Unsent Love Letters - Fantasy and Unrequited Love

Esther Perel

The Letter

In this submission, a woman lays out a future she’ll never have with a man she’ll never be with. She was his colleague, he was her friend… and he was engaged to someone else. This unsent love letter reads as a poem, detailing the simple future she longed for but never revealed out of respect for his relationship.

A Look Inside with Esther + Meredith


The importance of this letter for us is how it helps us learn about fantasy and about unrequited love, and how they relate to one another.
Fantasies are detailed scripts. This letter is incredibly specific about a future that will never be. It’s a simple example of how fantasies are deeply personal and how every small detail matters. The fantasy our author describes is a wish of what could be, but fantasies can also be unrealistic - they don’t always represent what we want in real life.

When I asked our author if she regrets not sending the letter, she replied, “a bit.” Her feelings of unrequited love persist, but this fantasy was not meant to be. Sometimes we have to walk away from the person we want so much. Out of respect for the other or ourselves.

An Exercise in Closure

Have you ever had to walk away from something you wanted? Do you still cling to the “what ifs?” -- What if I had said something? What if we had met at a different time? Under different circumstances? 
No matter the circumstance, it can be hard to process love unreturned. For those of you in a similar situation, I suggest you create a ritual of closure. To perform an act that closes the door completely and does not keep it cracked.

  • Write a final letter using one or all of the prompts below (to share or keep to yourself)
  • This is what I hope you take from me.
  • This is what I wish for you.
  • When I think about x, y, or z, I’ll smile.
  • Take yourself to a beautiful place in nature. Hike, collect rocks and throw them far away. Releasing yourself from the hold the relationship still has on you with each throw.
  • If you’ve been together, give them back their belongings. Or anything that no longer makes sense to hold on to and keep.

Continue the series. Up next in Unsent Love Letters - Love Across the Decades.

Producer & Editor: Anush Elbakyan, Producer & Script: Courtney Hamilton Knight, Animation: Daniel García, Illustration & Direction: Natalia Ramos

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