When you break up there are residual feelings that linger. You are disappointed, maybe heartbroken, and in a real sense you feel powerless. This is especially true if the breakup was not your idea and you were deprived of the process of closure, where you are able to say those things you feel you need to say and let all those leftover feelings be known to the other person. In truth, that other person is not needed at all for you to find closure; this is a process that begins within.
Depending on closure from your ex means you are relinquishing your power to recover to an outside source. This can often be self-defeating, and in fact keeps you tied to a now-defunct relationship. Take control of your recovery by making the process of letting go your responsibility rather than the other person's. Let go of the past by making a game plan for the future, one that puts you in the driver's seat.
Honestly assess the relationship, both the flaws and the benefits. No relationship is perfect, so addressing what may have been missing from your old relationship will help you decide to move on to something more fulfilling. This essential insight will help you break the ties to the past and redirect you toward the future. It also helps you release your ex. You won't be tempted to idealize the one who got away, or vilify the one who broke your heart.
Breakups can be very traumatic. Give yourself the time needed to heal from this experience rather than force yourself to "bounce back." If you need to, you could even take a mini-vacation to get a change of scenery, or move or redecorate the home you shared. This can include putting away those things or photos that remind you of what was gone, which will help you separate the natural process of grieving from an unhealthy attachment to the past.
Develop a Ritual
Write a letter expressing your feelings about the breakup and about your ex, and don't hold back. Unload every negative thought or emotion, and then make a symbolic ritual to release it back into the universe. Burn the letter along with symbols of your relationship, then bury the ashes under a brand new plant in your garden. This action will take your goal to bury the past and move on toward the future and make it a concrete action.
This is perhaps the most challenging step, especially if you feel wronged by your ex. Your first impulse will likely be to hold onto the anger to punish your lover for a love gone wrong. The truth is forgiveness isn't for your ex at all, it is for your own health and recovery. It takes you from a place of pain and returns you to a more loving, open place. Forgiving your ex means that you are truly letting him go because you are letting the pain go. By doing so you will open yourself up for new opportunities and truly be able to start over.