Closure in relationships: Ah yes, that mythical concept.
When a romantic relationship ends without any closure it can be really hard to move on as you are still looking for answers. You feel constantly stressed and anxious as you try to put the pieces together even when some of the most important pieces are missing. You feel restless and your mind is in a constant chaotic mode. You feel abandoned and left behind without understanding why. You didn’t even get a chance to say one last goodbye. You feel angry, bitter, frustrated, self-pity and even self-doubt. You keep wondering what exactly you did wrong to end up here and what could you have done to make it better. But despite all your best efforts, the fact remains that it’s over. They are gone. And you’re left alone with a sinking feeling in your heart. However, you should not let this destroy you. It is possible to move one even when there is no closure.
When the end of a relationship is less Bridget Jones in tears belting out All By Myself over a bottle of wine …
… and more Gwyneth Paltrow-style conscious uncoupling – whatever that stupid phrase means.
As if we can all end and have closure in relationships wrapped up with a tidy bow.
Life’s not like that.
Closure to me sums up images of exes sitting politely facing each other (on the neutral territory of course), going over what went wrong.
Neither blaming the other; each taking responsibility for their side of the relationship breakdown, before a kiss on the cheek goodbye and well wishes for the future.
Wouldn’t that be nice?
I’m sure it happens to some lucky couples, but chances are if your relationship is on the rocks or in Splitsville already, you’re not going to get this Hollywood ending.
Relationship Closure is a concept in which you both accept the relationship is over and have a sense of resolution, even peace about it.
You can move on.
Without closure, it can be difficult to do this and the healing becomes that much harder.
Without reason, you are left with questions:
What did I do wrong?
How can I trust you again?
A lack of closure is the reason many of you have been telling me you feel the pullback to a relationship after it’s ended, even a dysfunctional or abusive one.
I get this as it was the same for me.
Even though I ended our relationship for my own safety, I found it hard to let go when so many questions remained unresolved.
I’d spent years trying to prove my love for my violent ex, hoping it would give him the security he needed to stop sabotaging our relationship
I so desperately wanted him to acknowledge his abuse and that he recognized how much I loved him despite it all.
How hard I’d tried to help him.
I was left wondering instead where I’d gone so terribly wrong.
I was convinced too that without me he was now living a grander life as if nothing had ever happened.
Perhaps it was me all along?
I blamed myself.
I was never going to heal this way.
I had no choice but to find emotional closure myself.
First I had to come out of denial and ask myself:
What is it I’m waiting and hoping for?
Be honest with yourself.
They may not have been abusive in your relationship. Perhaps they’ve simply dumped you without much reason.
Or you’ve decided to leave them and still crave that tidy ending.
Either way, consider this.
This person who treated you this way – the same one you want closure from – do they really offer the best future for you?
This person you decided to leave, those reasons still stand. What is it you’re hoping for?
Is what you’re imagining a fantasy in your head?
This pain you are feeling now, it hurts I know.
Could it be your hope of closure from them is more about you clinging to hope they’ll come to their senses, run back to you and tell you everything’s going to be okay?
That would allow you to avoid feeling this pain.
Emotional closure is all about processing your emotions and feelings.
In a way, it’s like grieving.
You can work through this without them.
Find emotional closure yourself.
How To Get CLOSURE When There Is None
10 ways you can get emotional closure when there is none:
1. Write your emotions and feelings down in a journal.
It’s healthier to release feelings and pain, rather than avoid them.
2. Express how you feel to trusted family or friends.
Talk about it within a safe support group or get counseling help.
Don’t bottle them inside.
3. Write an angry or emotional letter to your ex, get everything off your chest.
Tell them if their behavior disrespected you and how it makes you feel now.
Then make a ritual of burning it. Expunge their power over you.
4. Cut off all contact with your ex if you can. Set clear boundaries if you can’t.
5. Get rid of anything that reminds you of them.
6. Change your environment, if not physically, then redo your apartment the way you’ve always wanted it.
Create a fresh, new space.
7. Forgive them if you can.
Not to accept any unacceptable behavior – they own that, you’re not to blame. But more to free yourself from being forever tied to them.
8. Go out and meet new friends, enjoy new experiences.
Go on vacation.
Live life to the fullest you possibly can.
9. Set exciting and scary new goals.
10. Most importantly, put you first.
Understand your needs and try to nurture them.
Build your self-esteem before thinking of dating again.
Don’t date when you’re lonely or for the wrong reasons – as a bandaid to cover your pain.
You’ll only be ready when you know and believe you are enough.
When you can find serenity and happiness within you – with or without a partner.
Think of this relationship breakdown, not as an ending, but a new beginning.
Your wounds are the light enters you.
Learn from this experience and grow.
I’ll leave you with one of my favorite closure quotes:
What was closure if not a clock? Not an end as everyone imagined, but a beginning.
― Celeste Chaney, In Absence of Fear
Moving on from a relationship when there’s no closure will certainly be one of the most challenging things you will ever do. Letting go of someone you love is hard. But it is even worse to hold on to someone who doesn’t love you anymore. Someone who just wants to be free. By setting that person free, you will only be setting yourself free from all the anger, frustration, bitterness and attachment. Broken relationships always lead to something better, whether with the same person or someone new…someone who will love you the way you deserve.
Letting go is making yourself free. It’s allowing yourself to be happy, find peace and opening yourself to new possibilities. By letting go of a dead relationship, you will let go of any grudges that you are holding on to. This will help you heal your heart and experience true closure from the inside.
Healing yourself through letting go and self-love is the best kind of closure you can get.