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"Kate and Elliot" have been married for 16 years. Like many couples of short or long duration, their relationship started disintegrating and so they sought help. The therapist suggested an exercise, no communication between them on their issues for a week except by letter. These are the "Letters of Kate and Elliot



Dear Kate, I canít believe weíve come to this, writing our Ďconversationsí and Ďfightsí down on paper and truthfully I donít see the point. Itís just some reason for that shrink to get more money out of us, reading these day to day letters of nothing but your bitching and complaining and how Iím trying to make things better. He wanted us to write down the major issues right?

Well letís start with how cold youíve become. You use to come alive at the merest touch of my hand, even after Parker and Grace were born. Now I canít even lie close to you in bed without you moving around to keep space between our bodies. Itís not like Iíve cheated on you or even wanted to be unfaithful. I canít even rub your shoulders when you get home from work without you tensing up and trying to find something else to do anything else except be close with me.

It feels like you donít trust me anymore, like you donít believe anything coming out of my mouth. Well Iíve never been a liar and I havenít turned in to one. Then there is the constant nagging of Ďwhere are you going?í Ďwhen are you going to be back?í Ďyouíve been out three times this week you need to spend more time at home with the kidsí. When did this constant trying to control my social life and time with the guys start. You use to not care when I came and went form the house or what time I would be in. Iíd always call you remember? To let you know I was on my way in? You seem to have forgotten that completely. Youíve stopped cooking, or itís very rare when you do and as for keeping up the house that seems to be my job too. So while Iím running the house and making sure the kids have clean clothes youíre in the office, on the computer, daydreaming for all I know. Damn Kate even the cat is starting to suffer, have you realized how skinny sheís looking? Youíve checked out, thatís the sum of it.

It feels like you donít want to be here anymore, to share your life with me and raise our kids together. Its as though you have bigger things on your mind and not enough room in your heart or your head for the kids and me. We can make this better. I refuse to give up on us; I canít give up on us. We use to be so happy together. The house was full of laughter and activity and I remember laying awake nights with you in my arms whispering about how happy we were and how we were so lucky to have such a good life. What happened to that good life? Where did we leave it behind? I truly do love you, but Iím searching for my happiness again, Elliot


Dear Elliot,

We can agree on one thing. When ďDr. FreudĒ suggested we try communicating by letter, I was very skeptical. I figured it was the easy buck in his pocket too, but I am willing to try it because you don't hear what I say, so maybe you'll read what I have to say. I feel like an ass writing to you when you are in the next room. But the doctor is right about one thing. I don't have the energy to fight anymore so we'll pour out our grievances and hope that we can resolve things, one way or another.

The issues you talk about are, surprisingly, the same as mine, except my perspective of them is completely different. You are right, you have never given me a provable reason to mistrust you. What I remember is that during most of the time we have been together, you were emotionally available, then that stopped. I often felt that we were on opposite sides of the world while standing in the same house. My natural assumption has been that your emotional devotion was going somewhere else (along with your other parts).

If I seem cold, or checked out, it is because I feel all alone in a house full of people. Yes, this last year youíve had to do more around the house and for the kids since I have been working such long hours, but damn, Elliot, I was chief cook and bottle washer for all the years before. We didnít seem to have any ďcoldĒ issues then. But thatís because when YOU came home, dinner was on the table, the children were clean and ready to play with Daddy, and I made an effort to look appealing to you. What was there to complain about? You played golf when you wanted, you went out when you wanted, you came home at whatever time you wanted, and I said nothing. But when all is said and done, since I was at home, I did get to spend time with you and didnít mind all the extra curricular activity. When I went back to work, nothing changed. You expected me to work and do all the things I had always done in our home and for our family. Sometimes cold is just tired, Elliot. And you act like you canít wait to get out of the house when I do get home.

You remember when we were in St. Kitts? Think back to that time even if the memory is gasping for breath. Hours of mutual massage and great sex, sitting on the beach playing games in the sand with our toes? There were no phones ringing, no offices calling, no repairmen expected, no kids to take to soccer practice, no sick cat to follow around. (And speaking of the cat, my god, Elliot, we've had the cat for 16 years. He's not malnourished, he's OLD! and sorry, but I had nothing to do with the aging process of the cat!)

Now, every time you touch me, I wonder where else your hands have been so, yes, I probably tense up. I hate myself for it, and I try not to, but my mind screams that you are "available" when you want to be instead of when I need you to be, and so my anger is not just at you, but at myself for blaming you because of my own feelings.

All these years, your love, our love, made me feel safe and protected. I feared nothing because I knew you were there and wouldn't let anything happen to me or to us. When that feeling got lost in your rising resentment of having to take over some parts of our home and our children, busy schedules, mistrust, recriminations, and fights, the huge void it left was like a black hole. Everything scares me now. I want my safety and security back. I don't like the black hole.

We don't talk anymore. We pass messages and information along to each other. We don't sit down in front of the fireplace after the kids are in bed and tell each other about the day or share memories of things that have happened in our lives. You are out with your friends, and I am at my computer. If we didn't have children and a sick cat, we probably would have no reason to talk at all.

