurt, but I don’t agree he was a monster. He had his life to live and I think that gives him the right to meet his own expectations.
    An as for your ex, just take it that it wasn’t meant to be. I’m sure he had nothing against you and harborwd no ill will. Sometimes, life just doesn’t always go as planned.
    I enjoyed the piece though.
    I know some persons would find my opinion upsetting but it’s just my opinion. You don’t have to take it to hard.

    FYI:
    Didn’t watch the clip

    1. MissO Post author
      thanks for reading. And I don’t think your opinion is upsetting. It’s valid. Just to correct the context, it’s not the guy I referred to as a monster. It’s the idea that she wasn’t good enough.
      And you should watch the clip. It’s a good one 🙂
  5. Jojo
    I think every girl knows this feeling all too well, the point where you want to call but you don’t want to look desperate or look like you can’t live without him and the point where you just want to know what goes on in that head of his so that you die from hypertension. But I’ve struggled through this phase for a long time and I’ve found a coping mechanism that seems to be working just fine for me, I just block him from every platform, delete his number or pictures, whatever reminds me of him in general, I dont think this is childish, it is what I need to do to keep my sanity and help me forget and I’m doing just fine…. Cutting them off with a quickness is my coping mechanism
    1. MissO Post author
      I know that mechanism only too well. I use it when the relationship is one that I was very embarrassed about. Cut them off. Completely. It’s not childish. At all.
  6. Mo
    The most painful thing in the video, or about their relationship, is they were ‘bestfriends’. If your bestfriend cannot find a way not to disrespect/hurt you, who will?
  7. Msray
    I believe closure is very very important, this because it speeds up the healing process. But, we dont always get what we want thats one, two it is important to know when to let a relationship go. This is because your sanity is very important, more important than an ego demanding the truth, because more often than not, we are not ready to hear the truth, let alone handle it. That requires emotional balance.
    in the end, just know yourself, be prepared for anything and try not to have so much expectations when it comes to people. especially someone you love.
  8. Msray
    I believe closure is very very important, this is because it speeds up the healing process. But, we dont always get what we want thats one, two it is important to know when to let a relationship go. This is because your sanity is very important, more important than an ego demanding the truth, because more often than not, we are not ready to hear the truth, let alone handle it. That requires emotional balance.
    in the end, just know yourself, be prepared for anything and try not to have so much expectations when it comes to people. especially someone you love.
  9. Sapphire
    Hmm…

    On closure or not! I don’t even know what I think. I was ‘friends’ with a guy who wouldn’t commit to me but who tried to kiss me every opportunity he got.
    I had had enough and one day I called him to it. I won’t even go into details of how he acted during the whole friendship process.

    You know he wasn’t so bad…but he wasn’t fantastic. I am not one that expects a boy to fulfill by every need but I know what it means to value someone.

    I called more than 10 times on different occasions, sent text messages and an email and he didn’t respond to any.

    I kept saying I wanted closure but like it has been said above, sometimes we do not get what we want. I wanted closure, he didn’t want to talk to me. So I found a way to move on without his help.

    He wasn’t a ‘stand-up guy’. I keep telling that to myself and it gives me the strength to let go of the demons and questions.
    Very wonderfully written @missO. Well done.

    1. MissO Post author
      Thank u
      I think that guy of urs was just trying his luck, putting u on a back burner just in case u would bite. He was probably embarrassed that u called him out on it, so he didn’t take ur calls. Or he may have gotten bored trying.
      Good riddance to bad rubbish if u ask me.
  10. The Pilgrim
    Me likey very plenty @misso .
    Done both the closure and the moving on and they sucked. I sure don’t wanna do either again.
    The need for either sha differs in the situation, the person ie #hurtbae , the type of relationship, what even happened etc. And then how strong n brave the #hurtbae is to go through with it.

    PS: How can I follow you so when you drop stuff I get to know, read like that , like that. I’d appreciate information on that. Graciás.

    1. MissO Post author
      Thank you
      Glad you like it. I agree with u- the situation and the people determine whether closure matters or not. I’ve also tried both options. And they both sucked!

      As for following me, there’s no buttons for that yet. But if you click on the author name, it’ll take you to all the posts by that author. And u can catch up on all you’ve missed!
      Enjoy…

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