If anyone ever figured out how to bottle the ability to achieve closure after a relationship ends, they would be rich and famous. As someone who has stumbled in finding closure a few times in my life, all I can say for sure is how it feels. It feels peaceful; it feels freeing, like taking a rock out of your shoe. It is the moment a chapter in the book of your life has been written, read, reread, and filed away for posterity. No matter what the situation, closure is a feeling that comes from within. Sometimes you have the other person there to debrief with and that can be helpful, like when I met up with an ex-boyfriend to compare notes on our relationship. It was an incredibly therapeutic experience that helped me close the door on the relationship once and for all. But let’s be honest, it hardly ever happens like that … Most of the time, we are struggling alone. Whether it’s because the other person(s) is dead, unavailable, toxic, crazy, or just an ass who we’ve decided doesn’t deserve to be in our life anymore, it’s not always possible to involve them in the closure process. So if we can’t have their input/thoughts/feelings/apologies, but we still need closure, how to proceed? Here are some tips for getting closure when you have to go at it alone. Share your suggestions in the comments.
The un-sent letter.
Write a book about the demise of your relationship, sell it for a six-figure advance, and then have it turned into a show on HBO starring someone exceedingly attractive. But seriously, even if you’re not a professional writer, write it anyway. A play, screenplay, short story, or poem can help you gain perspective on a situation, or even give you an opportunity to write a different ending. It’s OK if you’re the only one who ever reads it. It’s worth it.
Art! Art! Art! Paint it, collage it, photograph it. Make art about it. I have an entire sketchbook of awful collages and watercolor paintings that got me through college. No one will EVER see them, but I don’t care. If you are gifted in this way, I’m jealous!
Take the memories back! That Italian restaurant you both loved, your favorite dive bar or music venue, the bench you sat on to watch the sunset — do all the things you loved doing together on your own. Make new memories dammit … alone!
Change of scenery.
Sometimes the best way to get a fresh perspective on a life situation is to get away for a while. Go on a retreat/vacation, move to a new neighborhood, or just redecorate. Get out of your bubble. When your environment changes so does your state of mind. New states of mind are conducive to change.
This is so easy to say and so hard to do. Closure requires forgiveness either of yourself or others. Forgiveness takes time. And time is really the only way to heal from a major loss in your life. Unfortunately, time is something we have no control over. Yeah, that kind of sucks, but be patient with and kind to yourself. You never know when forgiveness will happen or exactly how long it will take, but sometimes you just wake up one day and that stupid rock has miraculously fallen out of your shoe. You may not know why or how, but it did. That is the moment that you’re ready to walk on. Only more comfortably.
— Ami Angelowicz
This post originally appeared on The Frisky.