Knowing how to get over a breakup isn’t simple – and it’s even more difficult when you don’t have closure in your relationship. These tips are inspired by a reader who can’t accept that her relationship is over because she and her ex didn’t have closure.
The most important thing to remember about getting over a breakup is that you’ll never truly be “over it.” You lose a piece of your heart when you lose someone you love. But, this doesn’t mean you’ll never be happy again…it just means your heart has been bruised, and you need to re-learn how to open yourself to loving fully and deeply again.
Relationship closure is helpful because it allows you to say good-bye. If you aren’t sure what “relationship closure” is, read How to Heal Your Heart Without Relationship Closure. Below, I briefly describe what it is and offer a few ideas for getting over a breakup when you haven’t had a chance to properly end your relationship.
There are no easy answers or quick tips on how to heal from a break up without closure. You need to grieve the end of your relationship, and give yourself time to heal.
What is Relationship Closure?
Relationship closure is when you – whether you’re a married partner, boyfriend or girlfriend, disgruntled colleague, or unhappy family member – don’t discuss why your love relationship ended.
Healthy closure in a relationship involves honest, healthy, open-minded, nonjudgmental communication. In my article about letting go of someone you love, a reader said she doesn’t feel she has closure. Her fiancé of nine years wasn’t honest about why their relationship ended.
Closure can teach you why your relationship didn’t work out, which helps with letting go of an ex-boyfriend, ex-girlfriend, or spouse. Closure can help you learn from the mistakes you made. It helps you heal by setting your mind at ease about how your love relationship unfolded.
Even if you made mistakes and were part of the reason your relationship failed, closure can make you stronger by preparing you for future love relationships. Denying an ex closure when you’re breaking up is worse than unhealthy: it’s damaging and destructive. Healing comes faster and easier when you’ve had a chance to say goodbye.
Relationship Closure is Difficult Because…
When you’re the one who wants to let go, you may find it easier to avoid talking about it. It’s natural for people to want to avoid pain. Relationship closure is difficult because it’s painful to talk about weaknesses and faults.
Closure can involve more pain than just letting someone go without explanation…which is, I think, what my reader’s fiancé was doing when he ended the relationship. He was trying to avoid causing her — and himself — more pain. It’s unfortunate that we’re not taught how to break up with people we love!
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Getting Over a Breakup Without Relationship Closure
If this is your first breakup, you may find Words of Comfort When Your Heart is Broken helpful.
Here are a few practical tips on how to let go of an ex-boyfriend, ex-girlfriend, or spouse without closure…
Write a letter to your ex, expressing yourself fully
Don’t send the letter right away (if ever). The letter can be as long as you need; you can add to it for days or weeks. The act of writing your feelings and thoughts – and how the break up affected you – is an important part of the healing process.
Change your environment
If your ex moved out of the house, you might consider finding a new place to live. You might even consider moving to a different state or province. Getting away from the environment you and your ex were together in will help you see life differently.
Explore a different lifestyle
My reader mentioned that she worked hard on her career and didn’t leave room for hobbies or activities in her life. Part of getting over a break up without relationship closure is making time to do things you’ve always been interested in, but never took time for.
Make new friends
You don’t need to abandon your old friends to find relationship closure. However, you may find it refreshing to build new friendships with people who don’t know you from your relationship days. You may not feel like you have the energy to make new friends yet, but keep it in the back of your mind.
Work on healing without closure with a counselor
I’m a huge fan of counseling because therapists help you see yourself, your life, and your relationships objectively. A counselor can help you see why you’re having trouble letting go of an ex, and help you learn to find closure on your own. It’s really important to find a counselor who you feel comfortable and healthy with, so try to talk to at least three before embarking on therapy.
Recognize that you are responsible for your feelings
Nobody can make you feel anything. When you feel any emotion, you can choose whether to let that feeling sweep you away or derail it and put a more positive emotion in place. Those feelings of worthlessness or being unlovable are emotions you have control over – you do not have to feel that way.
Learn how to let go of someone you love
In How to Let Go of Someone You Love: 3 Powerful Secrets and 75 Tips for Healing Your Heart, I share what I learned when I had to say good-bye to my sister. Without relationship closure, it was one of the most painful things I’ve experienced (after finding out that my husband and I can’t have kids).
One way to heal after a breakup without closure is to focus on the benefits of being single. What do you like about your new life? There must be ONE good thing about it.
If you have any thoughts on how to get over a break up when you don’t have closure, please comment below. I can’t offer counseling or advice, but it may help you to share what you’re experiencing.
Give yourself time to heal, because it really does only take a couple seconds to say “Hello”…and forever to say “Goodbye.”
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If you need relationship help, get Mort Fertel's 7 Steps to Fixing Your Marriage - and FREE advice, no strings attached.