“Hi! I’ve been following you since a rough breakup I had earlier this year from a serious boyfriend. He said a lot of shitty things to me during the last year of our relationship and while breaking up with me. More than anything I want to send him a letter outlining why and how he was a shitty person and treated me terribly as I know he thinks I was the root of all our problems. It’s so frustrating to know he left this thinking he’s perfect and i was the problem when he spent the relationship gaslighting me into thinking i was too needy / anxious when he treated me like the least important person in his life. I’m wondering if you’ve ever sent a letter like that and if so, what happened? If not, why didn’t you?”
My Dearest Bad Biddie,
I wrote a letter to my ex-boyfriend a week after we broke up, and here’s why I think you should write one, too. I wrote that letter, not because I thought it would change anything, but because I needed to get it out of my head and onto a piece of paper, even if he never ended up reading a single word of it. I needed to get it out of my head so that I wasn’t the only thing carrying around all the hurt, the anger, and the sadness, because carrying all that around without some form of catharsis had become too heavy to bear. My ex had left the door open on our break-up, and, aside from being heartbroken, I was simultaneously confused and hopeful that perhaps we could try again in the not-so-distant future. I wrote him a letter because writing it felt like the first gasp of air after being underwater for far too long. It didn’t matter what happened after that. I could breathe easier, knowing that I had passed off the weight of my feelings onto a piece of paper that was now with the postal service and out of my hands.
I think you should write the letter, my biddie, because you think you should write the letter. Beyond that, it’s an opportunity you can give yourself to speak your piece and everything you couldn’t say in the moment. There is so little we can control when a relationship is ending that giving yourself the ability to write out your thoughts is one small way to take some form of agency back. Do it, not because you want or expect a positive response, or even a response at all, but because it will help you move on.
Your question made me dig through the archives of my emails to find that letter I wrote five years ago to my ex. I had scanned a copy and emailed it to myself because it was honestly the first time, in my adult life, that I had written anything that I was proud of writing. I had written myself out of heartbreak that night, and in doing so, realized that I could actually write something maybe worth reading. Twenty-two days after writing that letter, I met the man that is now my husband. And, almost five years after writing that letter, I am now writing to you, hoping that some small piece of the below will help you realize that your shitty, gaslighting ex-boyfriend happened to you for a reason, and maybe now all you have to do is write him goodbye so you can write yourself into the next chapter of your life.
The below is an excerpt from that letter dated May 2, 2018:
“I had my first guitar lesson today, and my guitar teacher told me, whilst scribbling out scales, to never write in pen. He gave me an all-knowing look, and I know what he meant. It’s harder to cover up your mistakes with a pen. Pencil makes it easy to (almost) fool yourself into thinking there was a blank slate before you accidentally wrote a two where you had intended to write a three…[but] you told me…life isn’t about being perfect, it’s about being real. These are the moments that are the most difficult to remember, but these are the moments that give me faith, and remind me that an untainted version of perfect doesn’t exist. That we can’t erase what has happened, as we’re all writing in pen, and that perhaps, nothing is really a mistake given some time and perspective.”
Unfortunately, there are several other paragraphs in that letter that make me want to vomit my kale salad up, but, I was able to glean the above in hopes that the smattering of metaphors sprinkled throughout helps you realize that truly, nothing is a mistake. So, write the letter if you want to, don’t write the letter if you don’t want to, because at the end of the day, at least this choice is yours, and you can’t make the wrong one.
Your internet hype woman