Saying "I Hate My Ex" Is Not The Only Way To Find Closure After A Breakup

Medically reviewed by Paige Henry, LMSW, J.D.
Updated May 6, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Breakups are often difficult and emotional experiences. Regardless of whether the breakup was mutual, it can incite a range of emotions, including anger, sadness, or frustration, among others. Some people may experience feelings of hatred toward their ex. 

To begin moving forward from these strong emotions, it may be beneficial to look for closure. Learning about the challenges and benefits of finding closure after a breakup may help you take the first step toward your future without this individual. 

Rawpixel

Reasons to find closure after a breakup

Finding closure after a breakup can have different meanings to different people. For some, it may mean gaining a more profound understanding of the relationship and the breakup, guiding them in understanding what led to the end of the relationship or their current emotional state. This understanding may guide them in processing their emotions, moving on from the relationship, and avoiding lingering anger and resentment. 

When you find closure, you may process your emotions healthily and productively. You might acknowledge and validate your feelings, which could help you release negative emotions and move forward. This step might be beneficial if you're struggling with anger toward your ex. By finding closure, you have the potential to release these negative emotions to avoid allowing them to affect your future relationships and emotional well-being.

Challenges of finding closure after a breakup

Below are a few potential challenges you might encounter in attempting to find closure. If you struggle with these, you may benefit from unpacking them with a therapist. 

Denial

Some individuals may try to deny that a breakup has occurred and avoid facing their emotions, leading to difficulty moving forward. They may continue to have feelings for their ex or extreme anger, which could lead to thoughts of hatred. 

Blame

Some people may want to focus on blaming the other person for the breakup or their actions in the relationship. However, focusing on how the other person contributed to the breakup may take away from understanding why the relationship ended as a whole. It can also remove a sense of personal responsibility to cope with challenging emotions and move forward. 

Nostalgia

Remembering positive memories with your ex could make moving on and finding closure difficult. It could also cause you to want to reconnect. 

Tips for finding closure after a breakup

Below are a few tips for finding closure after your breakup that may help you move forward healthily instead of with resentment: 

  • Allow yourself to feel your emotions

  • Reframe your perspective

  • Cut off contact

  • Seek support

  • Practice self-care

  • Write in a journal

  • Find new hobbies and activities

  • Seek closure through communication

Note that each person can heal at their own pace, and it can be normal to take your time. Be kind and patient with yourself as you navigate any challenges that arise. 

Getty/MoMo Productions

Moving beyond hatred for your ex

It may be common and sometimes healthy to experience anger after a breakup. However, moving beyond these emotions after a certain point can be beneficial. Holding onto anger and resentment could prevent you from finding closure. Below are further tips for reducing anger and finding this closure. 

Practice forgiveness

Forgiving your ex doesn't necessarily mean forgetting what happened or reconciling with them. Instead, it can mean letting go of anger and resentment toward them and understanding that the past cannot be changed. You may choose not to allow them back into your life or think about them further. Forgiveness may be more of a way to give yourself peace instead of giving them the knowledge that you have forgiven them. 

Reframe negative thoughts

Try to reframe thoughts about your ex when they arise. For example, instead of thinking, "I hate my ex for what they did," try thinking, "I appreciate the lessons I learned from this relationship." Reframing challenging emotions as opportunities for growth may help you move forward with a refreshed sense of self-reliance. 

Write a letter you don't send

Writing a letter to your ex could help you process your emotions and find closure. Studies show that expressive writing has significant mental health benefits. Expressive writing can include journaling and forms of writing like expressive letters or poetry. Don't hold back about how you feel or think in the letter. However, instead of sending it to your ex, put it away to read later, bury it, or safely burn it.

Focus on the present

Try to focus on the present moment and what you could do to improve your life each day after your breakup. When thoughts of your ex arise, find ways to distract yourself until they subside. You don't have to follow through with any urges to message your ex, especially when emotions are high. 

Rawpixel

Seek professional support 

If you're struggling to move beyond your thoughts of hatred toward your ex, consider seeking a therapist. A therapist can guide you as you process your emotions and develop coping strategies to move forward. You are not alone as you move forward, and multiple forms of treatment are available. For example, those unable to have face-to-face therapy can try online treatment through a platform like BetterHelp. 

Online therapy platforms may benefit those going through breakups and experiencing symptoms of depression or social withdrawal, which can be a typical response to loss. You can meet with your therapist via phone, video, or live chat sessions and choose times that fit your schedule, even outside standard business hours. In addition, you may be able to have resources like worksheets to cope with your emotions after loss. 

Studies back up the effectiveness of online therapy for various challenges. One study found that it could sometimes be more effective than in-person therapy, offering more convenience, affordability, and quality of life to participants. 

Takeaway

If you are experiencing thoughts of hatred or emotions like anger after a breakup, you're not alone. A therapist may help you find closure, providing a safe space to work through emotional and psychological distress and reframe your perspective. Consider contacting a therapist online or in your area to get started.
Build healthy relationship habits with a professional
The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.
Get the support you need from one of our therapistsGet started