Dear Deb: How do I get closure so I can move on after my divorce?
How do I get closure? I know my Ex has had many affairs throughout our 24-year marriage; however, he denies everything. I really need the closure . . . is that weird?
Not weird at all. It sounds like your Ex not owning up to the cheating is keeping you stuck in a loop of wanting but not getting your hurt and anger acknowledged by the person who caused it. Your frustration is understandable but you don’t have to languish in limbo. Here are some ways to move forward:
Define What You Mean by Closure
Closure can mean different things to different people. On the surface, it’s what you believe you need to say, know, or have said to you before you can let go and move on. It could be wanting to know how they could do such a thing or wanting them to admit and recognize the carnage they caused in your life and apologize. The problem is that anything that depends on the cooperation of your Ex is dicey at best.
By waiting for an Ex to do or say the “thing” that will give you closure, you’re giving them a great deal of power over your wellbeing. Power they don’t deserve. The good news is that you can get a healthy form of closure without the participation of your Ex. It starts with taking the focus off of your Ex and putting your energy into your life right now.
If you’re holding out for your Ex to be a part of your closure process, it can be a form of resistance to moving on by not accepting what has happened. True closure is about you, not your Ex. It’s the ability to learn from the past and release it, and it starts when you begin to accept the situation as it is. It’s usually not a big ‘aha’ moment but a process that unfolds over time as you work on your healing.
Release the “Why”
Part of letting go is realizing that not all of your questions have answers. If they do, the answers will not make you feel any better and undoubtedly lead to more questions. It’s natural to want to make sense of your Ex’s actions and decisions. Especially when you find out the person you thought you knew has betrayed you.
There’s a belief that knowing the reasons will give you some sort of peace. Assuming you can ever really know someone else’s logic, it might give you a sense of temporary relief at best. But it won’t last because there will always be judgments, doubts, and more questions. Energy spent trying to unravel your Ex’s past motivations is energy you’re not putting toward healing in the present.
The irony? The sooner you let go of wanting to understand their “why,” the sooner you will get to actual peace.
Trade Closure for Healing
Proceed with caution and awareness in the quest for closure. When the need for closure is overpowering, it can delay the healing process. If you’re endlessly dissecting the end of your marriage looking for closure, you’re giving the past too much power. Ultimately, closure comes naturally as you take proactive actions to heal and recover.
Bottom Line: The best way to closure is turning your energy to what you can do right now to start healing, rebuilding your life, and rediscovering your joy by:
- Taking care of yourself physically, mentally and emotionally
- Gathering a support tribe that includes good friends and family who will be there for you
- Deciding you’re going to use your divorce experience to learn about yourself and grow
- Actively supporting yourself and your recovery with a combination of therapy, coaching, books, courses and support groups
- Giving yourself your own love and compassion
- Avoiding numbing yourself with drugs, alcohol, shopping, or jumping into a new relationship too soon
If you’re struggling with letting go, get support through therapy or coaching. Asking for help when you need it is smart and can help move you past the slumps and bumps.
- Get a free copy of my top-selling book Something Gained: 7 Shifts to Be Stronger, Smarter & Happier After Divorce for tools and insights to recover, heal and thrive! (You just pay for shipping.)
- Join my new Thriving After Divorce Facebook Group!