At what point are we starting to bring unnecessary pain onto ourselves? At what point are we the ones creating additional conflicts in our lives?
I don’t know if I believe in closure, but I’d like to. It’s enticing. Unkindness can be absolved, anger can dissipate and pain can be released as gentle and easy as undocking a boat and watching it float downstream. Closure is the fantasy lie we moan that we need in order to move on because closure would answer all of our questions.
But the thing, of course, about answering painful questions is that it always prompts new questions – and new questions and new questions, until your heart wrenches and cracks into more and more pieces, and if you weren’t restless and flailing before, you sure as shit are now as you realize that you are damn far from having all your loose ends nicely tied up. So you search harder and more often for those answers, you check often, you look for any signs of something that might bring clarity until this “harmless” action becomes a habit.
A part of you might know that the real answer lies in deleting this person from your life. A part of you might consider that at some point years ago, when social media didn’t exist, when we weren’t so plugged in to each other, it might’ve been easier to move on, because at least we wouldn’t have had to have little reminders of our exes hanging about all the time.
There’s likely another part of you though, and it is often stronger than the part of us that houses truth. It’s the part of you that makes excuses, that worries that you’ll seem crazy if you were to block your ex, or – even worse – seem like you still care. It’s the part of you that worries that you’ll seem unkind, that they’ll take it personally or think that you hate them. But these excuses are a mask for what’s at the deepest root of why you won’t block your ex: the fact that you don’t want to cut off your supply.
At the point that a relationship ends, whether by breakup or ghosting or something even more passive, there is a stoppage to the information that you’re privy to about that person’s life. Social media so conveniently allows for a small trickle of information to keep coming in. And there’s a dangerous part of us that really likes getting that information.
So we keep our exes amongst our list of followers and followed like relics, letting them hang like dead weight over our lives, grinning through our teeth that we are just fine this way, just fine.
But the part of us that keeps our exes around is also the part of us that’s insecure, that’s afraid, that lacks confidence about the future.
This is the part of us that we don’t really want to live from, because to live from this space is to stay hollow and small. The thing, though, is that to break out of it is foreboding and scary.
Foreboding and scary – just like the challenge of living with important, unanswered questions. Just like the brave action of hanging out and setting up camp in discomfort.
Because the best unanswered question you can challenge yourself to live with is what it’ll be like to live without the “answers” that social media can provide. The best discomfort that you can throw yourself into is the space where you no longer have access to information that does nothing but harm. This is the unknown, and while it feels unsafe from afar, it’s quietly, secretly the real place of release.
So maybe it’s time to block your ex, out of kindness for yourself and without remorse.
Time to free up some space; tie up your own loose ends. Stop living with the questions you shouldn’t have to keep around. There are too many others that deserve your attention.
By Kathryn Stanley