Home  >  Love Couch  >  Broken Hearts

Closure After a Relationship: 29 Signs You Haven’t Got It & Ways to Move On

We’re told closure is the key to moving on from heartbreak, but how do you even find closure in a relationship? Here’s everything you need to know.

closure after a relationship

You don’t need us to tell you that relationships suck. If you’ve found your way to this feature, chances are, you know this already. You may be feeling vulnerable, distressed, sensitive, and confused at the loss of a relationship. Healing from any relationship starts with making sense of your past and finding closure in it.

When we are rejected, we want explanations. “Why did they want to break up?” “What changed in the relationship?” “Why did it change?” Overthinking the reasons why you went wrong in a relationship will only make the healing process more difficult.

Finding closure in your relationship means going through the grief, understanding your emotions, and finding comfort in the end of the relationship. It won’t be easy, but it’s essential to mend the cracks in your broken heart. [Read: 58 life-changing secrets to get over a breakup & heal your broken heart]

What is closure in a relationship?

You’re on a journey to find closure in a relationship, but what exactly does it mean to find closure? Is it difficult? What do the steps look like to finally find closure? First, we’ll start with its definition.

The idea of “finding closure” was coined by Professor Arie Kruglanski. He suggested that an individual’s need for closure exists so that they don’t have to live with uncertainty. This means, rather than being unsure of where a relationship stands, you are fully aware that it ended.

Closure is an understanding of the past and the reasoning behind your ex-partner’s choice to end the relationship. [Read: 28 signs he wants to break up but is just too afraid to say so]

Ultimately, finding closure gives someone the confidence to close the door on a relationship. All questions that eat you up at night are answered, your relationship issues *that can be resolved* have been resolved, and you are assured enough to move on.

Is closure necessary when a relationship ends?

The simple answer is yes, closure is needed when a relationship ends.

During this time, it’s only natural that your emotions are heightened, especially your negative emotions. With closure, you can make sense of the emotional confusion

How you get closure, however, is heavily debated. Without the right guidance, finding closure will hurt you more than it will help you. [Read: Emotional baggage – what it is, types, causes, 27 signs & steps to put it down]

Reasons why closure is important in a relationship

Closure in a relationship proves that you have fully ended that chapter of your life and are ready to take the next steps forward to a better future. Below are some of the benefits of receiving closure and how it can help you on your road to peace.

1. It allows both parties to move forward

As we said earlier in this feature, overthinking the reasons where you went wrong in your relationship can only make the healing process worse. Having closure helps remove any overthinking and allows you to move forward in your relationship and in life in general.

The questions that haunt your head are replaced with understanding and you no longer feel “stuck” trying to fix the flaws of your past relationship. [Read: 26 honest steps to let go of someone you love and move on & find peace]

2. Rewriting of life stories

Your relationship was a major part of your identity, it only makes sense that you feel reluctant to move past that part of your life.

You’ve grown used to having your ex-partner with you every day. But now, you need to redefine who you are and what makes you, you. Closure can help.

3. You learn what to do differently

Coming out of a relationship, you might feel emotionally blinded. This process is so confusing to navigate because your feelings are heightened. So, when you have closure, you’ll have more clarity on what you really want in life.

You can look back on your past and be in tune with your emotions in the present to decide exactly what you really want from your future.

You’ll be less likely to make the same mistakes in your past relationship moving forward. [Read: Why do I always choose the wrong guy & repeat the same mistakes?]

4. It benefits your emotional well-being

Closure is so important because it helps replace your negative emotions with positive ones. The grieving process can be hard, but with the right guidance, you can make it through and find healthy ways to cope with your past relationship.

Signs you haven’t found closure

It’s not always easy to see the clear picture after you’ve had a breakup. If you find yourself struggling with these problems, it is a sign that you still need closure from your past relationship.

1. You can’t stop thinking about the relationship

You’ve just ended your relationship, so thinking about it is normal and understandable behavior. However, if your thoughts become obsessive and are holding you back from enjoying other aspects of life, it is a sign you haven’t found closure yet.

2. You still don’t understand what happened

People aren’t mind-readers, we will never one hundred percent know the intentions of others. But after some time has passed from a breakup, we tend to become a little less blindsided by the breakup and are able to see it for what it was.

If months or even years have passed since your breakup and you still don’t understand what happened, it is a sign you need closure in your relationship to move on properly.

