Hey fam – today we’ve got a something special for you… a guest post from an up-and-coming entrepreneur, Marshall Cook, about moving on from a relationship when you have no closure.
Marshall works with millennials who want a leg up in their branding and who are looking to achieve high-performance. I’ve been following him the last two months and there’s no question he’s given me a bit of a “push,” especially if I’m feeling slow in the morning (his hunger is contagious). He’s a hell of a guy, and suffice to say, he’s been killing it on his blog motivating people to get more out of their life.
So… if you’re looking to maximize your business’ imagine or are just looking for a good source of general inspiration (and it’ll be hard not to come away with some of that once you hear his story below about his devastating breakup with no closure), make sure you check out his site www.marshallbcook.com
You won’t regret it.
But now on to the article… take it away Marshall.
HOW TO MOVE ON WHEN YOU HAVE NO CLOSURE
I’ve been single for 4 years and 1 month.
That’s a record for someone like me. Since the mere age of 13 I’d always had a girlfriend – one after another.
But my last relationship changed all of that. I don’t think that way anymore.
We were together for six years… and when it ended, it ended like that.
No closure. No conversation about what was wrong. No “let’s work this out one more time for the hundredth time.”
I felt paralyzed after the break up.
How could I move forward with no closure?
Well, it took some time, but here are some of the things I learned:
Stage 1: Processing The Wreckage From A “No Closure Breakup”
It’s inevitable after any breakup you’re going to reflect on what happened. But this is especially true when the relationship ends with no closure.
My process of moving on with no closure was extra complicated by the fact that there was a four year old involved, my son. I now had to face the realization that I would be a single parent – a role that has unfortunately become the new normal in society, but still didn’t make me feel any less guilty about. I was haunted by the feeling that I failed at keeping a family together.
Looking back, I may have ignored some of the earlier signs that the relationship was falling apart. Our agendas had changed, we disagreed about everything, we fought all the time, and I was spending less time at home to build my business for the family.
I couldn’t have been more tunnel-visioned.
I felt that no matter the struggle and strains of the relationship, it would make us stronger as a unit. I even thought that she was supposed to just “deal with it” when we had problems. No matter how toxic it became, I believed it would get better over time. So when it ended instead, I was blindsided.
(Note from Pat: This is actually really common with guys in drama-filled relationships. Men tend to double down and rationalize the conflict in a romantic light; meanwhile, she is usually planning an exit. Leaves you on your back feet. I’ve been there brother – it’s brutal.)
Stage 2: Learning To Be On Your Own After A “No Closure Breakup”
That first full year of being single was hell. It seemed like I was worse off. I was clueless of what was happening in my life and why it it was happening.
Not only had I left the job that I had been using to fund my business, I was no longer even actively building my business! I was in a rut.
This was my first introduction to depression. But ultimately there was a silver lining: for the first time, I realized I had to deal with all these emotions and problems on my own.
We get into relationships sometimes because we don’t want to face our issues. Instead, we share/dump them on our spouse. We hold them responsible for our shortcomings.
When its just you, however, you can’t do that. You can’t deceive yourself. You see exactly what your made of. You can either confront your own personal issues or evade them and suffer longer. Your choice.
Through this event, I started to understand why we need to be alone sometimes: to discover ourselves. To confront our insecurities, uncertainties and demons. Everyone has had or still has a fear of being alone and because of that, we tend to want to give ourselves to someone just to make the pain subside.
It’s our selfish nature. But it doesn’t make things in the end better.
(Note from Pat: You’ve learned the truth here about relationships and why so many of them are so dysfunctional. People put expectations on their partners to make them feel better instead of dealing with their own issues on their own.
They idealize them as people who will “complete” them, whereas in truth, only they can complete themselves. Expecting a partner to do it only creates pressure, and ultimately nasty fights.
The best relationships come from two people who don’t need each other – they just want each other. “No expectations” is a recipe for stability and respect.)
Stage 3: Finding Peace And Moving On From A “No Closure Breakup”
After a few years I finally got the closure I was yearning for.
What took me by surprise though was that the closure didn’t take place in a formal sit down between both parties to “clear the air” as most people would expect.
It came in the form of me making a decision.
A decision to disconnect emotionally, take responsibility for my actions, and to stop condemning myself for them.
Instead of repeating the same critiques over and over, I began to tell myself a different story: this failed relationship – one that I held on to longer than I should have after it ended – was not the end of love but the end of a version of myself and chapter of my life.
Closure is deciding to let go of something or someone and understanding that you can keep the good memories and dismiss everything else. It’s accepting that the experience itself was worthwhile. You’ve learned what worked and what didn’t work so that next time around you can be better for someone else.
Experience – both good and bad – is the greatest treasure of life. It is the experience that makes us feel alive, and any pain from it somehow only strengthens us.
So really, closure is not about getting validation, it’s about accepting the experience and moving on from it – taking its lessons for whatever we can improve upon with us.
As Alfred Lord Tennyson said, “Tis better to have had loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”
(Note From Pat: Boom! You hear a lot of people trying to stalk down their exes and talk about what “happened” between them to get rid of that feeling of no closure. But while there’s nothing per se wrong with that, too often it’s not what’s really going to make them heal (might even pull them backwards!).
Yes, getting forgiven or talking can help, but in the end forgiveness is about you. Do you forgive yourself? Have you let it go? That’s all that matters.
Bravo for figuring that out and using it as a learning experience.)
3 Tips For Recovering If You Break Up With No Closure (What Marshall Wishes He Had Known)
Here are a few tips you can use to move forward if you didn’t get any traditional closure:
1) Give Yourself Time To Heal – Don’t bounce back into a new relationship without first getting yourself together. You know why some men/women say all girls/guys are the same? It’s because they enter their new relationship as the same person they were in the last one.
They bring the same issues, same character flaws and baggage into the new relationship. Someone new is constantly paying the price for the mistakes someone else has made. It’s not that everyone is the same, the problem is that you’re the same.
2) Learn How To Be Alone – Cherish your time being single. This may be one of the only periods in your life when you won’t be not completely tied down. This is the time to find love within yourself and keep a clear mind.
Think of yourself as a house. You establish your foundation, four walls, and arrange all your furniture and decoration. Then when you feel as though the house has reached a point where it can be presented to buyers, you invite people over to see it – to see you. The right woman will see the value and move into your life. Don’t sell a half built house; you’re not only selling yourself short but also damaging the potential of finding someone quality later down the line.
3) Have Patience – We can be honest right? Sex is within arm’s length more than ever these days. Hate it or love it, many people are simply making themselves available for a temporary escape. Depending on what your objectives are, that can be problematic.
If you’re seeking something special, don’t think you’re going to find it in a bar where everyone is drunk and unaware of what’s going on. A woman with standards – who isn’t immediately physically and emotionally available – is going to be a tough catch. You’re going to need to have your best glove on to get her.
Be prepared to work for her attention. You’ll be more attracted to her because of her inaccessibility. Fellas, we love what we can’t have. This is a game of posture; this kind of woman has mastered it and you need to get on her level. She needs no validation from you or anyone else about who she think she is and what she can do. Be persistent and have patience. The real things in life always require time.
Pat here again – Awesome post Marshall, thanks for sharing it with us.
Guys, hope you got some perspective out of this experience. It’s not easy to pick up the pieces of a serious relationship when you have no closure (I’ve been there, heartbroken with no closure twice – wish I’d had Marshall’s advice the first time!), but if it happens to you, make sure you follow the above and keep an optimistic attitude. You’ll always come out stronger.