Something I often hear from clients is that they just want closure. They want to hear the apology. Know why it happened. Be free from all of it so they can move forward. Sounds good, right?
We all want certainty, and we believe it would feel good to wrap up this messy, difficult time in our lives with a bow and put it behind us forever, whether we stay married or not.
The problem with this is we often give the responsibility of this to someone else, thinking that if they just acknowledge our feelings, or say they are sorry, then we would get to feel better.
But what if that apology never comes? What if what they say doesn’t actually make us feel better?
Listen to this episode to learn how to give yourself closure. It is much more empowering to give yourself closure, to decide for yourself what happened, and determine what you want to take with you and leave behind.
I’m Andrea Giles, and you’re listening to the Heal From Infidelity Podcast
episode number 56; Closure. Hello, and welcome to the Heal From Infidelity
Podcast where courageous women learn not only to heal from their spouses
betrayal, but to become the boldest, truest, most decisive and confident
versions of themselves ever. If you know there’s more for you than the life
you’re currently living, but don’t quite know how to get there, you are in
the right place. Stick around to learn how to create a life that will knock
your own socks off. Is it possible? It is, and I’m here to show you how.
I’m your host, Andrea Giles. Are you ready? Let’s dive in. Hello, hello,
everybody, back with another one, episode number 56. I hope you’re doing
well. I hope you are finding the podcast useful.
This week, we’re going to be talking all about closure, okay? I’m just
going to go ahead and jump on in here. So you have heard me say many times
that our brains love certainty. We like to know stuff, so it makes perfect
sense to us that we crave closure, right? It makes sense that we want to
know how to wrap things up in a bow, in a tidy bow, and be able to set it
aside. What is closure? According to the Cambridge Dictionary, it means,
“The feeling or act of bringing an unpleasant situation, time, or
experience to an end so that you are free to start new activities.” Sounds
pretty good, right? We want to wrap it up, make it look pretty, tidy it up,
put an end to it, that tough time in our life. Here’s the problem though.
We usually wait for another person to give us closure, which actually means
we could be waiting a very long time.
So if you go back to that definition, what I find is interesting is it
says, “The feeling or act of bringing an unpleasant situation to an end.”
It does not say, “When somebody comes to you and says, ‘I’m so sorry for
the pain that I have inflicted upon you. Can you please forgive me? And
this is me trying to give closure.'” Nope. It does not say that because we
would be waiting a really long time, okay? So we usually want to hear from
our spouse or our ex-spouse that they are sorry for what they have done,
for what they did. We want to know why they did it. We want to make sense
of it in our brain, but many of my clients never get it. Some of them
actually get blamed for the things that spouse did. If you only did this
and this and this better, I would not have had to do this thing.
There’s not a lot of closure in that, the closure my clients are looking
for. So last week I was working with a client, wrote a long letter to her
soon to be ex, they’re in the divorce process, and she wrote him a long
letter. She said that she didn’t know if she was going to give it to him or
not. Now what this letter was, it was her trying to get closure. So,
because I’m a coach and this is what I do, I asked her a ton of questions,
I asked her, “Why do you want to give it to him?” And she said that she’s
hoping for some better understanding and maybe an apology. I said, “Why do
you not want to give it to him?” Because he may not respond the way she
wanted him to and end up feeling even more hurt. In the end, she decided
not to give him the letter.
Now, let me tell you what’s important here, okay? We look for someone else
to validate our experience. Some of my clients do get that. Some of my
clients do get an apology. Their spouse owns all of it, but so many don’t.
They get the opposite. So then what? How are they supposed to get closure?
How are they supposed to let go of all the things that happen and move on?
For the client I worked with last week, she decided she did not want to
leave closure up to him as he had shown her over and over that he is not
the most trustworthy person. She decided it was a much better bet to give
herself the job of closure because she got to determined what it looked
like on her terms, not on his. So what does this look like? First, I want
you to think about the actual situation.
Some of you listening may not have an actual infidelity situation, but
maybe there’s something else that you want closure for. Some other
relationship. A job, anything that has come to an end. What’s the
situation? I want you to think about it. Now, various people will have
their own version of what happened. You will have yours too. They will have
theirs. In my situation with my first husband, I would be waiting a very
long time for closure as he died before I ever got a real apology or true
acknowledgement of all that I had experienced at his hand. So, what have I
had to do? I’ve had to decide on the story. I’ve had to decide on the story
that empowers me. So let’s go back to your situation, what are some
possibilities? Let’s look. Some possibilities that you might use to give
yourself closure are stories like this.
