At the end of a relationship, a sense of failure, frustration, heartache, and unanswered questions usually comes to bear. It is overwhelming, to say the least.
We often feel like we hit rock bottom, and our love life is over. Kaput! Waves of confusion overtake us, and we don’t know what to say or how to act. We are trapped in a maze, with no exit in sight.
These descriptions might sound overly dramatic and cruel, but then so is letting go of a loved one. Moving on without closure, and gaining its recuperative power, is key to getting over that hurdle.
“Closure” is a big word you often hear spring forth from day-time psychologists and New Age gurus. Nonetheless, when heartbreak hits us like a train, it is necessary to find out how to get closure after a breakup.
Through it, we can look for answers about why the relationship ended. We can also learn how to deal with the pain its final chapter has created. It’s the end of a relationship, not the end of your life.
Before we discuss what to do after a breakup and how to get closure after a breakup, let us first talk about what exactly closure is. What does closure mean?
When a relationship is over, we want the whole rigmarole to disappear simply. In essence, we want to nip in the bud our feelings towards someone. In short, we want to close that chapter of our life and never again re-read it.
But for that to happen, we need an endpoint. But, what exactly is a closure?
Closure means ending an emotional circumstance without pain or regrets. And finally, according to closure psychology, it implies extricating ourselves from the emotional burden and no longer allowing the relationship to have any weight on our wellbeing.
Many of us need closure after a breakup or unrequited love. Amongst the many things we need to know why the relationship ended, is at the very top.
By accepting that the relationship is over, you gain a measure of insight from it, and that you are no longer emotionally attached to it, you can, in fact, begin anew. The closure allows you to engage in healthy relationships.
Going through a breakup usually leaves a lot of unanswered questions. What did I do to deserve this? Where did I screw up? How could someone I loved so much do this to me? How can I trust myself again? Was it even worth it, all that pain?
These unending questions leave us with a feeling of self-doubt and poor self-worth!
So, how to get closure after a breakup?
Without defusing these pesky landmines, closure might be tough to achieve.Our sense of who we are, our narrative, will also be compromised.
Going through a breakup can be challenging. It is not easy to understand that a relationship is over. You might feel unable to love anyone else the way you have loved your former partner.
Even if relationships ended by mutual agreement, there’s still a lot of baggage to look through.
Closure helps take away the sadness, frustration, and confusion. It’s not just a tool to deal with pesky matters of a lovelorn heart, but one devised by therapists everywhere for emotionally trying situations where an emotional upheaval requires a finality.
Getting closure after a breakup diminishes the heartbreak and helps to move on. Yet, getting closure can have a different meaning for many. And, more importantly, different ways of achieving it.
Getting closure after a breakup isn’t easy for everyone
For some, the practice can be easier than for others. When a relationship ends, wrapping it is not easy, especially if it is a long relationship. Our feelings are messy. Just as all about us as humans are messy, closure is no different.
Nonetheless, there are some factors that remain the same; for the partner still in love, it will be harsher than for the one ending the relationship.
For the partner who didn’t see it coming, it’s a gut punch that really breaks you up inside. As each breakup situation is different, feelings must be handled appropriately.
It is critically important to get closure from an ex. For example: if your partner ends the relationship to begin another, you sort of have an answer as to why it happened; temptation came, and they moved on with another person.
Closure, in that case, arrives faster. No further explanations are needed.
But if your partner leaves without any justification, the void, the mystery, the questions tend to eat you up. We don’t like unsolved mysteries, particularly in our love life.
Researchers have studied countless breakups to understand the dynamics of the whole quagmire. Results have shown that separations are cruel, not only at an emotional level but at a physical and neurological level. They really affect us in body and mind.
They make us feel rejected, unlovable and unworthy. And those feelings set up multiple nasty hormones that make us experience feelings that can mirror clinical depression.
So, learning how to get closure after a breakup is the best way to cope with hopelessness. It is also a good starting point for moving ahead of the breakup.
