Closure: How to Get It

It's been almost two years since my first love and I broke up. The last time I saw him was this past June -- we didn't talk then. I did send him a Christmas card this year, just to say happy holidays. I didn't encourage a get-together or anything like that. My problem is this: I still have, in the back of my closet, a sweater and a baseball cap of his. Don't ask me why I didn't return them immediately after the break up. I can't just give them away. Do I return these things to him? I'll admit, I've always wished we could have been friends, but he couldn't deal with that. So what do I do now? --iaminspired


Sherry Amatenstein

Sherry is the author of The Q&A Dating Book and Love Lessons from Bad Breakups. She has taught dating seminars, appeared as an expert... Read more

Dear iaminspired:

Since, in two years, your ex hasn't demanded his belongings back, it's pretty clear that on his part at least, they are out of sight, out of mind. The problem isn't that you still have these items buried in a closet -- it's that you can't forget you have these items buried in a closet. The reason these items are still clogging your gray cells is that, to you, they're much more than a sweater and baseball cap. Rather, they're the last remaining non-ephemeral link to a lost love.

To help achieve closure I recommend ridding yourself of this link -- not by sending them back to your ex though. It's just too problematic. So why not drop the clothes off at the Salvation Army or a homeless shelter? You'll be doing a good deed for yourself and the recipient of your largesse.

Try not to take it personally that your first love hasn't responded to your overtures of friendship. (But do ask yourself if that's all you want from him.) Some people have a hard time maintaining a post-breakup bond with someone with whom they shared so much. His silence probably doesn't mean he doesn't think of you, just that it's easier for him not to be reminded of what he's lost. You, however, no longer need physical reminders of this old relationship. It's time to move them out of your closet and, consequently, out of your head.

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