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"Dear John/Jill" letter...Would you respond? 2bstrong
January 31, 2006
1:38 pm
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turnabout
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It's good for you to vent. Go to town, girl!!!

But that e-mail is big time LASHING OUT. I usually avoid giving "do" or "don't" advice, but don't send it. You WILL regret it if you do, I think. (Experience speaking here!)

Now, I'm not necessarily saying don't send any e-mail, just not this one. Know why? It only conveys the anger (reaction to being hurt) and not who you really are. You are much bigger -- there is so much more to you -- than this message conveys.

You ARE worthy of being loved. You ARE worthy of his consideration. Shouting it at him isn't going to prove it.

Give yourself some time to experience the hurt that is at the root of your indignation and anger. Give yourself some time to experience the anger, too. It's entirely justified.

Honestly, he probably expects you to be angry (thus the cowardly means of e-mail communication). Don't give him what HE wants. Give him more. (It's going to FEEL like less, I know.) Anger lets him off the hook, you see. Lashing out at him does the opposite of what you want it to do. It won't convict him in his soul (which I suspect to be your real motivation in wanting to lash out), it only justifies him in breaking it off. ("See, I knew we wouldn't work.") I'm saying don't send the e-mail mainly b/c you don't want to give him any material to work with.

Spending energy on trying to reach him is a waste of your own beautiful self. Give that energy back to YOU by accepting the hurt feelings as your right.

January 31, 2006
1:44 pm
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turnabout
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**Give him more.""

Hmm.. that wasn't very clear. I meant ... well, I guess what I meant is that anger always comes out of a need to hide hurt or fear, and often out of a sense of helplessness. You are NOT helpless here, and you have NOTHING to hide. Don't give him your defensive shield. If you ever see him or speak to him again, be your complete self ... the same as you might show anyone. Give him a full taste of what he's missing instead of just bitter grapes. Don't minimize who you are or what you're worth just b/c he couldn't appreciate it.

Love ya girl.

TraCo

January 31, 2006
2:35 pm
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2bstrong
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TraCo--

You aren't the first person who thought I was lashing out. Yesterday when I wrote it I felt it was a heartfelt, truth-filled reply. I guess I was emotionally-charged, as tc has said before. I like what you said about giving him what I really am--but does he deserve it?

I want to make the point that it was his stop/start behavior, his hesitation that kept us from emotional intimacy. I feel that he sent so many mixed messages to me that kept me off balance.

I hope all of this makes sense.

January 31, 2006
3:02 pm
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kathygy
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people seem to be completely mis-understanding what I am saying about expressing my feelings in response to the email.

ginger,

I said nothing about "spewing venomn back at the one who hurt us".

I don't mean that at all! I am not that kind of person. I am insulted that you would even think that.

I am talking about expressing myself in a healthy way all of the time.

I'm not talking about telling him off. I don't believe in telling ANYONE off.

But a healthy communication of what I feel is healthy. It is perfectly healthy to say I feel angry at you coming from a position of strength and ceneteredness.

I'm not talking about reacting in a crazy way or blasting at someone. But remaining centered in expressing my truth or asking questions that need to ask.

I am suprised that ANYONE here would think I would react in a dysfunctional way or in any way that was not in my highest good.

I would never, ever give a man fuel to use against me. I would never, ever talk to a man in such a way that would effect my self-esteem or serenity.

I feel like a lot of erroneous assumptions have been made here about where I am coming from in my advice. I ask people to please ask me to clarify if what I say doesn't make sense to them.

January 31, 2006
3:10 pm
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2bstrong
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Hey kathy--if you are around, what are your thoughts on my response to his email?

January 31, 2006
3:23 pm
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Hey 2bstrong,

I think your phone message was plenty for this guy. I know how you feel hearing about his intentions to break up via email. That sucks. I felt just as bad with my breakup....except mine was a 5 minute phone call and I never did receive any closure.

On the up side, at least your guy attempted to explain his decision. I know it doesn't make it any easier, but you may get some closure out of it.

I think the best thing for you is to let go, feel the hurt for as long as you need to, but don't contact him anymore. His email was pretty clear....he has committment issues and you won't be able to change that for him.....he has to want to change.

January 31, 2006
3:44 pm
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2bstrong
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Hurts...

Thanks for chiming in! I am glad you stopped by.

As much as he has commitment issues, I must admit that I have them too. Why would I feel this much pain over someone who is only partially invested-- and can't even commit to casually dating, for that matter.