You may not come up with the perfect answers as to why the relationship failed, but closure allows you to at least accept it. If someone doesn’t want you anymore, tough cookie!
Give yourself time out to be sad, embrace those feelings, figure out what went wrong, learn from your mistakes, and finally move on. It may seem hard at first, but not impossible.
You can only get closure when you are no longer in love with your partner or don’t care at all about the relationship anymore. Stop wondering what could have happened.
Could I have fixed the broken relationship? Was it worth saving? Let it go. Don’t keep lingering on it!
When it comes to a screeching end, you’re left out in the rain without an umbrella, wondering what the heck just happened. All your friends patting you on the back say, “You just need to get some closure.”
Sure, it seems simple, but as they say, words are cheap, and action is expensive. How to get closure after a breakup? How do you even begin? What steps after a breakup do you need to take?
Finding closure is essential in order to ensure a proper healing process.
Here are 10 steps that can help find closure in a relationship:
Accepting the end of a relationship is the first step towards closure. Letting go of an ex who doesn’t want you will help you get closure faster. You need to give yourself time and space to achieve it.
Don’t dive into the illusion that that person will return to your arms. As long as you accept your reality, it’s easier to let go of the relationship and move on no matter how hard it seems.
2. Maintain total distance
Should you talk to your ex?
Even if you feel the need to contact your ex, avoid it at any cost. Your heart is still tender, and wanting to approach or talk to them will only make the process more painful.
In the distant future, both of you can be friends, but for now, keep your distance. Delete their phone contacts and unfollow their social networks.
Creeping on your ex’s social media accounts is the worst thing you can do. It would only create false stories in your head. You might even get angry by watching them or even wish you could be there.
It’s best to duck any possible contact. So if you are asking yourself, “should I contact my ex for closure?” The answer is a resounding: NO!
If you still keep some of your ex-lover belongings, get rid of them or have them delivered to them by a friend. Or, do the whole bonfire in the backyard ritual. Very primal and, if it was a messy relationship, very invigorating.
4. Stop playing the blame game
How to get closure after a breakup and start living life blissfully?
Don’t waste time looking for whom to blame. This attitude will only generate negative emotions.
If the relationship didn’t work, accept it and move on.
5. Write down your sorrows
If you need a closure talk after a breaking up, don’t. Don’t reach out and say: “why?” Remember to keep your distance.
But, if you think there were things left unsaid between each other, lay them down on paper. Write down what you’d like to express to your ex, but don’t send it.
Sometimes expressing our thoughts on a piece of paper can help out by guiding us through a critical analysis of what they actually mean. Seeing them in black and white can be rather clarifying.
You see, our brains have a negative bias. We’re hardwired to be negative and are attracted to it. Even after years of separation, resentments have a way of lingering.
6. Let your suffering go through its healing period
If you need to cry, do it. Don’t suppress your feelings. Don’t judge yourself because you feel sad.
Sooner or later, everything will pass. It’s normal.
If you haven’t seen your friends since the breakup, you have to! Get all posh and fancy, fix yourself up, go out and have fun. Paint the town red!
One of the main things to take into consideration in how to get closure after a breakup is to think about you. Become obsessed with the powerhouse that is you.
Focus on yourself for a while. Take on a hobby or take a new class. Spend time with your family and friends. Plan that trip that you have postponed so many times.
9. Don’t generalize and compare
We tend to compare any possible future partner with our ex. Don’t do it. You expose yourself to thinking that every relationship may end up like the previous one.
Understand that every relationship is different. Start from scratch and strive to make it better than the old one.
10. Picture being over your ex
Even if it is the hardest thing to do, visualize a new life without your partner. Think Wish Board and start to imagine a reality where you are no longer enslaved to your partner and his gravitational pull.
You’re independent, and they no longer matter. Out of mind and out of sight. What would you do? What have you been missing out on? Visualize it and then make it a reality.