I just wasn’t a good enough wife, so he had to go find someone better. I
had it coming. I didn’t give him the sex he wanted. I wasn’t a great
housekeeper. I didn’t cook the meals he wanted. I was too demanding.
Sometimes I was cold and distant. What if all those things were true? What
if you were cold and distant sometimes? What if you didn’t always want to
have sex when he did or want a great housekeeper? So what? Do you like the
story that, that makes it okay for him to be unfaithful in the way that he
was? Do you like that story? What’s your answer? Guess what? All those
things could be true and you could also simultaneously be a great wife.
What are the things you did well? What’s the other side of the story? Did
you encourage him? Did you apologize when you realized you were in the
Did you do your best to take care of the kids and be a good mother to his
children? Did you try to understand him and give him the benefit of the
doubt again and again? I bet you did. You would not be listening to this
podcast right now if you weren’t the kind of person that is always trying
to become better. He was responsible for his choices, period, no matter
what, no exceptions. We can always look back and see where we could have
done something a little different. So what? Learn from it and move on. In
closing a chapter in your life you get to tell the story, don’t leave it to
chance. Don’t leave it up to someone else. Don’t give that away. What feels
empowering to you? What offers compassion to you, and maybe even to him?
What feels like love? What helps you to untether yourself from him and
really move forward, whether you’re staying married or not?
Now, to that point, many of you are seeing, guess what? You get to do the
same thing. You to, can decide what happened. You can tell it in a way that
is empowering to you and allows you to move forward. You can tell the story
of your spouse that allows you to continue to love and care for him. We can
make ourselves crazy trying to understand all the why’s and the how did
this happen? Yes, there is wisdom and getting some understanding, there is,
for sure, but doing our own due diligence will not often give us the
closure. We have to still decide. There’s a fine line between doing our own
due diligence and going down a black hole. Down, down, and never coming out
of it. Sometimes those answers will never be enough. As the expression
goes, it can feel like death by 1,000 paper cuts.
Get the information you need to make an informed decision, then create your
own story of what happened, which will allow you to close one door and open
the next. Don’t leave the telling of your story to anyone else. Now, if the
other person or people involved are open to a real, loving discussion, the
goal here is to seek understanding and find some kind of common ground to
work from. Some shared meaning, some compromise. Now I am not in any way
condoning the behaviors of the spouse, but if you are to move forward,
these discussions can be very healing to see where the other person was
when they made the choices they did. See where their brain was, what
meaning they were giving to the infidelity and maybe to things going on
inside the marriage. When you can look at it as objectively as possible,
which I know can be very hard, you can take what you want to take and hand
back the rest.
You will know what’s yours, you will know what’s his, okay? In my current
marriage, sometimes my husband will be hurt by something I said, and when I
find out what he made it mean, I’m like, “Wow, of course that hurt you. I
know I wasn’t thinking that at all, but I can understand if you were
thinking that why it would hurt.” I can understand, even if I don’t agree,
even if I know what my intentions were, and then I can communicate that and
we can find some common ground and go on our merry way, right? We can have
that discussion and move on. Now, I want to tell you some stories about a
few clients. Some are past, some are current, and how they have given
themselves a gift of closure, okay?
One of them came to me after being divorced for two years and he left her
for another woman, and he had all kinds of reasons why he was ending the
marriage. She came to me saying, “I just am in so much pain still. I still
just don’t know what happened to my life. I don’t understand what happened,
why he left. I was willing.” And every time she saw him, she felt really
uncomfortable and miserable. And the work we’ve done together is of her
telling the story in a way that is empowering to her, so she can let go and
move on. She gave me all the information, she told me all the things that
he said to her and I pushed back and said, “Is that true? What is true
here? Is that true? How do you know?” Sometimes there were things that she
said, “Yeah, I could have done better at that.”
But then I asked her, “Okay, what did you try to do in your marriage?”
“Well, I tried to always communicate. I tried to apologize if I needed to.”
