Relationships can be difficult – such a truth goes without saying. Breakups, though, are often even more challenging, especially when you’re the one being hurt.
It’s not uncommon to seek out meaning after failed relationships; as the fog clears and emotions dwindle, feeling directionless or unable to trust others can become the new norm. Without proper closure, you might find yourself obsessing over things your ex said or did, which makes it much harder to move on.
Tips for Closure
Feeling satisfied with the way a relationship ended or moving on from hurtful actions are generally important parts of receiving closure, but when your former partner refuses to acknowledge their wrongdoings it can leave you feeling hurt and confused for much longer.
Fortunately, taking things into your own hands can put you in a much better place irregardless of what your ex decides to do. Below are some ideas to get you started.
Get rid of objects that remind you of the relationship.
It may be tough, but it’s time to get rid of that gift your ex gave you. Not only will it continue to remind you of them or the time you spent together, but putting that object out of your life can be a cathartic and symbolic ritual that will help you process your emotions.
Objects that you purchased for each other, to use together, or because they reminded you of your partner can be tough to get rid of, but it can help you out in the long run.
You might even consider donating the item to a charity or thrift shop so that it can have a new, positive life.
Cut off contact.
Another tough thing to do after a breakup is to stop talking to that person that you once shared your life with.
If you are feeling like you can’t have a positive interaction with your former partner or their presence continues to bring you more hurt than positivity, it’s time to get that person out of your life.
An easy way to distance yourself is to delete or block their number and unfollow them on all socials. You’ll likely be relieved when signs of them don’t continuously pop up throughout your life; letting go is often part of moving on.
Set boundaries that prioritize your wellbeing.
Setting assertive boundaries is perhaps the best way to prioritize and protect your own health and wellbeing moving forward.
These can be boundaries with your ex, such as limited or no contact; your friends and family, like asking them to refrain from speaking about your ex; or even yourself, like making sure you get at least one hour of self care time per day.
Boundaries help you avoid stressful situations, show others you deserve and expect respect, and begin to find ways to change your life for the better.
Allow yourself time to heal.
It’s especially important to give yourself all the time and space you need to heal during this tough time.
Just because you may never get an apology from your ex doesn’t mean you can’t take the time to process your own emotions. It may take awhile, but there is nothing wrong with that.
Make special time for yourself on a daily or weekly basis to practice self care in a way that feels good for you.
Acknowledge tough emotions.
Your breakup may make you feel sad, angry, scared, anxious, or even depressed. All of these emotions are valid.
When moving on, it can be helpful to acknowledge that you feel this way rather than hiding it or pushing it below the surface. This may just make the hurt last even longer.
Write an angry letter.
Part of acknowledging your difficult emotions can include writing an angry letter to your ex and then burning it or ripping it up. This allows you to get everything off your chest without the need to get back in contact.
On a similar note, you can express your feelings in a journal or through some other creative method. The important thing is to do whatever makes you feel relieved in a healthy way.
Fill your life with things that bring you joy.
A breakup, although extremely heartbreaking, doesn’t have to be all bad. Allow yourself the time to discover all the things that you love and that bring you joy.
Maybe you weren’t able to enjoy these things as much or at all during your relationship. You may just realize how valuable your alone time is, how much you missed your friends and family during the relationship, or even discover a new hobby or skill that you are passionate about.
Talk to a trusted therapist, friend, or family member.
When things become too much to bear on your own, don’t hesitate to reach out to others. Having a strong support system can be an important part of freeing yourself from reliance on your ex.
Speaking with a mental health professional is also a great idea. Even if you experience few mental health concerns outside of the breakup, finding skills and ways to understand your relationship and why it ended can help you avoid similar situations in the future.
Takeaway: Care for Yourself, Not Your Ex
After a difficult breakup, it’s natural to crave closure, especially in the form of honest discussions and apologies. If your ex is unwilling to participate, you don’t have to give them the space to continue existing in your life.
In fact, focusing on yourself, your loved ones, and other parts of life can give you some much-needed perspective. The techniques listed above can help you move forward and gain the closure you need through processing your emotions in a healthy way.
Time heals all wounds and after even the toughest breakups, you have the strength to find your way to happiness, even if it doesn’t feel like it right now.
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.