Breakups are hard, especially when you feel the need to reach out to your former flame to get the final say after the relationship has ended.
While this type of closure can feel like the right thing to pursue before you move on, we asked Therapy For Black Girls podcast creator and host, Dr. Joy Harden-Bradford, if it was a good idea after all, and well, she said not quite.
“A lot of people over-inflate the importance of [closure],” said the psychologist.
While we’d all love for things to be peachy keen after a split, like we see in the movies, and move on with our pride intact, Dr. Joy advises that we need to leave the Hollywood fantasy endings to the big screen and instead focus on what real life looks like after the credits roll in a love that no longer serves a purpose in your life.
“I do think that can look like different things and I think typically when we hear it, it sounds like it is this like final conversation with this person that you get all these questions answered and then there’s some emotional [push to] move on,” adds Dr. Joy. “That is great when we see it in a Lifetime movie, but since real life doesn’t typically work that, there is a lot of pain typically associated with ending a relationship regardless if it was you who initiated it ending or you’re on the receiving end of it, so most times those kinds of conversations don’t happen.”
When you feel the itch to hit up an ex, Dr. Joy suggests that you instead find solace in your circle, or more importantly, in a therapist, who can really help to not only confront but also resolve some of the hurt rather than hold your healing hostage.
“It is important to process everything you’re feeling, but I think sometimes it can be more healthy to process that with a therapist or a good friend as opposed to with this ex because we don’t typically have, like I said, circumstances don’t typically line up with that it’s allowed to happen,” she shared.
“If you’re feeling like you need that, but you need that from this person, then you’re kind of holding yourself hostage,” Dr. Joy explained. “You’re holding your own healing hostage because that person is not gonna give you that.”
And, pushing the awkward post-breakup conversation to happen, won’t change the outcome.
“And even if they agree to have this conversation with you, there’s no guarantee that you’ll get the answers that you want [becuase] they just don’t typically go the way people will think they will. And so, I think it is far better to try to process your grief and your anger and whatever you’re feeling about the end of that relationship with a therapist or a friend, than it is trying to get that from your ex because likely that’s not going to happen.”