Ideally, a person’s first relationship should be their last. Wouldn’t it be nice to hit a home run on the first try? But oh how fairy tales lie! What is ideal is seldom the reality. The good news is that many people end up finding love, albeit after much pain and tears, so at least the story has a fairly happy ending.
The big question is; what happens to all the former good relationships gone bad? Surely you cannot just move on to a new relationship like nothing happened. Forgiving is easier, forgetting is not a cup of tea. And yet, unless a person has properly moved on, the demons from previous relationships will keep lingering, often suffocating newer relationships and robbing two people of something that could have been truly beautiful.
In short, the key word is ‘closure’. As the famous saying goes; we cannot control what happens to us, but we can control how we react to what happens. So if you have been through one of those traumatic ordeals, the aim should be to find closure. That is the only way to give your current relationship (or future ones for that matter) a fighting chance.
But what exactly is ‘closure’? Some people believe that closure is when you reach a place in your life when you are okay with what happened. However, the fact is that the things that cause breakups can never be okay. Remember the quote, “You said what you said, I felt how I felt, it is what it is”? If we are being honest, I do not know if you can ever look back and think to yourself “What happened was okay.”
I think closure is when you begin to make peace. It does not make it okay, what happened, but you start to move on regardless. You are honest with yourself about what happened, you accept your part in it (if any), and you start to pave a way forward. Getting to that place takes time, but even more than that, it takes effort.
There are stimulants that make closure easier to achieve. It is important to identify what those are, and then begin to work towards them. These stimulants vary from one person to another, because the stories are different, but the one stimulant that usually cuts across is the question ‘why?’ Sometimes it is difficult to move on until that question is answered. If a person was cheated on, for example, knowing why their partner cheated may go a long way in helping that person to get some closure and start to move on.
The psychology of it is a bit fuzzy, but the results speak for themselves. So do what you have to do. Get the answers that you need, but see to it that you reach a point where you decide to lay it to rest and when you do, let sleeping dogs lie. There is nothing that kills relationships more than being there when you are not really there. So make sure that when you decide to move on, you keep your eyes on the road ahead. No rear view mirrors.