Are you struggling to find relationship closure after a breakup? Writing a “relationship obituary” will help heal your heart after breaking up with someone you love, miss, and feel like you can’t live without.
I discovered the idea of writing an obituary for a relationship while revising How to Let Go of Someone You Love. It’s a fantastic way to heal after a breakup — especially if you feel like you haven’t had relationship closure.
To tell you the truth, I prefer the word “legacy” when I think about writing a relationship obituary for closure. A legacy is about learning from the past, living in the present, and preparing for the future. But whether you call it a legacy or an obituary, writing is a healthy a way to honor your relationship and heal the pain of a breakup. The idea of writing a relationship obituary is healthy because it helps with remembering, saying goodbye, and letting go.
One of my most popular articles is How to Heal Your Heart Without Relationship Closure; so many women feel like their breakups didn’t bring the closure they need to move on. And the problem is that closure isn’t easy to get — especially if the ex-boyfriend or ex-husband doesn’t feel the need to say goodbye in a healthy way.
If you’re struggling to move on after a breakup because of a lack of relationship closure, then writing an obituary for your relationship may be exactly what you need.
How to Write a Relationship Obituary for Closure
A legacy or obituary-writing activity is a wonderful way to honor and let go of someone you love. It’s a bittersweet exercise that you can keep forever, both in your heart and in an actual box of relationship mementos.
Writing your relationship legacy is a process that hurts a little….or maybe it’ll hurt a lot…but it’ll be healing and interesting for you. You’ll learn more about yourself, your ex, your relationship, and the breakup — and this will give you strength and wisdom for your next relationship.
Decide why you want to write a relationship obituary
If you’re not clear on the reasons for writing a legacy to honor your relationship and breakup, then it won’t make sense to you. If it doesn’t make sense, then it won’t help you heal! So, tell me…why do you want to write an obituary for your relationship? What is your main purpose?
Start by accepting that you’ll never really “get over” this breakup. Writing a relationship obituary won’t erase the pain or bring you the closure you need. The thing with all types of loss – whether it’s a breakup with a boyfriend or the death of a husband — is that you always carry remnants of the experience with you. You heal, you move on, you apply what you learned to new relationships…but your ex will always be part of your life.
“I’ll never ‘get over’ my husband’s departure and I never want to,” says Michelle on 5 Gentle Ways to Stop Grieving and Start Letting Go. “I want to absorb him and our marriage, to absorb the energy and spirit of the man I lost. I’ve learned to cope with my loss and make peace with my husband’s leaving, but to ‘get over it’ diminishes the loss.”
Hold on to the valuable lessons you learned
You’ll never be the same after this breakup – and that’s okay. Better than okay, in fact! This relationship taught you to love, share, and care in a deeper way. Your heart, life, and other relationships have been enriched in a way that wasn’t possible before. You’ll never get over the end of this relationship, but you can honor the experience you had together. You can honor the bond you felt and create a different one. You can create a bond that even death or the worst breakup can’t end.
Even if you made mistakes and have regrets about your relationship, you still learned valuable lessons. In fact, the more mistakes you made and regrets you have, the more potential you have for learning, growth, and wisdom for the future!
Before you start writing your relationship obituary, prepare to face the best and worst parts of yourself. This is part of healthy closure, and it will help you heal after a breakup.
Write the legacy of your relationship
How do you want to remember this relationship? You can include a wide range of different types of memories in your legacy or obituary. Write down your ex’s personality traits, physical characteristics, unique quirks, annoying habits, favorite hobbies, and best-loved foods. Include how he made you feel and how your life changed the day you met him. Nothing is too little, unimportant, or strange to include.
Then, describe your relationship with your ex. What were some high points? Low points? Write about the most emotional and noteworthy moments and memories that stand out to you. Don’t just list them; actually describe how you felt, what you saw, where you were, and why you miss those experiences with him. Write through the pain, anger, disappointment, and tears.
If you’re stuck, read the obituaries section of a newspaper, or look up “relationship obituaries” online. Use those ideas to create your own legacy. Honor your relationship — and who you were in the relationship — by writing an obituary that extends beyond the life you had as a couple.
Remember who you were before and during your relationship
In the second part of your obituary, honor yourself. Celebrate who you were with him: your best qualities, quirky characteristics, special surprises and silly moments.
Were you different with your ex? How did he change you, mold you, shape your personality or life? Who were you with him? Who are you without him?
Since no experience is all good or all bad, you were probably a little bit better because of your relationship with him, and a little bit worse. This is often the case: the people we love bring out both the best and the worst in us.
Writing a relationship obituary is an act of closure and remembrance. You’ll feel cleansed and refreshed afterward – especially if you’re struggling to emotionally detach from someone you care about. Yes, you’ll cry and feel the pain of loving and losing him…but with those tears will come healing.
You may remember your relationship with sadness and pain right now, but that will change. You’ll recover if you take time to work through the grief. You can decide if you want to remember your ex — and who you were in this relationship — with sadness and grief, or peace and acceptance. You can choose painful memories, or warm ones. Or both! It takes courage and strength to remember your relationship in a positive, healthy, life-affirming way…but if you can dig in and find that place in your heart, you will feel a sense of peace and joy that passes all understanding.
Share your relationship obituary
Bring your relationship — and the breakup — out into the light! Feel free to share your obituary in the comments section below. We won’t judge, ask questions, or make you feel bad. This could be an important step towards bringing closure to your relationship, because the more honest and real you are, the more you can accept about yourself and others. And acceptance brings healing.
How do you feel about writing an obituary as a way to find relationship closure? If you’ve already written about the breakup in your own private journal, would you find it healing to rewrite in terms of a legacy or an obituary? I’d love to hear your thoughts; feel free to comment below.
Your thoughts are welcome below! I don't give advice, but you can get free relationship help from marriage coach Mort Fertel.