Lifestyle

Love Letters

Should post-breakup slap require an apology?

Have a question for Meredith? Submit here.

Q. I dated a guy for months, and then he decided to break up with me in the middle of dinner at a restaurant. I was so upset that he didn’t deliver the news in a more intimate and sensitive manner. He didn’t give any real reason for the breakup, but told me it was time to move on. He was so cold in how he presented it.

Advertisement

My emotions got the best of me and I slapped him — hard — and then walked out. While I’m still resentful of how he handled it, a part of me feels like I should apologize for slapping him. Is an apology appropriate? Should I send an e-mail?

Sorry

Get The Weekender in your inbox:
The Globe's top picks for what to see and do each weekend, in Boston and beyond.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

A. Yes, an apology e-mail would be appropriate. It is not OK to slap people, even if they have dumped you in the middle of a restaurant. That kind of thing happens on television (sometimes it’s a beverage thrown in someone’s face), but that kind of behavior doesn’t work in real life.

Keep your note simple. Two sentences at the most. “I’m writing to apologize for my reaction to the breakup. I was upset, but it was inappropriate.” The end.

A thing to know is that there’s no perfect place to do a breakup. There’s no magic thing to say, no easy way to make someone feel OK about it. It sounds like this guy could have been more sensitive about his delivery, but I can’t judge the venue. I’ve been broken up with in a number of places, and none of them have felt right. The ideal breakup (for me, at least) would happen outside, in some park I’ll never visit again, close to rides home and takeout. But everybody is different. Maybe he thought he was doing the most sensitive thing.

Advertisement

Send the note and let the whole thing go. It’s time to move on. Meredith

READERS RESPOND

Wow. Do you normally resort to violence when dealing with stressful situations? You can contact your ex — but if I was him, I really wouldn’t want to hear from you again. GDCATCH

Newsflash: No one needs to give you a reason to break up. But I suspect he had plenty of them. MAJORISSUES

I’d say the slap immediately went to the number one position in his list of reasons, anyway. CRUCIFIED ZEOFF

You dated this guy for a few months. Why do you “resent” him for how he handled it? There is no “good” way to break up with someone. As others have said, he probably knew you would react badly (and he was proven very right) so doing it in public and not showing emotion was appropriate in that situation. One that you contributed to creating. Own it and grow up.
MAJORISSUES

Apologize if you are doing it for you but don’t let it open the door to future communication. An apology is not necessary, though. Maybe you could have handled the situation better and next time you will.
SUNALSORISES

Obviously, there isn’t enough information in your letter to know this with certainty, but given that he felt the need to end your relationship publicly and that your immediate reaction was violent, you may well have been abusive toward him throughout the relationship.

Either way, I’m sure he’s more than happy to never hear from you again. Leave him alone and let him live his life in peace.
JUST-ANOTHER-BOSTONIAN

So it’s OK to go through life hurting other people and not apologizing as long as you don’t contact them again? -ROADRUNNER-

If you are going to apologize for it, which I think is probably warranted, then apologize for it, mean it, and don’t bring up any of your resentments. You owe him the apology. He does not owe you an apology because you don’t like the setting that he dumped you in. I think he was doing the best he could in a situation that nobody likes to be in. He did it to your face and picked up the check, which is more than most people get. Funny that you are mad at how he dumped you and not because he dumped you. If this was a random thing you did when you were shocked, then fine. If you can think of 2-3 other times when you’ve slapped/hit/smacked someone you got angry at, get that checked out so you don’t go getting yourself arrested.
SEXUAL-CHOCOLATE

Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters. Send letters to meredith.goldstein@globe.com.
Loading comments...
Real journalists. Real journalism. Subscribe to The Boston Globe today.