Q. I met a girl in high school and instantly fell for her. It seemed like we had a mutual emotional connection — until she broke my heart. After I moved away for school, she texted me out of nowhere saying she was planning to go to my college. We texted for a year, and when she got here we became friends. I could tell she liked me, but she didn’t tell me for over a year.
I told her that although I recognized the special connection we have, I couldn’t trust her enough to be in a relationship — because of how things played out in high school. That was the end of the conversation, but two months later she was pleading with me to trust her. I told her I needed time to think it over.
After more time as friends, I told her I also had feelings for her. Then we started arguing about so many things. She said she was dealing with mental health problems that I wasn’t aware of at the time. It was clear to me that it wasn’t working, and I kept trying to force it. Ultimately, the relationship didn’t work. We tried hanging out as friends after, but it was really awkward. The status of the friendship was up in the air until she called me one day saying that I needed to give her space for three months because she was going to be busy traveling. She ended up not responding for seven months and said that our relationship was toxic and not worth the energy. (She said a lot more but that seems to be most relevant.)
Then she said she hopes to reconnect when we are more stable. This whole experience was hard for me because she was my best friend and the only woman I’ve loved (I have no other dating experience). I also have trouble with the lack of closure. After that message, though, I started thriving and enjoying every day. Even though I still think about the relationship, it causes me less stress over time.
It’s been five months since that message and I’m wondering if it’s worth asking for a conversation to gain closure — or has it been too long?
A. You have closure. A ton of it.
You had honest conversations with this woman about why things didn’t work out. She was clear about her mental health needs and why she wanted space. The romantic connection was rocky from the start, right? There were big feelings, but whenever you got together it was less fun — and too much conflict.
You’ve both acknowledged that and shared your frustrations and sadness. What else needs to be said?
My guess is that you want to tell her how well you’re doing, or to see if she’s in some new, magical place where you can try this all over again. Maybe you’re seeking attention because it’s difficult to date and you haven’t met anyone else who interests you.
My advice is to leave this alone until it feels like history — until you don’t need closure at all. That might take a lot more time.
You’re in college, not long out of high school. Many people around you are in similar situations; they have limited dating experience and are figuring out how to pursue someone they might like. That’s great news — because everyone’s working on it together. Go on some dates. Be kind. Do not confuse drama for chemistry. Try to find good company, as opposed to love.
Get to know new people. It’ll give you some perspective.
You say you’re feeling better, that you’re thriving. Don’t mess with that.
Lots of people here will say there’s no such thing as closure. AND THEY ARE RIGHT. You feel better after that last exchange. If you need this so-called closure, consider that to be it.
Just because you wish things were different doesn’t mean you don’t have closure. Any one of those items you disclosed should be plenty.
Closure is when you let go. It doesn’t require a dialogue.
Send your own relationship and dating questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out this form. Catch new episodes of Meredith Goldstein’s “Love Letters” podcast at loveletters.show or wherever you listen to podcasts. Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters.