How to get closure in 8 simple steps
I’m just out of college and I’ve been with my boyfriend for 2 years. Last week he told me he didn’t know if he was in love with me anymore. It broke my heart. I still really love him and I know he is going through a hard and confusing time right now. He has gone into his cave now to essentially discover if he loves me or not.
Waiting for someone to break up with you is awful. I just can’t believe this could be over, I cry all the time. Should I break up with him? How do I break up with someone I love in a loving way where I will feel like I have closure too?
I’m so sorry. I’ve been through a similar experience. Hearing him say, he didn’t know if he loved me anymore knocked the very ground out from under my feet. It was something I had completely taken for granted. I mean, of course he loved me. The sun rises in the east, right?
Then suddenly he didn’t know!
HOW. DO. YOU. NOT. KNOW?!
The truth is, it’s not always a dramatic fight, a big betrayal, or a long distance move that causes a break up. Sometimes, love just fizzles.
Waiting for the ax to fall
Right now your man is being pulled in a million different directions and he too is confused.
He cares for you. He doesn’t want to hurt you. He doesn’t want to be the bad guy.
Is he in love with you still? Something feels different. He doesn’t know. He may be too afraid to tell the truth because he doesn’t want to let you down.
While you're waiting for his answer, nurture yourself, take care of yourself, breathe, watch Disney movies, hang out with girlfriends, do fun and relaxing things.
If he decides he wants this relationship to end, it is time to let the tears flow. After my high school sweetheart dumped me, I spent 5 months crying through the night, every night. I told everyone at school I had the flu to explain away my puffy red eyes, my sniffles, my zombie-like gait, and my anti-social behavior. I don’t think anyone believed me.
“Deal with it”
Everyone deals with heartbreak differently but I want you to know that there’s no time limit to your grief. Many people will tell you to “snap out of it,” “get over it,” or “find a rebound.”
I say, BE with the pain. Process the pain in a healthy way so that you can HEAL.
Those who skip this step carry their hurt, bitterness, and insecurity onto the next relationship and sabotage it before it even has a chance.
It’s not particularly comfortable, but when you process your emotions in a healthy way, you will move through this and end up on the other side, heart intact and ready for love. :-)
I’ll guide you through this process just like my Dad guided me when my heart first broke in two all those years ago.
Healing a broken heart, steps 1-7
First, you write “The Feeling Letter.”
This is not a letter that you give anyone, although you are welcome to share it with friends and family…just not him. It is a letter for YOU.
Don’t edit yourself, just write and answer these questions in order.
Are you angry that he betrayed you by breaking his promise to love you?
Are you frustrated he took so long to figure it out?
Are you angry that he snores?
Don’t hold back. Write it ALL out.
2. What you are sad and disappointed about?
Are you sad that you are losing your best friend?
Are you disappointed because you thought he was the man you were going to marry and grow old with?
Are you sad because you feel alone?
Indulge in these feelings and prepare to get raw.
3. What you are scared of?
Are you afraid that no one will love you again?
Are you concerned that he’s leaving you for another woman?
It doesn’t have to be rational, your letter can be as farfetched as you like because this feeling letter is a journey.
4. What do you regret and/or what are you embarrassed about?
Do you regret the last fight you had?
Are you embarrassed because he has naked pictures of you on his iphone?
Are you embarrassed because you showed him your most vulnerable self and then he didn’t love what he saw?
Do you regret saying hurtful things to him? Or taking him for granted?
This is an opportunity to reflect. Be honest with yourself.
5. What do you want and what do you hope for?
Do you want to stay friends?
Do you hope that you will meet someone new to fall in love with?
Let yourself dream.
6. Now it’s time to explore your understanding and forgiveness.
What do you understand about what HE’s going through?
This is a big moment to empathize with what is going on for him.
This will make it easier to forgive him. Only when you go through the other emotions thoroughly can you get to this place authentically. Don’t rush it. Keep writing about how pissed you are until it feels true to move on.
Forgiveness is the goal. When you can forgive, you can move on and open your heart to love again.
7. Lastly, give gratitude and appreciation a chance to shine!
Are you grateful that he could always make you laugh no matter how frustrated with work you were?
Are you grateful that his love and support got you through some hard times?
Are you grateful for everything this relationship taught you and healed for you?
What can you genuinely say, “thank you” for?
This letter writing process might take days. Don’t rush through it.
Dear Boyfriend, Thanks. (Step #8)
After you have purged yourself of your anger, sadness, fear, and regret (it doesn’t all have to be gone but you should feel lighter), it is time to write another letter.
This one is to him and it’s called, “The Appreciation Letter.”
Tell him everything you are grateful to him for.
I mean EVERYTHING: from the small gifts like taking out the trash, to the large lessons you have learned from this relationship to the most absurdly kinky sex you had on your anniversary in the hotel bathroom!!! Have fun with it!
It will make you laugh and cry and it is a great form of closure. You have acknowledged all the good that came out of this partnership and he will forever have that letter. That is what he will hold in his heart and remember you by.
If you’d like, you can ask him to write a letter too. Some guys will, some guys won’t. But it doesn’t hurt to ask. As long as you know that writing YOUR letter to him, serves your healing just as much as it serves his.
There is no pain-free way to break up with someone. This is just the most loving and efficient way I’ve come across.
When your heart breaks, you are inducted into an elite society. A group of people who took the risk the love whole-heartedly and got hurt. Now you have the opportunity to join an even more elite group of people who continue to take that risk as many times as it takes because they know:
The joy of being in LOVE is always worth the pain.
I’m one of those people. Are you?
With love, hugs, and tissues,
Now I’d love to hear from you.
What are YOUR break up rituals? What movies, music, food, activities comfort you through a break up?
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11/21/2014 1:54:52 PM
Hoda, Congratulations on that gratitude you connected with. Amazing!
11/21/2014 11:59:04 AM
hi Lauren this touched me i did some of the tips unconsciously I've got divorce about one year ago I do remember my x a lot now H have a new life trying to broad my relations and activities many of my friends are doing the same activities , going to the same places which I firstly knew it through him . I admit that he was a reason for many good things even if he didn't mean it . I feel grateful for my new life thank you
9/6/2014 7:40:51 PM
Thank you for this! It helped me get closure to understand what exactly happened in my relationship!
10/15/2013 1:45:22 PM
Thanks so much dropsofjupiterlic for the feedback! I'm glad you're enjoying it. And thank you for sharing your post break up ritual; it sounds totally nurturing and healing (PUPPY therapy is a real thing! I borrow my mom's dog every time I'm having a sad day and it really works) and it gives other people some great ideas of what they can do when their heart hurts. Thanks for the share. :-)
10/14/2013 6:36:19 AM
Thanks Lauren! Your blog rocks and your modern advice is wonderful. I listen to your Dad's audiobook "Starting Over" and go through his guided meditations every night post break-up. As you mentioned, I try to write love letters to process the feelings (I use the note app on my iPad). I sleep a lot, exercise and chill with my 2 puppies. I try stay healthy & positive and take care of myself. Thanks again for your loving wisdom! :) p.s. ***Wish you and your dad had an APP for LOVE LETTERS like the "What You Feel You Can Heal" cartoon-book (my favorite self-help book!). There is an app called "Unstuck" but nowhere near as good as you and your Dad's advice. You and your Dad are spreading love throughout the world! ...