How To Reply To A Dear John Letter

Dating Advice For Men: What You Say To A Dear John Letter
by Gene Griessman, Ph.D.

A member of the community, whom we will call Richard, has told us what he wrote when he recently received a Dear John letter. We have paraphrased the emails below, changing names and details somewhat to protect the anonymity of the individuals involved.

Richard’s reply is an example of excellent writing.  Here’s the background. Richard dated Amanda–who had broken up with her boyfriend Tom–for about a month. During the time Richard and Amanda were dating, she told Richard that Tom was having a hard time getting over her, that he sent her flowers, and kept calling.  But Amanda assured Richard that she wasn’t interested in continuing the relationship with Tom.

Richard and Amanda had a glorious month of dating. They were a great match, emotionally, mentally, and physically. They even agreed on politics.

Then out of the blue, Richard received this email:

“Richard, I want to be honest and forthright with you concerning us. After meeting with Tom this weekend I have decided to give our relationship another chance. Of course that means I will not be dating anyone else for now. I am not capable of being involved with more than one person and it would not be fair to anyone. The timing is unfortunate because you have been impressive, loving and brilliant. Whoever captures your heart is one lucky girl. I would love to stay friends if possible but I understand if you decide to cut us off completely.”

Richard could have felt angry or betrayed, and he was tempted to send a nasty response. Instead here’s the message that he wrote:

“Samantha,  Sometimes we do need to give relationships a second chance, if for no other reason than because of kindness. I know you have a kind heart.

I do feel a sharp sense of loss, because I will miss seeing you, and feeling your warm and tender body next to mine, to borrow a phrase from Kris Kristofferson.”

Your phone calls will be missed. I hope that we can still have them from time to time, especially about politics because we are absolutely on the same wave length. Will do my best not to have erotic thoughts about you while we are discussing such things as the Missouri caucus.  Till then…

Here is the response that Richard received from Samantha:

“As always your responses are eloquent and gracious. I appreciate your understanding, and as you said it is good to give someone a chance if anything out of pure kindness. Right now it is a relief to get beyond the dating frenzy! That is definitely not my style. I am a one person girl.

I have fond thoughts of you as well dear.  I thought of you today when I was listening to the latest discussion of the debates.

Oh did I leave my Ray Charles CD at your house?  Samantha”

Here’s why likes the message that Richard sent.

One. He was willing to listen to Samantha. He showed no anger, no ugliness. warns you, never say anything nasty or spiteful.

Two. He worked into his email some mental images of special moments they had together.

Three. He did not beg.   That would have made him look weak, and few if any women are crazy about weak men.

Four.  Richard made it easy to continue the connection in a non-threatening way. He recommended phone calls about politics with just a hint that the calls might sometimes be slightly naughty.

Now for the sequel. Richard and Samantha have been sending emails to one another at least once a day, for a couple of weeks, and Richard has offered to hand-deliver the Ray Charles CD to her place some evening. Samantha has not said no to his offer.

I predict that Richard will be successful because of his understanding of Samantha’s basic wishes, and because of his skillful persistence.

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This entry was posted in Never say..., Relationships: dating, divorce, family, and friends, Writing/How To Write letters, notes,articles, email, books. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to How To Reply To A Dear John Letter

  1. cristea Ani says:

    A round of applause for your blog.Thanks Again. Cool.

    • admin says:

      I deeply appreciate your kind words. After neglecting this project for years, I have decided to focus on it again. I’ll be grateful if you help publicize it.

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