closure after a breakup
You need closure after a breakup so that you don’t keep grappling with the question, “What went wrong in my relationship?”, all your life. A separation can be an extremely painful experience for the simple reason that getting over someone you shared an intimate connection with is just not easy. That’s why it’s important to know how to get closure from a breakup. It won’t necessarily make the post-breakup phase a breeze but it might give you a little more courage and set you in the right direction. But to be able to sit through the closure conversation after a breakup is no joke. It might just be more difficult than the breakup itself.
While you are dealing with a separation, you cry, grieve, and keep asking why the relationship had to end. There could have been arguments, fights, differences, and blame games, but there were also lots of good times, touching moments, and great passion too. So, is closure necessary after a breakup? To find out why you and your ex could not make it work, you need to work out how to ask for closure because it’s one of the ways to your peace and happiness, as you move on to the next chapter of your life.
Now that you know why the urge to find closure after a breakup is so vital, a few valid questions might render you sleepless. How to get closure from an ex who won’t talk to you? What to say to an ex for closure? Can I ever move on without closure? Is there some kind of a standard closure text to ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend that can help make things easier?
Ware here with answers to all your queries in consultation with counseling psychologist Namrata Sharma (Masters in Applied Psychology), who is a mental health and SRHR advocate and specializes in offering counseling for toxic relationships, trauma, grief, relationship issues, and gender-based and domestic violence. So without further ado, let’s get right into it.
What Is Closure After A Breakup?
Every time you think about a past relationship, you are filled with sorrow, your eyes well up, and a rush of memories keeps going through your mind. You begin to long for your ex-partner. If only you could sit across from them just once and get honest answers to what went wrong and why. This is how you usually continue to feel months after the breakup, especially when you two have not had a closure conversation.
For some people, these feelings can linger on for much longer, leaving them hung up on an ex and feeling attached to a past relationship for years. This happens when their partner was the one who ended the relationship and they still haven’t got closure on why their ex did what they did.
Noah and his girlfriend Dina had been going through a rough patch for some time, and then, she ended things with a breakup text. They had always talked about getting married someday and had been going steady for over 5 years. So, her decision to end the relationship, over a text no less, came as a shock to Noah. He never got to have a relationship closure conversation with Dina, and to this day, wonders what went so wrong in the relationship.
“I know we had been having problems, but I still don’t know what that final straw was that pushed her to dump me – that too so unceremoniously. Was there someone else? Did she suddenly have an epiphany that she didn’t love me anymore? I guess I’ll never know. It’s been ten years since we parted ways and these questions still keep me up at night sometimes,” Noah says. If that’s where you’re at, then you need to ask for closure in a relationship.
Still wondering, “Is closure necessary after a breakup?” Well, it is. Only when you get closure do you stop feeling an emotional attachment to the person or the relationship. You do not look back wistfully thinking about what you could have done to fix the broken relationship or if it was worth saving. It is indeed crucial because it helps you reach a stage in life when you are finally willing to let go and move on. You do not feel any pain anymore when you think about your ex. You finally make peace with your past.
Namrata says, “Closure can be a significant part of an individual’s existence. In order to validate everything in their future, they need that last bit of conclusive discussion. Otherwise, a person can lose trust in things. But for some people, a closure conversation after breakup might become a source of reliving the trauma.
“So, it has to be decided very carefully which part of their relationship or the fight they want the closure for. Or else, finding closure with ex after years could be a traumatizing experience and do more damage than good. It has the power to deteriorate the healing process.”
Related Reading: How To Get Over Someone You Love Deeply – 9 Steps To Follow
Why Is It Important To Have Closure In A Relationship?
Yes, a breakup can be excruciatingly painful on several levels. You can’t eat after a breakup, you’re unable to focus on work, sleep seems to elude you, and your schedule gets thrown out of whack. Even the simplest things like getting out of bed in the morning or going out for coffee with friends seem undoable after your heart has been broken. If you’ve pondered, “Is closure important after a breakup? And why?”, the answer lies in these painful and troublesome behavior patterns most of us engage in when dealing with heartbreak.
