Sorry, This Isn't Working For Me Anymore. (We Need to Separate For Awhile.)

Letter #1


I'm writing you this letter because I'm afraid if I try to talk to you in person we'll start fighting. Lately, it seems if we manage to resolve one problem peacefully, we're soon arguing about something else. I don't know when this bickering first crept into our relationship, but it's been getting worse over the last two or three months. I've decided I can't continue our almost daily spats, saying things I soon regret and hearing things that become deeply etched upon my mind and heart. That is why I feel we need to separate, at least for the time being. I realize, though, that our lives are too interconnected for me to just disappear without letting you know that I'll be staying at Rachel's for the moment. If you need to get in touch with me, the phone number is on the refrigerator. I think it would better, though, if we could stay as incommunicado as possible for a while and make this separation a true experiment in living without one another.

I honestly don't think that just one of us is to blame for all our problems, but together we combine to form a combustible mixture that blows up more and more frequently. The bad times are beginning to outnumber the good, and that's starting to affect my outlook on life even when we're apart. I go to work irritable after our grumpy exchange at breakfast and am soon snapping at my co-workers, who give each other warning looks when I come into the office now. I don't look forward to coming home anymore, either, and look around for extra work to do at my desk, even though you know I don't get paid for overtime there.

It's a shame that this is happening to us because, when the pendulum swings the other way, there are no two people happier than we are. The kind of love we've known is not found by everybody and is certainly too precious to throw away without fighting to hold on to it. In other words, we can't just end our relationship and throw away all that we've built up together over the past three years until we know for sure where we stand. That is why I think the only wise solution is to separate for awhile and see if "absence makes the heart grow fonder," or if our relationship is actually worn out and we find ourselves with a mutual case of "out of sight, out of mind." I'm afraid that only time and space will determine our true feelings. It's painful for me to leave you, Jerry, but I only have our best interests at heart.

I am confused and disheartened.

Letter #2


I'm sorry that I didn't get in touch with you yesterday. I'm sure that you were surprised when you got home last night and found me (and some of my stuff) gone. A couple of days ago my friend Dan said he needed a house sitter for a few months while he went out of town on business, and when I mentioned that it might be good to have some time and space to myself for a while, he took me up on my offer to housesit for him.

You know as well as I do that things haven't been going very well between us lately. It seems as if we fight all the time. I don't even know if we really try to get along anymore. Every time we make an effort to resolve things, we just end up flinging insults and hurting each other more. We've stopped really listening to one another, and it's as if we've really stopped caring. We used to be so loving and good to each other, but now it seems as if all we do is count each other's imperfections. From time to time we try to make amends and make things better, but nothing seems to work.

Now, I know that every coin has a flip side, so I'm certainly not blaming you for what has happened. The truth is that we're both at fault; I'm as much to blame as you are for the problems that we have. I just don't think this is a very healthy relationship for either one of us anymore.

I need some time to think about things and try to gain some perspective, so I feel that it would be best if we don't see each other for a while. That doesn't mean I think we shouldn't contact each other at all. You mean a great deal to me, Jodi, and I'll never forget the good times that we've shared. Things just aren't working out right now, and we need to find out if separating for the time being will help us to remember why we first got together. We might also discover that we would be better off just being friends, or maybe even ending the relationship altogether. In any case, whatever happens, please know that I love you, and that I want the best for you always.

Wishing you the best!

Letter #3


We have had so many arguments--especially lately--that I decided to write you this letter. It seems that we can't have a civil conversation. We use up all our energy bickering and then resolving, and now we don't even find resolution, we just walk away. If there were just one difficult subject, we could learn to avoid it and live in peace. But we tend to migrate from one issue to another, quarreling about anything and everything--which has brought me to a hard decision.

I can't live like this anymore. I need time to step away and try to discover how I feel about our relationship and our future. I've arranged to move in with my sister for now. Please don't worry about me. I know that we need to stay in touch, but for the time being, I'd appreciate your respecting my request that we communicate in writing. I don't want to get into the he said, she said stuff. If we see each other or talk by phone, we'll just end up arguing again, and that is what I am trying to avoid.

Please understand that I'm not pointing fingers. I know there is plenty of blame on both sides. We don't need to make a bad situation worse by accusation. I only know that our constant snapping at each other is affecting my health. I find myself exhausted most of the time, yet I can't sleep at night. I'm concerned about my loss of appetite and the fact that I can't concentrate at work. I've consulted a doctor and he has prescribed some medicine and some time away from the stress of our relationship. Again, I am not blaming you, but I need some time to get my feet back under me and try to sort things out.

Of course, this hurts. I remember the good times and the love we shared together. Last night I cried for an hour as I thumbed through our photo album and relived our vacation to Hawaii and our trip to Boston. So I closed the book and turned on the television. I ran across Casa Blanca--our favorite movie. I quickly changed the channel to a baseball game, which happened to be New York against Miami (the Yankees were always our team). I tried eating, but the only thing in the refrigerator was leftover pizza--with ham and mushrooms (which was our favorite, too). I hope you can see that this decision is not easy for me and I don't make it casually.

I know you love me, too. It's just so hard to admit that we are so combustible when we are together. Let's both take some time to sift through all the issues and see if we think there is anything of our relationship left to salvage. My intention is not to discard it. My hope is that we can communicate in writing for a time, then get together and talk it out. If we find that we need to go separate ways, I'm sure we can have that conversation honestly and amicably. Or if we find that we want to give it another try, we can discuss the ground rules and maybe seek some professional help. But I can't make either of these decisions today.

Please believe that it hurts me to leave you but I am trying my best in a terribly difficult situation. When you have digested all of this, please write.

I miss you already.

Letter #4


Writing this letter makes me very sad. I don't want to hurt you, but I can't go on like this anymore. We need to end this relationship. Maybe we could try again in the future to make it work, but I can't try anymore right now.

Trying to improve this relationship is all I've focused on lately, and it has negatively impacted other areas of my life: my job, my friends, and my family. I have been stressed out and on edge with everyone around me. I don't like who I am right now. I need to focus on getting back to where I feel happy and at peace with myself and my life.

Things have really worsened over the past few months. It seems like we don't talk at all anymore. I don't think we trust each other enough to even try to talk. We rarely spend any time together and when we do, it feels awkward and uncomfortable.

We've both done regrettable things to this relationship and to each other. It's time we admit to ourselves and to each other that it's going to be a lot healthier for both of us to just to separate. It hurts me to tell you this because I still care about you very deeply. We've had some great times together and I hate to leave those behind, but I think we'll be better off apart. I will always care about you, and I will always remember the early days of our life together with fondness.

Let's wait a couple of months and then reevaluate how we feel. Maybe we can try to make our relationship work again, or maybe we'll discover by then that our lives have moved in separate directions and we can only be friends.