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What is closure?

Closure refers to the state of feeling at peace with and accepting a negative outcome. People typically seek closure when they experience an abrupt loss. For example, it is common for people who have recently ended relationships to want closure. They may not be sure why the relationship ended or are finding it difficult to move on after the relationship. The need for closure is also observed in individuals who are grieving the death of a loved one, loss of a job, or any other painful endings. 

Why do people need closure? 

Closure is a way for us to make sense of painful events, such as a breakup. We like to create logical narratives of unfavorable outcomes in hopes of better understanding why the event happened to us.The hope is that we find a “quick fix” to pain and suffering.” Many people question whether closure is real, and the truth is that closure is in fact real. However, it does not happen in the ways we might assume (or want) it to happen. For example, if we get ghosted by a new partner, we might wonder what could have caused the person to ghost us. We hope that closure from the other person can both provide a logical explanation and protect our egos. Unfortunately, breakups do not always work out like this. The reality is that rarely is there a straightforward reason why someone ghosted us, and even if there were, it probably would not  ease our pain. 

How can we get closure?

We can achieve closure when we realize that we do not get closure from another person; we get closure from ourselves. Rather than attempting to convince ourselves that we are not in pain by searching for closure, it is important that we allow ourselves to feel and experience unpleasant emotions. Ideal closure is to negate painful experiences or to find a way to quickly overcome grief. Real closure is when we are able to face our pain. So, instead of focusing on why someone ghosted us, it would be more productive to focus on how to process that pain and grieve that loss. The truth is that there is no quick way to overcome painful experiences, and we cannot get over something we refuse to experience. Closure happens when we allow ourselves to grieve the impact of an event rather than focusing on the intent behind it. Beginning therapy, journaling, practicing self-care, and attending to your needs are all ways in which you can achieve closure.  

This page is also part of the Roamers Therapy Glossary; a collection of mental-health related definitions that are written by our therapists.

While our offices are currently located at the South Loop neighborhood of Downtown Chicago, Illinois, we also welcome and serve clients for online therapy from anywhere in Illinois and Washington, D.C. Clients from the Chicagoland area may choose in-office or online therapy and usually commute from surrounding areas such as River North, West Loop, Gold Coast, Old Town, Lincoln Park, Lake View, Rogers Park, Logan Square, Pilsen, Bridgeport, Little Village, Bronzeville, South Shore, Hyde Park, Back of the Yards, Wicker Park, Bucktown and many more. You can visit our contact page to access detailed information on our office location.