3. You keep reopening the wound

Another big sign you still haven’t accepted your breakup is if you keep reopening the wound. What this means is, you keep your ex on the forefront of your mind and self-sabotage because of them.

Reopening the wound can be done in many ways. You may mention them all of the time, go to places you used to visit as a couple, stalk their social media, hold onto gifts from them, or even still keep them in your life subconsciously hoping things will change.

4. You question your worth

One of the hardest parts about a breakup is how it might affect the way you see yourself. If things ended poorly, chances are, you feel poorly about yourself. And that’s okay, it happens to the best of us.

What’s not okay, however, is if you genuinely question your worth as an individual and in a relationship after you’ve “moved on.”

If this is you, then you haven’t moved on. The negativity surrounding your breakup has been holding you hostage for too long.

This is a huge sign that you need closure in your relationship and immediate help to overcome what’s been weighing you down. [Read: Letting go of people – why it’s so hard, 29 signs you must & steps to do it]

5. You hold on to resentment

We don’t expect you to not be angry after a breakup. In fact, you probably have a lot of justified anger. But to truly have accepted a relationship’s end and moved on, you need to let that anger go.

Finding closure means you process your emotions, understand the events from the past, accept your anger or resentment for what it is, and let it go. [Read: 25 ways to let go of resentment, stop feeling bitter & start living]

How to find closure from an ex

An easy way to understand closure is to think of it in terms of closing out a relationship. You need to completely accept that your past relationship has closed, and close yourself off from any harmful thoughts or actions regarding it. But how?

The first way most people think to get closure is to ask their ex. They want to ask why the relationship ended, what mistakes they made, why they weren’t “good enough”, and so on.

Although this may make you think you’ll get all of the answers you need to close that chapter in your life, it won’t. Instead, you risk feeling even more heartbroken depending on the terms your ex-partner left you on. [Read: No contact rule – what it is, how to use it, and why it works so well]

Now, we’re not saying having a civil discussion with your ex about the breakup isn’t possible. It is something you should try to do after you’ve processed your emotions and when the time is ready. If you’re able to openly communicate with your ex-partner, you may find that the grieving process can be easier.

However, life isn’t perfect. Some relationships end abruptly, and your ex may ghost you or actively avoid giving you any closure. This is why it is so important that you find closure in your relationship by making peace with your past.

You will have to come to terms with the breakup and start investing in yourself. Take time to experience your emotions and work through them. Accept the past for what it is and learn to let go of any self-judgment. You will have to take responsibility for your journey of recovering from your past by making peace with it.

How does one make peace with the past?

Moving on from a past relationship is never easy, but it is possible. It is a journey of self-discovery, of making peace with yourself, and learning how to be truly happy.

Following these points below will bring you one step further down the road to closure in your relationship.

1. Learn to accept that there are things that cannot be undone

They say that accepting things is the hardest part of letting go. It’s also the first step to recovery.

You need to accept that things have ended and that this chapter of your life has come to an end. This is an important first step to moving forward and not backward in your healing journey. Doing so will give you solace and help you evaluate your feelings. [Read: First week after a breakup – the hardest parts & 15 steps to survive and heal]

2. Give yourself time to grieve

After a breakup, it’s normal to want to move on right away and get back to feeling upbeat. However, what you need the most is to experience the emotions you’re feeling. To get closure in your relationship, you can’t skip over your feelings, you need to go through them.

Allow yourself some time to mourn the end of the relationship. It’s okay to feel sad, angry, or hurt, so do not repress your feelings. Take time to grieve, but don’t let this sadness consume you entirely or prevent you from doing the things you love. Remember that life doesn’t stop for anyone, even if you wish it did.

3. Make peace with yourself

You might find it very easy to start blaming yourself for the mistakes of the past but remember that you are only human. Instead of berating yourself with negative thoughts, practice forgiving yourself for who you were.

You didn’t know the things you know now, so be gentle with the person you used to be during your relationship. [Read: How to forgive yourself & free yourself of the weight of guilt]

Take the lessons that you have learned and use these to make improvements in your life. While it might sound cliché, you need to focus on learning to love yourself for you to experience the right kind of love from someone else.

4. Be fair to yourself and others

Once you are out of a relationship, you might find yourself tempted to make yourself available to the next person who comes along. We won’t discourage you from getting into a new relationship, but we suggest doing this with caution.

If you’re still going through the grieving process from your last relationship, you may struggle to form genuine connections with new people.

