Email is an excellent way to reconnect and to strengthen your relationship, whether it is disconnected, conflictual, ambivalent or just lacking a spark. In-person conversations can make some people feel tongue-tied, and in some relationships, partners tend to interrupt one another in their efforts to feel heard and validated.
As an alternative to these frustrating discussions, e-mail correspondence can be less threatening and can allow for deeper examination of issues. Almost everyone e-mails on a regular basis, and writing an e-mail can take as much or as little time as you want.
Many people reading this are feeling disappointed, disconnected, sad, angry, or all of the above. However, if you start your e-mail correspondence by focusing on the negative, it is unlikely to go well. Start on a positive note, reminiscing about earlier, happier stages in your relationship and expressing admiration and appreciation for your partner. Emphasizing the good, even if it feels unnatural now, will lay the groundwork for you to open up to the process of e-mailing.
Email #1: When I First Met You…
Here, you have a chance to share all the wonderful things that you thought during your first encounter with your partner. This will start your e-mailing off on the right foot, so try to dig deep and come up with specific memories. It is helpful to reminisce lovingly about the traits that originally drew you to your partner, particularly if you’ve recently felt disillusioned or filled with despair.
Use the first prompt, as well as at least three others, and end with two or three open-ended questions!
Discussing how we first met makes me feel _____!
My first thought about you was: _____.
Here’s what I thought about your looks or personality or voice or clothes: _____.
I realized I wanted to date you when _____.
Here are some specific things that attracted me to you: _____.
Here’s what I thought about the likelihood of us ending up together: _____.
Here’s what I told other people about you: _____.
After we first spoke, I felt _____.
I’m feeling positive about writing you this e-mail. Maybe it can be a nice part of our day - to read these things about each other. When I first met you, I thought, Woah. I didn’t expect James to know any girls, so I wasn’t really looking forward to the party. Then you walked in, and I thought, That is a girl I want to know better. I realized I wanted to date you after our first conversation, when you said you thought I was funny. I was shocked that you thought my jokes were funny and not dumb! I was also attracted to your smile, your eyes, and of course, your body.
- What attracted you to me?
- Do you still think I’m funny?
- Did you want to date me right away, or was it only after we talked on the phone?
I love you, honey,
I feel ambivalent about writing you this e-mail. As you know, I am not feeling close or connected lately, and I don’t usually think about our early dating life when I am feeling upset. But here goes…
I first thought you were tall and cute, in a dorky way. I thought you were funny and smart and not like the usual meatheads I went for in high school. I told my friends that I met a genuinely nice guy who liked math and science, and they were surprised. Rachel said, “Maybe you’re growing up.” That was the first time I thought about us dating seriously.
- Did you like my personality at first or just my boobs?
- When did you first think we should date seriously?
- Excerpted from 52 Emails to Transform Your Marriage, by Dr. Samantha Rodman