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Should I respond to his email?

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  February 11, 2013 08:25 AM

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Q: Dear Meredith,

My ex reached out to me last week after months of silence. In a word, our relationship was tumultuous. He was my first serious boyfriend and I loved him to a fault, for he had some less than desirable qualities. When he dumped me (which was over the phone while I was at work), I felt a great weight had been lifted -- he did what I could not. Shortly thereafter, I was consumed by a wave of sadness and loss (which at times resurfaces, although less frequently and less intensely).

He didn't make it an easy break up either. He made me pay him to get my things back. When I tried to reach out to him after the fact, he still wanted money to speak with me. He was done and I was never going to get a cordial way to end our relationship because that was just not in him.

Through loads of therapy and self-reflection I now know that I was in a hopeless, one-sided relationship with an abusive man.

Then, last week, he e-mails me. It was unapologetic and extremely brief (4 words, lacking capitalization and punctuation), not to mention slightly nonsensical. It was unclear if he was asking for my company in an activity we both participated in or if he was interested in getting to me. However, I do know he was not chasing after me or knocking down my door to speak with me. Part of me wants to respond, but another part knows I would be flirting with danger. I would love to get the chance to let him know he can disrespect me no longer and what a good thing he lost. Is my silence enough?

– Speechless in Boston


A: Do not email back! Your silence is enough, SIB. No need for movie-style speeches about your emotional awakening. You can deliver those self-confident monologues to friends and family (and your therapist).

Even if this guy's four-word email was "trapped under something heavy," I'd tell you not to respond. He isn't capable of letting you know that he understands what he lost. There is no way that you'd walk away from a conversation with him feeling better about yourself. Ladies and gentlemen, say it with me, "There's no such thing as closure."

Your lack of response is your response. I'm so proud of you for walking away and living your life. Please keep walking in the right direction.

Readers? Why does she want to reach out? What would come of it? Why did he email? How can she move on? Help.

– Meredith



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ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
Blogger Meredith Goldstein

Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.

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