A Parting Ritual

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Some picture of how you can setup the space and print out the questions.


About

A parting ritual or closing ceremony is the incredible idea that you can end a romantic relationship with love. These ceremonies are about closure, and giving yourself the best chance to remember your former lover with adoration, instead of converting that love into something dark or pretending that they were not special to you. If you believe that energy can never be destroyed, and that love never dies, then you have to accept that you grew feelings for this incredible human, and you have two options when the relationship ends:

  1. Focus on what they did wrong, and let that love turn into dark sentiments.... for most people this is seen as the "traditional" or "easy" path which often leads to long term physiological harm because you may feel victimized by past lovers.
  2. Put in the work to transform your love into something more platonic.... go from the "I love you and I want to throw you up against the wall and make love to you".... into "I will love you forever, even if it's just a friend, and I'm excited for you to meet someone deserving of you. I want the best for you!".

If the relationship or your connection wasn't that strong, maybe it will end with indifference or maybe you will immediately/seamlessly distract yourself with other lovers. If the connection was strong, however, then it is probably worth evolving to a higher level of trying for closure. Maybe you can't be lifelong friends, but at least you'll have some form of closure and address the most important thing that I believe upsets people. When a relationship ends you want to know that you were special, that the relationship meant something to the other person, that you have their respect and blessing. I hope this ritual works for you, it is a work in progress and O would encourage you to email me if you have more feedback. I have only used it once, with a girl I care very deeply for after six magical months together in Hawaii, but our parting ritual was mind blowing. Love you Liddy!



A Ritual for Parting

Most of the article below was based on work by Daphne Rose Kingma, but I've definitely added some sweet elements and ideas to make it feel more warm.


About This Ritual

This is a sacred ritual to be performed with the person with whom you are ending or have already ended a relationship, and is designed to be a shared completion. This ceremony can be done sometime during the process of parting, as a ritual to mark completion, or it can be done later after the dust has settled, as a way of initiating another form of relationship. In either case, it helps to create specific guidelines on how to move forward with a new, separated relationship. You will intuitively know when the time is right. It will bring you a feeling of deep resolution and the opportunity to begin again.


Preparing for the Ritual

The first step is to share this article and decide that it feels right to part in this beautiful way. By sharing this article, you will have a good sense of what questions you will be covering, and the tender vulnerability and appreciation that is required to part ways with love.


The next step is to decide on a time and place together. You may want to do it in one of your homes or you may prefer a place that is new to both of you, like a park or a quiet place. It should be a place that will not unnecessarily arouse negative feelings. Pick a day when you will have enough time. It's also nice when you're doing this to have some sacred ritual objects: candles and music or some other influences that confer peace and neutrality, such as incense or flowers. Rather than reading the questions and instructions off the phone, one of you will probably want to print the questions out on paper.


When you do meet, remember the most important thing is to take time. Don't rush through the questions. Allow each person to speak his or her piece for as long as it takes. Many people have finally learned, through the openings provided by this ritual, some of the missing information or feelings about their relationship – revelations that allowed them to receive its gifts and let it go more easily.


You will also want to make a post ceremony plan. By making a specific plan in advance for what you are going to do after the completion of the ceremony any final goodbye will feel more natural. Examples include, going to a movie together, having dinner together, or walk out of the place where you've had this conversation and go your separate ways. It's best to arrange this beforehand so that the impact of the ceremony isn't diluted at the end by returning to a trivial discussion of "what should we do now".


The format is for one person to ask the other a question and then listen to the response. Then pause and take a few breaths. Then the respondent asks the other person the same question. This way, both people have an opportunity to discover and savor what is the same and different in their experience. After the respondent makes the revelation, you may say, "Thank you for telling me that," or " never knew. It's good (or surprising or wonderful) to know how that was for you." A short response is appropriate, but not a long response or rebuttal. You are not here to hash over old ground again, but truly to hear what the other person has to say.


Remember to do this with love. Your relationship is over. Nothing's going to change that. This is your opportunity to step into a higher level of love and appreciation. May you find the real meaning of your time together and may you release one another with thanksgiving and joy.