Jessica was madly in love with Adam (names changed) but he cheated on her and moved on. “I kept thinking I was ugly, I was demanding, I wasn’t a nice person, and kept blaming myself for his cheating. Two years later, I got closure from just one phone call from him. He apologized for hurting me and said that he wouldn’t be able to forgive himself until he knew that I forgave him. I thought, should I give my ex closure? And as I did, I found mine in the process. That’s when it hit me, how important it is to get closure from a guy.”
Closure helps you move on from this unpleasant state of mind and turn over a new leaf. When you give someone closure or ask for it, you’re finally ready to put that chapter of life to rest no matter how beautiful it was while it lasted. People who don’t get closure remain stuck in the state of pathos and self-pity after a breakup a lot longer. The odds of this happening are higher when you’re ghosted, and in effect, denied a closure conversation after breaking up.
When a partner cheats, causing the relationship to end, or when someone unilaterally decides to end a relationship, it leaves you in search of a fitting explanation and you’re left wondering how to ask for closure. In all of these cases, moving on becomes harder because you have been refused the basic courtesy of a closure conversation after a breakup.
Sometimes, you can get closure with an ex after years even without having a conversation with them. It’s like a sudden light bulb going on in your head and you realize that things were not meant to be. Or, you could ask your ex questions and try to analyze the answers to finally find peace. It is important to have closure in a relationship because it helps you heal, move on, and be happy again.
Namrata says, “Every person’s reasons for closure can be different as everyone has their individual needs and expectations. For some people, it’s important to have a justifiable explanation about the abrupt ending of a relationship. And this, in return, helps them maintain their identity and sanity. Now they can move on in a way in which they learn about certain drawbacks in their behavior from constructive criticism, and spot a few things that they need to change about themselves.
“For some people, it’s a necessity to know why the other person left as they want it to be a learning experience. And they don’t want to repeat the same misunderstandings or miscommunication in the future with a new partner. It may also vary depending on respective personality traits, characteristics, and values. Recently, I read somewhere that our need for closure after a breakup increases in tandem with our stress levels.
“Two partners in a relationship could be poles apart in their nature. For one, closure might not be essential. They just want to get rid of the toxicity of the relationship. While the other person might feel the urge to pinpoint the reason behind this breakup at any cost. Psychologists have also found that people who are consistently able to find closure usually have a value system that can easily incorporate answers to validate their entire view of the world.”
Related Reading: How To Get Over Someone You See Everyday And Find Peace
7 Steps To Closure After A Breakup
We have a tendency to keep wondering what went wrong after a relationship ends. Why did the love story come to such an unexpected ending? Whose fault was it? Could things have been done differently to salvage the relationship? This is why finding closure after a breakup is important. Maybe you can finally feed some answers to your curiosity and move on.
Coming back to the more crucial concern at hand – how to get closure after a breakup? Here are some steps to ensure a sane closure after a breakup. You might ask, “Do I really need closure? Is closure necessary after a breakup?” The answer is almost everyone does, and yes it is. Without it, you cannot begin the process of healing and move on. So then, what to say in a closure conversation and how exactly should one go about it? Keep in mind these 7 pointers:
1. Meet them and have a closure conversation
Instead of a mere closure text to ex-boyfriend or ex-partner, it is better that you meet them in person and talk things out. When all is said and done and you know that the breakup is a reality that you have to deal with, it is advisable to meet in person to have a closure conversation. Make sure that your partner also understands that this is the climax of your story and is not an attempt to revive a dead relationship.
What to say to an ex for closure? Simply call them and get straight to the point without any elaborate build-up. Tell your ex-partner that you need this final talk to process the breakup in your mind and they certainly owe you this, at the very least. Choose a neutral location for this closure conversation after a breakup, so that you can have an honest discussion without inviting curious gazes from onlookers.
