Monday, May 24, 2010

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie?

Dear Jocelyn,

My ex-boyfriend and I broke up several months ago when we stopped ignoring the fact that we couldn't ever marry due to theological differences. Recently he (an officer in the US military) contacted me and let me know his unit's future assignment, saying before he went overseas he would give me his information. I essentially told him I still had feelings for him and wouldn't (couldn't) write him but now, 2 days before he leaves, I sort of want to email a goodbye/release saying I wish him the best, he'll do a great job, etc. Does that seem more likely to bring closure or stir up things that should be left alone?
     -Former military gf

Dear Military,
That is a tough situation.  I can understand both the desire to protect yourself and him emotionally, but also the desire to tie up any loose strings before he goes overseas.  While I generally recommend cutting off contact after a break-up, if there are bitter feelings, it is wise to make amends before he leaves so that you will not have any regrets.  

If, however, the break-up was reasonably amicable, I recommend remaining incommunicado with your former boyfriend.  You only broke up a relatively short time ago; emotions are usually still raw after that period of time.  It might be a long time before you two can be friends, if either of you even desire to be friends.  Indeed, it is perfectly acceptable - often preferable - for exes to remain estranged after parting ways.  Now is not the time to stir up old feelings.  If he has a good support group, they will provide him with all the goodwill he needs as he starts on this new assignment.

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