I got asked today about how to create closure on a past relationship. We hear this phrase 'closure' a lot. And sometimes, we think that to get it, both people in the relationship need to come to some sort of mutual agreement or acknowledgement that the relationship is over and each has permission to move on. Hmm, well unfortunately and probably usually, it's not always going to be able to happen like that.
Sometimes, we do want and need answers - sometimes a situation can be that a relationship has been ended suddenly without any reasonable explanation and that the one ending it has disappeared with complete radio silence. That's harsh and of course we want answers. But we can be waiting a long time to get those or the closure that we need from the other person and at the end of the day if the relationship is over, it's over regardless of how long you're waiting for that call, text or email. The best possible thing you can do is make steps to deal with the emotional impact of the break-up and begin to move forwards little by little again. There will be healing time needed but you can't heal whilst you're in limbo waiting. This will make it worse. It's shocking how often relationships end this way actually, but honestly, the only person you'll be hurting more is yourself if you wait and don't make the small steps out of no man's land.
Regardless of how your relationship ended, I think it does help when you have some sort of ritual, occasion or symbol which signifies your ‘closure’. And this doesn't have to mean that you push everything away, forget the memories and refuse to feel anything about the relationship or person anymore, as that isn't the aim. It's more about having something that represents a new chapter.
Write a Letter to your Ex
You're not going to send this so go to town on this one - don't hold back! Write down everything you feel, spare no detail. Writing things down can sound like a bit of a slog but can have such a therapeutic and freeing effect. In the letter, find a way to explain that you're moving on - the words somehow make it more real. When you've finished, do anything you want with the letter - burn it (er..please consider safety if you do this obviously!), put it away somewhere, tear it up - whatever you want. Something that signifies that as of now, this is your new chapter.
Allow yourself to Grieve/Mourn
It sounds like a contradiction that to create closure you have to allow yourself to grieve but closure is about accepting that the relationship is over and to do this, you need to feel everything you're feeling. Not push it away or convince yourself that your ex will come back/take you back or plot ways to make that happen. Just know that you will feel bad but that you will get over it. It's like a physical injury - there's no shortcut to it healing. You have to rest and do what you can to make it better. If you don’t, it doesn’t heal or gets worse. It's the same with emotional pain and the 'do what you can to make it better' is all the things I talk about in relation to moving forwards positively. It's about doing the 'feeling' and then the 'doing'.
Get Rid of any 'Stuff' that Reminds you of the Relationship
Don't have things hanging around that make you think of your ex. Actually, it's a really good idea to have a de-clutter of your whole living environment and give that a bit of a spruce up too. Your surroundings need to also reflect you moving forwards. This doesn't mean you have to up sticks and move but just add something fresh to your environment so things feel a bit different and new.
If you can, break up your routine and go somewhere. Having something that separates the old part of your life with the new can really help and to come back recharged and refreshed will get you in the right mindset.
Give your Confidence a Boost
Write down a list of your strengths, talents and assets. (And now isn't the time to be modest!) Really look at those and work out ways that you can start to do things that bring them out even more.
Assess the Bigger Picture
What in your life needs work? Social life, your health (this is always a good one to start with anyway as it's usually the first thing we let slide when we go through traumatic experiences), money, your job, your friendships? This new chapter signifies learning and growth and the more you can make headway on something in your life that you know could do with a bit of tlc, the more you'll be focused on something new, positive and that's going to help you thrive. Start work on this now to begin the momentum.
I think that though we don’t always admit it, we actually use getting closure from an ex as an excuse to not let go. We've all been there. We want the 'why' but often, it won't make any difference anyway. You'll either get the why you don't want or a why that leads to thousands of other questions that then need more closure. It's just an exhausting cycle that keeps you buried in the rubble of the relationship.
So, if you feel you really need closure, know that you have the power to get this yourself. You just have to commit to doing it.