Mercifully, he hasn’t tried to contact me, and I’d like to keep it that way. The problem is, I have a book that I ordered for his teenage son that arrived in the mail after we broke up. I told the son that I was going to buy him this book, and it is important to me to follow through on my promises, particularly because pretty much nobody else in this kid’s family does so. I also discovered the other day that I have my ex’s only pair of nice dress pants.
I want to mail these things to them, but I don’t want to give the impression that I’m reaching out or giving my ex a reason to contact me. I feel bad for having given no explanation, apology, or good-bye to his kids, but I’m afraid sending them a note might piss off my ex and stir up drama when I really just want to let things lie. What do you think I should do? — Wanting Drama-Free Breakup
Your ex may live in “irrational-land,” but you live in “fantasy land” if you truly think you can end a four-year relationship with someone — someone who is depressed and angry, no less — and have it be completely drama-free. There may be no contact or retaliation on his part yet, but mark my words, you have not heard the last from your ex-boyfriend. If I were you, I think I’d rather give him a chance to get whatever he needs to get off his chest now rather than let it build and build and surprise you at some point in the future when you least expect to hear from him.
Since you do have this book for his son, you could use it as an excuse to reach out to your ex. Tell him you’d like to pass along this book, and ask if you can give it to him at a nearby coffee shop (again, keeping it public to stay safe). If he agrees, you could express your regret that things didn’t work out between you, tell him you care for him and hope he’s doing OK. I wouldn’t necessarily invite further dialogue or an invitation to hang out again, but letting him know you haven’t simply slammed the door on him, so to speak, may help temper whatever anger he might have festering.
If you simply can’t imagine sitting face-to-face with him again and don’t want to initiate contact with him, forget about the book, accept that you probably aren’t in positive favor with your ex’s kids anyway, and MOA as best you can (but be prepared for future retaliation; I just don’t see this guy walking away from you so easily after four years). And in case it isn’t clear, I would not advise sending the kids a good-bye note at this point. Doing so would risk upsetting a man who already has depression and anger issues and could very well take out those issues on his kids.
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