Dear People Who Write Open Letters to Their Exes,
Yesterday on Jezebel, we learned that writing an open letter to your ex/ex's new partner is a universally bad idea. My preference is to institute a requirement for these you writers: before any open letter gets published and/or commented on, you MUST give the truthful reason for the break up. There's something highly suspicious and ironic when a writer (and I'm using that term OH SO loosely) such as Anthony D'Ambrosio bloviates and over-shares about how awesome his ex was, how much he misses her, how beautiful and irreplaceable she is, and HOW FUCKING HAPPY AND AT PEACE HE IS RIGHT NOW without her, but gets coy when asked the reason the break up occurred in the first place. (I'm intentionally not linking to the original letters so as not to give you douche canoes more page clicks.)
I think both of us made mistakes. We met when we were 18 years old, so we were all each other ever knew. The most important thing is that she's as happy in her life as am I am in mine. In fairness to both of us, I will always keep our relationship and past private.
Oh dear. This is like the President saying we have to go to war with Tomania but refusing to give the reason why because "that's private" or "out of respect for Tomania, I shouldn't discuss it." That's what you narcissistic dumbasses sound like.
I don't mean to pick on D'Ambrosio because he certainly isn't the only one of you people. Andrew Cohen was by far the worst offender when he gave his ex "absolution" from any guilt his ex might have felt from their break up. (I'm sure she's thinking about you and your "forgiveness" on her goddamn wedding day, buddy.)
The letter writers featured in the Jezebel article intentionally neglected to give specific reasons for the break up, signaling it's more about avoiding personal responsibility and less about privacy.
Don't you people get it? The idea of privacy goes out the window when these letters get published for the world to see. You writers want to control everything — the narrative, the descriptions, the fantasies, and, most of all, the option to shy away from legitimate questions under the guise of "respect" and "privacy."
Take this email from an ex to a friend of mine post three days after he dumped her:
Words cannot truly express what I have put you through. You are such an amazing person who didn't deserve this. I clearly didn't deserve you, and I've really learned a lot about myself throughout this whole process. By the way, are you sure you can't recoup any of the wedding deposits your family put down?
Sounds pretty harmless and touching, right? Here's the reason for the split: this guy came to my friend a mere three weeks before their wedding to let her know that he A) didn't love her and never did, B) proposed only because he thought that's what she wanted and he didn't know what else to do, C) initially pursued her because she agreed to go out with him, D) didn't want to lose her, and E) watched her family put down money even though he knew he wasn't going to go through with the wedding. (He only paid her back some of the lost money but not all of it despite his promises.) Changes the perspective this letter a bit, eh?
Here's another example from my own life:
I just wanted to let you know that I've thought a lot about our fight [from two years ago]. I realized that I acted very poorly, and I said and did things that I shouldn't have. I was completely out of line, and I've learned from it. You're a terrific person, and I really admire you, and I'm a better person for having known you. Can we have lunch next week?
Another email that looks pretty sweet on the surface, right? Nope. This guy was of Russian descent, and I only dated him for exactly 29 days in 2006. The reason we split is because he was irate that I refused to acknowledge that the Russians were "uniquely targeted" in World War II, and he couldn't believe how "ignorant" I was. Although I said that it was tragic, all deaths from a war that wiped out 5% of the world's population should be mourned and no one special group should ever take priority. He called me a bigot and a racist bitch (Russian isn't a race!), and he was confident that no one else thought the way I did because I was "uneducated." He offered to fly me to Russia to "teach me" about the realities World War II even though I've already been there. Twice. (This guy never went!) I dumped him when I said, "I'm not ignorant. I'm disagreeing with you." That was the last time I spoke to that guy. He spent the next two years trying to contact me. The email above was sent after he passed me on the street when I was with a guy friend. He finally gave up when he met the woman he'd eventually marry.
To you "authors" like Andrew Cohen and Anthony D'Ambrosio, you're not fooling anyone. Your terrible writing is nothing but a vehicle for your control issues, lack of boundaries, deep-rooted insecurities, pleas for attention and congratulations, avoidance for your role in the break up, and proof that you're nowhere near "over" the exes in question. But if you insist on forcing the audience to serve as your faux therapist, then you'd better damn well be fully honest with us.
I know you won't do it. If you did admit to cheating, being a selfish ass tart, lying, stealing or any other ways to shit on someone's life, all the attention, undeserved accolades, and potential dates would vanish. People would never get beyond the first few lines. Women with poor self-esteem would never beg you to date them. You'd get attention, but it would be the negative attention you actually deserve instead of the mollycoddling attention you seek. Deep down you know damn well you're not any of the things you say you are in these letters.
The world would laugh at you if we knew the truth.
Because you won't do it, the publishers and commenters of this garbage damn well should, if for no other reason to stop this narcissistic trend and make these you people wholly accountable instead of patting you on the head.