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So You Want To Write a Farewell Letter



I find that there are two distinct closure camps with No Contact:

Camp A: The type that will struggle with the grieving process like we all do, but that take the sum of all previous conversations and interactions as the closure and will work through it.

Camp B: The ruminators who will feel that because they didn't have a specific exit conversation or send an email / letter (text not really appropriate) that they'll be tortured. It's an element of having the last word but sometimes it's just being honest about who you are - the type of person that will disrupt their grieving process with anxiety and rumination about not having this conversation or saying your final piece.

I'll throw my hat in the ring and say that I'm not big on Farewell Letters but I do recognise that they have a time and a place. That time and place is when you're in Camp B and you have absolutely no ulterior motive other than to draw your line under things. You're not looking for validation, answers, a shag, attention, or playing any games whatsoever. You will no you're in Camp B if it does not matter if you get a response and in actual fact, you're not looking for a response. If you are, even if you don't realise it, you are looking for validation and attention.

A Farewell Letter with regards to No Contact is actually a brief letter letting them know that you're not going to be in touch for a while / forever, or if you're working together or have to have contact for some reason, how things are going to be from your end of things.

What it doesn't say: Dear So and So, I just wanted to let you know that I'm ignoring you.

OR Dear So and So, I am No Contact with you.

No Contact is shown through boundaries and actions. A big announcement is not needed for boundaries nor for you to take action. It's like going, "I just want to give you a heads up that I'm going to have some boundaries and not be in touch for a while. I'm worried that this may inconvenience you and so wanted to give you fair warning." Hell to the NO.

This is part of the reason why I ask you to proceed with caution because you can end up looking immature if you're not careful.


Litmus Test:

1) I don't have an agenda of any kind.

2) I have not sent one of these previously. (If you have, what is going to be so different this time plus see #6)

3) I really need to say this. An Unsent Letter would not have been sufficient.

4) There is something here that will be difficult to be conveyed with the actions of NC.

5) I'm unlikely to feel embarrassed or even humiliated due to whatever I've written or because I didn't get a response.

6) I'm keeping it short.

7) After this I'm going to get on with my life, be committed to NC and it is the only letter that I will be sending.

If you can say YES to all of these, knock yourself out but make sure that you have truly evaluated the situation and the necessity. No bullshitting yourself, please!


What should your letter include

Why you are writing to them. Put this in the first paragraph. 

It may be as simple as "I can't do this anymore. I don't want to put myself through anymore pain and being in touch with you is adding to it."

Include (if needed) no more than three key points in that intro paragraph.

E.g. Dear So & So, after much consideration, I've decided that I need to take some time out from us being in touch. It's just not doing me any good. We're going back and forth, we haven't actually progressed beyond January 2011, and I need to get on my with my life.

E.g. Dear So & So, I know we said that we'd meet/speak on X date, but actually, I've decided that this isn't a good idea. I need some space. I don't know how long it will be for but I would really appreciate it if you left me alone during this time and that you don't attempt to contact me. We've been broken up for Y months, I need to get my head straight, and actually, we've both got to get on with our lives.

E.g: Dear So & So, I know that we have to continue to work together, but I thought it best to send you a quick email to say that we have to drop this whole 'us' and the back and forth thing. You have your perspective and I have mine - this is OK. Let's keep things professional and I don't want to have any further conversations about all the other stuff. It's done now - we both need to move on.

[Note, if they try to raise this 'stuff' again after the letter, just send an email or verbally remind them of the email and that if they can't stick to being professional, you won't be in contact at all. It worked for me... ]

In the second paragraph, include any important instructions such as collecting stuff. Don't say "I will be blocking your number" - they'll find out when they try to call. What may work is something like "Just to be clear, if you get in touch, I won't be responding." or "Please make sure that if you get in touch, it's only about work related stuff."

If you feel that you need to expand on any of the 3 points in paragraph one, keep it brief, as in a couple of sentences a point. But try to avoid going into much - it's farewell, not a breakup revisited email. They are a grownup and they have been in the relationship too. You do not need their permission, nor do you need them to 'get' your perspective - you need to get your perspective.

Avoid language like "You made me.." as you're just stoking the blame and argument fires.

I'll leave the signing off to you, but I would avoid "I'll never love anyone like you" or "I'll never love again" or "My heart belongs to you" or "Love always" or any other such guff. What's the point in sending a farewell letter and sounding madly in love with them or like you're at death's door and desperate as your whole life has disappeared with them?

"Take care" is a good one. "Best" also. If you really need to "I'm sure in time we can be friends again (if you were genuine friends before) but for the sake of that friendship and also for my own peace of mind, for now we both just need to let things be. I need to get on with my life."

Remember: If you're still more worried about how they feel and what they're going to do, you need to come back to base and focus on you.