What I’ve Learned About Breakups, Closure, and Dashboard Confessional

What You Really Need To Know About Breakups and Closure

My ex and I split about a year and a half ago, and until recently I’d occasionally get the urge to call him and ask a bunch of questions about the end of our relationship. I’ve been dating a lot and really enjoying this phase of my life, but there was also a part of me that would sometimes feel compelled to do a post-mortem of our breakup. I think this urge to get closure is pretty normal. You need a period at the end of the sentence so you can close the book that was your relationship and move on.

The interesting part about my situation is that my ex and I actually had a low-drama split. We kept in fairly regular contact and would see each other when I would go back to Syracuse (where he was still living) for work. Over time that faded to the occasional check in, getting more regular when his dad passed away (awful) and I wanted to see how he was coping, but then fading out again, which felt okay to me. Yet as soon as he told me he would be leaving his job and moving, that urge to discuss everything that had happened popped back up again. I had a whole list of questions that needed asking, because I wasn’t sure when I would get the chance again.

After pestering him a little bit to make plans, we ended up meeting for drinks one night. I was expecting an enlightening, emotional, Elite Daily video-worthy discussion of what went wrong and what we’ve both learned. Instead I felt like I was on one of my many decent but not amazing Tinder dates. We made small talk. I asked him a bunch of generic, non-offensive questions like I do when I’m nervous. We updated each other on our respective friends that the other had met through the years.

It felt strange to be sitting across from a person I’d once lived with, feeling as if we only kinda sorta knew each other. Suddenly that whole list of questions I had felt so compelled to ask seemed about as appropriate as showing up to a blind date and asking what religion you’ll raise the children you share together.

Then it hit me: this Tinder-esque drinks meeting was going to be the period at the end of our relationship sentence. There wasn’t going to be a long, drawn out analysis of who did what and what went wrong as Dashboard Confessional music swelled in the background. We were going to make small talk and then we were going to give each other an ass out hug and I was going to drive away.

An hour or so later we were parting ways. I sat in my car for a minute, reviewing the situation. My post-mortem still hadn’t really happened. I still had no deep insight into his thoughts or feelings about our relationship and its demise. I expected to feel more unsettled than ever, but realized that I was shockingly okay with how the night panned out.

We had a perfectly pleasant time and had ended on a good note, which was important. But I also realized that the closeness and connection that we once shared was gone. We’ll always have great memories and a fondness for each other. We’ll always want the other person to do well and be happy, but it’s a different time and place now. You can care about someone and want the best for them, but that doesn’t mean that you should be in a relationship with them or obsess over a relationship that once was. These realizations alone were enough to serve as the period at the end of the sentence. No further closure/deep hypothetical questions or dramatic lyrics necessary.

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