I love you too, Elliot, but I am angry and resentful because I donít know how to fix this. I donít know how to stop feeling this way. I used to try to do special things for you because I knew it made you happy. So did you. But you donít do that anymore. This used to be a home, and one for which I was always responsible without appreciation or even acknowledgment. Not easy, is it?

Since Iím off this week, Iíll cook dinner. Is chicken ok or would you rather fire up the grill? If I cook, youíll need to pick up Parker from soccer practice.

Hunting for an answer,


Related Items


The following comments are for "The Letters, Monday"
by KateandElliot

Kate and Elliot
Wow, girls...what a start for a serial! I really think that a lot of people will really be able to identify with these pieces. I'm really, sincerely intrigued as to what will happen with these two. It sounds like a situation I've found myself in before. Alright, that's enough of that...on to the content.

Elliot's letter was kind of direct and sounded rather typically male...not really thinking about the true reasoning for the problems, just assuming the jealous was very real, very genuine, and made me rather not like my half of the species, lol.

Kate's response was perfect. She laid down the law, and in a manner that was rational and well written. It was nicely dramatic, in a fashion that is...well, female *ducks and covers from the onslaught of negative comments*.

I was pulled along for an emotional ride by this. I really felt bad for both of them, wishing that they would just start listening to each other...or, rather, that he would listen to her. I want to see where this is going, and greatly anticipate the next entry.

I think I could tell who wrote which letter, though there were definite hints of each of your styles in both. Two impeccable writing talents, working in tandem. I really loved it, and am glad you two came up with this idea.

With eternal love and respect,

( Posted by: the Co.konspirator [Member] On: August 18, 2004 )

At This Point It Seems...
To me that Elliot has taken the road I call, place the blame... He didn't use logical problem solving techniques, to get at the heart of the problem... He simply blamed everything on her... His only good redeeming factor is his willingness to try... and somewhat apparent love...

Kate, on the other hand, seems to be on the road I call, laying a guilt trip while accepting partial blame... She obviously is replying to his letter which he wrote first, then she rebutted with her view of the situation laying on the guilt trip and taking some of the blame to lessen the sting of the guilt trip she has laid... She too seems willing and wants to love him like she used to...

Observation... Her working has seemed to take away the time she devoted to the relationship and he only recognized the problem when she responded in disgust at his attempts to regain that lost relationship... This looks like it was in trouble for sometime... It was exacerbated by her entrance into the work force... Nothing is said as to why she has entered the work force... Is there a financial problem? Is this a career move she has chosen to take? Were the children and the home environment taken into consideration before this decision was made...

I believe more information is needed to help solve the problem...

I'm sure more will be revealed in the forthcoming letters...

My observation is based only on these two letters and will be adjusted by their future revelations ...

( Posted by: daprdan [Member] On: August 18, 2004 )

The Letters
Off to a good start. I will follow them closely, I swear I feel like the nosie neighbor! Good job, girls.


( Posted by: nae411 [Member] On: August 19, 2004 )

I would beg to differ, greatly. I think that Kate's response was more of what should be seen in today's world. Someone who's actually willing to actually show a little compassion when all else has failed. This is a situation many of us have been in, countless times, and I've been on both sides, myself. I'm sorry, Pen, but I just can't really swallow your comment. It seemed, almost, more spiteful than sincere.


( Posted by: the Co.konspirator [Member] On: August 19, 2004 )

Frankly (and I do try to be frank), I thought this was dull. Some writing manages to capture isolation and desperation of middle-class, white, suburban American very well. This isn't that writing.
I think it was quite stereotypical. The wife didn't want to let go, wanted to make another go at it, blah blah blah. They were in love, but couldn't see past their problems...
In future installments, I'd like to see more of an analysis by both characters of where the love springs from. Kate seems very emphatic on the subject of security. Perhaps she just loves the stability Elliot gives her? Maybe she's just in it for the money and the nice house, but has convinced herself that contentment is love. I don't know. I think that to become poignant and original, this has a long way to go.

( Posted by: MacLaren [Member] On: August 19, 2004 )

The Letters.....
Do the middle-class of America write letters like this to each other!?!

Thank God I am not one of them!

Sorry, this is actually very well written, however it just felt so impersonal and embarrassing to read.

For the short time I lived in the States I made some very good friends, one was a choreographer from Chicago. She then sent me a three page letter on how she felt about me!!! I am not an insensitive soul but it was just too much!!! And very impersonal and insincere!!

This couple may have been married for 16 years, but to be honest it sounded like too old girlfriends going through the good ol days.

Sorry, I never liking commenting like this, hope I didn't come off rude.

Alex :-(

( Posted by: londongrey [Member] On: August 19, 2004 )

couldn't disagree more
I'd have to agree with William that Penelope's comment seems a bit spiteful, but perhaps that's just me.

I find these letters to be fairly apt representations of two people who while fighting over seemingly every little thing, still want to come out on top with a stronger marriage. The letters are all over the place and full of the conflicting emotions that one goes through in a marriage on the rocks.. The honesty of the characterization shines through at least to these eyes, which some may see as prejudiced, but I know good work when I see it and this is exactly that.

