Should you write letter of apology to an ex?
Writing a letter of apology to an ex partner is no mean feat. As one young woman knows, it requires emotional honesty, selfawareness and humility.
“I really truly did mess up everything we had,” she wrote. “I was the cause of our downfall. This is how I feel. I have no reason to hide, lie, or hold anything back from you. I have no part of you, so I can’t lose anything else.”
This unnamed woman’s painfully raw words were sent in private to her ex-boyfriend Nick Lutz. However, the American university student decided to share her letter on Twitter — after first grading it in red, and highlighting her grammatical errors.
Unsurprisingly, the letter has been retweeted more than 100,000 times and the poor woman’s handwritten admission of guilt is now plastered all over the internet for the world to read.
Lutz’s brusque response to her letter — “Long intro, short conclusion, short hypothesis but nothing to back it up. Details are important. If you want to be believed, back it up with proof ” — means this woman probably regrets ever sending it.
But are apology letters ever a good idea after a break-up?
The question is one that thousands have tried to answer on Google, with responses ranging from the lengthy, “apologise in a sincere way, taking responsibility for your behavior and acknowledging the ways you have hurt your former partner, but remember that your ex may not want to accept your apology” to the simple: “Don’t send it. They deserve to be left alone.”
Dating coach Elizabeth Sullivan is more definite with her advice: “I think they’re generally not a good idea. They worked in Pride and Prejudice, but that was a very different era. They thought about it, reflected on it. In today’s times, you wouldn’t take your time like that. It’s a lot faster, there are more distractions.”
For her, the best way to handle a post-break up conversation is to do it face-to-face. “The problem with sending a letter is that you don’t know what state the person is in,” she explains. “But if you chat on the phone or face to face you can see their mood. It reduces the risk of this kind of thing happening.”
However, dating expert Johnny Cassell says there can be benefits to penning an apology letter.
“It’s something you may need to do for closure. In my opinion, if you’re going to get in contact with your ex, it should come from a thankful place, no matter how bitter you feel. They could have been an absolute d------d but if you’re coming from a positive place, it helps you to move on and see the benefits of what came from that relationship.”
Still, both he and Sullivan warn against using a letter to try and get back together with a recent ex. “Before you write a letter like that, be clear what your intentions are,” stresses Sullivan. “If you’re trying to get stuff off your chest, maybe just write it and burn it without sending it. If you want to get back with them, speak to them in person.”
Cassell adds that if someone wants to try and repair a relationship, then they should never rush into sending an emotionally charged note — especially if both parties are still feeling raw.
“The first step is repairing the relationship you have with yourself,” he says. “Show a better version of yourself, and then put them in the place of wondering what you’re up to. Distance will spark intrigue, and time is really your friend. People try to rush back into relationships they’ve come out of, but their best wingman is time.”
It is advice that Lutz’s ex-girlfriend probably wishes she had received before she poured out her heart — only to receive a D minus and public humiliation.