Last week I wrote a piece about my embarrassing dating error. I literally cringed as I wrote about how I was casually seeing a guy, hoping that we would become official, only to find out that he had found someone new. It got worse when I wrote him a long, emotional email expressing my sorrow. He never wrote back. Then we spent the rest of college ignoring each other. Yikes.
I was nervous to put the story out there. I hadn’t really talked about it before, and it was not my proudest moment. I was ready for public ridicule. To my surprise, I got tweets and comments about how other girls had been in the same situation and could relate. I also had a reader write in asking for advice on her own “Mark situation.” These comments and questions inspired me to write a piece about when you should contact your personal Mark for closure, and when you should let him disappear. As embarrassing as my Mark situation was, at least I learned something from it. And I want to share what I learned.
To start off, I want to clarify something. I do not regret the ACT of emailing Mark. I regret the content of the email. It was way too sappy given the circumstances of our “relationship”, and it was an overly-emotional message. I’m not surprised I didn’t receive a response from him. He probably read it and said, ” WHOA! PSYCHO! DELETE!”
I was not off-base to write Mark an email. I was blindsided when our “thing” ended. I needed closure. However, pouring my hurt out in that email was not the best move. If I really felt like I had to contact Mark, I should have sent him a short message telling him I was sorry things hadn’t worked out and that I wished him well. No lines about how he hurt me and not pages and pages of text. Just a few sentences. This eliminates the “YIKES” factor.
There’s no gauge as to when you should write to someone for closure and when you should let them go. It’s always a gray area. I know that’s an annoying answer, but it’s true. If you were good friends with the person before you started dating, if you had a real emotional connection, if you spent a lot of time with that person, or if you just really feel like you need some closure for your own sake, then an email (or Facebook message, etc.) is probably appropriate. But learn from my mistake. No novels. No weepy confessions. Keep it short and sweet. Even if you’re feeling emotional, don’t fill the message with your emotions. Wish the person well, tell them no hard feelings (if need be), and move on.
However if the person treated you really badly, if it was just a brief thing that didn’t mean much to you, if the person has asked not to be in touch anymore, or if the person is a negative influence in your life, an email is not worth it. Also, if you don’t think you can write something without getting overly-emotional or wordy…. don’t do it. As much as you may want to.
It can be hard to let someone just disappear from your life completely. Believe me, I understand this. But sometimes it does more damage when you try to force a person to stick around, or if you let a person stick around when he has a negative influence on your life.
You will be better off if you just mentally close that chapter and open yourself up to someone who wants to love you for who you are, and who wants to be included in your life. It may take weeks or months, but you will heal and you will eventually stop thinking about your own Mark. I promise.
How have you dealt with your “Mark situations”? Have you found that a letter helps give you closure, or have you had an unfortunate Lauren-style letter confession? Tweet me @lifewithlauren1 or find me at Life with Lauren.
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