The dilemma Three years in the past, I cut up up with my girlfriend of seven years. I felt very sad and put it right down to the connection. She was devastated and wished to resolve issues. But by that stage I’d made my thoughts up. I’ve lived a quiet, celibate life since, which has given me time to replicate. It struck me that I’d been very egocentric – after an preliminary romantic interval the place I pulled all method of stunts to impress her, my effort as a boyfriend tapered right down to the naked minimal. Secondly, I realised that they had been one of the best days of my life. We went on wonderful adventures which we in all probability wouldn’t have executed in any other case, and had very completely different abilities units, which complemented one another. After we cut up up, I made little effort to keep up our friendship, perhaps as a result of I felt responsible. Now I’m ashamed of how I handled her and may’t forgive myself. I need to write and apologise, nevertheless it sounds bizarre and inappropriate. It’s arduous to write down with out it sounding like a rapprochement, which it isn’t. Is writing such a letter an applicable factor to do?
We ought to all be writing letters to our lovers, ex or in any other case, to say whats up, or sorry, or thanks
Mariella replies Hell, sure! We ought to all be writing letters to our lovers, ex or in any other case; whether or not it’s simply to say whats up, to develop on our emotions, as a result of our behaviour has been lower than exemplary, or maybe, as in your case, to say thanks for a union that could be lengthy over however in hindsight seems a lot extra valuable than you realised on the time. There are few issues extra soul enhancing than understanding that you simply’ve had a optimistic impression on one other individual’s life, that you simply had been appreciated and that no matter could have led to your parting, a residue of affection stays scattered over the particles of the connection.
I’d argue we ought to be writing extra missives of the tangible and non-electronic selection. Otherwise once we’re outdated and gray how will we all know that anybody cared for us in any respect, or bear in mind the names of those that have lengthy since slipped from our lives, emotionally, geographically or completely? Searching your inbox simply isn’t the identical as dragging a field from the loft and having your life leap out to satisfy you. I not too long ago discovered a folder filled with a jumble of previous correspondence, overlaying outdated love letters and fractious disputes, baffling postcards of some significance on the time and notes from luminaries whose consideration I briefly captured for 1 cause or one other – and it proved an emotional couple of hours sifting via these light however nonetheless legible scraps.
A message to my resort room in Morocco within the 1990s learn like a title for a novel: “Mr Miss You from Rabat” had known as, hurling me again to reminiscences of Robert, the gentleman caller, who’d clearly challenged the translating talents of the Mamounia operator along with his notice. On one other sliver of near-translucent paper was the wedding proposal I acquired 3 a long time in the past through a switchboard operator on the Parker Meridien in New York who’d unexpectedly typed it up and slipped it below my door with a squashed purple rose! There had been attractive letters from a lover that made me blush, extolling my “eyes as green as Eastleach water meadows” and a letter from my mom together with her overview on the chronology of my peripatetic childhood. There was big pleasure in revisiting these moments, the phrases belying the heft of the feelings they bore whereas the paper carried sensory messages from a previous age.
Communication immediately is useful, and deleted inside seconds of receipt. Like the pictures that linger in units that turn into out of date sooner than we will study to make use of them, evidently the following era should trawl Facebook to take their journeys down reminiscence lane. It actually lacks the romance of a battered field, however since Facebook appears to know extra about us than we do ourselves it might nonetheless show a riveting archive. What a tragic loss although to be unable to smell the leaf, puzzle over the smudges or really feel your coronary heart leap on the loop of acquainted handwriting a long time after it was final seen. As a daily performer for the brilliantly conceived Letters Live project, I’ve had the pleasure of exposure to some of the finest letters ever written and whether they’re slapping you down, or building you up, they’re a much undervalued art form.
So, your heart is in the right place and your compulsion a good one. I’m wondering if your reluctance to write and let her know it wasn’t her fault is because what you are secretly after is a rapprochement. If that’s the case I’m not in a position to judge whether it’s right or wrong, but it does slightly temper my enthusiasm. The greatest gift in the world is a letter that wants nothing but offers a loving thought, or apology, or simply a hello.
Keep it simple is my advice; don’t try to channel Shelley. If all you want is tell her you regret your behaviour and think of that period with fondness, do just that. Keep it brief, don’t overload the memories, write it from the heart and don’t go into detail about your current state of mind. This letter, if your description is an accurate one, is not about you. So don’t dally another moment, put pen to paper and get your sense of gratitude off your chest and into her heart.
If you have a dilemma, send a brief email to [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @mariellaf1
Mariella Frostrup from theguardian.com