Breakups are tough, and even though you will find ways to get over them *partying with friends, sobbing in the shower, joining the gym, shouting at girly rom coms from the comfort of your sofa, etc*, there will be a time when you’ll think about everything you never got the chance to say. You might be thinking, “I wish I could just write a stupid letter to my ex.”
It can be so frustrating when left hurting, feeling angry, guilty, or just plain sad when you’re not able to express those feelings to the person who has caused them. You know that you can’t call or see your ex to pick apart every part of your relationship or bring up the past. And even if you do, sometimes, it’s just too difficult, emotional, and overwhelming to get those words out.
Have you ever started a calm and collected conversation with your ex, but before you’re even halfway through saying what you wanted to, you end up a blubbering wreck? Ever got really angry and wanted to tell him how awfully he has treated you and explain why, but just ended up crumbling into pieces?
It’s happened to all of us, and one solution is simply to write it all down.
Why you should write a letter to your ex
Writing a letter to your ex gives you a fantastic opportunity to release everything that you’ve ever wanted to say into the world. You also have all the time you need to think about it all carefully. You can even go back and erase bits that don’t make sense or where you’ve changed your mind.
Writing a letter is like writing a diary. It’s a completely safe, free space where you can be as mad, angry, irrational, clever, self-pitying, thankful, or loving as you want to be.
So if you’re still hurting over an ex, perhaps it’s time to sit down and tell yourself, “I’m going to write a letter to my ex.” Some people feel that they’d like to send it, and others don’t. Often, just the mere act of writing it all down feels like enough to make peace with it all. You feel light, cleansed, and ready to move on to better things. [Read: How to move on and deal with a breakup with a smile]
How to write a letter to your ex
But what sorts of things should you say in a letter to your ex? Of course, it’s completely different for everyone, so many factors can come into play. Knowing what to put in a letter to your ex is something that only you will know, and searching your heart for the right words is the only way that it will feel truly therapeutic.
That said, however, there are some common themes when it comes to writing a letter to your ex that you might want to explore.
#1 Why? Do you know why our breakup happened? Why we let ourselves get to a place where we didn’t want to be with each other anymore? Why did we let it get to that point? Why didn’t we break up sooner? Why didn’t we notice it sooner? Why didn’t we do things differently? Why didn’t we try harder? Why didn’t we fight for it? [Read: How to find closure with yourself after a relationship ends]
#2 Do you ever think of me? I think of you. I sometimes look you up on Facebook even though we are’nt friends anymore. I sometimes look at your new girlfriend, too. It makes me feel guilty every time I do it, but I just can’t help myself.
Do you ever do that with me? Do you ever read our old texts, look at our old pictures, think about how times used to be good? Do you ever compare me to her? If you’re having a fight or if she’s annoying you, do you think about how we never used to fight? How good we were at times? I do it. I’ll admit it. I compare my new boyfriend to you sometimes. I feel bad about it, but I do it just the same.
#3 Thank you. Thank you for all the wonderful times we had—and there were many. Thank you for making me feel loved and special. For giving me cuddles and telling me I was pretty. Thank you for being great with my parents, for all the gifts you got me, for the surprises you made for me, thank you for every time you made me smile. [Read: How to get over your first love with a happy memory]
#4 Sorry. Sorry for all the times we fought. Sorry for being mean to you sometimes and saying or doing things I knew would upset you. Sorry for going out and flirting with other guys when I was mad at you. Sorry for talking about our relationship too much with our friends. Sorry for every time I hurt you—feeling hurt isn’t nice, and I never meant to do that to someone I cared about. Sorry we didn’t work out. [Read: 12 signs you’re being selfish in the relationship]
#5 Grow up. Man up. Be braver. Figure out what you want. Don’t let life pass you by. You never fought for anything, you were too scared to say how you really felt, and the consequences of that were hard for me. You have so many great gifts, you are funny and clever and interesting. Don’t waste your life. I know you will regret it if you do.
#6 Be happy. I want you to be happy. No matter how much you hurt me, how disappointed I felt in you, how you made me cry more than anyone else has ever done, I still hope you will be happy and wish you the best in life. [Read: 16 signs you’re settling in an unhappy relationship]
#7 I’m better off without you. I can do better than you, you didn’t deserve me, you didn’t understand me, you didn’t treat me right. My life is so much more satisfying, fulfilled, full of freedom and love and joy than it ever was when we were together. Our breakup was the right thing to do.
If you can get to a point where you feel as though the breakup is positive and can recognize that being together could not have worked, then you will feel so much more positive about it and can go on to say one last, final thing…
#8 I am over you. [Read: How to let go of the past and be excited for the future]
From firsthand experience, I know that writing a letter to my ex has been a therapeutic and cathartic way of coping with loss and heartache. Remember to take your time, make it as long as it needs to be, and at the end, you can either send it off knowing that he’ll finally hear everything you wanted to say, or just tear it up, be free, and be done with it.
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