Mask Off: Is it Really Closure or Denial? 

Opinion

In most cases where people go after closure, it’s when they feel they’ve been dealt the weaker hand in a relationship. And this has nothing to do with whoever ended a relationship – it’s just about power.

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Let’s begin with a poll. For the guys reading, show of hands if you’ve ever received that dreaded message. Something along the lines of…

Hey, so I was just wondering, did you ever really have feelings for me? Did you love me or what was the thing we had?

No you are not wrong, what you heard was the sound of eyeballs rolling.

CLOSURE.

That’s what they call it. Although, it is common among the female gender, it is not unique to them. From time immemorial, men and women have chased this seemingly illusive feedback often times with little success. Recently I spent some time thinking about this phenomenon and made a few discoveries worth discussing.

Is it really closure or denial?

In most cases where people go after closure, it’s when they feel they’ve been dealt the weaker hand in a relationship. And this has nothing to do with whoever ended a relationship – it’s just about power. So for instance, even if a chic breaks up with her boyfriend but never felt she had control (or at least some form of it) while they were together, she will still walk out of that relationship with tons of questions – aka, seeking closure.

If you’re wondering, it’s probably true.

Most men are poor communicators and emotionally lacking when in relationships – it’s just how we are, it’s not an excuse. However, when it comes to ending relationships, if we are being honest with ourselves, most times, you can tell what went wrong. As most men are more logical than emotional, it allows them “manipulate” women who are often times more emotional than logical into doing things they usually should not do. Logic is yes or no because x or y. No maybe’s. Add some attention, saying the right thing at the right time, throw in some surprises, thoughtful gifts and emotion will shift from a yes or no to maybe.

This is how a lot of people (more men than women) are able to ‘manipulate’ their way into hearts that originally didn’t want or even deserve them.

Sometimes, it works out perfectly – some people really do need a little bit of convincing. But when it doesn’t, do you really need to ask why it didn’t?

Let’s imagine a relationship is a door leading in to your heart. When the relationship ends and one party walks out the door, you can either take up the responsibility and shut the door to protect your heart (from other bandits) or you can leave it to the person walking out of your life with the hope that they will shut the door behind them (aka closure).

We all know that in most cases, they don’t. I mean, who passes on a free meal? If I know all that I need to keep coming back is to leave a door open, why on earth would I shut it?

As much as many of us know the closure we often seek is really up to us and not the other party, we struggle to admit it. Why?

DENIAL

I’ve never been conned but I can imagine just how painful an experience it could be. You’d probably spend a lot of time questioning your actions, wondering how you let it happen and with denial setting in, you’d probably rationalize it in one way or the other. In relationships, the rationalization is when you transfer this responsibility of closing the door (aka closure) to the other party.

Before now, I had never understood why we seek closure – like what do you want to hear?

I never loved you.
It was all about the sex for me.
I cheated because you are terrible in bed.
I’m gay.

In most cases, if you’re wondering about these things, chances are, you’re probably right but denial is a strong emotion that doesn’t respect gender. I call it the forerunner to regret and though regret can also be tough, it’s way easier to deal with compared to denial.

And so for me, I have come to the conclusion that seeking closure as much as it might be a waste of time (since you can control it), it’s probably never going to go away because often times, it is tied to denial.

Let’s talk. Have you ever gone out to seek closure? Why did you really do it? Were you asking things you never really knew or things you were in denial about? What are your thoughts on closure – necessary evil or waste of time? Use the comment section to express you.

Responses

  1. Mo
    Never, and honestly, i am not even a fan of giving it. My second boyfriend is the only ex i can say i could have needed closure from. But i prefer my belief/reason, and i let my other ex live with their reasons too. As far as it makes you feel better, we are good.

    I am not even sure closure is something that can be gotten from another party, you give it to yaself.