Bring a Breakup Gift

Many people will choose to bring a gift to one another; a small token that will symbolize this completion in the future, as well as remind you in a tender, thoughtful way, of the pleasures and depth you shared. Everybody loves unwrapping gifts. I highly recommend that you agree to each bring each other a gift that symbolizes something precious about your relationship. You might also agree on a price limit because this isn't about an expensive gift, it is about a sweet gift and might even be something that costs nothing at all. Let it come from the heart and don't set expectations about getting an amazing gift in return, but definitely wrap it! If you are low on time, reading a short poem or bringing flowers will work too.


Setting up the Space and Opening the Ritual

To make this extra special, decorate your special location to sit. It should be somewhere private and comfortable and (most important) very quiet - free of distraction. The living area of your hose is perfect. A couch could work, or else set up your space with pillows and sit on the floor so that you can make actual eye contact and be vulnerable. If you are at all spiritual, some candles and sage or anything else aromatic can be amazing. Remember that the environment sets the room - a table might feel like a cold job interview, hence decorating the room to be warm and loving will set your ritual to feel warm and loving.

Start with these words (ladies first for a heterosexual relationship):

  • Her: "I <name> am breaking up with you. Let's do it with style and love, because you will always be special to me."
  • Him: "I <name> am breaking up with you. Let's do it with style and love, because you will always be special to me."

This is meant to be playful and set the mood. Is it at this point that, if you have a gift you can exchange it, unwrap it and embrace. Next you will have the questions ready to ask. You should definietly share the questions (this article) ahead of time, so that the person has a chance to think about what they might say.


The Middle (The Questions)

  • Just for the joy of it, tell me at what point in our relationship you "fell in love" with me.
  • For you, what was the sweetest time we ever had together? ... (For example, an event, shared experience, or touching moment)
  • Is there anything deeply want to apologize for?
  • What was the incident or experience that broke your trust and caused you to start withdrawing from our relationship?
    • Did we ever solve this or is it still a painful issue for you? ... The person who is asking should now say, “I’m so sorry. Please forgive me.” Or, “I hope someday you will feel resolved about it.”)
  • What did you like best about our life together? ... (For example, “Our home life.” “Raising the kids together.” “Dancing.” “Our sexual relationship.” “The trips we took.”) Thank him for that; thank her for that.
  • For you, what was the healing in our relationship?
  • What are the things you learned?
  • What were the most important things I gave you?
  • How have you changed because of our love? ... (For example, “For me the healing was the nurturing you gave me. I needed this so much and I didn’t even know it until you gave it to me with such endless generosity. Thank you for allowing me to be playful.”)
  • What is a hurt you have never been able to mention to me? ... (For example, “That you didn’t come with me to have the abortion. I was so shocked I was never able to mention it.” Or, “That you were never able to accept my parents.” After they have revealed it, apologize. For example, “I’m so sorry. I never realized how much that hurt you. Thank you for finally telling me.”)
  • Is there anything else you would feel incomplete if you didn't share? ... (This could be something loving like a time they made you feel special, or another moment you felt hurt or jealous)
  • What has been the greatest relief about ending this relationship? ... (For example, “That I don’t have to wonder anymore, whether or not you’ll ever decide to marry me. Now I can just appreciate you from a distance.” or ”I'm actually excited to take this positive energy and be single for a while.”)
  • What are you afraid of never having again with anyone else? ... (For example, “The depth.” “The great sex.” “Sharing kids in a day to day way.”)
  • What would you like your new relationship to be? ... (For example, "I’d like us to be friends now." Or, "I’d like us to spend a month apart and then get together for dinner and talk about what’s happened to each of us." Or even, "I’m glad we had this ceremony, but losing you is so painful for me that I really need to not see you again. If that changes sometime, I’ll let you know, but for me, I really need this to be an ending without any plans for the future.")
  • Tell each other that you release one another to a new relationship – a new relationship with someone else and a different relationship with each other.



Ending the Ritual

To end the ritual, find your own words a way to express that because you have loved each other, and because in some sense you still do, that the new love will never erase the love that the two of you have shared. Say this in gratitude for what you have learned and become with one another or separate you from one another at the deepest level. It’s time now, though, to pass on the gifts you received from each other. It's time to move on. ...(For example, “You nurtured me so wonderfully that now I feel able to love a child,” or “Your appreciation of me as a woman has given me the confidence I need to try to take singing lessons,” or “Your support of my career has made me willing to risk applying for that new job.”)

