You’ve done it all: cried. Raged. Binge-watched Veronica Mars (again) while eating your bodyweight in pizza and Krispy Kremes. You’ve now reached the point in your breakup where you’re ready to move forward. You’re after what we all long for after we’ve had our heart broken: closure.
Jeffrey Sumber is a licensed professional clinical counselor. As he describes for Her Campus, closure is “a mutually agreed upon experience where both people leave with resolution or peace. Both parties can walk away with a sense of finality.”
However, wanting closure and actually getting it are two different things. Here are a few expert tips that will help you move on from a breakup.
- Allow yourself to feel all the feelings.
Breakups suck. However, you’re not going to be able to move past the pain if you immediately shove it to the side under the guise of “moving on.” Hurt, sadness, anger, disappointment — these are just a few of the common feelings that breakups tend to bring up. Whatever you’re feeling, acknowledge it and give yourself permission to feel it. If you need an entire week to cry or watch Netflix, do it. Get it out of your system. It’s the only way you’re going to be able to release those feelings and really, truly move on.
- Take space for yourself.
In my experience, it’s much harder to get closure after a relationship if you’re still texting each other all the time or creeping on their social media accounts. Even if the breakup ended on good terms and you want to stay in touch with your ex, you need to create some space after the breakup to heal, rebuild and adapt to your new single reality — and so does your ex! This could mean taking a break from contact or temporarily disconnecting them from your social media.
- Return or get rid of anything that reminds you of them.
Still have their sweatshirt? Give it back. Tired of looking at that hideous throw pillow they gave you for Valentine’s Day? Give it away. If needed, have a breakup bonfire where you get rid of old love notes and mementos for good. Even if you’re still on good terms and want to keep some mementos of the relationship, they don’t need to be front and center in your life. Gather up and pack them away somewhere safe. Having your ex out of sight as much as possible helps keep them out of mind.
- Write your ex a letter — and never send it.
A great way to move past your feelings is to write them all down in an imaginary letter to your ex. Tell them exactly how they made you feel. Document everything. Then, instead of sending the letter, tear it up or toss it into that breakup bonfire. Even if no one ever reads your words, the act of getting your feelings down and releasing them will make you feel better.
- Forgive yourself.
It’s so easy to beat yourself up after a breakup. I made a bad choice. I chose someone who hurt me. Why didn’t I see this coming? Have these thoughts (it’s normal!), acknowledge them and then forgive yourself. In fact, go a step further and give yourself a mental high-five. The relationship may not have worked out, but you put yourself out there and took a chance on love. That’s brave.
- Create your own closure.
People talk about closure like it’s something that one person gives another. I used to think that the exes who wronged or rejected me somehow owed me closure, but that’s just not realistic. You need to get comfortable with the fact that you may never get an apology or any kind of closure from your ex. More often than not, you have to create it yourself. This starts by acknowledging how you feel and taking steps to overcome those feelings so you can find a place of peace. Live your life well and do you.