Getting over a breakup is hard no matter what – but it’s even more difficult when you don’t have closure. These tips are inspired by a reader who doesn’t want to accept that her relationship is over.
Before my tips, here’s one of my favorite quips: “It takes a couple seconds to say Hello, but forever to say Goodbye.” ~ Anonymous.
The most important thing to remember about getting over a break up is that it’s never “over.” Most people lose a piece of their heart when they lose someone they love. But, life after loss can still be meaningful, happy, and exciting – and there is love and laughter after breaking up!
If you’re still stuck in the past, read Getting Past Your Breakup: How to Turn a Devastating Loss into the Best Thing That Ever Happened to You.
And here are a few suggestions on getting over a break up when you have no relationship closure…
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. Relationship closure 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!
Tips for Getting Over a Break Up Without Relationship Closure
This idea of surviving a break up is more fully developed in Letting Go of Someone When You Don’t Have Closure. Here are just a few brief suggestions about letting go. 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.
- 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.
- Explore a different lifestyle. My reader mentioned that she worked hard on her career; after the breakup, she might carve out more free time to explore her hobbies, travel, or take classes.
- 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.
- Get counseling. I’m a huge fan of counseling because therapists help you see yourself and your love 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. My reader mentioned that she was pregnant but lost the baby; this can seriously complicate the whole process of letting go without relationship closure.
- 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.
One way to heal after a breakup without closure is to focus on the benefits of being single!
For more tips on healing without saying goodbye, read Getting Over the Pain of an Unexpected Divorce – A Few Tips.
If you have any thoughts on how to get over a break up when you don’t have closure, please comment below…
I'm glad you're here! My name is Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen; my husband Bruce and I live in Vancouver, BC with our critters. We can't have kids, and are learning to accept whatever life brings - both good and bad. I have an MSW (Master of Social Work) from UBC, and degrees in Education and Psychology. I hope you say hello below - I can't give relationship advice, but writing can bring you clarity and insight.