  2. Lipglossmaffia
    Lol, it’s a complete waste of time, really. I don’t know people think that someone answering, “did you ever love me?” would actually solve anything. I don’t get it. If you want closure, close the door by yourself.
  3. Toby
    Well since i have never been in a relationship, i do not know i can weigh in on this fully (so take my comment with a large helping of salt)
    Closure is a thing, yes you give it to yourself and all that jazz, but hun, we are our own worst enemies. Now i have found myself in many a situationships, but some of them i still make the same mistakes because i am yet to close (and Burn) the book.
    If you have will of steel *snigger* then sure, finding closure is easy.
    But what if you are a moshpit of doubt and insecurity and lonliness all cuz some trick did not shut the door behind him.
    What then?
    (To be honest, i would just do his bestfriend and move on, you do not need to close the chapter if another one is holding all your attention currently)

    Wow that is horrendously bad advice.

    1. thetoolsman Post author
      O_O wow.. who really are you?
      Seriously though, being an emotional wreck is still no excuse – well, except you don’t mind being taken advantage of continuously. You have to learn sometime right?
      1. Toby
        I am legit Cackling at your comment.
        But yes, emotional wrecks (ouch) do need to get their ish in order otherwise they would become (insert whats worse than an emotional wreck)
        oh well!!
        Amazing read =}
    1. Drifter
      I do not think Closure is a sign of weakness. It is easy to tell other people how they should move on. But if knowing certain things about their partners feelings helps that person move on, I certainly do not think it is a sign of weakness and I do not think is over rated either, we deal with emotional issues differently, there is no straight path to dealing with heartbreak. I would say that sometimes it is better to leave that can of worms unopened.
  4. Etinyene
    I still maintain its a myth. What could an ex possibly say that could help you move on quicker or make the healing faster? We just ask those questions hoping he/she says something nice so we don’t feel completely worthless, even though deep down we know they are lies. It’s a coping mechanism that we think works, when in all realness we just stopped giving a fuck.
  5. Etinyene
    I still maintain its a myth. Think about it for a sec. what could an ex possibly say that could help you move on quicker or make the healing process faster?. it’s just a coping mechanism that we think works when in all realness we just stopped caring and voila… we got over it.
  6. Omali
    What closure do you expect when your best friend starts to date your boyfriend behind your back? No matter how many scenarios or possibilities that i run thru my head, there is no perfect answer from them that will lessen the betrayal or why she and he will do that to me. So as she happily discusses their recent proposal, I simply smile and conclude that it just wasn’t meant to be. Only me can close that chapter.
    1. thetoolsman Post author
      Wow.. that’s deep. If there was ever one scenario I’d support seeking closure, it would probably be something like this but again, like I said to @Larz, it about the HOW. You need to take control because you’re not seeking closure because you expect them to breakup, it’s probably good to know so it doesn’t affect your relationships with friends going forward. I don’t think it would hurt to ask questions in this situation.
  7. Sonia
    Closure is like picking at a painful wound. Nothing useful comes out of it. (I say useful because deep down, you already know the short answers to the ‘ifs’ and ‘whys’still niggling at you and whatever new information you get is not worth the emotional upheaval it elicits, especially if you’re already trying to move on. For instance, the confession that you were just a game to them).

    Sought closure once with an ex and we sat for hours picking and prodding at the remnants of our a dead relationship, my heart breaking with every utterance. I was just a mess of raging emotions I didn’t need at all.

    Picking at the wound won’t heal it. Be content with that underlying knowledge that nothing you both say will change the status quo or the reason you broke up and let time do what it does best.

  8. vanilla
    Closure = find another distraction. QED.
    The moment someone new and exciting comes along, respects me and treats me good, i am okay. No need for closure

    In teh name of closure, u can sometimes you can ask questions and all but see ehn, most times, when the next (always better than teh previous) comes….you good.

    Closure is over rated abeg but what do i know, i have been called ‘cold heart’ too many times anyway.

    1. thetoolsman Post author
      lol cold heart. Not quite sure finding another distraction = closure. Sounds more like suppressed emotions and can lead to regret. I think some form of closure is fine, as long as you’re in control of it – you don’t even need the other party, you just need to come to a place of conclusion before moving on. However, if you don’t and you move on to the next, you might still end up struggling with the emotions if you even encounter this person in the future.
      1. vanilla
        Oh well, distraction isn’t really = closure if you go about it the wrong way; having sex with everyone you meet (if it is great sex though, it can distract alright …lol). Maybe i should say, it is easier when you open yourself up for new possibilities, go on dates, find another decent wo/man, laugh and dance instead of curling up and doing all that sob-story stuff.

