A symbolic ritual is any action that officially helps you say “goodbye.” Rituals don’t have to be religious, and they can be a legitimate help for getting over a breakup.

Fire is a tool you can use in ritual to help you say goodbye after a breakup.
Fire is a tool you can use in ritual to help you say goodbye after a breakup. Photo by Joshua Newton on Unsplash

1. Burning The Goodbye Letter: A Ritual For Letting Go Of Your Thoughts About Your Breakup

Write all your thoughts about the breakup in the letter and say goodbye by burning it.

Write all your thoughts about the breakup in the letter and say goodbye by burning it. Photo by shade jay on Unsplash

Breakups may leave a lot unsaid. When we argue, the stress hormones released by our brains sometimes make it hard to remember everything we wanted to say. That being said, contacting the person after the fight is over can be more triggering than productive. So, how do you officially say goodbye when you aren’t talking to each other at all anymore?

I love writing so I find writing a goodbye letter helps me get over a breakup. Writing all your thoughts out is cathartic. Don’t worry about spelling, or grammar, or handwriting; no one will read this letter but you. That’s the point. No one will read this letter but you.

This is your opportunity to let all of your feelings about your breakup go. When you’re done writing the letter, reread it a couple of times and really meditate on all the feelings associated with it. Then destroy it.

I am partial to burning goodbye letters because fire can be cleansing (safety first!). Other options are to shred the letter, rip it up, or recycle it. The physical act of destroying the letter serves as a symbolic release of the feelings associated with the breakup.

You could also create an email version of your goodbye letter and then delete the draft. I find physically destroying something more satisfying, though!

2. Social Media Cleanse: A Ritual For Saying Goodbye To Your Relationship Identity After A Breakup

Blocking your former partner on social media is an important ritual to saying goodbye and prevent yourself from keeping tabs after a breakup.
Blocking your former partner on social media is an important ritual to say goodbye and prevent yourself from keeping tabs after a breakup. Image by andreas160578 from Pixabay

Social media can be your worst breakup enemy. It is easy to get caught in a cycle of looking back at old posts of the two of you together. Reliving your identity as a couple makes it difficult to say goodbye.

I also know people who use social media as a tool in the breakup by posting hurtful content or blocking each other as punishment. Getting stuck in these habits is toxic to your grieving process after a breakup. Using social media like this forces you to keep your ex on your mind, rather than allowing yourself to move on.

Help yourself say goodbye by making a ritual out of cleaning up your social media after a breakup. Systematically delete all of your content about you as a couple. Take the time you need. Cry if you want to. Say goodbye to each memory as you go. Release it as you hit “delete.”

3. Let Go Of The Gifts They Gave You: A Ritual For Saying Goodbye To The Good Memories After a Breakup

Letting go of a special gift or picture of a fun memory can help you say goodbye after a breakup.
Letting go of a special gift or picture from a fun memory can help you say goodbye after a breakup. Photo by Zach Vessels on Unsplash

Depending on how long you were together, you may have gifts your ex gave you left in your possession. Keeping items like this in your physical space can force you to relive memories that are painful after the breakup.

Design your own ritual around letting go of these material items. Your ritual for saying goodbye to romantic gifts from an ex will look different depending on the context of the breakup.

For example, you may want to go the destruction route. That means physically destroying the gift: think burning, breaking, smashing, shredding, running over with your car, or any activity that allows you to let go of the emotions associated with the item. Remember, safety first! So while smashing be sure to wear safety goggles.

If destroying the gift isn’t right for you and your situation, consider returning it to your ex or donating the item to Goodwill.


Getting over a breakup can be a complex process of saying goodbye. Breaking up with your significant other exposes you to a lot of grief. Performing personal goodbye rituals can help you tie up any loose ends after a breakup.