TC said it above, most of the relationship has been riddled and driven by his anxiety; his anxiety over the idea that I might want to get married, his anxiety over not being able to have children if we ever did get married, his anxiety over not being able to fill my requirements as a "lover, friend, and companion". All of these are things that HE brought up, and the HE worried about. At all times, I affirmed that we were not ready for any of the above--that we needed to get to know each other first...If he couldn't analyze it, dissect it, and fit the thoughts into some formula, it didn't make sense to him.

January 31, 2006
4:54 pm
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gingerleigh
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Kathy, I was not addressing you.

January 31, 2006
6:18 pm
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Dunno.... it sounds kind of like an attempt to stay connected.

What's wrong with just not writing at all?

January 31, 2006
6:44 pm
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turnabout
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Hey, 2b, I think the e-mail IS a heartfelt, truth-filled reply, even if it is lashing out. Over the last year I've looked back on an e-mail I sent J_ several times and been AMAZED at how insightful it was about his character when I was still on the emotional fringe. The problem isn't that your thoughts aren't lucid and valid regarding all of this. The problem isn't your perception of the relationship (I don't know if you remember this but my biggest struggle in getting over J_ was reconciling the ambiguity of our relationship, much like I see you going through. The emotional attachment I'd experienced w/ him was summarily and unapologetically dismissed as though it wasn't real.) The problem w/ this e-mail, like the one I remember sending to J_, it that it is focused on him. Telling HIM what he did or said, justifying yourself and your interp of the relationship to HIM.

He's dismissing the relationship as though it just never developed when you know good and well that he BLOCKED it from developing, and that's frustrating as hell. And it's super frustrating that he seems to get away with lying to himself about what really happened. (See? I've been there.)

Does he deserve to get all of who you really are? That's not the question. Don't you deserve to BE who you really are at all times regardless of who's around? (I'm a broken record. This is in my "Punishment" thread.) Don't let him dampen who you are. Anger is only one dimension of any person. Don't limit yourself to being one-dimensional with him or anyone is all I'm saying. You'd end up feeling as though you were living in a prison.

Hugs and kisses,

TraCo

January 31, 2006
7:04 pm
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turnabout
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**I feel like a lot of erroneous assumptions have been made here about where I am coming from in my advice. I ask people to please ask me to clarify if what I say doesn't make sense to them.**

kathy, what I've perceived in the progress of this thread (as in all threads) is that one person comments feed another person's and so on, with posters modifying and expanding upon what someone else says. I haven't perceived anyone making assumptions about you. And I asked you to clarify a point you made. I didn't have time to doll it up and make it pretty, but that's all it was.

But now I have another question, why did feel the need to defend yourself when no one had attacked you? I understand feeling the need to clarify your message when someone takes it down an unforeseen tangent, but it seems you jumped into defensiveness when no one was actually putting you down.

And this comment completely baffles me...

**I am suprised that ANYONE here would think I would react in a dysfunctional way or in any way that was not in my highest good.**

ANYONE is capable of a dysfunctional reaction and NO ONE is at their best all the time. Sounds like you're holding yourself to an impossible standard. Sounds like you're afraid of being judged by it, too. Go easy on yourself, okay. You're not perfect, just human, which makes you juuuuuuust right! :^)

January 31, 2006
7:26 pm
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taj64
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Well I agree with 2B. I didn't know as much about her feelings as I did as to what he said. It appears that this guy does indeed deserve to know his part in the relationship. Maybe it is good for him to know so that he doesn't mess up the next one. And beware of Match.com. I thought I met a trustworthy person. He was scam artist. We dated 5 months. He was closed off, didn't pursue as much as a guy should, and said he wanted a relationshp. All the time he was still on match.com, active. I didn't know, cause I assume and when you assume you know what you do. 2B, he is lame, try to find someone who is not so wishy washy and fill your head. I don't blame you for being a bit angry. Lashing out, no, I think you are being direct and honest yourself. How else do you improve if you are not communicating? I thought it was perfect response.

January 31, 2006
7:55 pm
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Hi 2bstrong,

I would respond.

Would tell him everything on my mind...the good, the bad, even the ugly. Otherwise, I might always wish I had, you know?

Letting him know your uncensored feelings might be just what it takes to close his lousy chapter in the wonderful book of your life.

Hope this helps.