        So many times you see people want to ‘die put’ on a rship that has ended instead of moving on, they find 1000 reasons why it is this one person that is for them. That is a big lie from hell, otherwise, how will people who marry then divorce or become widowed get to remarry??

        The truth is,almost, always, i see the signs that the relationship is not working out …instincts are there! So when rship ends, its easier to deal with it because i must have mentally done the work which i call ‘deal with it or quit it. Unfortunately, most people prefer to use the ostrich style and pretend all is well until they crash (long suffering) then start checking corners of their house for this elusive ‘closure’. Is it really that serious??!

        For me, it is always ‘closure fún kíní?’ because i find a reason inside the rship why it wont/cant work then do mental closure before i walk!!

  9. Larz
    I have tried to seek closure before. Some oldies here will probably remember an ex from a seemingly good rship when wanted out. We stayed friends but I couldn’t understand for the life for me why he didn’t want rship.

    Did it yield any great results? Not really. Was it necessary for me to do it? Yes because knowing me if I didn’t, I will probably keep wondering if I should have.

    In life we will ALL (yes including you toolsman) do things that are not totally logical at least once in our life. It happens. That’s just life.

    What is the new strategy around here. Seems to be less articles. Is this deliberate?

    1. thetoolsman Post author
      Yes I remember your story and yes I agree that you’re allowed to do things that are not logical – heck the conclusion of my article says we will all probably continue to seek closure no matter how logical we are. I think what’s key here is not that we shouldn’t seek closure but the HOW. It should be you taking charge and shutting that door and not leaving it up to someone else.

      As for strategy, less is sometimes more no? We’re trying out some new things – we’ll be expecting your feedback.

      1. Larz
        Yes less is more. I was struggling to keep up at some point. I usually get a newsletter / article whenever there is a new strategy being launched. I didn’t this time. What’s the new strategy? Or is it in the pipeline?

        Also, how do we give feedback? Not sure if the comments section is always appropriate

  10. OluOlu
    I still loved and found it hard to let go. Not because I didn’t want to, but because it wasn’t easy reining in my emotions. Logic says close the door yourself and move on, the reality is that you still love the person. It becomes more complicated when, despite the fact that you were hurt or betrayed by the person, you still feel something. It is at that point that all the questions keep coming in. The love you have for the person didn’t just emerge in one day, so it will definitely take time to fade. Time can be a friend and an enemy.
    For me, seeking closure was more like asking both her and myself; is this the end?
    ‘Ashes and Wine’ by A Fine Frenzy couldn’t have put it better.
    “Is there a chance a fragment of light at the end of the tunnel a reason to fight? Is there a chance you may change your mind? Or are we ashes and wine?”
    1. thetoolsman Post author
      Sigh.. I totally get where you’re coming from when you say these things take time – agreed. Wallow and mourn all you want, do you really need the other party to do this do? And my question is, if you were being honest with yourself, didn’t you really know deep down, the answer to the question of if this was the end?
      1. OluOlu
        Depending on the specific circumstances, the other party may be needed, to clarify issues. But generally, no.
        I knew, to a very large extent, but the heart will always hope and I think the heart should be allowed that little window of hope, only long enough to not jeopardize future possibilities.
  11. G B
    I broke up very recently with someone. It was @thetoolsman‘s article about Friendzone Bandits that kinda made me snap out of the “trap” my relationship had been. Turns out Le Ex was not (currently) shagging best friend, but had had a couple of “mistakes” with two other dudes and made out with three others. She confessed to her best friend and I only found out about after I gave in to my growing paranoia and read her messages with her friend.

    I really, really want closure in the sense that I want to ask her if I really meant anything to her at all. I want to ask her “why did you waste my time?” and other questions in that line.

    But I know it’s gonna be a waste of time. It’s her issue.

  12. G B
    You’d be a bit surprised if I hadn’t, wouldn’t you? Especially with all I just listed. 😃
    Yeah, the questions were rhetorical​, but it would be a lie if I said I didn’t wanna ask.

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