So you’ve finally broken up. Maybe you’ve been dreading it, maybe you’ve been looking forward to it, or maybe it’s a complete surprise, but now it’s over. Or is it? Saying goodbye is rarely the last step in a relationship, and finding closure can be a challenge that takes months, or even years.
There are a few reasons why closure after a breakup is so important. Perhaps the most important reason is so that you don’t do something really stupid like try to get back together. Closure also helps you to move on with a clear mind not bogged down with hatred, regret, and the desire to set someone’s car on fire. Closure also numbs you to all of the wonderful things your ex is going to do now that you’re not there to slow them down. Here are eight ways you might find closure after a breakup:
#1: Give Back Their Stuff
Holding their favorite hairbrush for ransom is not going to cause them to walk back into your apartment, burst into tears, give you a hug, and swear that they’ll do anything to get you back. What it will do is convince them beyond the shadow of a doubt that you’re a pathetic loser and possibly a kleptomaniac. Giving your ex their stuff back sends a clear message to them and yourself: “I’m done and moving on.”
#2: Get Back Your Stuff
The longer you leave your copy of “50 Shades of Grey” at the home of your former beloved, the more likely you are to start to wonder if they’re reenacting some favorite scenes with their new love. Letting your ex hang on to something that belongs to you gives you an excuse to stay in contact, too, while breaking that contact can help you achieve closure.
#3: Say It in a Letter
When you break up with somebody, there are always things left unsaid. There’s a good reason for that—when you say things, they say things, and the next thing you know somebody says the wrong thing and you’re on a daytime talk show with half a beer bottle sticking out of your head. With a letter, you can say what must be said, and then throw the letter away or burn it in a Pagan ritual designed to invoke the god of eternal revenge and humiliation, never needing to face the argument but still getting the closure you need.
#4: Write Yourself out of Your Relationship
If you’re in a writing mood and the idea of a symbolic letter seems a little silly to you, there are other ways to write about your relationship to get closure. Write a book, a poem, an article, or a blog about your relationship. Discuss why your relationship was great and horrible and what you learned from it, but most importantly, discuss what you’ll be doing differently now that you have closure.
#5: Art Is Pain, Pain Is Art
If writing isn’t your thing, use another artistic outlet to express your feelings about your relationship and breakup. Maybe drawing moustaches on every picture of you ex-girlfriend wouldn’t exactly qualify as high art, but it might make you feel better. If you can do a sculpture of your former boyfriend with an incredibly undersized penis and “Chia pet” seeds planted everywhere to imitate excessive body hair, now that could be a piece worthy of the attention of the “Gallery of Angry Exes.”
#6: Forgive and Forget
This is much easier said than done, but forgiveness is really the surest path to closure. So they slept with your best friend, stole all the money in your bank account, and posted your sexual preferences on their Facebook page—what good does it do you to waste the energy to hate them for it? Forgive them, forget them, and move on.
#7: Take a Break
Ending a relationship is traumatic and it takes time to heal―if that week of healing takes place in Vegas, so be it. The idea is to get away from your surroundings and reflect on the good things in your life that have nothing to do with your ex. This can mean a vacation, a weekend getaway, redecorating your house, or even moving away—whatever it takes to reset your life and find closure.
#8: Reclaim Your Favorite Memories
You are going to associate a lot of your favorite things with you ex—don’t avoid those things forever just to avoid unpleasant memories; take them back. Go to your favorite restaurant, swim at your favorite beach, listen to your favorite songs, and do your best not to think about your ex while you’re doing it. With a little luck, you’ll start to create great new memories to replace the old ones and you will find yourself on the path to closure.