February 1, 2006
9:24 am
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2bstrong
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"The problem w/ this e-mail, like the one I remember sending to J_, it that it is focused on him. Telling HIM what he did or said, justifying yourself and your interp of the relationship to HIM." (I do not want to do this! I will rewrite my response...)

"He's dismissing the relationship as though it just never developed when you know good and well that he BLOCKED it from developing, and that's frustrating as hell. And it's super frustrating that he seems to get away with lying to himself about what really happened. (See? I've been there.)" (This is SO VALIDATING!)

Thanks, TraCo...I'm glad I didn't send the first "pass". I have calmed down a bit, and have more clarity. Most people that I talk with advise NOT to respond to his note. I have accepted that there is no easy way to end a relationship. I don't know if I would have done it via email, but that is what he was comfortable with. And that says a lot to me about his character, which I overlooked throughout the six months of dating.

A2, TAJ, AND Y&R--Thank you for your support--I did wonder if it was a way to maintain contact--but I don't expect a response. I have a counselor appointment today--I know she will tell me to move on, but I will probably send a response to his email this afternoon.--2b

February 1, 2006
9:54 am
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2B -

I really liked the response email you set forth for consideration. Except I wouldn't call him a committmentphobic or make any other "diagnosis" of him....just saying how being with him made YOU feel is more than enough...and you have very right to express that. I think that's great. If he's a smart guy, he'll get the point.

And yeah - I would send it.

Hugs -

D.

February 1, 2006
10:32 am
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kathygy
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turnabout,

You make a good point in saying no one was attacking me. But I felt that many posts after me saying that it helped me alot to call my old bf and talk to him after he broke up with me were about the things wrong and with responding to his email.

In fact, directly after my post someone said 'but was it productive?'
Implying that it wasn't.

I did feel that those posts were in response to what I said even if they weren't directed to me personally.

One of my buttons or childhood wounds is being mis-understood and judged due to that mis-understanding of me or something I said which is one reason I gave a lengthy response about my position.

I hate the feeling that comes with that. I know I have to work on not taking things personally.

I AM still working on my childhood wounds. What you bought to my attention is very useful information for me and something to think about for the future.

2b,

What do you WANT or feel a need to say in response to this email?

The answer is in side of you.

Personally, I would have a lot to say.

love,
kathy

February 1, 2006
1:46 pm
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turnabout
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2b - 1 note ....

If you feel the need to contact him and express what you're feeling about all of this, keep it concise. From your test e-mail I can tell you'll be tempted to go into detail about how you feel and why. This, again, would be an attempt to **justify** how you feel. You feel the way you feel and there's no need to justify it. So, as you're deciding what to say, just try staying aware of whether you sharing your feelings or trying to justify them. Edit yourself.

kathy -

I was the one who asked if it was productive, but not b/c I was implying anything. I suspected it might not have been, but that depends on the situation, so I was asking for clarification. I wanted you to flesh out the situation to make a clearer example. I asked so you could help me NOT make an assumption.

February 1, 2006
2:10 pm
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kathygy
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turnabout,

' but not b/c I was implying anything. I suspected it might not have been'

I wasn't all wrong in assuming that you didn't think it was productive.

"I wanted you to flesh out the situation"

"Was it productive b/c you communicated or b/c you got the satisfaction of telling someone off? "

again this sounds to me like you are thinking that it was because of 'telling someone off'.

my lengthy response wasn't totally off base with what I was picking up here.

These are your words. I replied to everyone of these statements. I am not the type of person who 'tells someone off'. I see that as unhealthy. I feel insulted that anyone would think I might lower myself to that level.

It was productive because I said things I needed to say to him and ask him which was helpful to me in the long run in letting go. It was good for my esteeem to express the things I did in the way I did.

But in order for it to be productive in the long run the person has to be coming from the right place. If someone is not in the right place it won't work and I would say don't do it. It also depends on the kind of relationship one had with the person.

With this particular man we had developed a very healthy intimacy and a feeling of safety in communicating with one and another. Neither one of us EVER attacked the other. We each took personal responsibility for our part in the relationship or with issues that came up. We were best friends.

February 1, 2006
3:15 pm
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Update to all:

I have just returned from the counselor...we talked about why I would want to send a reply to his "ending". Mostly, it would be to vent.

I don't want to tell him off...but, I don't feel strongly about replying at this point. I will give it a bit more thought, and IF I do reply, will focus more on myself and my perceptions, instead of analyzing or diagnosing the situation as it was. You guys helped me figure this out.

