This is why closure is essential after a breakup

Moving on after a breakup is not always easy, especially when one feels there’s a lack of closure. FPJ speaks to experts and a few individuals to understand how they made it through

Charlene FUpdated: Sunday, December 04, 2022, 01:19 PM IST
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Just the other day, I found myself staring at my phone, wondering whether I should hit send on that text message. I mean, it was his birthday… his… the one that got away, and despite not having talked in over two years, I couldn’t help but want to wish him. What was I hoping for? Did I think it would be a good idea to open that chapter again? I hit send and what followed was a whole day of texting. Finally, the conversation ended with the message, “good catch-up” and a promise to text later, meet, and reconnect. It didn’t help that I was ghosted almost immediately and left scratching my head wondering why I even bothered to message in the first place.

This got me thinking: Was it closure I was looking for? Answers to questions like what and why? All it did was stir up unresolved feelings, which in all honesty, isn’t good for anyone’s mental peace. Regardless, there was some unspoken finality in my futile efforts to “stay friends” with an ex. But at least it served as material for this article… which brings me to my next question: What is closure, and does it help when it comes to getting over an ex?

Dr Sagar Mundada, Mumbai-based consultant psychiatrist, sexologist, and deaddiction specialist explains, “Closure is the feeling of knowing that a relationship is over and that you as an individual have made your peace with it. For some, it might be starting to see yourself as an individual again apart from the relationship. For others, it's the freedom to move on to the next phase of life, of being back in control of their own life after the uncertainty of why the relationship ended.”

What if some (like me) are still waiting for answers? Is closure always possible? “Closure is the explanation your brain is seeking for why things turned out the way they did, which means, getting that from your partner is not always possible. Many times, you have to do it yourself,” Dr Mundada adds. He also advises writing a letter to your ex and sealing it in an envelope. “You don’t have to send it but the fact that you’ve poured your heart out in that letter helps to lighten that load and begin the healing process,” he says.

It's akin to journalling. And that’s precisely what Saumya Anand*, a Delhi-based content creator, did after her long-term relationship ended. “I kept writing things down every moment I could. Whether it was jokes about my failed relationship or pieces of advice for the way forward, journalling served as a way to cope and put my emotions into perspective.”

For Rebecca Alvares*, a freelance graphic designer, it was recording long voice notes to her ex. “I remember venting in a 20 minutes-long voice note. It was me finally telling him everything that I kept to myself for six years. That final voice note was the one that was devoid of emotions and only spoke facts. I played it over and over and repeatedly hearing back what was done to me, and the sheer selfishness in which he functioned, helped me stop making excuses for him. I needed to accept that I deserved better than what I was given. That’s when I could finally move forward in my life.”

While some might have an enlightened approach to getting over a breakup, others might regress and even believe in ‘getting under someone else’ when coping with a broken heart. Naturally, there are healthier coping mechanisms. After all, your self-worth should not be based on external factors, especially your relationship or how desirable you are to the opposite sex. It’s important to remember that you are an individual with strengths, weaknesses, and a lot to bring to the table. Dr Mundada says, “The relationship ending only means you two were not compatible anymore. It does not make you less of a person. Self-validation of your qualities regularly is crucial in these times. That’s why, when dealing with a breakup, more than closure, it’s important to take time to grieve.”

While having a strong support system can help a great deal, it’s important to remember that you are the only one who can make a real difference. After all, you’re only as strong as your mind, so make sure you are realistic in your efforts to move on. And who knows, your ex might just realise that you’re the one that got away.

Dr Mundada shares healthy ways to cope with a breakup

Don't obsess over your negative attributes or those of your ex.

Don't force an explanation out of your ex if they are not willing. It’s not always possible to get answers immediately. And if you do, it may not be what you want to hear. It’s important to just accept it and begin to heal.

Don't get into another relationship or a rebound to feel validated.

Don't stop yourself from going through the motions following the breakup. It's necessary for you to process it rather than push it under the carpet.

Don't drink or numb your way out of the agony.

Start engaging in activities that have always provided a sense of happiness even before the relationship.

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