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How to Get Closure After a Relationship Ends

by Stacey Elkins

Breakups can be incredibly painful and difficult, but even more so if you don't have closure. Breakups can cause emotional tolls that are hard to get past if a person isn't able to accept the breakup, learn from it and move on, according to California State University Long Beach's Health Resource Center in "Surviving a Breakup." Closure is an important step of accepting the breakup and moving on.

Reflect on Your Feelings

Focusing on how you feel can help you find closure. You may be feeling sad, angry, betrayed, hurt, remorse or any other number of feelings. Figure out what it is about the breakup that is hardest for you to let go. For example, you may be feeling guilty because you didn't put everything you had into the relationship, you may be feeling angry because the breakup came out of the blue or you may be feeling sad because you're holding out hope that the situation can change. Figure out what it is about the breakup that is hardest for you to let go. The negative emotions, such as pain, anger and disappointment, will lessen, once you have a more clear, realistic awareness of the situation, says Abigail Brenner, a psychiatrist and author of "5 Ways to Find Closure From the Past" on Psychology Today.

Give Yourself Time to Heal

Allowing yourself to let go of bottled-up feelings helps to release some pressure and helps you to get closer to closure, according to California State University Long Beach's Health Resource Center. You can't heal from a breakup overnight. Let yourself feel your emotions. For example, cry if you're feeling sad or scream if you're feeling angry. You can't move on, if you don't grieve, says Therese Borchard, a therapist and author of "12 Ways to Mend a Broken Heart" on PBS.org.

Talk About It

One way some people achieve closure is to talk to their formal significant other in an non-confrontational way, according to California State University Long Beach's Health Resource Center. Tell your ex that you would like to get clarity on what went wrong in the relationship and ask if he is willing to talk. If he is, make sure that there are no angry, bitter or intense emotions brimming. If some instances, it may not be possible to talk with an ex or he may not want to talk with you. If this is the case, lean on your family and friends. You can discuss your relationship and breakup with them and they may be able to add some clarity to the situation.

Write About It

Releasing your feelings and thoughts through writing also can help you find closure. You can write a letter to your ex that you never intend to send. It can be therapeutic simply writing the letter. Tell him how hurt you are, why you are hurt, how angry you are at him or the many reasons you are extremely bitter towards him. Writing in a journal is also a great way to release tension you are feeling.

About the Author

Stacey Elkins is a writer based in Chicago. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale and a Masters in social work from the University of Illinois in Chicago, where she specialized in mental health.

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