I'll be reading these closely.. Good show ladies, good show.. Don't fret the naysayers.. if you are enjoying the experience and others enjoy reading them then nothing else really matters.


( Posted by: Bartleby [Member] On: August 19, 2004 )

Great idea!
I think this is a wonderful idea. And frankly, I think this looks very similar to what two letters would look like in ďrealĒ life. I have to agree with Bart that the back and forth and inner conflict of the letters is exactly what makes them relatable. When you write a letter it is not formatted like a well thought out essay, especially if it is written in a stream of consciousness. I think this was hard to do, and well done. I look forward to being one of those who will be reading on! Thank you both.

( Posted by: everybodyelsesgirl [Member] On: August 19, 2004 )

I'm guessing
Jessica wrote Elliot's bit, and Claire wrote Kate's.

-I found this to be a bit dull myself. I think the couple's therapy thing is becoming a cliche unto itself. 'Simpsons did it! Simpsons did it!'

-There's a few small grammatical errors, and some other things I would change, but nothing major.

-I think this is too formal for personal letters between a long-time married couple. Usually, couples have some little ideosyncrasies when they communicate with one another. Things that anyone else reading the letters wouldn't get. Like inside jokes or little nicknames for each other or places they've been or.... I think that would add to the realism. I know this is supposed to be between to people who have become distanced, but it reads as though they haven't even talked to each other in like ten years. That's my view at least.

-The insights into the helplessness of being only one half of a relationship were pretty good.

( Posted by: eleutheromaniac [Member] On: August 19, 2004 )

the letters
i myself find writing to solve problems and stuff a really good idea, because for example, i like to write thoughts on a piece of paper so i would get things straight and assemble my ideas. if i'm debating face to face, i find it much harder to remember the points i wanted to say. but i can't say that i enjoyed reading the problems that go on between 2 strangers...!!

( Posted by: seniorme [Member] On: August 19, 2004 )

Everyone, back to your corners. This is no place to start a war, whether of words or otherwise.

Pen, I thought you were above this. Green doesn't suit you. Stick with black and orange, please...

It seems that we all need to find a river, build a bridge, and, rather than pushing one another off, just GET OVER IT.

Let's not let this get any more out of hand, friends.


( Posted by: the Co.konspirator [Member] On: August 19, 2004 )

les lettres
I don't understand the reason for this argument. Pen's original comment doesn't seem spiteful or bitter to me. Good writing typically doesn't leave anybody feeling lukewarm.

About the letters, a nice idea. Elliot's response seemed genuine to me, somewhat resigned, while Kate's seemed a bit "typecast" and long-winded. Nice effort, though. Interested in seeing where all this goes.

( Posted by: die_daily [Member] On: August 19, 2004 )

And in this corner....!
Claire and Jessica...this idea is inspired...and oddly enough...not a new idea. This goes back to the early 1950's when couple counseling became the "in" thing to do for trendy couples. Every woman's magazine you could pick up had columns written by the phyciatrist of the month dealing with he said...she said issues. Newly liberated "Rosie the Riverters" were more than eager to let it all hang out...of course...smugly believing she was the aggreived one (most of the time she was of course!) and this method of communication was encouraged to clear the air.

My husband used this method to adivse our ten yr old daughter on how to "deal" with her brothers and her peers. She was to write down every emotion she was feeling about a particular situation then in 24 hrs. if she still felt that way...the letter would be left for them to read. She even did it to us on the "intolerable conditions that Melissa had to live with!"

The results were hilarious to say the least...even she had to grudingly adimit it...but many times, they achieved the results she was looking for. Reading them so nostalgic, funny, warm, insightful that I think diplomats as well as couples would be well adivsed to take heed.

This excercise is just beginning...hopefully, these couples...with each exchange will really reach the heart of the matter...when they TRULY let down their guard with one another and understand that each wants the same thing but are on different wave lengths. Stay tuned folks...I surmise that this "excercise in futility" will bear some interesting fruit.

You go girls...I for one can't wait to see who realizes first that it takes two to tango!

Grandma Bea

( Posted by: Beatrice Boyle [Member] On: August 19, 2004 )

Family matters
God, I love this site. The more I see of minor squables caused by misunderstandings, the more it seems to me that we all are truly a family.

The idea is good, the letters are good and we have to accept the personalities of the people in the story and how 'they' write their letters. I think this has been an interesting exercise in reading, if you can really let your immagination accept the 'truth' as it is written, you are left begging to see how it developes, who's really to blame and how it will turn out.

Again what am I doing in the writing section, just ignore my comments I'm just an old fashioned poet who should know better than stray into the realms of the educated.

Still I think this was good.


( Posted by: ivordavies [Member] On: August 19, 2004 )

comment reminder
This debate is getting pretty heated, please remember not to get personal with comments or they will be removed. Some of the comments are heading in a direction I don't much like, please remember to comment on the piece and don't get personal.


( Posted by: Chrispian [Admin] On: August 19, 2004 )

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