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How to cope if you're never going to get closure

Qualified success coach, Ruth Kudzi thinks our need for closure is growing. She thinks this desire can lead to chronic insecurity.

‘In an ideal world we all want closure, we would love to know the reasons why people have behaved the way they have,’ Ruth tells Metro.co.uk.

‘As “ghosting” has become a mainstream behaviour, the need for closure seems to be greater.

‘There is evidence that different people have differing needs in terms of closure and the ability to rationalise what has happened to them and to make sense of it.

‘When we are able to understand how a situation integrates into our beliefs, we can re-figure things as we see fit, so we are able to see how it makes sense and fits together.

‘When closure doesn’t happen, we can be left questioning, “what if?” We no longer own the narrative, which can make us feel insecure and left in a limbo-like state where we are questioning all of our behaviours.’

Ruth says we need to turn our need for closure inwards in order to truly find a satisfactory result.

‘If we are unable to get closure after asking for it from the other party, one way we can move on is to ask ourselves if we actually knew the other person that well.

‘Maybe we didn’t really know them if they are unwilling to have an honest conversation with us. Then we have to ask if we want to associate with people who behave in this way.

‘A second way is by writing a letter to the other party, you can choose to send this or it can be a process that you go through to help you get clarity and move on.

‘The best type of writing focuses on looking at loss through a redemptive lens which focuses on the positives and doesn’t blame the other party.

‘Finally, the brain is great when it is distracted. If you are going through a process where you are feel aggrieved or looking for closure, focusing on a new goal can help you to move through the uncomfortable period more quickly.’

A desire for closure is a natural human emotion and it proves that you cared.

If you’re able to walk away from a significant chapter of your life without any self-reflection, critical analysis or fond reminiscing, then you probably still have some growing to do.

But there comes a point when you have to accept that you’re not going to get what you need.

Your ex probably isn’t going to turn up at your house at 3 am in the rain with a tearful apology and a sodden bunch of flowers. So stop fantasising about it.

Psychologist Rachel Maclynn thinks it’s natural to look back when a relationship breaks down – but that it is important to try to focus your attention ahead.

‘Some of us are predisposed to hold onto the past, whereas others are very much “in the moment” or focus mostly on the future,’ explains Rachel.

‘When a relationship ends, we tend to hold onto the past. We may re-live the best and worst parts of the relationship in our mind while we – in effect – grieve our loss.

‘In order to move on with our lives, we need to close that chapter and start a new one, so that we can focus on the present and future.’

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