The One Word That Can Keep You Stuck After a Breakup

How to heal when you can't get closure.

Posted Sep 09, 2020

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Why?
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Why didn’t he tell me he was unhappy?

Why didn’t he want to work on it?

Why did he become so mean?

Why can’t he see that he’s hurting the kids?

Why is he so mad at me when he’s the one who left?

Why is he so unreasonable in the divorce process?

Why do I still miss him after all he’s done?

Why do husbands who are LOVED do THIS?

The whys are buzzing around your head like a swarm of angry bees and you can’t get away from them. If only you could break free. But it feels like you can only break free when you can answer all the whys and that’s where you’re stuck because you just can’t. At least, not yet.

We humans are programmed with the need to understand our lives. When life is predictable, we feel safe. We keep an agenda so we can plan for what’s coming. When something unexpected happens, we need to identify the cause and might even make up some unscientific reason just so that we have some explanation — the need to understand is so strong.

Over the years, so many women whose husbands have suddenly left have told me that if only they could understand what motivated him, why he turned so mean, why he didn’t want to go to counseling, then they could start to move on. That yearning to understand how a loving husband could morph overnight into an angry stranger is normal and understandable. The problem with it is just that you may never get the answer you desire and deserve.

So how to move on without closure? How to move away from the whys? When I was a kid growing up in New York City, if I’d ask a friend “why?” about something, she might respond, “just because." What does “just because” mean? It means, “I dunno. There’s just no answer to the why.

The desperate need to peer into your ex’s mind and fully understand his motivation is keeping you stuck. My recommendation is to take a giant scissor and just snip off the why at the beginning of all those sentences and see what you get:

  • Why didn’t he tell me he was unhappy? becomes ... He didn’t tell me he was unhappy.
  • Why didn’t he want to work on it? becomes ...   He didn’t want to work on it.
  • Why did he become so mean? becomes ... He became so mean.
  • Why do husbands who are LOVED do THIS? becomes ... Husbands who are LOVED do THIS!

When you eliminate the why, you can breathe. You start to accept that this happened, that he did what he did just because, and you can come to a place of acceptance.

Of course you continue to need to know why and over time, you will unravel the mystery little by little. I can help you with that. But it’s the relentless drive to know why right now that keeps you up at night, tormented by the swarm of bees. If you can accept that over time, the information that answers your questions will come to you naturally and that, over time, your mind and heart will evolve to be able to absorb what you’re learning, then the bees will slowly fly away so you can rest and continue on your journey of healing.

So the next time you’re struggling with a sentence that starts with why, take a big scissor, snip off the why, and accept the declarative statement that’s left, or maybe just answer it to yourself with just because.

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