Closure: A Need Or A Want

Time to say  GOOD-BYE

[The embedding feature for this video is disabled by ABC News.  To see the video, which is the context for today’s post,  click here]

If you have never seen the shows “The Bachelor” or “The Bachelorette”, the premise is this: the bachelor/bachelorette chooses between several suitors to pick a wife/husband out of the group.  The suitors go on dates, engage in challenges, and go through an elimination process via a “rose ceremony” (if you are given a rose, you can stay).  It comes down to the last two and the bachelor/bachelorette picks “the one”, the guy often proposes, and the show ends.

My own feelings about the process aside (out of 15 seasons of The Bachelor, and 6 seasons of The Bachelorette, only 2 couples have married), the video from this week’s episode brings up the concept of closure.

A suitor on the current season, Bentley, voluntarily left the show but told Ashley (the Bachelorette) that he wanted to leave things with them as “dot dot dot” and not a period.  What??  I think about my soon-to-be daughter or even my female friends.  If some jabroni told my daughter or my friends  he wanted to leave things open because “maybe things will work out later”, I would have to channel my inner WWE superstar The Rock:

“Dot Dot Dot?  You know what you can do with your dot dot dot?  You take it, shine it up real nice, turn it sideways and [edited for content].”

Getting Over It?

So Ashley the Bachelorette, our heroine, is in Hong Kong, surrounded with a bunch of guys who are all interested in her, and she tells the host she needs “closure” with Mr. Dot Dot Dot who, again, voluntarily left weeks before.  So they fly Mr. 3D out to Hong Kong and once they reunite, Bentley still tries to leave things open with Ashley the Bachelorette. She then becomes angry, tells him off, and walks out.

I feel for our heroine Ashley the Bachelorette, I really do.  She is looking to be loved like we all do, she really liked this guy, and he played her like a game of chess.

Where I’m stuck is why ‘need’ the closure?  Sure he tried to leave things open, and that can mess with your mind.  I understand you have to work a person out of your system before you can move on.  But why see him again to reach that conclusion?

In thinking about my own dating history, the “professors” who taught me about myself, I think about my own need for closure.  As a guy, it’s easy for us to say, “Oh that’s silly, I don’t need closure.  I don’t need to talk to some woman again.  She had her chance, I’m out.”  But how many of us guys have shed real tears, played countless hours of  [insert video game here], drowned our sorrows in [insert beverage of your choice here] and dated someone else to get over a woman who broke our heart?  [Side note: getting over someone = closure.]

Cl0sure depends on the context of the situation.  We generally seek closure when we feel we are wronged or are the recipient of the break-up.  [Side note:  The times we want closure are when we hurt someone else or acted in a cruel, heartless way.  This is not closure we are searching for, it’s forgiveness.]

Ignorance Is…

When we feel hurt or wounded, we seek answers and demand to know the same question: why?  Yet, one of three things tends to happen:

-We will never get an answer.

-The answer we get is most definitely not the answer we wanted to hear.

-We get caught up in that person’s drama (or they get caught up in our drama) and the cycle starts all over again.

I’ve experienced all three scenarios in my past.  Our brains tell us to let it go.  Our friends tell us to let it go.  We say to ourselves how ‘done’ we are with that person.  Then we find ourselves checking facebook, twitter, their blog, or standing outside of their window with a boombox over our heads playing Peter Gabriel trying to get closure.  [Side note: if you haven’t seen the movie, check out the scene here and then watch Say Anything.  It’s a great movie.]

I can sit here and wax poetic about this, but I’m curious as to what you think.

Do you think closure is absolutely necessary or more of something we want?  What are your experiences with closure?  Comment below and let’s talk this out.


[photo by C & More]





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  • Great questions. Closure is definitely something I want, but whether or not I actually need it, I don’t know. I always think that I need it! Sometimes all I need is time, or new perspectives. In terms of dating relationships, I tend to ask for closure because black and white answers make more sense to me. Maybe that’s because I’ve been given the “dot dot dot” before and it leaves me feeling pretty low. I’ve also probably been the giver of that, so I’m not innocent here. I think that closure just helps give me direction as to where to place my hope. If I kept my eyes fixed on Christ at all times, I probably wouldn’t need closure so much!

  • Hey Kyla,

    Is dot dot dot a new phenomenon I’m not aware of? I hear you though, I’ve been on both side of the hurt spectrum. When you say black and white answers make more sense to you, are you saying you prefer the direct, band-aid rip-off method? Does closure make things more…open to interpretation?

    But I hear you about hope. So helpful when things get…messy.

  • Maybe closure isn’t what we think it is. We hope for closure in a relationship but what we really want is a fortune teller. We hope that in closure, we’ll know “for sure” if that person is supposed to be ours until our hair turns grey and we’ve produced 144 grandchildren. We hope that with closure, we’ll know for sure that this person was never meant to be mine and out there, somewhere, is someone just waiting around for me to walk by. Black-and-white answers serve to point me in those directions without me having to wander around hoping and waiting. Although, usually what I want and what I need are completely different things.

  • Dos preguntas: What if a person can’t get a black and white answer or it would be ill-advised due to the nature of the relationship to search that out?

    And after the black and white answers, how would someone handle the “what if” that turns us into facebook status stalkers and causes our friends to want to shake us, hug us, and give all kinds of advice.

    Does the closure come with the relationship that is on paper, or the “what if” that is still bouncing around in our hearts and minds?

  • Hey Kyla,

    I feel like I’m grilling you, I’m sorry. I’m asking questions I think readers might ask, but this isn’t an interview and I’m not trying to put you on the spot, so again my bad.

    I think you’ve hit on several great points, hope and community definitely helps in closure and maintaining sanity afterwards. esp. after 144 grandkids.

    Thanks for the dialogue!

  • Jermaine,
    I’m sorry, I keep forgetting to come back here to respond to your comment. I didn’t feel like you were grilling me, at all. I kept hoping that other readers would chime in because you were asking good questions. Questions that I didn’t know how to answer! I was serious when I mentioned community, but then, that’s my answer for nearly anything. 🙂

  • Pingback: Poetry: Closure

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