The Relationship Funeral
Getting over a failed relationship can seem like mission impossible. You need and want closure, but your heart is in tatters and your spirit feels broken. How do you heal? How do finally get the closure you seek?
Some people find it's easier to get over the death of a loved one than it is to get past the loss of a relationship. Maybe the reason for this is that society allows for the mourning of people who have died, but when we are broken-hearted at the end of a love affair, we're told we need to move on. It seems the remedy may be found in allowing for the natural grief that comes with saying goodbye to a lover. Deal with grief by acknowledging its presence, and by providing an opportunity to mourn.
When a loved one dies, we take part in such ceremonies as funerals or memorial services. This not only allows us to honor those who have passed but gives us something proactive we can do in response to loss. This is a healthy method of preparing ourselves for a future that doesn't include the deceased. There is a progression, the death, the funeral, the wake or shiva, and the easing back into regular life.
But when we lose a relationship, there is no comparable ceremony. We are expected to get back on the saddle, so to speak, resuming our everyday lives, without any natural progression from loss to living. We may feel many of the same emotions that come with the death of a loved one: sadness, anger, hurt, but we have no friends gathering around us or any ceremony in which we can take part.
With a bit of creativity, it's possible to mark the loss of a relationship so as to facilitate closure. Experts call this, "the relationship funeral." Here's how you can conduct a relationship funeral:
Gather up all those things that speak to you of your ex: stuffed animals won for you at an amusement park, ticket stubs from a concert you attended together, flowers from the prom you pressed in your dictionary, love letters, photos, and anything else that speaks to you of him. Call some close friends or family members and tell them when and where the event will take place.
On the day of the relationship funeral, take a moment to reflect on the positive and negative aspects of the relationship. Perhaps you'd like to give a relationship eulogy; you may want to write this ahead of time.
The next step is to either bury or burn the gathered symbols of your relationship. As you go through these steps of memorializing the relationship, tell yourself that it's over now, for good. Your ex will never be part of your life in quite the same way, or perhaps not at all.
The psychology of the relationship funeral is sound and the hope is that going through these motions will get you to that plane of acceptance where closure is possible. As you resume your daily activities, you may feel sad from time to time. Whenever you feel the heartbreak, tell yourself you forgive your ex-partner, that you do so freely and for your own benefit. You can do this as many times as is necessary until at last, you feel at peace.