I probably could have written the Modern Love essay, Exit Left, Wordlessly, in this past Sunday’s New York Times. Not that I could have penned it better than writer Aimee Lee Ball, just that I have a story which is frighteningly similar. Ball’s tale is about breaking up with a man only to have him resurface eight years later for round two. But instead of the happy ending that would ensue in Rom-Com Land, after a few months of “too good to be true” dating, the man disappeared from her life without explanation. “No message. No note,” she says. I refer to this dating phenomenon as ghosting — when a man disappears without a trace.
“Ambiguous loss” as Ball calls it, is a particularly heinous and cruel way to have a relationship end because you’re left without any indication of what might have gone wrong.”[It's] unfinished business, without closure or understanding,” Ball explains. Keep reading »
If anyone ever figured out how to bottle the ability to achieve closure after a relationship ends, they would be rich and famous. As someone who has stumbled in finding closure a few times in my life, all I can say for sure is how it feels. It feels peaceful; it feels freeing, like taking a rock out of your shoe. It is the moment a chapter in the book of your life has been written, read, reread, and filed away for posterity. No matter what the situation, closure is a feeling that comes from within. Sometimes you have the other person there to debrief with and that can be helpful, like when I met up with an ex-boyfriend to compare notes on our relationship. It was an incredibly therapeutic experience that helped me close the door on the relationship once and for all. But let’s be honest, it hardly ever happens like that … Keep reading »
When my boyfriend Alex and I broke up, there wasn’t any of that traditional end-of-relationship stuff. No drawn-out arguments, no trading-back of stuff, no dividing of friends. In a way, I suppose, this should have made things easier—no muss, no fuss. Looking back, however, I wish our breakup was harder and a bit more involved. Maybe that way, I would have come to a place of closure sooner (if “closure” actually exists).
Not that we even had the option of participating in a three-part soap opera ending. Alex and I had a long-distance relationship (which was ultimately our downfall), so even if I wanted to bring the drama or “see him one last time,” it wasn’t even really possible. Because of our physical circumstances, we had mainly connected online when things were good. In the bad times, and in the aftermath, however, I came to see that I was still attached to him by the internet. Months later, when I was still hurting inside, I realized I needed to end all virtual ties with Alex to move on. Keep reading »