Closure after a Breakup: “I Want a Sit Down With My Ex”

closure after breakup

By Jackie Pilossoph, Founder, Divorced Girl Smiling, the place to find trusted, vetted divorce professionals, a podcast, website and mobile app.

How many times have you heard someone say (or have you said it) “I need closure”? Is there anything that feels more cleansing to a person than to sit and tell your ex how you feel? Listen to how your ex feels? Perhaps apologize for things or get an apology from him? Express regrets/how you would have done things different or hear his regrets? Talk about what you learned, hear what he learned? Tell him how he hurt you and hear that from him, too? And perhaps even wish each other well? It’s called closure. Closure after a breakup is cleansing.

Why is closure after a breakup so cleansing?

1. People want to feel heard and validated.
2. You don’t want to guess what he/she is thinking, you want to hear it from their mouth.
3. One of you might not be over the relationship and you are saying “I want closure” as an excuse to work things out. You might not even consciously be aware of that.
4. You want your co-parenting relationship to be better. Maybe after you talk, the two of you can let some anger and resentment go.
5. You want to understand what really happened. For example, if he cheated, you want more of an explanation. You might not be accepting it yet, and you feel like the closure will help you.
6. The biggest reason people want closure in a relationship: so that they start to move on. Sometimes we need to hear or get that vibe from the ex that they are done. This hurts at first, (it kills, actually) but then, after that initial sting, you can move on quicker because he/she said it to your face.


Lisa Lisser, Divorce and Spiritual Coach, LZL Coaching


This article stems from a Divorced Girl Smiling reader who sent me this email:

I need some advice for closure after a breakup. My husband and I are divorcing after 16 years of marriage.

After our oldest son turned 1 the decision to stay at home to raise him while my husband rigorously pursued his dream of starting a company was made. 

Fast forward through the birth of our second child and the company thriving and then facing financial issues, life happened and he just wasn’t interested in being at home with the children or me for that matter.  I saw the writing on the wall and asked for a divorce when it became clear to me that there was always going to be something at the office or in his own personal life that was more important than being involved in our married and family life. 

There were nights when he wouldn’t return to our home until 2 and 3 in the morning.  Always with the same justification that he was at work.  My trust dwindled when I started finding evidence that he wasn’t being truthful or faithful for that matter.  Of course, he denied it.  Things came to a head, but he never wanted to talk about what happened between us and I feel that I need to release the feeling that I have about how things ended with us.  I approached him about just sitting down with me so that I could do just that and he gave me 5 minutes to say what I felt then walked out with his ear glued to his phone.

I want a sit down now that the divorce is evident.  It’s for me to tell him how I felt about everything now that much more has come to light.  A part of me feels that he won’t agree to a sit down because he won’t have to face my feeling and emotions.  But I need to do this for me.  I need to speak my truth to him because I still think about it.  What do you think?

My advice for this woman:

You can’t see this because of your emotions but from the outside looking in, here is what I see. Your ex is emotionally checked out. For some reason (and I realize it is beyond hurtful and awful and seems cold and evil), he’s completely done with your relationship and ready to move on.



In your email you write, “Things came to a head,” which I am assuming means that the feeling you had of his cheating proved to be accurate, and that the two of you decided it was best to divorce.


My question to you is, why do you feel you need/want the sit down, the closure? Is it because:

  • You want him back and want to try to work things out?
  • You want more information from him? For him to fill in the misses pieces of his story?
  • You are angry and want to vent?

Or, the healthiest/best reason:

You are trying to move on.

If this is the reason you want the sit down, then I can completely get it. Now, will your ex give you a sit down? Doesn’t sound like he is interested at this point. Who’s to say what will happen in the future? Maybe your divorce will hit him later (when his current relationship ends or when he’s had more time to absorb the reality) and then he’ll want to talk-maybe even reconcile. But for now, from the looks of things, he’s out. I’m sorry to be so brutally honest, but that’s how it looks to me.

What if you can’t get your ex to sit down and give you closure?

This woman’s ex might not give her the sit down and/or closure she wants, or if he does, the sit down might seem rushed on his part, or he might seem disinterested, since he is so checked out and might be giving her the sit down because he feels obligated.


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For those who want closure and feel like you can’t get it, I have a great idea! I think  you can get your same desired results of closure after a breakup by writing him a letter.* Write and write and write everything you want to say to him. And then, either give it to him or not. You might decide that simply writing the letter to him and stuffing it in a drawer gave you the closure you need to move on. Another option is just to save it. Read it again in a month, two months, six months and then give it to him, or you might laugh and be really happy that these feelings are so far in the past.

* a word of caution when giving your ex a letter. You might want to show it to your attorney so it doesn’t end up hurting you in court. It sounds callous but you must protect yourself.


In closing, I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard people say, “I need closure.” I’ve said it myself so so so many times. I got closure in some relationships throughout my life. Other times, I got closure but it was years later. One time I got closure decades later!

Closure is soothing. We think it will help. It might, but it might not. Sometimes you have to accept that you might never get closure, and learn how to move on without it. If someone is unwilling to give you a sit down, then it might help speed up your recovery process, because I think it’s a lot easier to walk away when you know someone really doesn’t care. And who wants to love someone who doesn’t care? lYou deserve so much better.

Like this article? Check out, 12 Things I Wish I Could Have Told My Newly Separated Self

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    Jackie Pilossoph

    Editor-in-chief: Jackie Pilossoph

    Jackie Pilossoph is the Founder of Divorced Girl Smiling, the media company that connects people facing with divorce to trusted, vetted divorce professionals. Pilossoph is a former NBC affiliate television journalist and Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press features reporter. Her syndicated column, Love Essentially was published in the Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press and Tribune owned publications for 7 1/2 years. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism from Boston University. Learn more at:

    One Response to “Closure after a Breakup: “I Want a Sit Down With My Ex””

    1. Michael E

      great post. Don’t worry about someone who does not feel the same about you. However you have to get it out.


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