Big no-nos of closure- what to avoid?
If you want to get closure after a breakup, you must avoid feelings or situations that might end up hurting you. Ending a relationship can cause anxiety and a sense of emptiness. That is why we must start from zero to achieve a smooth transition.
First, don’t guilt your ex-partner into reconciliation with false claims. “Things will be different this time” or “I can’t live without you” are allegations that must be avoided at all costs.
It’s over, and unless a reconciliation comes naturally, no good will come out of manipulating them. This, in hindsight, will only show that you’re desperate and have no self-respect.
Don’t insult or scold your ex in an attempt to reattribute your feelings of desolation. Don’t badger them with your negativity.
No good can come out of it. Even if you’re trying to ease your pain, in the end, you are portraying yourself as a victim.
And finally, if you have no other recourse but to talk to your ex, don’t propose the idea of being friends. There are still mixed feelings that will do you more harm than good.
By being friends, you might hope for reconciliation. You might try something desperate. You might not be able to let them go.
And, more importantly, you will keep them within your orbit of relationships. You’re not ready for that just yet.
This situation will depress you more, and it will be extremely harder to get any sort of closure after a breakup.
When to get some closure?
Closure needs to be about moving forward in a healthy manner and about personal growth. It shouldn’t be about revenge or manipulating your ex. Or about simply checking something off your psychologist’s list of demands.
You should get closure when you are up for forgiving yourself and acknowledging your mistakes as well as forgiving those of your ex. This will make the breakup process easier and help you move on.
Finally, getting closure is also about improving as a person and future partner. You need to grow as a person and recognize errors made on both ends.
You can only seek out closure when you feel you’re up to it. It’s not something anyone can force you into. Each of us deals with tragedy in a different way.
Maybe you first need a couple of weeks with Ben & Jerry. Maybe a few nights of drunken debauchery with your friends. Maybe, just maybe, a respite to deal with your grief on your own and however long you want it.
You’ll know when to get closure because you’ll be ready to feel better. This will help you become a stronger partner in a future relationship.
Only then will you be able to embrace the benefits of this new-fangled psychological term. Only then, when you’re ready to accept your flaws, your worth, and able to take on constructive criticism as well as deal out some, only then will you be able to start on the road known as closure.
Until that happens, enjoy your Ben & Jerry and binge-watch a Netflix series or two; don’t sabotage yourself by trying to simply cross something off a list.
Closure- it’s a never-ending road
Gaining closure isn’t as easy as one, two, three; it takes time, and, worst still, you’ll never be 100% over the relationship.
The closure isn’t about wiping the slate clean; it’s about understanding and coming to terms with your new reality; that relationship, all its ups, downs, and messy finality are now part of your narrative makeup.
Although no longer painful, that heartache leaves a scar, and those scars are partly who you are; they are interactions in that roadmap that details your history. Love and finding new love are partly based on the idea of journeying out into the void with new travelers who know the length of the road.
Coach Corey Wayne sums it up best in this rather insightful video.
Getting closure is an important part of ending a relationship. Grieving is the first step after any breakup.
Take all the time necessary to process a loss. Come to terms with the fact that the relationship is really over. Learn from your mistakes. Know your worth. Closure entails this all!
Breakups are unbearable and hurtful, but you shouldn’t remain anchored to pain. Marvelous things will be waiting for you right around the corner.
How to get closure after a breakup can be a complicated process. Getting a closure is not a solid step-by-step process, and there’s no easy guideline or quick manual to follow. But life goes on!
“Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.” – Dalai Lama.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Sylvia Smith loves to share insights on how couples can revitalize their love lives in and out of the bedroom. As a writer at Marriage.com, she is a big believer in living consciously and encourages couples to adopt this principle in their lives too. Sylvia believes that every couple can transform their relationship into a happier, healthier one by taking purposeful and wholehearted action.