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Kayak8's avatar

Letter from an ex--what do I do?

Asked by Kayak8 (16407 points ) November 6th, 2009

Today I got an email from an ex. We haven’t spoken in four years (and I have no need to start now). Today’s email said:

“I have a letter I would like to send to you. However, I wanted to ensure it will be acceptable to do so prior to mailing it.”

My first reaction was, “why send an email to ask if you can send a letter?” I would love to hear the fluther wisdom . . .

While I can think of a number of responses, I would love to expand the choices with your help!

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35 Answers

SpatzieLover's avatar

My gut reaction says a letter is a bad idea. If he has something important to tell you why can’t he email it? hoping it’s not health related

erichw1504's avatar

What is this, the 90’s? Tell her to send it as an e-mail.

Kayak8's avatar

Just to be clear the ex is a “she” . . . (not sure it makes a difference, but it might)

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Kayak8 He, she, it….all sounds ominous to me. You couldn’t be a dad? Could you?

poisonedantidote's avatar

the sender is the one out on the ledge, there is no risk to you. and there is only one way to satisfy your curiosity.

i guess it depends what caused the brake up to begin with.

Kayak8's avatar

OK, let me try again for clarity, I am a she and she is a she, no paternity suits etc.!

dpworkin's avatar

In my opinion it’s preferable not to respond at all, unless you wish to rekindle something.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Kayak8 Sorry! No I still think it’s a bad idea. I would not want the letter.

smack's avatar

let her send it. it might bring her closure. you don’t have to read it.

Sueanne_Tremendous's avatar

I’d ask them to send the letter and then burn it when it arrives. Unless it feels like there is cash inside.

poisonedantidote's avatar

four years is a long time. some people change. and you only live once.

note: before taking advice from me that im an idiot when it comes to this kind of thing

essieness's avatar

The suspense would be too much for me to bear… I would have her send the letter so I could read it and go from there. But I’m just a nosy bitch like that.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@essieness I’m nosy as hell, too. But an ex with a letter, well, it just sounds not good. Why the hell can’t she email, text or leave a voice mail if whatever she has to say is so important?

essieness's avatar

@SpatzieLover That’s very true. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

Does your ex have your address already? If so then let them send it and do as above, don’t read it, toss it or whatever. It could be one of those exercises people are given in therapy to be accountable for things they’ve done, whatever. If you are uncomfortable or this ex could be emotionally damaging to people you love by letting them close then don’t do a thing, ignore all contact.

Val123's avatar

I’d say it’s ok to send it. Do you have any idea what might be in it?

MagsRags's avatar

Are you certain she is the writer of the letter? Her email says she has it, not that she wrote it. Although she probably did.
I think @hungryhungryhortence advice is good. Maybe she’s doing a 12 step program and needs to try to make amends for past wrongs. Although I have to admit, I’d want to read the letter too, although I might not ever want to admit that I did or talk about my feelings afterward. If she can accept your parameter that she should not anticipate any sort of response or feedback from you afterward, I’d say yes.

smack's avatar

@Sueanne_Tremendous i once sent a letter to an ex who burned it. it hurt worse than if he had initially refused it, or if he had just not read it at all. the act of burning it was an absolute slap in the face.

Kayak8's avatar

First, she knows the address (we bought the house together).

Second, I feel confident she is the writer of the letter (otherwise it is just forwarding mail, but due to #1 above, I get her mail, not the other way around).

marinelife's avatar

It’s totally up to you. Perhaps she wants to get some closure on some aspect of the break-up. Perhaps she wants to say she still loves you. Who knows?

The real question is: do you have any interest in knowing what she wants? You don’t have to read the letter even if she send it.

pinkparaluies's avatar

Dont’ do it!

casheroo's avatar

I have the same questions as @Marina
Also, I don’t see what could be so harmful in reading a letter. Personally, I’d be curious. Curiosity does not mean you still have feelings or anything, it just means you’re curious!
I’d email back and tell them “Sure, mail away”

scamp's avatar

If it were me, I think I would be curious enough to want to read it, so I would tell her to send it. I think you might be feeling the same way and that’s why you asked this question. There are so many things that are unkown that make it difficult to give you a good answer, such as if there were hard feelings between you when you split up, and if you are thinking of starting over with her, and so on. So I am really only guessing at what to do. I guess the best advice is to proceed with caution in whatever you decide to do.

gemiwing's avatar

My spidey-sense says nothing good will come out of the letter.

