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Should I Ask For Closure 4 Months After A Break Up?

Question:

I met this great guy who I thought I was gonna get married to. We were very compatible and we had the same outlook in life. Everything was great until his parents got involved. He slowly stopped calling me and checking on me over the months and eventually I confronted him with this. He said that he was struggling b/w us and his parents. One of the reasons they were against me was because of my religion. I broke up with him because I was so upset that he would be so influenced by his parents to let them come between us and that he couldn’t choose me for me. He briefly mentioned to get back together, but I needed reassurance that what happened won’t come between us again and I said that I couldn’t. He asked for friendship but I knew that I couldn’t be friends with him. It’s been five months now that we haven’t spoken. I had asked him to never contact me, in hopes that I would get over him. He never contacted me, and I still think about him. I miss him a lot and feel that he is probably the closest of a perfect partner that I could find. I don’t know what to do. I can’t seem to find closure of what has been said and what happened. At the same time I don’t know if it’s too late to ask for answers and to find closure. I don’t want to loose my dignity and respect either for asking now. I don’t know what to do. I’ve been torturing myself with this whole thing for so long. Please advise!

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Answer:

Sometimes when we are attached to something and that thing dies, it takes us a long time for the death of the thing to register. It’s not that we don’t know that the thing is dead; we do know that intellectually. It’s just that the emotional attachment we have to the thing persists and we continue to desire reunion with that thing long after reunion is not possible. This process of living through the period of time between when the thing dies and when we are ready to accept at an emotional level that the death has occurred is called grief.

This is a very sad thing that has happened for you. Your former boyfriend was put into a position where he had to choose between you and what his parents want for him and he made his choice in favor of what his parents want for him over you. I don’t doubt that he cared for you very deeply, but when push came to shove, he cared for his identification with his parents and with his religion more than he cared for you. He did not have the courage to tell you that he had made a choice. He may not have admitted it to himself consciously, but he did "vote with his feet" by distancing himself from you until it was obvious and you confronted him. You did absolutely the right thing by standing your ground and not allowing him to devalue the relationship by trying to convert it to a friendship when that is not what you desire. Some other people in your situation would have caved just to keep the relationship going, and that would not be good for them self-esteem-wise. The price of you keeping your dignity is, unfortunately, that the relationship has died. The right thing to do now is to move on and find another man. This is so very hard to do sometimes, however. You’re still in love with this guy (or with the idea of who you thought he was) and you don’t want to move on.

You say that you want closure, finality, and I appreciate that you want some event to happen that will snap you out of your trance and allow you to get unstuck emotionally and move on one way or another. But be aware that if the closure you need is something that only this man can give you, that you have made yourself hostage to his whim and no longer have control over yourself and your own emotions. What would closure look like? We already know that this man is somewhat cowardly and doesn’t come out and say the hard things that nevertheless need to be said. If he didn’t say them before is it realistic to think he would say them now? If you contact him, he is likely to try to be friends with you, because that is the path of least resistance for him. He isn’t his own man; he exists to please others (like his parents, and, by not telling you something you don’t want to hear, you). You won’t get what you want, and he won’t have to feel like a bad guy who sends you away. I think it likely that any contact you have with him will only prolong your agony (unless seeing him not be straight with you helps something to snap in place in your mind).

If you simply must talk with him, that is perfectly fine. You might feel humiliated, but this is something worth humiliating yourself over. It would just be a feeling, and you’d just be working out your grief. You’d get over it soon enough. I don’t think you should avoid it if you think you need to do it. However, my advice to you is to use your smart mind to override your heart, and start to look at the other side of the equation that you avoiding, like why aren’t you angry at him for acting so cowardly, or traditionally? Focusing on how he has wronged you might help you move on. Also, you can focus on how he has done you a favor, because do you really want to be married to someone who will take their parents wishes more seriously than your own? If he is willing to do this now, he will do it again in the future most likely. Is that how you want to live? Take your power back. Force yourself to go out and date when you’re able, and see if something new happens. If you can be open to new possibilities, even if only half heartedly and in the moment, the pain of this loss will lessen.

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