How Many of Your Relationships are 'Unfinished'?
Ever since Game of Thrones came to a miserable end, and Big Little Lies came to an okay end, I’ve been on the hunt for a new series to binge.
Nothing is tickling my fancy so far, so I’ve taken to rewatching How I Met Your Mother, a favorite of mine (that, similarly enough, also had an unfavorable last season).
The show is similar to Sex and the City in that it covers 100 types of different relationships throughout its episodes. There will be at least five episodes that hit you in the gut, and make you say “I had that exact thing happen to me.”
For me, it’s usually every time Barney talks about his blog.
But I was recently watching episode 6x03, called Unfinished.
The storyline in the episode follows Robin. To make a long story short: Robin is a news anchor in the show, and fell in love with her co-anchor, Don. They started a relationship, were living together, and things were great. Robin was offered her dream job, a position in Chicago, but turned it down because she didn’t want to break up with Don. Don was offered the same job, but he took it, and left for Chicago the next day.
So, yeah…fucking rough.
One night, when watching TV, Robin flips onto the channel that happens to be Don’s new show in Chicago.
She proceeds to lose it, get drunk, and leave him an indecent and violent voicemail.
Lily insists Robin deletes Don’s number. The next night, the same thing happens. Robin had memorized his number, and calls Don and leaves another voicemail.
The next day, Robin calls Don and leaves a voicemail to apologize, but ends up cracking and finishing the voicemail with this:
The next day, Lily admonishes Robin, and tells her that unless she stops calling Don, she’s never going to get closure, and Robin cuts her off and says
I am never going to have closure. Okay, closure doesn't exist. One day, Don and I are moving in together, and the next thing I know, he's on a plane to Chicago. It just... ended. And, no matter how much I try to forget that it happened, it will have never not happened. Don and I will always be a loose end. We will always be unfinished.
And it’s true. We all have a number of people in our lives that are unfinished.
I’ve never really understood the idea of closure. I know what it means, I know that people use “closure” to say that they’re looking for answers - but I don’t believe that closure exists.
Sometimes you get all your questions answered, but you don’t agree with the answers your partner gives you. Sometimes you know why your partner doesn’t want to be with you, but you still want to be with them. Sometimes you date someone who lies as second nature, so you know the answers they gave you are only half true, if that.
I don’t think closure ever really happens.
When you get answers, you don’t believe them. When you see someone for a final meeting, you want just one meeting more. When you say your final sentence to them, another one suddenly comes out.
And the painful truth, is that this is what makes you perfectly normal.
You’re supposed to mourn a relationship - any relationship - ending. You’re supposed to linger with your feelings. You’re supposed to be confused, and scared, and nervous, and hurt.
To have ‘closure’ from one final conversation, and then be done with your entire past relationship…is sociopathic.
I still hold a candle for all of my exes - even people I dated for short periods of time. Sometimes the candle is a ‘rage candle’ haha, but for most exes it’s a quietly simmering candle of mutual past love.
I will never be indifferent about someone I once loved. I find that idea almost bewildering.
Is it really love if you can wrap away all of the feelings neatly from a final conversation?
In another TV show that I grew up watching - Gossip Girl - a similar scene transpires.
Serena and Dan have broken up, and are trying to be friends - but it’s proving to be difficult. After a rough night out, Serena tearfully says…
Serena: Classy? Like you asking another girl out our first day back at school?
Dan: We were broken up
Serena: So what, Dan? It hurt. What did you expect? I loved you. And just because we broke up, doesn’t mean I can just turn it off like that.
(The scene starts below around the 3:11 mark)
Also, isn’t Serena’s outfit perfect here? Ugh, Dan was the worst. He didn’t deserve someone so hot.
But the feelings and what she says are true - you can’t just turn feelings off.
I believe that every relationship is unfinished, and the closure never exists - so long as you are in the beginning period of your relationship ending. A closure-conversation won’t get you there. Remaining friends won’t get you there. The only thing that gets you there is time. Which blows, because…that shit takes time.
And that was how Robin got over Don, too. She tried to call his phone number a couple months later, and realized that she didn’t have the number memorized anymore. And just like that…things were suddenly finished.
So to any readers who are currently in the beginning or middle stages of a relationship ending, my internet hugs go out to you. That shit is hard. Trust in time to do the healing for you, and focus on yourself. Give yourself love. Treat yourself kindly.
Ciao for now,