You want to be the best version of yourself for your new partner, and you can’t do that if you are still suffering from your past.

5. Never think of those moments as wasted time

As you go through the process of moving on, you might find that all those moments you spent with your ex were wasted time. Moments are precious, no matter how long or short the period in time was.

Consider them as experiences that mold you as a person, and not mistakes that you should try to forget. [Read: Most common post-breakup mistakes]

6. Put aside triggers that remind you of the past

Sometimes, we need to get rid of the things that remind us of the past. Put aside all the letters, the photographs, the clothes, and the gifts. Place them all in a box and store them away.

If you feel that you need to revisit the past, do so. But remember that you should never use these memories and mementos to give yourself false hope about going back to those times. Having these triggers around you is counterproductive to finding closure in your relationship.

7. Reconnect with who you were before the relationship began

We tend to lose a bit of ourselves when we find ourselves to be in the wrong kind of relationship. This means giving up the things you loved to do, hanging out with the people your ex didn’t approve of, or changing who you are to make your ex love you.

Now that your ex is gone, reconnect with who you were before. It’s easy to lose yourself in a relationship, but remember that you are your own person, and who you dated shouldn’t define who you are. [Read: 21 steps to find yourself when you’ve lost your way & feel hopeless]

8. Focus on the present moment

When you refuse to let go of a past relationship, you’re only holding yourself back. Live in the moment, despite the fears that you might have.

The past is now a shadow, and it’s time for you to bask in the light of your freedom. Seize the moment, and use the present to ensure a better future for yourself.

9. Do not focus on revenge

Entertaining the thought of revenge is counterproductive to the healing process. While it might be tempting, it is never healthy to give in to thoughts of revenge because it eats away at your happiness and steals your peace.

If you are considering revenge, the best thing you can do for yourself is completely cut off communication if you have not already.

Remove your ex from your social media, delete their number, and distance yourself from any other triggers that remind you of them.

Revenge is an outlet for many negative emotions. By contemplating revenge, you’re feeding into your own negativity. This behavior only keeps you further from finding closure in your relationship. [Read: He cheated on you? How to get over a guy without seeking revenge]

10. Do not maintain a familiar relationship with your ex

While you might be tempted to go back to the past because it was so familiar, this is the worst thing you can do for yourself.

Not being able to close the door on your relationship sends mixed signals to your ex and shows them that you don’t respect your own boundaries. This dynamic gives them leeway to take advantage of your vulnerability and use it against you.

Once you maintain a close or even sexual relationship with your ex, the old feelings return and prevent you *or even your ex* from moving on.

This is why staying friends while you’re still not over your ex will only make it harder for you to come to terms that what you once had is now gone.

11. Accept that you may not receive clear answers

Relationships are complicated, emotions are complicated, everything is complicated. And because of this, you may not be able to find clear answers to the questions you have about your past or future. Accepting this for how it is is vital to find closure.

12. Consider the larger picture

It’s easy to fall into the trap of seeing everything with negative tunnel vision. So, once you have given yourself the time to grieve over your relationship, try to consider it from a larger point of view.

Take yourself out of your self-pity mindset and into a bystander’s view of the relationship. Confiding with close friends or family can help you with this step if you aren’t fully able to grasp it yourself.

Not only that but consider the larger picture of your life. Your relationship was an important tool to shape who you are from now and onwards.

Now you can use this experience to shape what kinds of personal boundaries and goals you set for yourself. You have so much more ahead of you in life than this. [Read: Honest secrets to let go of the past, be happy, and look to the future]

13. Practice forgiveness

We touched on the importance of forgiving yourself earlier. When you are able to see your relationship from a larger picture, it will be a lot easier to forgive yourself for who you were during your relationship. You know far more now than you did back then, so respect your past self and strive to do better.

Depending on the situation revolving around your breakup, try to practice forgiving your ex. Forgiveness is a powerful tool that can relieve the weight of resentment you carry on your shoulders.

You don’t have to agree with or understand your ex’s behavior, but you should try to forgive them for it.

The most important part about practicing forgiveness is to do it for yourself. Don’t go about forgiving your ex because you pity them. This isn’t about them, it’s about you. You need to focus on benefitting yourself and releasing any emotional baggage to fully heal.

14. Seek professional help

The road to finding closure can be a confusing, messy, sensitive, and complicated journey. If you’re struggling with making peace with your past, it’s a good idea to reach out to a professional counselor for guidance.