However, avoid intimate settings like your home or a hotel room to make sure that finding closure after a breakup doesn’t lead you to sleep with your ex in a moment of weakness. Expect the conversation to be messy and entail tears, jibes, and perhaps even the same old relationship blame-shifting. After all, the decision to part ways can be traumatic for both partners.
2. What to say in a closure conversation? Discuss all topics that you want closure on
How do you get closure from someone who hurt you? Don’t leave any question unasked and unanswered. However, you should try to keep a check on your emotions, and decide beforehand which of these questions are going to help or hurt you further. Ryan and Linda had met for a closure talk after breaking up at a coffee shop. As Ryan answered the many questions Linda had for him, things got heated.
After a while, the staff gathered into a quiet bunch and looked very concerned as Linda was bawling her eyes out. If you’re already feeling sorry for yourself, the sympathetic looks from onlookers can really augment your feelings of self-pity. However, if a public meltdown isn’t something you’re wary of, let yourself go by all means. The important thing is that when you meet for a closure conversation after a breakup, you shouldn’t leave out any issues or questions that may be on your mind. If you want to remain friends with your ex, then discuss the terms and conditions for future conversations and meetings.
But what if you and your ex can’t even be around each other? In that case, you have to figure out how to get closure from an ex who won’t talk to you. Namrata explains, “First, be clear about the topics you want closure on and demand your closure politely. But if they do not want to talk to you at all, you should stop reaching out if there is no response. It is better to save your respect and self-esteem and step aside if they keep ignoring you in spite of all your efforts. Have some pride. Even though it might take you longer to reach that calm and peace in life, it’s possible to move on without closure.
3. Stop conversations for a mutually agreed upon period and get closure without contact
How to get closure from a breakup is not about storming into their house and barraging them with questions. The whole closure process requires one to take some space from the other person as well. You must understand that you cannot go on being in each other’s lives like it’s business as usual immediately after parting ways. So, how to get closure after a breakup? Give time for all the hurt to heal. Do not email, call, or text your ex-partner until you’ve worked through the pain and heartbreak. Believe us, the no-contact rule really works.
When you ask for closure in a relationship, it’s important to lay out ground rules for the post-breakup recovery phase clearly. Of course, if there is too much vitriol and bad vibes, you need not worry about wanting to talk or keeping in touch at all and work toward finding closure without contact. Namrata says, “A person who has been through a traumatic experience needs an extended period of no-contact to achieve closure.
“This is a very subjective topic because, for some people, the healing might happen very fast, while for others, the resentment and heartache might last for a lifetime. In my opinion, if an individual has just stepped out of a toxic, abusive relationship, it is necessary to cut all ties with that person to find closure. Otherwise, every time they see their ex, it will bring out all the grief that they have dealt with in the past few years.
“If the breakup was mutual, the no-contact rule might not apply there. We can assume that the relationship ended on good terms based on a mellow and calm decision. And there is a possibility that they would have many common friends, so they would meet at parties or even family functions. Staying in touch might not be much damaging for either of them.
“Finally, if one person is not willing to keep in touch with the other, I would highly recommend that the first partner should not force the other. Here, you are just trying to latch on to your ex when they’re trying to get rid of you. And it might cause more anxiety and aggression. The feeling of being rejected will keep coming back every time you request them for a chat. You’ll be a stumbling block in your own way to getting closure.”
Related Reading: 15 Clever Ways to Turn Down An Ex Who Wants To Be Friends
4. Make a list of all the slights, and discuss forgiving yourself and your partner
Here’s an example of closure in a relationship. Once the closure meeting is done, sit down with a clear mind and make a list of all the good and bad events that have happened in your relationship so far. Be fair! Write down every little thing that caused the rift and eventual breakdown of this relationship. Then meditate over these thoughts in your mind or even say “I forgive you” aloud. This heals the anger, the sadness, the betrayal, and the nastiness.
Remember that, for some people, forgiveness is an important aspect of finding closure after a breakup. You’re not forgiving your ex and letting them off the hook for their sake but for your own. Until you let go of the grudges and anger, it might be hard for you to get closure after a breakup.
