The Truth About Moving On Without Closure

The truth about moving on without closure.

There are a handful of times I can think of when I was trying to seek closure from a situation. No matter if it was a relationship or friendship unexpectedly ending, or even the most recent when I was laid off from my job without warning—it was never easy. One of the hardest parts about moving on without closure is convincing ourselves that we won’t ever be able to move on without it. Especially considering the amount of time we invest, whether it be months or years.

In a relationship, specifically, closure is meant to bring us a sense of understanding and acceptance about what happened. There are far few things worse than wanting to move on from a situation, but feeling like you’re not sure how to because of the closure you seek. Unfortunately, sometimes relationships end abruptly, and it won’t make any sense to us at the time. We’ll try to fill in missing parts of the story, so that we can see the full picture and try to move on. But not all of our experiences have a clear beginning, middle, and end. When we keep trying to seek the closure we aren’t receiving, we’re only prolonging the inevitable.

While receiving closure might help remove some doubts, there might be times we’ll never receive the closure we’re looking for. If you find yourself in a similar situation, remind yourself of these hard truths to help you move on without closure:

Accept There’s A Chance You Might Never Receive Closure

One of the hardest parts about learning how to move on without closure is accepting you might never receive the closure you’re seeking. After my first long-term relationship ended, I didn’t receive closure for many, many years. Eventually, it came to a point where I had to accept that and learn how to move on, regardless of not knowing how to close the chapter I was stuck on. 

When something is taken away from us suddenly without warning, it’s difficult trying to navigate life without it. Especially considering the amount of time and energy we invest into a relationship. It’s natural that we want our feelings to be completely resolved before we feel we’re ready to take the steps to move on. 

The reality about closure is there’s never a guarantee that we’ll receive it, no matter how much look for it. In my particular situation, it was something I thought I wanted for so long. But after finally receiving it about 10 years later, it made me realize that if I would’ve received it when I thought I needed it, it wouldn’t have changed anything. If anything, it would’ve made things worse, because what was done, was done.

No matter how much it might hurt at the moment, if you can learn to push through the pain, you’ll eventually be able to see the full picture as to why you didn’t receive the closure you thought you needed. There’s always a reason why something ends, and accepting there’s a chance you might never receive closure will help you learn how to start moving on.

A Final Conversation Won’t Resolve Everything

Sometimes we try to convince ourselves that if we can just have one more conversation, it’ll solve all of our unsettled feelings. We think that if there’s a way to hold onto the memories and the person we don’t want to lose, then it’ll somehow work its way back to us. That, maybe, if we have that final conversation with the person we’re trying to seek closure from, then things will go back to the way they once were. Or we’ll be able to accept what happened and learn how to deal with our unsettled feelings.

While having that final conversation might remove some of your doubts and put your mind at ease, it won’t reopen the chapter you’re trying to go back to, or suddenly resolve everything. I can remember in multiple situations convincing myself, “If I just heard the truth I’d be able to accept it and move on.” We tell ourselves that if the situation gets “resolved”, we’ll be able to make sense of it and process it. But sometimes we’re way better off not receiving the closure we think we need. Knowing what I do now, I wouldn’t have been able to handle the truth, because it wasn’t what I wanted to hear at the time.

We never know what we’re being protected from when we don’t receive the answers we desperately seek. As much as you want that final conversation, accept that you’re not receiving it for a reason. Some things really are better left unsaid, and sometimes things end suddenly, so better things can come together.

Waiting Around For Closure Prolongs The Healing Process

We feel like we need closure to accept what happened so we’re able to move on. But all waiting around for closure does is prolong the healing process. Healing from any relationship that ends is a constant journey of learning how to process your emotions while trying to move forward. 

The more you prolong the inevitable, the longer it’s going to hurt. We hold on tight to the things and people we don’t want to lose, but not everything is meant to stay in our lives. There might be times throughout the healing process when you try to process the emotions and still feel attached to the memories, but it’s all a part of learning how to let go. 

When you consume yourself with waiting around for closure trying to make sense of where things went wrong, or if there’s a chance of fixing anything, you’re prolonging the healing process. The sooner you start to accept that you can’t wait around for closure, the sooner you can start learning what moving on looks like for you. You’ll more than likely go through a series of emotions when trying to navigate through the end of something, but it’s important to allow yourself to feel all of your emotions fully before you start letting go little by little. 

Closure Doesn’t Always Come With Defined Answers

When we keep replaying a situation over and over again in our heads, we think that if we can find that *one thing* that went wrong, we’ll be able to accept it and try to work through it. But receiving closure doesn’t necessarily mean that it’ll always answer every question you have. Even if you did receive some answers you’re looking for, you might still be searching for more because your head doesn’t want to accept what your heart already knows.

Try to accept the fact that receiving closure doesn’t mean it’ll resolve every issue that you have, or answer every single question. It doesn’t come with a guarantee cure-all to everything we’ve been thinking, feeling, and experiencing. Usually, when we try to envision how a conversation or situation will play out, it might end up the exact opposite. 

You might never get the full explanation why something ended when it did because there’s no guarantee. We want to ask the questions we desperately seek the answers to, imagining the words we want to hear that would make us feel better. But receiving closure doesn’t always mean it’ll suddenly resolve everything, and sometimes we have to learn how to accept and move on without it. 

Accept that some chapters in your life have to end without an explanation. You never know what you're being protected from.

Sometimes The Closure You’re Seeking You Can Only Find Within Yourself

We’ll always remain exactly where we are until we can start learning how to accept our situation for what it is. No matter how much we try to seek answers from who or what we’re trying to receive closure from, sometimes the exact answers we’re searching for can only be found within ourselves.

In the times I never received closure, the best thing I did for myself was release every emotion I was feeling. I cried it out, wrote it out, talked it out, and did any and everything I needed to do until I felt like I was ready to move on. Our true happiness isn’t found within others, it’s found within ourselves. Each day, as you start learning how to let go, the pain will start to lessen and the heaviness will lighten.

Not receiving closure leaves us with unanswered questions that we desperately seek the answers to. We try to solidify our feelings by seeking closure, but sometimes the best closure comes from the closure we find within ourselves. Rather than getting caught up in what you think you’re losing, focus on everything you’re gaining instead. Including finding true happiness and contentment within yourself, no matter what life throws your way.

Leave a Comment


  1. 3.19.24

    I absolutely agree with this article. Closure is something that needs to be approached with intention and a plan.

    • 3.19.24

      So true! Not always the easiest to achieve, but having a strategy can make such a difference in learning how to process closure.

  2. 3.19.24
    Jennifer said:

    Very good advice for something that’s often difficult to navigate.

  3. 3.19.24
    Ashley said:

    I had a friendship that ended a decade ago with no rhyme or reason (at least that’s how it seems to me). I’ve sought answers for years to no avail and it was driving me crazy – especially because I saw some hypocrisy (i.e. she’s a therapist and *should* having better skills than that). But I’ve gradually had to accept that intuitively, I think I already have the answers and that external validation won’t change anything. It saddens me that we live in a age where ghosting on any front, be it personal or professional is so easy and commonplace, but I’m slowly learning that it’s not worth giving up our own peace.

    • 3.19.24

      So sorry to hear that about your friendship ending like that. That’s so hard to navigate, especially when you’re left trying to figure out what happened and why it ended. That’s good that you found the answers you need, regardless of having that validation from the other person. I totally agree with you, it leaves us with so many unanswered questions, which becomes difficult when learning how to move on. But finding peace within ourselves is always what matters most even if it takes time ❤️