Relationship Advice When Someone Disappears From Your Life
Lack of closure in a relationship is something that can linger forever. How do you get closure? If you both agree that the relationship is over, it’s closure. If there’s a big argument that leaves two people unable to agree to disagree, it can be closure.
What is closure? According to Webster’s New World Dictionary, closure is 1) a closing or being closed 2) a finish; end 3) anything that closes. Another definition is "to come to an end." Wikipedia calls closure, in the psychological sense, "a conclusion to a traumatic event or experience in a person's life."
Feelings of Abandonment in a Relationship
Lack of closure can leave you with feelings of abandonment. For most, closure happens when your significant other tells you point blank that it’s over. Both parties accept, agree, and go on with their lives. Clearly, it’s more complicated and hurtful when you don’t want it to end, but the other involved does.
Finally, there’s the worst scenario: when one individual disappears suddenly with no explanation. It’s more difficult because you don’t know the reasons why. It can leave the abandoned partner with a feeling of being used or "having the rug pulled out from under them." What do you do? Call continuously until you get an answer? Send endless emails & text messages that remain unanswered? When there’s no response, it leads to an increased feeling of panic that you’ve been deserted.
Closure is important because it gives one a chance to tie up emotional loose ends with an official ending."
When They Disappear
When somebody disappears with no response, it's not a good sign. It's also hurtful, for sure. Deleting every trace of the person is sometimes the best thing to do, though it's painful.
Think of this: what kind of person comes into your life, takes you on a roller coaster ride, and then disappears? There’s something wrong with that picture. In fact, it leaves you with a sense of complete rejection. Sometimes those who disconnect are never heard from again. They may reappear, however. If they do, that's when one must be strong and not let the person back in again to prevent the pattern from repeating. Otherwise, you’ll be left feeling empty and betrayed again. Unless, of course, there was a legitimate, true reason for the disappearing act, though I can’t think of many legitimate excuses. Can you?
Is He Cheating?
I remember when this happened to me years ago with someone I’d been steadily involved with for about six weeks. We spent a wonderful weekend together, and I thought we were getting closer. Then poof! I didn't hear from him for a week. I called him and left a message, but he didn't return the call. I called him at work. He said he'd been "covered up" with a project. He made no plans with me for the coming weekend. I was very sad and lonesome that weekend. I tried to stay busy, but I had a bad feeling inside.
Then I found out the real slammer the following Monday. He had answered some woman’s personal ad in the newspaper and had begun seeing her! Talk about a slap! May as well have rubbed crap in my face! I confronted him (or tried to). His reaction was, "I didn't want there to be a catastrophe. What do you want me to say? 'Baby baby, come back, I love you?' Cause I’m not!" That was cold and shocking, to say the least. I mean, why the heck couldn't he have just told me he wanted to start seeing somebody else? Sure, it would hurt, but it would have been so much easier. Plus, it would have saved me from developing a poor opinion of him. It was just plain tasteless and degrading. Why not just be honest?
Why the Abandonment With No Explanation?
I'll never understand why some people think that disappearing is the best course of action when you want out of a relationship. It could save a lot of hurt for the other involved if there was open communication. Sure, it hurts to lose somebody, but it's much easier when you're not left hanging, not knowing the reasons why. The end result is a casual brush-off that is demoralizing, to say the least. Especially if you have shared many private things: things you believed were special between the two of you. Then comes the casual "Oh never mind" disappearing act. Unfortunately, actions speak louder than words. Sadly, many people we care for disappoint us in the most demeaning manner. It makes you wonder all sorts of theories. Were they lying all along? What was the true motive? What happened in their life to cause such a sudden change? Why did he/she leave? It is the "need to know" that keeps us from a much needed sense of closure.
Advice for What to Do Now
So what do you do if you’ve been left hanging? How do you get a sense of closure? I’m going to list my suggestions followed by some great resources I found while exploring the subject. My suggestion is to write a letter to the one who left, even though you may not know where to send it. Then, tear it up or burn it. Consider their silence the closure you need. Inaction on their part can act as closure for you. People make a way to do what they want. Remind yourself that if the person wants to talk to you, they will. It has nothing to do with you, but it has everything to do with them. They’re simply saying "yes" to another part of their life.
So how do you deal with the sadness and hurt?
- Stay busy. Renew old friendships & do things for yourself.
- Acknowledge your pain. Don’t deny it. Let yourself cry if you need to.
- Stay away from alcohol and drugs. Self medication is only a temporary fix.
- Don’t start a new relationship immediately.
- Seek counseling if the pain becomes overbearing.
Important to Go on With Life
Lack of closure can significantly affect our lives if we allow it. You can't deny the hurt, loss, and abandonment that accompanies an unexpected departure of a significant other in your life. If we can learn to stop beating ourselves up over the "why and how" of the deserting other, we can turn a negative situation into a positive learning experience. Developing the coping skills necessary to obtain a sense of closure can assist us in forgiving, letting go, and moving on.
© 2009 Annette Thomas