The Art of the Rejection Letter

Believe me, I’ve had a few in my time, both of the love variety and of course rejection slips from my writing.  I’ve always thought I wrote some doozies myself, and I’m partial to a good rejection letter.  Which is why when Other People’s Rejection Letters passed across the desk at work, I decided to check it out.  I spent my lunch hour laughing out loud while sipping my tea and picked out a few of my favorites to share here (as well a choice one from my personal collection).  I hope you find them as tragic and simultaneously amusing as I do.  I’ll give you three guesses as to whom this first one belongs to…

 There is something deep down inside that is not satisfied with the way things are.  This feeling has been growing and over the years you have become happier, while I have become more frustrated.  I feel as if I have let go of many of the things that are important to me, that I have continually compromised over the years.  I need to get that identity back and I really need my own time and space to do that. I really want to get more time to focus on things that are important to me, things like music and biking and work.  You say you will give me all the time that I need, but in the long run that really won’t work.  It may be fine for a short period, but if I reorganize my life the way I want, it will make you very unhappy and in turn, I will be unhappy too.  You deserve to be the central focus, to be put first, and I just can’t do that. When I looked at the list of things that are considered exits in a marriage, I could probably identify every single one of them as an exit for me at one time or another.  Things like work, hobbies, sleep, tv, exercise.  I just want to exit so badly.  And I look to the future and I see more sessions with the therapist, dialogues, and I just don’t want to do it.  I don’t want to put my energy into all of that.  Maybe I am becoming an adolescent, maybe I am having a midlife crisis, maybe there is some other clever psychological diagnosis for it.  I just know that I want something different, that I want to move on and start a new chapter.I can see that there are things that we could try, but I really don’t think that they will do any good because I just can’t see how those things will allow me the freedom and space that I need.  I have to try this, to live my own life, to set my own direction.  Yes, it’s true, I love you.  But I don’t love you the way a husband needs to love his wife.  I feel like we are very different people now.  I want different things.  I want to be alone, to be free from these bonds as you call them.  I want to be able to come and go as I please, to have time to myself, to make my own decisions, to be selfish.  I don’t want this forever, but I need it for a season.  I know it isn’t right or fair but it wouldn’t be right or fair for me to continue.  I’m not willing to put my head down and accept this for the rest of my life.  I need to experience something different.  If I don’t do it, I will regret it the rest of my life.  I’m not willing to live with that regret. You deserve better than this, better than I can give you.  I hate how I have treated you, but at the same time, I feel as if I have to do it if I want a change in my life.  I just want to pursue the things that make me happy.  I want to get control over my own life and live it to the fullest. So terribly sorry.

I wish that I could easily just go with this scenario.  I bet it could be quite fun.  But I am not able to have a friendship with you that includes casual sex.  It’s not my style.

 Again I’m sorry and am alone responsible for giving you mixed messages. I hope I can repair the situation. You are my friend and I’ve really valued our conversations. It’s done me a world of good to be honest with you and to share our internal struggles. I would very much like to somehow maintain that friendship as a friendship but ever since my initial propositioning you I’ve confused things. It was a mistake at the time and it’s still a mistake. A very bad idea and not something I want.  Please don’t be offended by this and understand that if there wasn’t some attraction there it wouldn’t have come to the same point twice. However twice is already much to wishy-washy and a larger part of honesty, to my thinking, is standing by what you say. So, what I’m sticking with from here on is that you’re my friend and I’ll always help you however I can. I’m not going to be your lover. There is someone out there much more inclined and emotionally equipped to be that person.

Hi. I know you’re not asking, but here’s an unsolicited confession:  I am, as we touched on the first night, pretty fresh out of a long relationship and I’m finding that I can’t yet stomach dating.  I reflexively pull back like a nervous dog.  I’ve had a great time with you and was instantly attracted to you but I’m in this crappy anti-social head-in-the-sand phase that I think is just going to take some time to shake off.  It’s unfortunate because you’re damn hot and a damn good boggler, but…I just don’t have it together right now.  Oh, shit.  Yesterday was your birthday, wasn’t it?  Happy Birthday. Isn’t this a great gift?!

I just can’t do it.  I believe that you want to be with me now, but I don’t believe that you will in three months, or even one.  You know it breaks my heart, because there is nothing more that I’ve wanted than to be with you…but I am wrung dry.  I am worn out…I’m tired, and I still feel broken.  And I want to hit you and throw things at you and scream that you’re an idiot for not seeing me for who I am sooner…

I can’t believe how hot you can be at night and frigid in the morning.  I won’t do this anymore:  I won’t be one of your ridiculous lays.

Any favorites of your own to share?

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2 thoughts on “The Art of the Rejection Letter

  1. The other book that goes along with this one in the collection is called, “Other People’s Love Letters: 150 Love Letters you were never meant to see” – Ironically, it was the book I was picking up at Powell’s on Saturday when I was with you. I recommend it. It’s not only full of love letters, but full of break up letters, stories of hope, stories of pain, and all in all, a comforting book in a time like this. The editor is the same – Bill Shapiro. Look it up, dear one.

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