Lack of Closure Distressing
Q: I recently had a five-year love relationship end abruptly after it became apparent that we both needed to be near our families. My family is in the UK, and I plan to move there soon. Her family is in the US. We agreed to separate, which was tough, but we ended up seeing each other a few times more over a final 6-month period. Two weeks after my last visit, she met someone new and I never got to see her again. There was no nice letter, no heartfelt phone call, just a short email, which I thought was low-class. The lack of closure really screwed with me for a few months. Am I deluded to expect a meaningful goodbye from such an important relationship? Very little has been offered by her to help me understand why this happened. What makes people act like this? -- Neal, 39
Dr. Susan: I agree that it shouldn't have happened this way. My guess is that she had already separated from you emotionally before she stopped communicating with you. It's possible she met the new fellow during that last six-month period, or perhaps she really did meet him a couple weeks after your last visit to her. Regardless, she seems to have adapted quickly to being with him, and really, that doesn't have anything to do with you. Expecting her to "explain" her former attachment to you, as well as how she got so quickly attached to someone else, might be asking too much. What a rotten way to end things! But they were over anyway, or soon would have been, so all the rest is just something painful to accept. What you're asking me is how a woman can be so unfeeling after five years together. Just put it down to rude manners. Ouch. But time to move on.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.