I will compose a new "response" and post it here first.--2b

February 2, 2006
12:34 pm
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2bstrong
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Here's my newest draft (if anyone cares!)

I debated as to whether your note needed a response, and in spite of your request that I not be hurt or angry--that hurt. I'm not a robot. I actually cry and get sad when I've cared about something or someone. I'm sure you were afraid to send the email, but it just came across as really cold.

Just like our entire relationship, your email to me is filled with mixed messages. I agree with you about the emotional chemistry being different than the physical chemistry, and I feel that it's just as important, if not more. I think emotional chemistry is possible when people are able to bond through everyday events, and situations (holidays, stuff and like that). When you "check out" as you often did during our time together, it's near impossible to create or maintain any kind of emotional chemistry. In my opinion, it just keeps the relationship in a really unstable place. And this is the part that's going to sound bee-atch-y (because I can't tell you in my own voice): You thoroughly enjoyed the time we spent together but didn't miss me when we were apart?! That is the most ridiculous, contradictory thing I have ever heard! Do you have to miss someone to like them?!?! You told me about two months ago that there was "no escape hatch with me", so you had to make one up!

As far as being giddy, I understand what you mean--it's like a "thrill" emotion. But in the spirit of the "Socratic method"--is giddiness something that can last or be maintained? I guess I couldn't stimulate the giddy factor, but I could (as you requested) "treat you nice", and like you for YOU.

Your truths are your truths, Doctor. My feelings about the whole situation are the same; you don't know what you want.

February 2, 2006
12:44 pm
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I wouldn't say this:

"I think emotional chemistry is possible when people are able to bond through everyday events, and situations (holidays, stuff and like that).

When you "check out" as you often did during our time together, it's near impossible to create or maintain any kind of emotional chemistry.

In my opinion, it just keeps the relationship in a really unstable place.

And this is the part that's going to sound bee-atch-y (because I can't tell you in my own voice): You thoroughly enjoyed the time we spent together but didn't miss me when we were apart?!

That is the most ridiculous, contradictory thing I have ever heard! Do you have to miss"

It sounds like you are trying to get him back by looking at things your way. You are also defining his reality. It is his reality and only he knows for sure what he feels and believes.

Its possible that his lack of emotional chemistry with you had nothing to do with him checking out. Its entirely possible that it just wasn't there no matterwhat.

I wouldn't try to analyze him or tell him what you think is wrong with his feelings.

Rather focus on what you feel. Do you feel angry about the way he ended it? How do you feel about him staying in a relationship with you when the whole time he didn't want to be there? He was leading you on. Would you rather had him be honest with you in the begining? Why did he say there is no 'escape hatch'? or anything else you want to ask.

love,
kathy

February 2, 2006
12:58 pm
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Thanks, kathy...this is such a good exercise for me in spite of the hurt and anger--perhaps because of the hurt and anger! I will re-write and post again...

Hope you are doing well...(((((to kathy)))))

February 2, 2006
1:50 pm
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turnabout
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Hey 2b... was thinking about you this morning. 🙂

You're getting closer, but I still don't think this is it. You started off strong, but then got off track by focusing on him and his actions again, and the tone became very accusatory (like kathy pointed out).

May I make a suggestion? Perhaps this can give you a jumping off point....

Might you say something like ... "I'm disappointed that you feel this way. I believed a relationship between us had a lot of potential, and I was eager to explore that. I don't feel there was a lack of emotional chemistry between us, but I did perceive resistance to the potential our relationship had. I wish you had opened yourself up to that potential, but I'm content to move on if resistance is the way you choose to go."

Just trying to help you get focused back on how you feel rather than what he did. Truth is you both already know what he did. You think he doesn't know, but he knows. Keep us posted on what you decide!

Hey kathy, been thinking about you, too. Haven't been graced w/ the time nor the attention span, and am still not, so I'll have to get back to you later.

Love y'all. Talk soon.

TraCo

February 2, 2006
1:52 pm
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turnabout
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oh, and forgot to say that I don't think you need to change anything in that first paragraph.

February 2, 2006
2:24 pm
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Thanks for the direction turnabout...

I always start with a good intention, and then it seems to turn into a diatribe somewhere in the second paragraph.

As I said, this is such an excellent exercise for me, to learn not to PROTECT someones feelings. I have always felt that if I make statements like "I want, I need", that that is being selfish...

Hello!

How are you doing today?

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