How Do You Find Closure When Your Relationship Ends?
I never knew that my writing journey would mean I had to bare my past to people I’ve never met before; But if it helps even one person, I am up for it. So, if you’ve ever been in a failed relationship, you’d want to know why that relationship failed.
“Why did he/she leave me?”
If that question is not answered, it leads to a multitude of other questions like “Was I not good enough?”, “Am I doing something wrong?”. “Was he/she seeing somebody else?”, “What was the tipping point?” and a lot more that I definitely cannot cover in this article. Some of you might have the privilege to know the why—and though it may be difficult to accept during the pain of losing that someone, the ‘why’ is a means of closure. Some of you might be left hanging. No whys answered—just silence.
I was one of those people who was left with no answer to that question. Mind you, I did ask, but the reply was, “It was better if you did not know…”
I didn’t have the mental strength to question my life choices, nor was I in the right frame of mind to ‘snap out of it because I deserve better’. I just cried and cried for days. But this is not a sob story for you to have a pity party with. I will tell you how I got closure without knowing the reason for that break up. If you ever find yourself in that situation (I hope not), I pray you’ll be able to get through it with the help of these actionable tips.
Honey, it is a decision you must make to get closure in a relationship even without closure from the other party. You can’t force the person to give you closure. However, you have the power to pen the last word for this chapter of your life and move forward. One way to start is to delete everything. Delete his or her contact number, all the messages, emails, call history and yes, his/her social media. You might stop yourself and ask, “Am I being dramatic?”, “What if the person thinks I can’t get over the relationship?”, “What if people talk?”.
Nothing is more important than your sanity.
I say delete everything because it will stop you from the possibility of drunk dialing or rereading old messages as you reminisce about the ‘good ol’ times’ when you are trying to heal from a break up. If you have gifts, I say donate it (unless it is food, then eat it). Unfortunately, in a time when getting into a relationship is as simple as a text message, a break up may also happen through ghosting. It is so bad that ghosting (the act of ending a relationship by disappearing digitally) was a cultural buzzword in 2018. Therefore, if you were ghosted, let it go. Nobody deserves a relationship with someone who does not have the guts to say a proper goodbye at the end of the road.
P/S: My ex did call me back a few months after the break up to wish me happy birthday. But since he was not in my phone book anymore, I picked it up and thought the voice on the line wishing me sounded familiar. Innocently, I asked, ‘May I know who this is?’ #sorrybutnotsorry
2. Talk to a friend
Don’t go through a break up alone, especially when the used-to-be partner did not offer closure to the relationship. Confide in a friend. Depending on how you are feeling, let them know if you just want to rant or you are looking for actionable advice to get through it.
It is normal for the first few days (even weeks) to be a little shaken and emotional. We are humans and we are allowed to have feelings. It is okay to cry when something that was precious to you is gone. However, try to verbalise to someone you trust as a way to process the event that has happened. Talking about it will help give you clarity, clear your head and even help you to get rid of the gifts and delete messages when you can’t bring yourself to.
I was fortunate to have a friend that helped me through the mess that I was in during that break up. Some of you may experience it at the worst of times. I had a friend who went through a closure-less break up on a Sunday and had to report to work on a Monday. She was so heartbroken she did not know what to do. Come Monday morning, she was still in bad shape. She drove to a clinic in tears and told the doctor that she could not go to work because the break up pained her so much to the point of physical pain (if you know, you know). Thankfully, the doctor could empathise with her and gave her an MC to recover from the trauma at home.
3. Do something you enjoy
It is very easy to stay in the ‘talk to a friend’ loop. But after revisiting the break up, verbalising the emotion and expressing sadness through tears (and sometimes anger), you need to move out of that vortex of constant melancholy. What I did was give myself a time limit. After one week of crying every night, I needed to bring joy to my broken heart again. Revisiting the broken pieces of my heart was creating fresh wounds. At first, I didn’t know where to start. Because like some people, I lost myself in the relationship (kinda). Therefore, I had to start to find my “identity” once again.
One way is to fill your mind and your time with things that bring you joy. I read books, met up with friends and even learnt knitting from YouTube. I found that when I do not replace the chunks of time previously dedicated to my ex, my mind would drift back to the what ifs and if onlys. Think about something you enjoy doing and build on it. If you’ve always wanted to venture into something but didn’t have time, darling, now is a perfect time.
4. Change your look, change your atmosphere
Sometimes, you need more than just a mindset change. There must be some physical change so you can feel that you are starting on a new chapter. It is one way to gain confidence after a break up that seems to have not a cause. You could reorganise your room, change the bedsheets, add some nice photographs of you and your friends or family around the room, try your hand at calligraphy and write some inspiring words for yourself to put up or paint the walls of your room.
For others, it would mean cutting your hair, putting on makeup, exercising or dressing up. These temporary changes will aid the healing of a broken heart. I also found that when all else fails, going out and recharging under the sun helps a bunch. When I was patching up my broken heart, there were days that I did not go out (because of my puffy eyes). I found it hard to sleep and even more difficult to wake up. However, on the days that I did go out, the morning sun worked something miraculous with my body. I was somehow calmer and did not have any problem sleeping at night.
It was later when I found out that exposure to sunlight (not the scorching ones in the afternoon, I am not suggesting you be a victim of a sunstroke) releases a mood booster hormone called serotonin. Long after the sun goes down, the sunlight exposure in the morning actually tells your brain to release melatonin, a hormone that helps you sleep. The sun gave me back my groove and I was able to function almost normally after a few months—no looking back. Even though until today, I never got the closure I wanted.
But guess what, I don’t need it!
If you are looking for ways to pay back your ex in kind, you’re at the wrong place. Harbouring anger and resentment toward someone who has wronged you won’t hurt them one bit, but it hurts you a whole lot! That is why I am preaching (from experience) that revamping yourself to be the best version of yourself is the healthier way forward. It is not jumping into another relationship to show off that you can get someone else better in no time (who are you kidding?) or reshaping yourself to be another person you think your ex would be interested in to show them what they are missing. None of that.
You work on becoming a better person for yourself. Work on forgiving your ex for leaving you for no substantial reason. Learn to forgive yourself for not neglecting self-love. You work on learning something new about yourself. Working on forgiveness and self-betterment will prevent you from bringing the baggage of your past to your future relationship.