Finally, embrace and (if appropriate) kiss each other, and say, "Thank you for loving me as long and as well as you did." If it feels appropriate, you can even say, "I will always love you."

When your ceremony is complete, say good-bye and follow the plans you set up before you began it, that is, to go out to dinner, to say good-bye at the door, to walk out facing different directions, or to say good-night and both walk out to your cars in the parking lot with no plans to see one another again.

Allow some personal time to absorb the feelings that this ceremony has generated. If your plan is not to be together, you may want to go to a quiet place, and in a notebook or journal, write down the feelings that the ceremony generated for you and your hopes for the future.

May this ritual of loving departure be the portal to new love for you.


Acknowledgements: This ritual was adapted from Daphne Rose Kingma and Clemson Salus.


Additional Questions

Short might be sweet, but if afterward you still feel unresolved, you still want a mix of sweet acknowledgement but also the moments that hurt you. I would suggest not trying to answer any of these questions after the fixed set above, but if you find this article ahead of time, you can each pick one or two questions from here that you want to slide in the middle.

  • Positive:
    • If you were to tell my next girlfriend or boyfriend about me, what good things would you say?
    • What did you find most sexy about me when we met?
    • Is there anything I did that especially made you feel seen and loved?
    • What was the sweetest gift I ever gave you?
  • Hurt and Healing:
    • When were some moments in our relationship you were jealous?
    • Have I ever betrayed your trust?
    • If you removed the romantic and/or sexual attraction, do you think we would have become friend when we met?
    • Is there some personal work you think I might need to do on myself?
  • Playful:
    • If our relationship had theme song, what would it be?
    • What was something silly about me that might have annoyed you!?
    • When was a moment you wanted to slap me in the face?
  • Back and Forward:
    • Was I ever reckless with your heart?
    • What is something I should do more of in the next relationship?
    • What is something I should do less of in the next relationship?
    • What can you count on me for?
    • What could you not count on me for?
  • Risky (Sexy):
    • Is there anything I did that especially made you feel sexy and drove you wild? ... Questions like this are risky, because they might get you turned on and you might just have sex. Maybe breaksex in healing, maybe it's bad, that’s something else you might talk about beforehand to set boundaries and expectations.


Ceremony Timing

If you break up with someone on a Tuesday in a fight you probably don't want to ask them to do a parting ritual on the Wednesday. Also, if this was a one week relationship that didn't mean much to the other person, you might look like a weirdo. If it was a deep relationship, it will take some time before you are ready for a parting ritual. Grief follows a pattern of (1) denial, (2) anger, (3) bargaining, (4) depression, (5) acceptance. It applies when someone dies, it also applies for a breakup - in both cases what you are sad about is your vision of the future with that person being shattered. That is what grief is. I feel like you shouldn't try a ceremony when you are angry, but for some people they stay in the bargaining or depression stages for weeks, and may never reach acceptance, so at very least suggesting the ceremony after a week or two could help accelerate the process. Make sure they can see all the questions, and the more ground you cover before the ceremony, the more you might be surprised that the ceremony itself might actually have an element of fun to it. People laugh and smile at funerals all the time. Luckily nobody has died, and you get the chance to actually accept and feel excited for the next chapter in your life, and their life - even if you never see them again.


My Own Experience with Amazing Breakups

I was personally very lucky in how my first relationship ended. I had just finished my PhD in Australia and was leaving for big bad America, so my girlfriend of 3.5 years and I decided to do "breakup gifts". It set a fantastic precedent for me to continue. For all my major relationships I have done breakup gifts, because it is just such a great gesture to let someone know you care, and that the relationship meant something to you. We all have our own parting ritual - some healthy and some unhealthy - but I wish I had the ritual and questions in this article available to me earlier, because of the valuable lessons I could have learned, and deeper respect I could have fostered.


Everyone dreams of the day they meet someone that they will never break up with, but that day has not quite come for me yet. My first breakup ceremony was in 2022, with an amazing human being called Liddy. Liddy and I met fire dancing at a festival in Hawaii and it was a whirlwind. We definitely feel in love, but we had moments falling out of love when we realized we operate at different frequencies. In the bedroom context, and dancing together, it was all fantastic... and there was incredible honesty and respect when we dated, but something was missing or misaligned.


