Closure Isn’t Complicated

After a Breakup, It's the Biggest Gift You Can Give Yourself

Breakups suck! They’re brutal. There’s no way around it. Even if we did the breaking, it’s usually a process that involves some degree of heartbreak and disappointment. And then there’s being on the receiving end of a breakup; well, that has the potential to send someone directly into Crazyland.

The breakup recovery process has several stages. If you Google it, you’ll find there are five, seven, or more basic grieving stages involved. I’m sure you can immediately guess the basic first stage, imagining the pain and sadness, even a degree of desperation… Why is this happening? You said you loved me! I let you meet my kids! What about all that talk of forever? Please, please don’t leave! Let’s work it out. We can do it — I know it!

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And then there’s the anger, which may even include some jealous rage… Are you freaking serious? I was going to break up with you — you can’t do this to me! Who is she??? Were you cheating on me?

In my experience (and I’ve had a lot of it), the breakup stages have less to do with what the experts via Google say, and more to do with some pretty specific factors. Did I end the relationship, or did he? And even if he was the ender, did I love him? Was I happy or satisfied in the relationship? Did I already know in my heart it was likely not a forever deal? What else is going on in my life at the time? And what I have found to be the most telling question during the breakup process is, Do I love myself enough, or did I need the love he reflected back to me?

On top of all that, let’s add in my own emotional makeup, and well, maybe I’ll personally have four basic stages … or 11! Who knows? It really doesn’t matter. What does matter is feeling all of it all the way through. No shortcuts. No quick fixes from other men. From things. I’ve taken the shortcuts, I’ve had the quick fixes, and they don’t work. Not in the long run. Not if growth is the goal. Taking the long way around is not a fun process. But it is an incredibly empowering experience.

One of the most difficult stages of the breakup process is the desire for closure. The desire for closure can come up in moments of sadness, of anger, or during some major bouts of denial. We can easily find ourselves asking, demanding, or even begging that our ex give us closure. Just tell me why! Please, please tell me why!

We crave closure. And yet it is elusive. If I could make just one suggestion, it would be this: Please do not ask your ex for closure. Expecting closure from an ex keeps us hooked. Emotionally stuck.

The biggest gift you can give yourself during the breakup process is the gift of closure. It is very simple. I’m not saying it’s easy. But if you can do this, I promise you will feel even more love and compassion for yourself. You will struggle less, and you will unhook from your ex faster.

Here’s how. Journal the ideal conversation you and your ex would have that you believe would give you the closure you deserve. What will you ask him? What will he say? What will your response be? How will that make you feel?

Write it down exactly as you would like to hear it.

Read it aloud.

Close your eyes and visualize the conversation happening.

Sit with the feeling. Feel it in your body. Listen to it. Honor it.

Say thank you. Say I love you. And say goodbye.

Patrice Rossi is an ICF certified life coach who helps single Gen X women uncover, discover, create, and live their best life. Click here to read more about her and be sure to visit her Blog and Love Lessons at

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