Support groups such as friends and family are all great options to go to for help as well. However, a professional counselor will be able to see your needs from an unbiased point of view, evaluate your situation without judgment, and offer you the best professional advice fit for your needs.

Why seeking closure from your ex can hurt you

When someone seeks closure from their ex, what they really are seeking is an explanation. They want answers to the harsh questions that are holding their happiness hostage. But this approach to closure can be far more hurtful than it can be helpful.

Many factors determine whether or not seeking closure from an ex is the right thing to do.

Learning to make peace with your past and move on without reassurance from your ex is the healthiest and safest option. Here are six reasons why seeking closure from your ex is the wrong path to peace.

1. Your self-esteem is fragile

You’ve been broken up with, so it’s only expected that your self-esteem is fragile. Your ex’s attitude toward the breakup might be the complete opposite of how you’re feeling right now, and you will really take it to heart.

If they respond to you in a less-than-desirable way, you won’t be in the right state of mind to process it. Instead, your ex’s words may trigger your self-esteem and hurt you even more than you’re already hurting. [Read: Self-love secrets after a breakup & ways to raise your broken self-esteem]

2. You may not get an honest response

It sounds insensitive, but your ex is not someone you can trust to give you honesty. Why? Because they are no longer obligated to.

Regardless of how the relationship ended, your ex will likely give you answers that save their face. They don’t want to be perceived as the “bad guy” and will either sugarcoat their explanations or try to shift blame onto you.

Their responses are bound to put you in an even deeper state of emotional confusion. This is harmful to your need for emotional clarity and understanding, and a big reason to not seek closure from your ex.

3. You will make comparisons

You were once a huge part of your ex’s life, so whether you consciously make comparisons or not, they will happen.

This is a prime example of not being moved on from your past. The only way to fully escape the desire to compare yourself to the people in your ex’s life and the experiences they have without you is distance.

4. You’ll try to change their mind

Having the closure conversation with your ex fresh out of your breakup is never a good idea. Your feelings for them are still raw and you may subconsciously be seeking the comfort and safety of your past relationship. Don’t. Do. This.

Closure is about accepting the end of the relationship for what it was and growing past it. You can’t even begin to grow if you are still trying to put one foot in the door of your past relationship.

5. Their opinion shouldn’t matter anymore

Seeking validation from your ex through closure is counterproductive to your real goal. Instead of accepting things for how they are, living for yourself, and moving on, you’re still vulnerable to their judgment.

Real closure is leaving your ex’s opinion of you *or who you were* in the past. If this person is no longer going to be a part of your life, then their opinion shouldn’t matter to you anymore. [Read: How to stop holding onto a relationship that’s over]

How your ex feels about you is not any of your business anymore. It’s healthier to spend your time with people who you know want to be around you, instead of pining over this one person’s opinions of you.

6. You don’t need their permission to move on

This point goes along with the previous one. What your ex thinks of you after the breakup amounts to nothing. If you rely on your ex to give you closure, you are giving them the power to control whether it’s okay for you to move on.

Your healing journey is in your hands and your hands only. You can’t let them manipulate your feelings by not setting emotional boundaries for yourself.

If you think you need an apology or forgiveness to keep moving forward, you need to provide those things for yourself. [Read: 16 lessons to recover from a breakup one day at a time & move ahead]

Closure is not one one-time thing

The road to closure never really ends. Yes, you do eventually reach closure in a relationship, but it isn’t something that you stop striving for once you have it.

It’s a journey rather than a one-time thing. The process of closure doesn’t end when you feel like you’ve moved on from your relationship. It continues after and has to be nurtured every day.

Closure is a self-healing journey of self-awareness, emotional clarity, setting boundaries, and practicing forgiveness. These kinds of things take time, but with the right determination and guidance, you will be able to embark on the path of making peace with your past, present, and future.

[Read: 23 reasons why good relationships end even if there were no red flags]

The road to finding closure in a relationship can be an intimidating and confusing one, but it is doable. Practicing to control what is within your power and setting goals for growth will bring you closer to overcoming your struggles from your breakup.

Liked what you just read? Follow us on Instagram Facebook Twitter Pinterest and we promise, we’ll be your lucky charm to a beautiful love life. And while you’re at it, check out MIRL, a cool new social networking app that connects experts and seekers!

Vinod Srinivas Serai
Vin Serai
Vin Serai is the founder of LovePanky.com, and has delved deep into the working of love and relationships for almost two decades. Having dipped his feet in almo...