1. How do I heal from a breakup without closure?
Closure is a loaded term, and it is hard to assess how this relationship ended without proper context. Judging from the way you have framed this question, I will assume that “closure,” in an external sense, is not a possibility. In other words, you are no longer in communication with this person, and there are no more conversations to be had between you two that could offer some feeling of finality and/or sense of peace.
The key word you have used here is “heal.” What you actually need is less about closure and more about healing. When we recover from an illness or heal from an injury, we are extra gentle with ourselves. We work to address the wound, to be cognizant of a healthy lifestyle and to look for mood-boosts during difficult times. We know that if we don’t give ourselves a break, we won’t get better. Heartbreak — or emotional pain — is not any different. Recovery will take time, patience, self-care and self-compassion.
Healing also is not linear. Sometimes healing is one step forward, two steps back. Sometimes you listen to that one Rihanna song and you feel cured, moved on, ready to be single and eager to mingle. Then, at any random moment, a certain scent in the air on your way back from class or a couple holding hands in front of your path can take you unexpectedly back into a pit of longing and nostalgia.
So as far as my advice goes — let go, but do so with gratitude. In letting go, you are not trying to hold on to who you were when you dated that person. You are not comparing yourself to your ex, or judging them. You are not looking at old pictures of Instagram photos or Snapchat memories or any other form of indulgent self-torture. But you are also not trying to suppress or expel memories of the person that you dated, either. You cannot erase them — and you should not. They are not your story, but they are a part of the experiences that have made you who you are today. Regardless of how you look back at the relationship, it brought you growth, and this growth is what you can be grateful for.
And just because you cannot get that external validation and closure from someone else, that does not mean you cannot find it within yourself. If you focus on personal healing and self-compassion, I think personal closure will follow suit. At the very least, you will have closure in the fact that you really can’t get any closure from this breakup, and that acknowledgement will save you the energy of seeking it.
So when you miss the person that you dated, or you feel angry, anxious or insecure, note those feelings and consider them the growing pains of your healing process. Remind yourself not of who you were before, but who you will be on the other side of heartbreak.
2. How do you get someone to fall madly in love with you, sans spells and crystals?
Although I have recently been feeling the spooky spirit of October, unfortunately, I can’t enact witchcraft for you in this situation. So I am going to start first with the short, and invariably disappointing, answer to your question — you can’t.
You can’t simply make someone fall madly in love with you, and that’s because the experience of love — not lust or a crush or unrequited love — is a mutual, alive and ever-changing thing. Love is a verb. It grows and evolves. It is shared. It doesn’t just happen from one end.
I say that not to discourage you, but to reframe how you view this person of interest.
Without getting too woo-woo or using “spells and crystals,” I do believe that having personal mantras — or manifestations, if you so please — can help you realize and wield your personal power. What if every day you said to yourself that the love you seek is seeking you? What if every day you reminded yourself that you are getting closer to that love? Don’t specify individuals — it doesn’t work that way. You can’t manifest a specific person into your life. But it does help to get clear on the type of person you’re looking for, the type of love you’re attracting.
I know it’s cliche, but I have to say it anyway — you can’t expect someone to love you if you aren’t loving yourself. I’m not saying you don’t love yourself, but consider why you want this person to be “madly in love” with you. What do they have that you want? What are you trying to gain from that person’s attention, and what is it that you really need, that you’re really asking for?
Before you focus on making someone fall madly in love with you, could you focus on falling madly in love with your life, with the person you are each day? I can’t promise that this person will fall madly in love with you, but I can promise that if you spend your energy trying to love yourself, you will attract the love you’re seeking and the connection that you deserve. The right person will love you the way you love yourself. You determine what that looks like.
Heart to Heart is a regular column written by Life columnists Katherine Schwartz and Jenna Onetto. To submit a question, fill out this form and our columnists will do their best to address it in an upcoming issue.