Okay, wonderful. So anyway, with this particular client as we dug through
and dug through, she got to a place where she realized that he had made up
some stories about her and many of them were not true. Many, many of them.
And with that information, she was able to from a really clean place, hand
it back to him and not literally saying, “Hey, you said this and you said
this and I don’t own that,” not like that at all. More in her own brain,
just going, “Nope, I’m not taking that on,” and handing it right back,
okay? That’s what she did with some of those stories. And then she was able
to tell the story in a way that felt empowering. He made this choice.
He made this choice because of X, Y, and Z. I had nothing to do with that
choice. I was a good wife to him. I supported him. I took good care of our
family, and this is the choice he made, and I’m moving forward. In our last
call, which was last week, I asked her, I said, “[inaudible 00:12:19] when
we first started, you were thinking about him a lot. And you were feeling
sad, and mad, and hurt, and all the things.” And I said, “Where are you at
now with that?” Her answer was, “I don’t think about him at all, ever.” She
said, “In fact, the last time I saw him, which was at one one of their
kids’ games, she saw him and was like, “Who’s that guy?” It’s like she
almost didn’t even recognize him. He physically looked different to her.
She did not have any pings of pain. It was more like, “That’s this person
that I was married to. I’m not married to him anymore,” and she’s in a
She was able to give herself closure. She did not wait for him. Very
similar situation with another client where he left her. She was left
reeling, wondering, blaming herself, feeling less than, and I took her
through the same process, really sorting out what’s true. What’s not true.
What are you handing back to him? What are you taking responsibility for
that you don’t want to take responsibility for, that you want to hand back?
And over time she was able to do it. She was able to give herself closure,
to give herself love and grace and forgiveness for the part that she wanted
to clean up in herself, the parts that she wanted to own and hand back the
rest and give herself closure and let go and move forward.
One more. This is a client who chose to stay in her marriage. We had many
conversations of her wandering, what happened? What happened? What
happened? How could this happen? How could this be? And I took her through,
and helped her determine what happened. Helped her determine where he made
choices that had absolutely nothing to do with her. I helped her come to
her our own truth of what she wanted to believe about her husband. She
still wanted to believe that he was good and that he made a mistake and
that she chose to stay. She chose to want to continue to build a life with
him, but it came from a place of closure. It came from a place of being
able to shut the door to the past and rebuild a life together. In all three
of these cases, they decided that they had all the information they needed,
everything they needed and then they chose to let it go, and they did chose
to move forward and to give themselves to gift of closure.
You can give yourself closure too. You don’t have to wait. You can decide.
You can dig through. You can ask, “What am I responsible for? How did I
show up in ways that maybe are not the way that I want to be?” But every
time their choices are always there’s because however you’ve showed up,
it’s always the other person’s choice to interpret it how they want, to
decide what they make it mean. That is on them, my friends. They chose to
make the choices they did. We can decide that we want to show up in
different ways. We can decide that we want to grow in certain ways, but we
can also tell the story in a way that is empowering. I know that you people
listening are good people. I know that you’re good. I know that you have
good intentions, I know you have good hearts, and I know some of you have
made mistakes yourself that you’re not proud of.
What does grace sound like? Forgiveness for yourself. Giving yourself grace
that you’re human, flawed, and always will be. You always will be, my
friends. So will I. What does grace sound like? What does it feel like? How
can you give yourself compassion? How can you look at the situation and
decide what happened from a place that shows love for you so you can let it
go and move forward? If you’re choosing to stay married and staying in the
relationship, how can you choose to see this story as one of empowerment of
where you’re going? How can it make you stronger? How can it be a building
block for something that needed to tear things down to be able to start
from scratch and building the most amazing relationship?
How is that possible? How is this the crisis that your marriage needed to
shake things up and help you learn the way that you want to be married? It
really can be a gift. You really can give yourself that story and then you
make it true. That’s what I have for you, my friends. Thank you for being
here. I will see you next time. Buh-bye Thank you for listening to the Heal
From Infidelity Podcast. If you would like to be kept in the know about
upcoming free classes, new podcast episodes, and other ways of working with
me, go subscribe to my weekly email. You can subscribe at
andreagiles.com/lies-about-infidelity/. Again, it’s
andreagiles.com/lies-about-infidelity/. I will see you next time.