Entering derogatory purgatory on May 25, 1998…
Dear Breakup Girl,
My boyfriend of six intense months blew up at me the other night and called me every derogatory name in the book. While it wasn’t intended as a breakup, I knew that being spoken to in that way was the end, so when he finished his tirade I said only, “Perhaps you should take me home.” We both remained silent for the twenty minutes of the ride to my house. It seemed to be an unspoken breakup, and in fact I haven’t heard from him since. I thought that in light of his juvenile hysterics, I was taking the high road by simply leaving him in silence, never to speak to him again, but now I have an overwhelming urge to tell him what I really think of him. And on a side note, I’ve discovered I left my watch at his place — I’m leaning toward writing it off, but my friends think I should get it back. Please advise: am I allowed to mail him a hate letter, or does that falsely indicate that I care?
Mad props on not letting yourself getting dragged into Derogatory Purgatory. You did take the high road. Would that we all had such glacial self-restraint. But now, yeah, of course you have that overwhelming urge to pipe up — you never did get your rebuttal in. At this point, though, you have to run the Hate Letter Litmus Test (which also applies to Hate Calls). Ask yourself honestly: this stuff I want to say — does the hate-ee really need to hear it, or do I just need to say it? In the latter case, say it to someone else — say, a trusty friend who’s willing to stand in as a verbal punching bag. Or write it, like that terrific Salvia. (“Salvia, Salvia, Salvia!”). You’re bound to have contact with him at some point, somehow, anyway — make sure the steam gets blown off before/elsewhere so that you may choose your letters/words/deeds carefully at the moment of truth.
Oh, the watch. Well, Breakup Accountant would say write it off. Like, as in a tax deduction. But in your case, well, send a friend. Or, if you write the letter, a SASE.