How to Get Closure When You Don’t Know Why it Ended

Posted by Heather Gray on December 8, 2016 in Family & Relationships.

I loved you

What do I do when my future husband decides to end our relationship without any proper explanation? Under a month of us separating, he has moved on but still wants to be friends. This has hurt me badly because it feels like 4 years have been wasted.

He’s not talking and all I want to do is get closure and try and fix it but he says he doesn’t know what he wants.

I would greatly, appreciate your advice.


Ugh! This is heartbreakingly painful. I’m sorry that this is your story right now and I hope I can help. I know my advice won’t work for everyone but I certainly hope it gives you some direction and perspective.

Here’s the cold, hard reality of this situation: The only thing you have any control over is how you choose to handle it and how you choose to respond. There is nothing you can say or do to get him to open up, to explain himself, or even to apologize.

At the end of the day, this guy did you a favor. He showed you who he was before you committed your life to him legally.

However, you have a number of choices here. It feels like he has all the cards because he ended the relationship, is skipping the part where you actually talk about it, and now wants to move on. You get to choose, though, whether your moving on includes him in your life at all. You get to decide whether or not you are going to still have any kind of contact with someone who wants to end an engagement and four year relationship without an explanation. You get to decide if you are going to be friends with him.

Is he the kind of friend you want? Someone who causes their person deep, personal heartache and then wants to move on after a pithy explanation that he “doesn’t know what he wants”?

When an engagement ends, it’s just awful and painful and I have sat with a number of people who have lived with and managed this pain. However, at the end of the day, this guy did you a favor. He showed you who he was and how he deals with tough topics before you committed your life to him legally. You’re in a world of pain right now but at least you didn’t marry him.

He has said that he doesn’t want all of you. He won’t explain why but now wants some of you?

When someone ends a relationship with a vague reason, the partner who is left often obsessively starts thinking about every aspect of the relationship, trying to figure out where it went wrong and any signs they may have missed. Doing that for a little while at least isn’t all that bad of an idea. You might grab some takeaways and lessons that you can carry on into your next relationship, whenever you are ready for that.

However, if he is not giving you any concrete explanation that implies it was something you said or did or an aspect of the relationship that he felt like he could no longer live with, you have to believe him. Until someone tells you that you are the problem, there is no point in assuming that you are. He may have just recognized something in himself that wasn’t quite right. Until he says something, there is no point in obsessing. You may love the guy but that doesn’t give you the power to read his mind.

Now, about moving on and being friends, I think that is nonsense and has bad idea written all over it. By ending your relationship, he has said that he doesn’t want all of you. He won’t explain why but now wants some of you? The parts of you that don’t come with a commitment or force him outside of his comfort zone? He wants to be your friend and still not offer you an explanation about why it all ended? I’m sorry but I say “no dice” to this.

In situations like this, it really is best to cut the cord and go radio silent.

I think you have to set some boundaries around what you need and expect going further. It is fine that he ended the relationship. He gets to make that choice. It’s fine, too, that he isn’t ready to talk about it. He gets to have his own boundaries. However, it’s time you put up some boundaries and set some expectations for yourself. A thoughtful explanation on his part, even if you don’t agree with it, is a sign of respect. It respects you and the four years you shared together. If he can’t respect that, he shouldn’t get to have any part of you—no conversation, no quick cups of coffee, no hookups, no social media pings, no texts, nothing.

I’d let him know that you’ve heard him loud and clear. That a marriage with you is something he no longer wants. Explain that you understand that he just can’t offer much in the way of an explanation and that you have no choice but to accept that and to accept that, you simply need to cut off all contact. It’s not fair to you to meet his needs and be his friend while your needs are cast aside because he has nothing to say.

People often try to be friends to put off grieving for the loss of the relationship and that only comes back to bite them in the end.

In situations like this, it really is best to cut the cord and go radio silent. It’s painful. You’ll miss him. You’ll want to call him impulsively. You’ll go through breakup hell for a while but then, someday, when you least expect it, you’ll realize hours in your day have passed without you thinking about him. Later, you’ll realize a few days have passed, and eventually, you, too, will move on.

Even if he meets the need and offers you a respectful explanation, I would take some time apart with complete radio silence before trying to resume a friendship. People often try to be friends to put off grieving for the loss of the relationship and that only comes back to bite them in the end. You both have to grieve this. He might be skipping that part but if you don’t, you’ll be in a much healthier place when you’re ready to move on. Trying to downshift from engaged to friends in a healthy way may be possible for a select few but it’s pretty rare.

For what it’s worth, I don’t think you wasted four years just because the relationship didn’t work out. You learned that you were capable of loving and committing. You learned that you do want a long term, committed relationship and that you are capable of having one. You’ve learned that communication is important and essential to you. In the ending of this relationship, you’re learning about what you deserve, boundaries you should put in place, and what you will and will not accept in your next relationship.

You’re in pain and it hurts. It won’t always feel this bad. Wishing you peace.

 

Originally published: Goodmenproject.com

 

About the Author

Heather Gray Profile

Heather Gray is an executive coach, therapist, and writer with 16 years of clinical experience. Heather regularly writes for Huffington Post, Entrepreneur.com, and LifeHack.org. She is also a Lead Editor and contributing writer for The Good Men Project.

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