Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.
DEAR AMY: During my time in high school and college, I had some tumultuous relationships with men. Most cheated, were verbally abusive or emotionally absent. I loved one of them in particular, but the rest were mere infatuations. These relationships left me heartbroken, and it took several years to heal from the damage that had been done. I have not maintained any contact with any of these people, however, all of them have sent me messages through social networking sites within the past one or two years expressing regret and guilt over their treatment of me. A few even wanted to know how I was doing and hoped to have a friendship. I declined to respond. I have no desire to give any of these exes the time of day, not to mention a reply that signifies forgiveness and/ or friendship. I have been in a healthy and loving relationship for the past four years, one that is on its way to marriage, and I do not want to threaten it in any way. However, I feel that I am holding back on granting possible closure for these men, who may have grown up in the past six or seven years and want to right wrongs from the past. I fear that contacting them would open up several wounds that took very long to heal. What do you think I should do?HesitantDEAR HESITANT: You say you don't want to forgive these men, and -- given your attitude about forgiveness -- why should you care about their getting some kind of "closure"? You should imagine that the mere act of reaching out and making whatever conciliatory statements they are making might be closure enough for your exes.
You could easily reply to these messages with an innocuous statement like, "Thank you for getting in touch. I'm doing very well and wish you all the best."
Otherwise, if you feel that replying at all would place you or your relationship at risk, then by all means leave it alone and move on.