Want to Write a Letter to Your Ex?
Over the years here, there have been countless questions, comments, musings about whether or not someone should write a letter to their ex. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve contemplated that myself on a personal basis. When a relationship ends there are usually a number of things you want to say, after the fact, but often when I’ve written the letter (or email) it’s not really made a difference. If it did result in reconciliation it seldom lasted long.
My thinking is that it doesn’t tend to “make or break” a situation in the long run.
There are a few things you might wish to take into account if you’re feeling the urge to make contact with an ex:
How much time has elapsed? In the early days and weeks the emotions tend to be raw and how you feel at three days or three weeks is often not how you’ll feel after three months or three years. Where are you on the time line? More importantly where are your….
Similar to “time” – your emotions are constantly changing thus so are the perceptions of your relationship and break up. That changes over time. Some days you will be sad, others angry, still others maybe empowered, and of course somedays you’ll be more forgiving than others too! I find that mostly our urge to write them is when we are angry, or sad or hurt (or any of the more negative emotions) when in fact we’d often be better waiting until we’re in a better state of mind before we put pen to paper.
What are you hoping to achieve from this prose you’re sending? Are you hoping to chastise them for hurting you? Are you really gonna let him or her have a real piece of your mind? Or maybe you planning on begging for another chance? Are you hoping it will miraculously alter the outcome, crystalise feelings and result in a new beginning? Are you aiming for that allusive “closure” in some shape or form? Or are you doing it because you’re feeling desperate for some form of “contact”, any contact, with your ex? Is it to make them feel good, bad, guilty, sad, or nostalgic? Or is it to make yourself feel better?
Be honest with yourself what your motivation for writing actually is.
This too, truly, is a biggie. How would you feel if you never get a response (that has happened quite a few times to me and it stings!)? How would you feel if you got a barrage of abuse back? How would you feel if you got a simple “Thanks” by way a response? How would you feel if they asked you to never contact them again?
In any event, even if you do get a response it’s not really likely you’ll get the answers you’re looking for.
5) 48 Hours
A friend and former forum moderator Serena09 had great advice, and came up with what she called the “48 Hour Rule” which often got cited on our forum.
Essentially the rule was – if you feel the need to write something, then do so, sit on it for 48 hours and if you can pick it up again and read it, do not feel the need to make any changes, and you still want to send it, then by all means, go for it.
However, if you make any changes what so over, the clock resets and you start the 48 hours over again.
Personally though I love the idea of it, I don’t think I really managed to do it (I can be a little impulsive to be fair).
That said, I do tend to take time to “sit on it” before sending anything emotional like that now. I do consider all the points above and make sure when I send something it’s from a positive, letting go frame-of-mind.
So How Do You Feel Now?
If you are sending a letter (or an email) to an ex with no hope for reconciliation, no expectation for response, and with a view of letting go, and moving on I say go ahead and “go for it”.
If you can ask the question – Am I behaving like a rational, healthy, happy, forgiving and dignified person in this letter? affirmatively, then sure, go ahead and send it.
Because until you can get to that point, I would recommend keeping the letters to yourself, in your journal, and stick to “No Contact”.
In most cases, your ex will probably know how you feel already. If you’re writing to say how hurt, angry, used, or whatever you feel – the chances are they already know it.
Can You Say “Thank You”?
I, myself, am fan of the Gratitude Letter. The older I get the more I take responsibility for my actions and outcomes. A relationship always has two sides. So do break ups.
It’s seldom (if ever) one person’s fault that things don’t work out. I find good in every relationship – even the painful or volatile ones.It’s often those we learn from the most.
So whenever I process the pain, hurt, sadness, and anger I move onto gratitude and will often send a note to the ex thanking them for the time spent together. I only do this when I am genuinely grateful. Sometimes it takes longer than others to get to that point! I also do it when I don’t feel the need for any response.
Do tell me – have you ever sent a letter to an ex? What was your motivation? Did you get a response? Did it help or hinder your recovery? Have you ever sent a thankful letter to your ex?
Here’s one of mine – ten year’s on, a thank you letter to my ex. (Wow, I’d forgotten I wrote something so heartfelt and exposed)….
Anyway feel free to discuss this if you want to. It’d be good to hear from a few of you on this matter of that letter to your ex. What would you say in yours? You can comment below or on this popular thread for venting to an ex here.