If it’s ZOMG I love you and miss you!- then what good will come of that?
If it’s ZOMG I hate you and hope you croak!- again, what good?

Catch 22.

hearkat's avatar

I would grant permission to send the letter. I would read it and respond to it. I value communication; so if someone were attempting to reach out to me, I would give them the courtesy of listening and giving an honest response.

This is someone who was once a very important part of your life… to me it’s a no-brainer. I suspect that she’s asking permission because she doesn’t want to cause trouble for you if you are in another relationship. What do you have to lose, but a few minutes of your time?

So what if she says she wants to get back together? You reply with your honest feelings, even if you say, “No thank you; I do not want to reconcile.” Then you know where each other stands. I might even nip it in the bud and reply to the email saying that they can send it, but if they are trying to patch things up they might want to save their 44 cents.

Haleth's avatar

She seems really nervous about sending the letter, so it has to be something really invasive or personal. At least she’s asking. She’s probably going to pour her heart out and say that she still loves you, made a big mistake breaking up, something like that. Why would she send it as a letter?

allergictoeverything's avatar

Well it really depends, right? I’d say yes, if…
1. you guys ended on good terms 4 years ago
2. you’re not seeing or not dating anyone else as of now

Otherwise…i don’t really see the purpose in letting a person who hurt you 4 years ago, impede back into your life.

Supacase's avatar

It all depends on whether or not you want to know what is in the letter. If you do, tell her to send it. It doesn’t obligate you to respond. If you don’t, don’t even respond to her email.

I can’t imagine it is something serious that you absolutely must be told, for your own health or well-being. If it were, an optional letter is not a reasonable method of communication.

NewZen's avatar

Beware, for the pen is mightier than the sword. Curiosity killed the cat.

I’d read it in a second, though.

faye's avatar

I’m with @essieness, i would have to see it!! an ex once had a letter for me that he decided not to give me. i want to go back in time and rip it out of his hand before he puts it away and then runnn!

RareDenver's avatar

Curiosity would totally win out for me, I would tell her to send it.

just hope for your sake it’s not an “I have such and such STD and think you should get checked out” letter

Kayak8's avatar

Here is the current update: I sent an email indicating that it “depends on what the letter is” (e.g., is it a bill, an apology etc.). I got the smartass answer as follows . . .

Depends on what a letter is? It is thoughts put down on paper. Some things never change eh?

My gut response is that if some things never change, don’t bother to mail the letter . . .

hearkat's avatar

Well… I can see why she got defensive; and I might have reacted the same way, because your comment comes across as cold and uncaring. At this point, it seems that there is nothing urgent in the letter, and it also seems that you aren’t curious or concerned with what she has to say; so yeah, don’t send the letter.

In contrast, I got an email from an ex saying how he thinks of me and wishes me well and hopes we can be friends, etc. And when I replied that of course we could, and I’d live to hear how his family and the pets were doing… his response was to ask if I could remove his car from my auto-toll device account, so he could get his own device. No family update or pics of the critters or asking how my family-members are. Why butter me up? If you wanted your car off the account, all you had to do was say so. I’m an adult, I can respectfully take care of business… you don’t need to pretend that you want to be friends! It just helped me see how deep his need to appease others and play the nice-guy role is. Very sad, because he really was caring guy when he was being genuine. But, I digress… sorry

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Kayak8 I’m a band-aid ripper. I’d have emailed an ex nearly the same as you did. I’d say better off leaving that one alone….no need to read the letter then.

Thank you for the update! :)

lfino's avatar

I sense that you don’t want the letter, but in the chance that you do tell her to go ahead and send the letter, you might also add, “but please don’t think this means I’m ready to start a relationship again”, otherwise she might think your acceptance of the letter means acceptance of her.

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