Getting over a past relationship and finding closure after a breakup can be challenging. It doesn’t matter if your relationship was toxic with abusive patterns or seemingly perfect; you may find yourself going around in circles, feeling angry, confused, sad—or all of the above. And you’re probably wondering what went wrong, how you could have acted differently, or IN what ways you could have prevented the demise of your relationship.
If you’re struggling with making sense of your past relationship and moving on from your ex, you may need to focus your efforts on getting closure. But what exactly is closure, and how do you get it?
Closure after a breakup can refer to many things. For some, it might mean identifying an endpoint in your past relationship and finding ways to close that chapter of your life. For others, it could involve making peace with the fact that your relationship has ended and allowing yourself to detach yourself from the weight and burden of that experience. Closure can also involve examining why your relationship didn’t last and what you can do to prevent yourself from repeating the same things in your next relationship. Essentially, closure gives way to healing. Without it, you may find it difficult to move on.
Now, you’re probably wondering how to get closure. However, the truth is, getting closure might involve a combination of things, and it might take a lot of time and patience until you well and truly feel like you’ve accepted the fate of your relationship. But don’t let that discourage you—finding closure is a crucial step in your journey toward finding new love.
To help, we’ve created a helpful guide on how to get closure, offering you our top recommendations for concluding your past relationship.
Initiate a Closure Conversation After Your Breakup
A closure conversation after a breakup is one way of getting closure from your ex. For example, if your ex broke up with you, you could ask if they’re willing to meet up one last time so you can discuss why they ended your relationship. However, be clear with them (and yourself) that this isn’t an opportunity for reconciliation. Be upfront and honest about why you’re requesting a meet-up, and focus on being calm, level-headed, and open-minded during the discussion. Ask the questions you feel like you need the answers to, so you can begin to heal and seal that chapter.
Now, if you were the one that broke off the relationship, you might be asking yourself how to give closure in a relationship. In this case, you can initiate the closure conversation with your ex, offering reasons why you weren’t happy in the relationship. You should be honest with them, but remember, this isn’t the time or place to point fingers or rehash your problems.
That said, if you don’t feel comfortable meeting with your ex, you could consider writing them an email or letter explaining why you ended the relationship. But keep in mind, your ex doesn’t owe you a last discussion. Therefore, it’s best not to rely solely on this suggestion in case they don’t comply.
While you might assume your ex is the only one who can give you closure, that’s not the case. In fact, a big part of finding closure comes from within you. Give yourself space to process your feelings, and find ways to forgive your ex and, more importantly, yourself. Regardless of whether you did something wrong or could have behaved better in the relationship, don’t beat yourself up over it. And remember, you both played a role in this relationship, so stop placing blame on yourself and replaying every scenario in your head.
As soon as you give yourself permission to forgive yourself, you can start releasing yourself from the guilt and blame associated with the breakup.
Journal Your Feelings
While you work on forgiving yourself, consider journaling about what you’re going through. Write down your feelings and describe your emotions. Let your thoughts and emotions pour onto the page, and write freely without judgment.
You can even do exercises where you write letters to your ex (without sending them) so that you can hash out everything you want to say and get it off your chest.
Accept That the Relationship is Over
If you’re still holding on to the hope that you’ll get back together with your ex, then you’re going to have a difficult time getting closure. This is because, in order to get closure, you must accept that the relationship has run its course.
Let go of the idea that you can salvage your relationship, and instead, allow yourself time to grieve and mourn your relationship so that you can begin to process it and understand it’s over.
As you focus on accepting that your relationship is over, it’s best to cut off contact with your ex. This helps you mentally solidify that your relationship has ended and prevents either one of you from trying to start things back up again.
You can practice cutting off communication by not meeting them up to hang out, screening their phone calls, not texting every day, and unfollowing each other on social media. If you do decide to have that one last closure conversation after your breakup, stay strong and avoid any follow-ups after that final discussion.
Take Friendship Off the Table—For Now
Sure, everyone wants to be friends with their exes, but a lot of times, that’s not possible—nor is it healthy.
If you had an especially toxic or abusive relationship, then there’s no reason why you need to stay friends (let alone stay in communication) if they treated you poorly in the relationship. But even if your relationship ended on amicable terms, remaining friends can cause confusion and hinder your journey toward closure. After all, spending time together and texting every day can blur the lines between friendship and relationship, making it more difficult to have a clean break.
Avoid Diving into a New Relationship Before You’re Ready
Starting to date again is the natural next step after a breakup, but avoid jumping into one too soon.
If you haven’t processed your feelings, accepted your breakup, stopped wanting to date your ex again, or found closure yet, you may find yourself in a sticky situation. For example, you might be seeking out something new to mask the wound you haven’t healed. Or worse, you may start repeating the same patterns and find yourself in the same sort of relationship because you didn’t explore the reasons why your previous relationship ended.
When you eventually decide to start dating again, be sure that you’re doing it for the right reasons and not just as a distraction from your ex.
Seek Out Professional Help
No matter how much effort you put into getting closure after a breakup, sometimes you might need to turn to a professional for guidance. There are professional therapists who are trained to assist people with healing from past relationships and finding the closure they need to move on.
Speaking with a therapist can help you explore the mental and emotional conclusion that will release you from that relationship and allow you to begin your journey forward.
Set Realistic Expectations
There is no set course or time frame when it comes to finding closure. For you, it may take months to digest your previous relationship, while it could take someone else mere weeks. Don’t compare yourself to others or set an unrealistic timeline for yourself. Instead, go easy on yourself and allow the process to naturally unfold at whatever speed it does.