How to Write an Obituary for Your Relationship

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.

I actually 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

How to Write a Relationship ObituaryIf 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.

relationship obituary for closureWere 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.


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3 thoughts on “How to Write an Obituary for Your Relationship”

  1. I have been in a relationship with a for 20 years in and off. I have 2 children, not his but he took them on as his own especially my youngest he calls his own who is now 13.
    He is married and has 2 children grown up.
    Our relationship had more downs than ups.
    It stayed the same and never progressed.
    I never wanted for anything financially with him.
    I care deeply for him and feel guilty for leaving.
    I am struggling to let go of it and 20 yrs.
    He is very handy around home, shared responsibility and financially stable.
    The attraction on my side is gone anyway, no communication, little or no quality time together, no romance communication intimacy passion etc.
    I find him boring and don’t enjoy spending time with him anymore.
    I am 44, he 52.
    I seen myself with him for the rest of my life never dreaming of being with anybody else.
    I feel so disappointed.
    Almost a year ago I met B who swept me off my feet, made me feel like the only woman in the world.
    It’s like we know each other all our lives and what I was waiting on all my life.
    There is attraction love car intensity intimacy romance passion great communication and more.
    He has a great personality and makes me laugh everyday.
    He asked me to marry him and I agreed after 3 months so I finished it with A.
    B was prolonging deposit so I finished with him.
    Went back to A for comfort and security.
    My emotions were so strong for Bthought I was going to have a nervous breakdown so I went back and finished with a again.
    I am trying my best to find the strength and courage to move on and hope to marry B next year.
    Any advice would be appreciated
    I need to leave the past behind so I can move forward confidently

  2. Thank you for being here, Hafez! If you do write a legacy or obituary for your relationship, would you share it here? I know that’s a big request, but I’d love to see how you’re letting go and healing after a breakup.

    I’d like to include an example of a “relationship obituary” here, but I haven’t had time to write one. I know the relationship I want to write an obituary for….and I wouldn’t write a legacy for that one. That’s definitely a dead relationship, it’s in the past, and I’m not carrying much forward from it. Except memories.

  3. Writing an obituary is really a good idea . My relationship with him was an option ye opening on so many things specially myself . I m going to erite more about my high moments with him and hoe i felt and how he made me feel somtimes amazing . It would be a way of not forg tting the feelings and that s why i prefer to call it a legacy
    Thank you Laurie