Closure. Damn it. I can’t find that study about the different ways men and women deal with breakups. If you happen to know, pass it on, eh? The results, as I remember them, were that men rate breakups differently depending on who they did the leaving, and women found both kinds of breakups equally painful. Also, men were more likely than women to feel that there wasn’t any closure if the woman did the leaving.
Anyway. Closure. We’ve moved into Joe’s place, and the ex-roommate has moved to Denver. Technically, that means that the woman has done the leaving, I guess, because Joe’s complaining about closure. She left some stuff — a microwave and a few other things. I suggested he email her and tell her what she left behind and note that if she doesn’t let him know what to do with it by a certain date, he’ll do with it whatever he likes. But it started me thinking.
I have no problems with closure. When a relationship is done, I’d just as soon be the fuck away from it as soon as possible. Whatever I leave behind — is gone. Books that I’ve loaned out, clothes, letters, gifts — you can keep ’em. This doesn’t mean that I’ve dealt with all the issues raised in the relationship. Oh, no. I drag them on and on. Self-doubt and other emotional scars are carried around for a long, long time. But — I don’t obsess over whether the relationship is truly over or not. I know. There’s a moment — sometimes almost a literal second of time — that I can usually identify as being the point where I never want to see the other person again.
There have been exceptions. My first boyfriend is an incredibly sweet guy that got married to a friend of a friend, and I was happy to see him again — I left because I knew I wasn’t the kind of person that could be happy with incredible, untainted sweetness. And in the other direction, I had to see an ex-boyfriend for a long time after I’d (to put it bluntly) dumped him, because we were both living in the same group house, and that was a situation made of several moments, going from “don’t want to date any more” to “it wasn’t really me, was it? it was you” to “if I hate anyone, it’s this guy.”
The people I don’t have closure with are the old crushes that didn’t get a chance to get going in the first place. Now, they are the people that are going to hang around in the back of my mind for the rest of my life; they have a kind of mythical status up there with a couple of movie stars. The not-quite-real sex idols. Don’t get me wrong. There isn’t anybody that can’t yank on my gonads like Lee when he has a twinkle in his eye. With half-real sex idols, it’s all about what the mind imagines. With the love(r) of your life, it’s what the mind imagines, what the heart delights in, and what the body just plain knows.