I had coffee with a friend this morning and she brought up a guy I was briefly enamored with a few years ago. I’m the kind of person that doesn’t find an intellectual connection with someone very often, because I’m interested in weird things like religion and aliens and philosophy so like, for instance, when I can have a conversation with someone about conspiracy theories surround Thomas Merton’s death, I’m like, half in love already. That kind of connection is so rare, it burns like fire and creates an infatuation all on it’s own.
This happened with the man in question, and that kind of mutual awe you feel when you have such great conversations is something you both acknowledge. He said he was just as happy and we shared some particularly steamy hook up sessions. But he also said he wasn’t right for me, without explanation, and without having his actions speak louder than words. So because of the rarity of the connection and the mystery of severing it, I had a hard time moving on from him.
If he had made a sincere explanation, that made logical sense, of course I would have been able to let him go in a more timely manner. You don’t hold onto something that makes sense, you hold onto mysteries. Mysteries are what keep you up at night, wondering, trying to solve them. If there’s no question to answer, you’ll just stop asking it and move on. In Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert Prisig says, “You are never dedicated to something you have complete confidence in. No one is fanatically shouting that the sun is going to rise tomorrow. They know it’s going to rise tomorrow. When people are fanatically dedicated to political or religious faiths or any other kinds of dogmas or goals, it’s always because these dogmas or goals are in doubt.”
I think it’s the same with breakups. When you understand why you are broken up, you can mitigate lingering feelings of affection. You can close the book on that chapter. Unanswered questions are what keep you opening to that same page, day after day. It’s the uncertainty that fuels us to keep considering the relationship, going over and over it. There’s always a sense that if we go over the limited information one more time, we’ll come up with a different answer.
When you consider your past relationships, which ones stand out? Are they the ones that had a clear ending? Where you understood the death of the relationship? Probably not.
They are the ones that left you holding the bag, left you to write the last chapter with your own biased imagination. I think this should help us all the next time we want someone to stop calling or texting. Give them a peek into your psyche. Being able to answer their questions will allow them to move one. They won’t keep pestering you trying to write a new chapter, when you’ve co-written a conclusion that makes sense.