6 Letters to Write After Divorce

Some people get a “good” break-up. They get transparency, conversation, empathy and some form of closure.

But the rest of us?

We get abandonment, betrayal, deceptions and any hope of a conclusion has to come without the cooperation of the other party. Or perhaps our ex is present but insists on shifting the blame and responding in anger, instead of telling you what you need to move on. And even if you had a “good” divorce, there still may be things left unsaid that are holding you back.

I spent many months thinking I needed something from him – an explanation, an apology, even an argument would have been preferable to radio silence.

Eventually, I tired of waiting on him. So I took matters into my own hands, picked up a pen and held the conversation myself.

Over the next several months, I wrote six letters – three to him, two to me and one “from” him. I never sent any of them, although I have published a few in an edited form. The letters were never about him. They were about allowing me the conversation, the explanation and the apology I never received. And even though the words all came from within, the release was as real as I could get without him taking part in the dialog.

Writing these letters may feel strange; they’re more about feeling and less about thinking. Writing these letters may be painful; they force you to address issues you’d probably rather politely decline. And writing these letters is freeing; when you write it, you can change the narrative in your mind and create your happy ending.

 

From: Present Self

To: Self Before Break-Up

Purpose: This letter’s purpose is multifold – it helps to alleviate any guilt you may feel at how things ended, it allows you to explore any lessons found in the past and it acts a cheerleader to help keep you going through the dark days post divorce. If you are six months or more post break-up, you can also write a letter to your self that was in the early days after the end of the relationship; it helps to s=build compassion for yourself and illustrates how far you’ve come.

 

From: Present Self

To: Ex

Purpose: Of all of the letters, this is probably the most frequently written. I know for me, they (yes, there was more than one!) practically demanded to be typed out, fingers slamming the keyboard in anger. This is the letter where you say all of the things you wish you could/had to your ex with no concern of repercussion. Don’t censor yourself; write what comes. This is not a letter meant to be shared, rather it is a good candidate for the purification of fire.

 

From: Present Self

To: Ex

Purpose: This one’s a doozy; it requires that you flip all of your current thoughts on their head. You’re addressing your ex again, but this time in gratitude rather than in anger. I call this radical gratitude, where you express your appreciation for the person and situation that hurt you the most. Unlike the previous letter, this one actually benefits from seeing the light of day – not by being sent, but by being posted in an area where you can be reminded each day of the gifts hidden beneath.

 

From: Ex

To: Present Self

Purpose: The gratitude letter may be the most difficult to write; this one is the strangest to write. This is the apology you never received. The information you wanted but were never told. This is the “I loved you” that was buried in the words used to deflect and blame at the end. It doesn’t matter if these words match what your ex really feels and would say. In fact, let go of that and write what you need to hear to let go. It’s amazing how much power the written word can have, even when it comes from you.

 

From: Future Self

To: Present Self

Purpose: This is a letter of perspective. While you’re in the end of a marriage, all you see is the end of a marriage. When you write from another perspective, you see how this is merely one part of your story and not the entire narrative. It’s also a letter of hope and motivation as you envision where you want to be and you you want to be at some point in the future. Once you define it, you can map it.

 

From: Present Self

To: Ex

Purpose: You’ve vented your anger to your ex and you’ve expressed your gratitude. Now it’s time to let him or her go. This is a letter of release. It acknowledges the good and the bad. It avoids blame and takes responsibility for your responses. It sees the bigger picture and speaks of acceptance. Save this letter until you are ready to write it and release it. Along with the hold your ex still has on you.

This was my letter of release: A Letter to My Ex-Husband on the Eve of My Wedding. It was actually written several months before the wedding. I wanted to release my ex long before entering a new marriage. After years of being so angry that he left without giving me a chance to speak, this letter left me with nothing else to say along with a sense of peace and closure.

 

The words we say to others have influence.

The words we say to ourselves have power.

Use these letters to write your way through divorce and into the life you want.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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9 thoughts on “6 Letters to Write After Divorce

  1. I wrote a letter to my Ex about all the things I forgave her for. I never sent it, but it wasn’t for her. It was for me. I “learned” to accept an apology I’ll most likely never get and that allowed me to move on, as did my letter I wrote. I eventually burned the letter (along with all my blog posts about her. It was very therapeutic.

  2. WOW Lisa- that’s some powerful stuff you’ve shared in this post. I think the idea is a very positive way to handle never getting what you need for that closure. I am very sure that I will NOT receive the things needed for closure.( I haven’t even gotten a straight answer to the original questions) so I’m positive I will giving these a try in the not so distant future. I’m loving all of your posts. It is good to hear about someone making it out and finding a good life. Gives hope to those of us facing imminent divorce after trying to reconcile. Thanks for sharing your story! Hugs to you -Chely

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