What Exactly Is Closure and Why Are We All So Desperate For It?

Closure: The bringing to an end. Conclusion.

So that’s what it is. It is a finale. An acceptance that something is over. A termination.

But if we are speaking about relationships then I think closure is something else. Something different. Something more ethereal.

When my ex-husband and I split up and he concocted our separation agreement in about three minutes and then told our lawyers “She needs money and I need closure.”

You see the lawyers thought everything was flying just a little too quickly (for their benefit or my preservation, I am not sure). But I was willing to sign whatever he concocted because YES I did need money. But I also felt horrendously guilty. I had fallen in love with another man and that sure as heck made me the bad guy. I figured I could be a little less bad if I didn’t fight. So I agreed to whatever terms he set out even though my lawyer counseled me (and made me sign something affirming that I was agreeing to something against her counsel) that what I was accepting went against the letter of the law.

But ya see my hubby was a spurned man. And he needed closure. He needed me to get gone. He needed to free up his emotional “space” to make room for his new love who happened to be the ex-wife of my new lover. It’s a long story and if you need to know you’ll just have to go back and read all my blogs.

But here’s the thing: he said he wanted closure.

But how could there ever be closure? We have a child. We are co-parents. We have mutual friends and my family still likes him and believe it or not some of his family still like me. So where exactly is the closure? It wasn’t like I was jetting off to Santorini to live out my life while he enjoyed harsh Canadian winters in the company of our child.

We were absolutely destined to cross paths. Make nice. Even have hugs and tears.

Which got me thinking about this seemingly universal desire for closure. Why is everyone so desperate for THE END?  I mean, in my books THE END is when you die. At least THE END of this mortal existence. I’d like to believe there is another great adventure beyond death’s door but in THIS life I do not crave THE END. I crave THE CONTINUATION. Maybe THE EVOLUTION? Maybe the new paragraph, the new reality and the new opportunity. I do not crave the CONCLUSION.

Not even a little.

That guy who I fell in love with, that guy for whom I left my hubby … well, he left me. Four times. I have not seen him in over ten years. He broke my heart bigger and better than anyone before or since. And I still do not want closure. I’d like to see his face. Look into his eyes. Remember the love and forgive the pain. That’s what I would like. Sure there were moments on this journey when I thought “Okay, damnit, I am done with, you scoundrel! I have my closure!”

But it wasn’t real or true. It was false bravado and maybe a bit of wishful thinking. The reality is – at least for me – there is no closure with love. When you love truly and deeply and consciously the love is eternal. Even when your heart is shattered.

So how can there be closure if love is eternal?

I know there are really nasty divorces and abusive spouses and horror stories and dramatic finales. And I know that when these situations occur closure is the desired outcome. Get your business complete and get out! Don’t give that bastard another thought!

And I guess that would be great if it was possible. If you could actually choose the thoughts (and memories and feelings) that created that love and then stuff them into a bottle and toss it into the ocean.

But you can’t. Because memories and feelings and thoughts are like invasive souvenirs. They show up like a velvet Elvis – in the most inopportune and usually questionable situations. But there they are, staring you down. So you fight and you fight and you scream “Get the fuck outta here, I need closure!” … and still they lurk. Maybe you push them back for a spell but they still lurk. And then when you least expect it – they pounce. And that hard-won closure disintegrates into a pile of dust.

My ex-husband and I are cordial and even loving (when it comes to our son and family members). I’m not sure he EVER got that closure which he so desperately sought. I doubt it. Because you can’t close the door on your only child’s mother. I’m in your picture whether you like it or. And you are in mine.

For all time.

Get used to me, baby. You may get your closure when I die.

You also may not. Those “good”memories may haunt you until your dying day.

That other lover of mine, the one who shattered my heart four times … he seems to have moved on and he seems to be gosh-darned happy. Yet when his father died I sent him a text offering condolences. And he was grateful for that text.

When my mother died a few months later he sent … nothing.

Does that mean he got closure and I did not?


It may also mean his is a self-absorbed dick.


What I do know is this: FOR ME closure will never be an end-game. It will never be something I strive for and it will never be a win.

The win is THE JOURNEY.

Yes, I know you’ve heard this a thousand times before but it is the truth. The win is the experience, good or bad. The adventure, successful or not. The relationship, for a lifetime or a year.

THAT is the win.

Closure will never be the win. Closure means shutting down something that was perhaps meaningful and exquisite and shutting it down forever.

I won’t go there.

I do not want closure.

I’ll take memories and I’ll take hope. I will also take acceptance and gratitude. I will take the wisdom I have gleaned and the bruises I have earned.

But I will not seek closure.

My door will always be open …

About winesoakedramblings - The Blog of Vickie van Dyke

Writing is therapy. Wine is therapy. Writing while drinking wine is the best therapy. Reading while drinking can also be fun. Listening while drinking is also fun so check out my podcast! And then there's that book (memoir) that I wrote: Confessions of a Potty-Mouthed Chef: How to Cheat, Eat and be Happy! My life has provided me with a wealth of inspiration. Maybe something here will inspire you too? ~Vickie
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