If you owe your ex closure, you can sit with the list with them or send it to them over email and tell them the things that worked and the things that didn’t. You can have a closure conversation after that and then end it. You will feel much better. This is a great way of leaving the emotional baggage behind. To give someone closure after ending a relationship is the kind and the right thing to do. Unless it was a toxic or abusive relationship, it’s a courtesy you must extend to an ex-partner.
5. Do not delve into the past
Here’s another example of closure in a relationship that has been deferred for way too long. Glen was attending a meditation retreat with her friends where she discovered she had such severe anxiety issues that she was unable to let go of the pain from her last breakup years ago. These unresolved feelings also triggered overwhelming new relationship anxiety that prevented Glen from letting anyone into her life. She never realized that finding closure with ex after years would loom large in her life like this.
At the end of the retreat, she asked one of the instructors how she could cope, and the instructor responded, “Shut the book on your past.” It was truly a useful tip. Don’t open the book. Don’t delve into the past. It is like a dead leaf; it has drifted to the ground and will rot away and turn to mud.
6. Don’t enter rebound relationships if you have not healed
We absolutely cannot stress enough the importance of this one. How to get closure from a breakup is not about re-downloading those dating apps from three years ago and saying yes to any person who looks your way. As enticing as it may be to want to get out there again to soften the blow and forget the pain, that is absolutely not something that you are ready for at this point.
Even if you do end up fooling around with someone, you will eventually just start comparing them with your ex, further worsening your need for closure and making yourself yearn for them even more. The answer to how to get closure from an ex who won’t talk to you is not finding a new partner immediately.
Trust us when we tell you that it will only make things worse. Even if you are being stonewalled by your ex and are unable to hold a decent closure conversation with them, you have to find other ways to get over that relationship. Whether it’s yoga and meditation or going on a solo trip, any of that is better than forcing yourself to join the dating pool again when you are already nursing a broken heart.
7. To get closure from a guy you no longer speak to, forgive him and yourself
Ariana had been dating Melvin for 7 years, starting in high school, after which the two broke up because of jealousy issues that had begun coming up in the relationship. Since there was a lot of festering anger and resentment, the two never spoke or expressed themselves properly after the breakup. This further worsened the way that Ariana felt for she not only lost her favorite person in the world but was also dealing with some very ugly feelings toward him.
Ariana told us, “It took me about eight months after the breakup to realize that the only way I’ll ever be happy is if I forgive Melvin. For me, that is closure. I never even had a chance to think about what to say in a closure conversation or if I should consider dropping a closure text to my ex-boyfriend. For me, the closure was not a two-way thing, it was more of an individual process. Our breakup was so ugly that I have not spoken to him to date, but after forgiving him and myself, I can say that I have found closure in that relationship. I may not be ready to move on yet but I hold no ill feelings for him anymore.”
This example of closure in a relationship tells us how dynamic and peaceful internal closure can truly be. A closure is not necessarily a goodbye breakup text or a meeting where one person says, “Thank you for those beautiful years.” Sometimes when things get ugly, people do not necessarily have the privilege to do those things. So while it is important to meet them in person and talk things out, it may not always be possible. In that case, practicing forgiveness is the only way to feel some kind of closure.
So, is closure important after a breakup? The answer to that is amply clear by now – it’s extremely important to heal and move on. However, it’s equally important to know that you don’t really need another person to find closure. Yes, having them answer your questions can be beneficial in gaining clarity on the breakup and accepting it. However, the real closure – which is the readiness to let go of the past and be happy – can only come from within.
We hope that you now know how to get closure from a breakup. If a tête-à-tête with your ex is not feasible, focus on finding your own ending to get closure without contact from the other person. Seeking counseling can truly speed along the process by bringing in a new level of self-awareness. If you’re still in search of closure with an ex after years, experienced therapists on Bonobology’s panel can help you get there. The right help is only a click away.