While breaking up is hard to do, letting go and moving forward can seem impossible. What’s even harder is knowing that it’s over. Yet, it still feels like the door’s slightly open.
Why’s that? Simple: lack of closure.
According to Merriam-Webster, clo•sure (noun\'klo-zh?r\) is defined as:
- a situation or occurrence in which something (such as a business or factory) closes forever
- a feeling that something has been completed or that a problem has been solved
- a feeling that a bad experience (such as a divorce or the death of a family member) has ended and that you can start to live again in a calm and normal way
With this in mind, closure is not something that you get from an ex. Closure is something that you give to yourself. Closure is when you make peace with yourself and gather the strength to give yourself permission to close the door and move on. Closure belongs to you. It’s your choice.
People often say: “If I could only talk with my ex one more time, then I know I’ll get the closure I need.” In reality, that seldom works. Waiting to get closure from an ex simply means that they still have control over you. So, let me repeat: Closure belongs to you. It’s your choice.
Another reason closure can be so difficult to achieve is because, in addition to letting go of the past, closure also means letting go of the future. Or better yet, letting go of the perceived future you believed you were going to have with that ex.
In a relationship, most people project what their future life is going to be like; from how eternally happy they’re going to be, to where they’ll live to, even how many children they’ll have. When a break up occurs, that projected future still hovers, leaving the inner child to wonder: “When are we going to start all those wonderful things you’ve been planning? You promised. Are we there yet?”
Realizing that the projected future (which we can call “fantasy”) is not going to happen is disappointing. However, the sooner you can accept the reality of the situation, and see the past and the perceived future for what they really are, the sooner you allow yourself to close the door and move on.
While getting closure from a failed relationship may seem daunting, it’s not impossible.
According to Robert Jameson, MTF, author of The Keys to Joy-Filled Living, it’s possible to have the result you need without actually talking with your ex. It’s a simple three-day process that goes like this:
Day One: Write a letter to your ex. You’re not going to mail it, so no need to worry about punctuation, spelling, or grammar. And while you may want to do this on a computer, try actually writing the letter by hand.
Dear (name of your ex),
Paragraph One: Write the things that you like(d) and/or love(d) about them.
Paragraph Two: All the things that you miss or will miss about them.
Paragraph Three: What you learned from them.
Once you’re done, sign the letter and put it aside in a safe place.
Day Two: You’re going to write another letter. This time, you’re writing a letter to yourself from your ex. It’s really not that difficult, you inherently know what their response would be. So go for it.
Dear (your name),
Paragraph One: Write all the things they like(d) and/or love(d) about you.
Paragraph Two: All the things they miss or will miss about you.
Paragraph Three: What they’ve learned from you.
Once you’re done, sign the letter with their name and put it with the first letter in a safe place.
Day Three: Set aside some quiet time for yourself. It really doesn’t matter if it’s morning, noon, or night. You just need time for yourself away from the distractions of daily life.
Take out the two letters (the one to your ex and the one from your ex) and read them out loud back-to-back. Let the words resonate. Take a deep breath.
Now, when something dies, we bury it; since the relationship has died, respectfully fold both letters together and bury them. The healing can now begin.
It may sound like a strange process, but I’ve seen this work for many clients. Also, I’d never suggest anything that I haven’t done myself, so I know this can be a beneficial tool.