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Rita Watson MPH


Love Letters: For You, By You

Find that love letter you still treasure, or rewrite your love story.

And if we consider ourselves to be unlucky in love, can we change the perception? Have a look at 3 Ways to Rewrite Your Story and Embrace the Future

Love letters and romance

I began thinking about love letters during my spring cleaning and once again I came upon a box that looks like Christmas. But inside the box there are letters and cards that I still treasure. The art of the love letter seems to have drifted away from us in this 140 character society. And, yet, I know there are many of us who still cling to that one special letter that sent our hearts and spirits soaring – the letter that defined love.

Romance was brought to us by the 12th century troubadours who serenaded townsfolk. Courtly love flourished as stories swirled of knights and ladies obsessed with their lovers. We know from history that for centuries the love letter was oftentimes the only way that couples who were separated were able to keep romance alive. As noted on Love Letters -

Before the telephone, e-mail, and text messages, people relied on letters to carry sentiments and information to loved ones. The letters pictured here provide an intimate look into relationships of bygone days. Reading them enables us to explore the ups and downs of romantic love from the 18th century to the present.

As I began looking into the art of writing the perfect love letter, I came across two intriguing finds: The Love Letter Collection, an online project of poet Cynthia Gray: Keeper of The Love Letter Collection by Psychology Today blogger Jennifer Haupt. And the book by Anne Klein, Words of Love: Quotations from the Heart.

But I also found within my own bookselves a letter from father to son leaving for college. Dear Austin - A Letter To My Son | David Perkins. This reminded me of how important it is to take the time to express what we feel to people we love. Every word of caring and gratitude that we write is a love letter.

The Love Letter Collection

If you are ready for a trip down memory lane to when love poems and love letters had meaning, the online project offers the opportunity for participation. What makes it most intriguing is that, as noted on the site,, “You can submit a letter you’ve sent or received, or a letter you’d like to send but can’t. The love can be a fantasy love, unrequited love, impossible love, naive love, hopeful love, frustrated love, obsessed love, new love, old love or lost love.”

There are letters from “the suffocation place,” long and heart-wrenching, or short and simple as from “respiratory damage” — “Even so many years later, when you cross my mind … it still hurts to breathe… .”

After reading these, ask yourself if love letters are gifts from the heart or as Roxane Gay, who edits the collection, suggests, “Maybe, love letters are the kindest lies.”

The little book of love quotes

The quotes are a collection of humor and wisdom, ranging from Zsa Zsa Gabor’s “A girl must marry for love and keep on marrying until she finds it” to Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s “True love begins when nothing is looked for in return.”

If you are thinking about writing to your true love, this book might be an inspiration.

Love letters despite disappointment

What if your true love has gone? Write the letter that helps your heart to heal by remembering the good in the relationship.

What if the love in your life is disappointing you? Try wearing rose-colored glasses, and write a letter that expresses only the good times shared. How would you end such a letter? That would depend upon how you feel after your private thoughts are on paper. If your heart tells you that the relationship is over, give thanks for the joy that you both experienced and move on. If not, embrace the future with loving-kindness, which might better to called loving-acceptance.

Have you read these columns?

Coppyright 2013 Rita Watson/ All Rights Reserved


About the Author

Rita Watson, MPH, is an associate fellow at Yale's Ezra Stiles College, a former columnist for The Providence Journal, and the author of Italian Kisses: Rose-Colored Words and Love from the Old Country.