How to Let Go of a Relationship that Ended Without Closure

Take time for self-reflection.
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The end of a relationship is often painful. It can make you question what went wrong and fixate on what you should have done differently. Finding closure is vital to ending obsessive thoughts and accepting that the relationship is over, according to the article, "Getting Closure After a Breakup." But if the relationship ended without closure, you can let go and move forward by looking within yourself.

1 Focus on the Present

Participating in enjoyable, novel activities can help you live in the present instead of fixating on the past, says in the article, "Coping With a Breakup or Divorce." Sign up for a cooking class, take a scuba diving course or join a running group. Not only is this a great way to help you move on, it offers a perfect opportunity to make new friends.

2 Take Charge of Yourself

You are responsible for your actions and must take the necessary steps to move on with your life, says Dr. Abigail Brenner, psychiatrist and author of "5 Ways to Find Closure From the Past" on the Psychology Today website. Ask yourself why you are mentally holding onto the relationship and what is keeping you from moving forward. Consider how fixating on the past is affecting you. For example, if you are sitting in class thinking about how your ex ended your relationship, it is keeping you from focusing. Your negative feelings of pain and sadness will dissipate once you have a better understanding of what is going on.

3 Write it Out

A good way to gain closure from a past relationship is to write a letter, says Esther Kane, a registered clinical counselor and author of "Putting the Past Where it Belongs: Closure in Relationships," on her website. Write a letter to your ex and don't hold back. Get all of your thoughts, feelings and fears out. Kane suggests writing about what happened, how it hurt and affected you, how it continues to affect you and why you haven't been able to let it go. This letter is strictly for self-reflection and should not be sent to your ex.

4 Perform a Ritual

Carrying out a ritual can be a useful way to find closure, says Brenner. For example, following a breakup you might gather up old letters, photos and mementos from your relationship and burn them. When you participate in a ritual, you're taking action to let go in a symbolic way, Brenner says.

Stacey Elkins is a writer based in Chicago. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale and a Masters in social work from the University of Illinois in Chicago, where she specialized in mental health.