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Should I Send My Ex a Letter?

John Powers
John Powers

No. Absolutely not.

Anytime a relationship ends, there is a reason for it. The worst thing you can do is dwell on it and think of all the little things that went wrong. Even worse than that is communicating it. Things happen for a reason. It takes a lot of willpower, but you must be strong and move on. Although you may feel very strongly for this person they do not seem to return your affection. Let it go. Walk away. Do not reach out.

It’s tough to try to forget about someone. There’s probably a lot that you would tell them if you had the chance and it’s natural to want to reach out. You probably feel like a well-constructed letter would get their attention and they would sit there holding your hand-written note and think about how thoughtful and considerate you are. That’s very romantic. You’re imagining them looking at your handwriting and each carefully constructed sentence about how much you miss them and how much better your life was when they were part of it… but the person on the other side of that letter does not have the same feelings that you do. They are looking at this letter and saying “why did this person bother to pay 48¢ to send this?”

What you are doing by pouring your guts out in a 1-sided monologue is admitting that you are not enough. It reeks of desperation and gives the person you are trying to impress the exact opposite reaction. Much of dating is a power struggle. Regardless of how willing either party is to “play the game,” we cannot help but participate in certain events. This letter gives the ball away. You forfeit. You have lost. The person you are trying to woo needs to feel like you are going to contribute something. Tease them and make them want more. There needs to be some mystery. You went all in and pushed your chips to the middle of the table, but it makes no difference because the other player has left to find a more challenging game.

The best thing you can do is remember the good times fondly… but keep it to yourself. It’s over now. If you think there is a chance of getting back together, reach out and talk about it.  Live… in person. Give them a call and invite them to dinner. Reach out and see if they reach back. If they do… great.

If not… you need to let it go. Don’t burden yourself (or them) with these menial reflections on what could have been. Look forward, not back. While you’re busy texting, someone perfect for you is walking by… trying to catch your eye.

– John Powers


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