How to Move On When There’s No Closure?
Moving on when there is no closure is hard. This can happen when:
- someone dies
- someone ghosts you
- when there is a bad relationship break-up
- there is a sudden disappearance (runaway, kidnapping? sex trafficking?) where a crime is suspected
- you’re unexpectedly fired
Closure is important so that we can understand what happened. When we care about a relationship, we need answers to help us make sense or things – whether we like those answers or not. It allows us to accept so that we can move on.
When we don’t have closure, it can feel traumatizing. Life can freeze frame in that spot. It’s like we have no hope of ever resolving our conflict, getting the approval we need, being forgiven, ever feeling the way we did at our most amazing again, achieving our dreams, or just seeing that person’s face again.
So What Do You Do When the Door is Closed?
If you have no contact because the other person is requesting it, honor the request. It’s a way to practice healthy boundaries. No means no. Trust that they know their own mind and whatever information they are withholding is enough to make your relationship a thing of the past. Maybe it has nothing to do with you. Maybe it has everything to do with you. Either way, it only takes one person to call the end of a relationship, and they’ve done it.
While you may think that you just need one more conversation, this rarely is true. You’ve probably had many conversations where each of you didn’t hear each other and nothing changed. If it were that easy, you would have fixed it before. Healing starts with honesty.
What you can do it take control of getting your own closure.
If you have unfinished business with someone, write it down. Create a love letter, a hate letter, a “where are you” letter. Whatever it is you feel, get it out. Your uncertainty needs an outlet. Write about your feelings. Take responsibility or your stuff. Writing things down may not answer all of your questions, but it often clarifies the way forward.
If the uncertainty is due to being terminated from a job or being passed over for a job, do an honest personal inventory about your qualifications and professional presentation. If there is something you can improve to enhance your chances next time, do that. If you find yourself chasing your tail wondering if it’s due to racism, classism, gender, preferential hiring, or something like that, stop. Let it go. Accept that there are some things that we will never know.
If your dream requires you to have an extra leg, be a different gender, or be younger than you are, it’s time to let it go. Some doors were never really open. Acceptance is the only way forward.
If the uncertainty is due to a missing person, lean into your faith. Do what you can to learn the truth, then accept the uncertainty. That’s not a satisfying answer, but it is the answer. There are times in life when we just don’t have the answers or response that we want. All we can do is accept it. Moving to a place of acceptance IS moving forward.