When you look for advice on the internet about how to get your ex back, you discover that step one is to write a letter.
And you learn that it has to be a handwritten letter -- not typed, and not an email.
The purpose of the letter is to let your ex know you're sorry for whatever you did, and that you agree that breaking up is a good idea. This letter sets the stage for everything you'll be doing afterwards, to try to get back together.
Why apologize in writing?
A hand-written letter, sent in a hand-addressed envelope, is the most personal form of delayed communication you can use.
Spoken communication, in person or over the phone, is too immediate. With immediate communication, some response is required -- but your ex might feel threatened, or feel like there's not enough time to think of the right response.
Text messages and email are too casual. Even a typed or printed letter feels distant, compared to the intimacy of a handwritten letter you took the time to pen yourself. Your letter to your ex absolutely must be written by hand, and written on paper, not on a card. A card is, once again, too casual.
When to apologize?
Send your letter as soon as possible, but be sure to wait until after you have thought about your situation, and think you understand what your ex is feeling.
While you compose your letter, you should feel regret, not anger. If you are still angry, then it is too soon to write a letter of apology. It is too soon to say you agree with the breakup.
You need to be certain about what you are apologizing FOR. For example:
Even if it was an accident, you should apologize. Even if it felt justified at the time, you should apologize. Even if you know that in the same circumstances, you would do the same thing again -- you still ought to apologize.
What should you say in your letter?
Your letter of apology to your lover needs to communicate two things: That you are sorry for whatever you did that caused your breakup, and that you agree that breaking up is a good idea.
Don't spend too much time explaining why you did what you did. It won't help, especially if it was a repeat occurrence, or if you did it on purpose.
Don't be funny, and don't be crude or obscene.
Don't ask for an acknowledgement -- no, "Let me know if you got this" or anything like that. You should be prepared not to hear back.
Example apology letter
Here is a sample letter to an ex girlfriend...
I have been thinking a lot about how I hurt you, and I want to say I'm sorry. I understand why you don't want to be with me any more. I agree it is a good idea.
Being away from you is hard on me, but I guess that after time goes by I won't miss you so much. I hope, anyway, because I would hate to feel like this forever.
I know it was the last straw. I know you think you can't trust me any more, after what I did. But please believe my apology. You mean more to me than anyone else does. You are the one I love.
Maybe after you have had some time away from me, you will want to talk to me again. If you ever need me, I will be there for you.