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Pen Power

There will be times when, because of lingering hurt and/or anger, opening up to one another feels especially difficult. You're both walking around with wounded egos. Maybe you feel more in touch with your soul mate self and are willing to reach out, but you're convinced that your partner will shut you down. At these times one of the most effective things you can do is to write your partner a letter. Pen power has some clear advantages in this situation:

a. While your partner may not feel ready for a face to face encounter, a letter is less intrusive. It's reaching out and making contact, but from a safe distance.

b. You get an opportunity to express yourself freely without interruptions. You can carefully think through what you want to say. Putting your words on paper forces you to organize your thoughts; you can revisit them an hour or two later. Rewrite when your ego jumps in so that your message turns out just the way you want it.

c. Your partner gets to read your words in private without you or anyone else around to influence his reaction. They have the time and space to experience more than one reaction; on a second or third reading his ego response may be more filtered out because he's had the time to think through what you had to say.

For these reasons a letter stands a better chance of defusing hurt emotions and bringing some clarity when things have gotten so muddled that neither of you understands where the other is coming from. Most partners use e-mail, but there is a lot to be said for a handwritten letter. Your handwritten words, in your unique style, often have a far greater personal impact than a typed statement. The very fact that you've handwritten it underscores its importance. That's why a letter of this kind is for especially difficult, tense situations, and should not be a regular occurrence.

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