Should you write let­ter of apol­ogy to an ex?

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - LIFESTYLE - By RADHIKA SANGHANI

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.

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