We more-or-lessbroke up on the phone a month prior to our ceremony, as I was in San Francisco at the time, but I knew I would return to Hawaii and do some kind of closing ritual in person. I searched the internet and then made this ceremony my own. How did it go? Honestly it was more beautiful than I could ever imagine. Restaurant dinner, sage, flowers, breakup gifts (she got me the coolest outfit ever), poems, deep questions, words of appreciation, and finished with a massage on my massage table. I think it went really well, with more happy tears than sadness, because I had already shared this wiki page with her, and we'd already processed so much. One of the many things I love about Liddy - beyond her humor, style, honesty and inner beauty - is that she was always prepared to do deep personal work. We decided to do a nice dinner first... and honestly there were a few moments it honestly *could* have turned south - we both had stubborn moments (insecurity/hurt-ego/etc) - but we had the discipline to bring it back to love.


When we got back from dinner to her place we were almost excited! I had already decorated the place with lights, candles, sage, blankets... we started with the breakup gifts and I was so excited with the clothes she bought me I put them on straight away and we took pictures. That's something I would have never expected, we actually took pictures! The questions were insightful and had a few huge "wow, I never realized" moments. Then there were at least two huge moments of revelation... why someone is the way they are. What triggered us and caused our love to transform. Probably things we should have mentioned at the time, but are very happy that we shared in the ceremony. To me it sounds like Liddy might have already met someone who's a better energetic fit for her and I was just excited because he sounds like an amazing guy and I'm honestly excited to meet him one day (probably the next time in Hawaii).


"How you end your last relationship is indicative of how your next one will start." -- Anonymous


Unexpectedly we were so excited we started taking photos just before we did the gifts. More photos of magnificent Liddy at Pillow Present - part of my gift to her!


After the ceremony I gave her a one hour massage, out of respect to her new potential partner we kept it as light kisses only and it was too late for me to go home so we fell asleep cuddling and I made her breakfast in bed the next morning and started writing this update. I'm going to move my stuff out soon, and probably I should return the spare key, but it's nice to know our friendship is already at the point where she will probably always trust me with a spare key! The love I feel right now is almost unspeakable. It's pure. I don't need to sleep with her ever again, and in this next stage of our relationship I get to prove that my attraction to her was never just about her good looks and incredible sex. We value each other as people. That's what this ceremony is about. Nothing on earth erases the special moments you had together, it's just up to you what lens you place over the past. Choose love. Choose to do the personal work. This may be my first breakup where I did a formal parting ritual with questions... but most of my relationships have ended with gifts and me delivering words of love, and so it's not a huge surprise that two of my three best friends are girls that I dated and love now even more than the day I met them. I mean f**k - I was maid of honor for one of them.... and I know both of those girls will get a thrill reading this to see that I'm sharing the knowledge of a better way to transition a relationship. If it helps, don't use the word breakup.... Liddy and I mostly used the word "transition", because life will always be dynamic, as will our need to feel love, and our tendency to reflect back on past relationships for either hope or fear. :)


I hope this article helps you!

Sincerely,

    Andrew Noske


Updates: Soon after the ceremony I met Liddy's new love interest and I absolutely loved the guy. He already feels like a best friend or brother to me. You might never expect that but I'm just happy she found another guy who identifies as a gentleman and picks up litter (also like me!) and will be amazing to her. I feel like they are a better energetic fit and I couldn't be happier! Liddy and I had such an incredible breakup we decided to go to Electric Forest in Michigan together as friends a few weeks later and we had a total blast!

E-forest together, meeting Liddy's musical hero



See Also


Links

  • Articles:
    • Why I Had A Closing Ceremony Ritual Instead Of A Breakup. A beautiful article by Charity Yoro via Huffpost... explains: "Our closing ceremony was one of the most beautiful breakups ― and, possibly, life events ― I have ever experienced ... For us, the process was threefold and involved 1) gratitude, 2) honor and 3) vision.". Amazing!
  • Videos:




Acknowledgements: The incredible Liddy for agreeing to try this with me. It was a truly magical experience for both of us! The wondrous Taylor for sending me a starting set of questions that would work in a parting ceremony.