Free Love Letter Collections and Tips for Writing a Better One

Read several famous love letters for free online—and get inspired to write your own.

Handwritten love letter with a striped envelope

I have written and received several love letters, but is it still common practice? I am a writer, after all, and sometimes the words are so pervasive that I need to get them out. The men who have written me love letters were also creative minds. And there is nothing more letter-provoking than a knack for the arts, youthfulness, distance, and—of course—love.

But love is not confined to those of us who have too many thoughts. How can you express your love if your partner’s love language is words of affirmation, but you don’t think you’re great with words? Is sending a romantic quote in a text the answer? Read these famous love letters and tips for some more clarity.

Famous Love Letters

So let’s get to it. Here are some historical love letters (and links to the original collections—go read them all for free!). And here is a reminder of how love can make us feel.

Love Can Make Us…

…Yearn for an Answer

Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn, c. 1491-1547

“It is absolutely necessary for me to obtain this answer, having been for above a whole year stricken with the dart of love, and not yet sure whether I shall fail of finding a place in your heart and affection, which last point has prevented me for some time past from calling you my mistress; because, if you only love me with an ordinary love, that name is not suitable for you, because it denotes a singular love, which is far from common.”

…Embrace the Warm, Fuzzy Feelings

Robert Burns to Ellison Begbie, c. 1780

“I verily believe, my dear E, that the pure, genuine feelings of love are as rare in the world as the pure, genuine principles of virtue and piety. … I don’t know how it is, my dear, for though except your company there is nothing on earth gives me so much pleasure as writing to you, yet it never gives me those giddy raptures so much talked of among lovers. I have often thought that if so well-grounded affection be not really a part of virtue, ’tis something extremely akin to it. Whenever the thought of my E. warms my heart, every feeling of humanity, every principle of generosity kindles in my breast, it extinguishes every dirty spark of malice and envy which are but too apt to infest me.”

…Declare the Magic of Love

Victor Hugo to Adele Foucher, c. 1820-1822

“A few words from you, my beloved Adele, have again changed my state of mind. Yes, you can do anything with me; and to-morrow, were I even dead, the sweet tones of your voice, the tender pressure of your lips, would call me back to life again.”

…Let Distance Drive Us Mad

Thomas Carlyle to Jane Welsh, c. 1823

“My dear Jane — I am in a wonderful anxiety to hear from you, and have been for several days. By the almanac, it is just three weeks since I had my last Letter: by my imagination, it is half an age. If I knew certainly that you were still in Nithsdale, your patience would likely be assailed with a long Epistle from me:

But it is one advantage of these jaunts (which you otherwise dislike so much) that your enemies cannot tell where to find you; that I the deadliest of them know not whether to point my soporific arrows against you to the South or to the South-east. Good luck has delivered you for this time, but I warn you to be on your guard again. You promised to write to me once a week — No, you did not promise; but you are a kind angel of a creature, you will write to me whenever you can, and that is all I want. Give no heed to me when I become importunate.”

Love Letter Writing Tips

Writing a love letter is not some cookie-cutter process that is the same for everyone. What works for me may not work for you, so take the tips that work and discard the ones that don’t.

Start with stream-of-consciousness writing.

Just write what is going through your head when you think of the person. Try not to think about how it sounds, what they will think, or whether you’re even going to send it. Just start writing. Editing can come later.

Consider a mindfulness practice.

If you sit down to write and nothing comes to mind, maybe you need to get in touch with your feelings. Quiet your mind, close your eyes, then picture the image of your loved one. Picture their smile, their laugh, and their voice. How does that make you feel? Do you feel anything in your body? Do you feel tense? Nervous? Relaxed? Elated? Then take a piece of paper and write, “When I think of you, I feel…” (and fill in the rest).

Take notes from the professionals.

Read several famous love letters and see if you relate to anything they say. Consider how they say it. Is there an analogy or metaphor that you thought was evocative or helpful? Write it down. You’re not copying word for word; you’re getting inspired.

Don’t be manipulative.

One of the worst aspects of love letter writing is their ability to manipulate. If you’re going to write an intimate letter to someone, make sure what you’re saying is honest and not just a way to get away with something, smooth over a wrong, or “win” someone’s good graces. Not sure how letter writing could be harmful to someone’s emotional health? Just watch Betrayal: The Perfect Husband.

Choose your targets carefully.

The sad truth is that not everyone will appreciate your love letter. Some may even find it creepy or overwhelming. If love has not been established outside of the letter, a letter may not be the best place to express your love for the first time. It’s a very vulnerable act, so be sure the person you’re sharing with is safe for you. And if you’re not sure, be brave and accept that the result could go either way. If it doesn’t go how you want, you will be okay (just don’t send another letter).

Fill in the Blank Templates

I’m not a huge fan of love letter templates because they can seem bland and forced, but they can be a good starting point for someone who really is stuck yet wants to get their feelings out. As hard as it might be to express yourself in a letter, it could be even harder to say everything you want to say in person.

Love Letter Fact

A love letter gives you a chance to evaluate your feelings and perspective. It can even help you think more positively about your relationship in general.

Here are a few templates to try.

Simple and to the Point

Dear [Recipient’s Name],
I’m writing to express my feelings for you. From the moment we met, your [specific trait] captured my heart.
I cherish our moments together, especially [special memory]. You bring [specific emotion] into my life.
I admire your [specific trait] and look forward to [shared goal or experience].
Thank you for being you.
With [emotion],
[Your Name]

Casual and Loving

Dear [Recipient’s Name],
Just thinking about you makes me [emotion]. Your [specific trait] is truly special.
Remember when we [shared memory]? That moment meant [emotion] to me.
I appreciate your [specific trait] and can’t wait for [future event or moment].
Yours [emotionally],
[Your Name]

For Expressing Your Emotions

Dear [Recipient’s Name],
I find it hard to put into words the depth of my feelings for you. When I think of you, I feel [emotion].
Your [specific trait] has touched my heart in ways I never thought possible. It’s like [personal analogy or metaphor].
When we [shared memory or experience], I felt [emotion]. That moment was a turning point for me, and it made me realize just how deeply I care for you.
Looking ahead, I feel [emotion] about our future. I am excited to [shared goal or experience], and I can’t wait to see what else is in store for us.
Please know that these words come from a place of sincerity and deep affection. You mean more to me than I could ever express.
With all my [emotion],
[Your Name]

Frequently Asked Questions

Why am I scared to write a love letter?

I think in this digital age, so many of us fear showing our hand and expressing the vulnerability that is inherent in love. But I’m here to tell you: All sorts of people have been writing all sorts of messy and wonderful love letters for centuries. And reading them can inspire us to be more brave when we express ourselves.

How can I make my love letter more special?

Sending a handwritten love letter in the mail with a wax seal would appeal to me (but it may not appeal to everyone). Think about what your loved one might appreciate, which might not even be a love letter. If the love is mutual and established, your partner will ideally enjoy the time you spent—whether that’s time spent crafting a short text or a long snail mail.

What makes a good love letter?

A good love letter is sincere and personal—and expresses your feelings clearly. It can recall shared memories, express admiration for the person, and convey your hopes for the relationship. It does not guilt or manipulate, and it is in no way inconsiderate. A manipulative love letter would be a message that uses emotional coercion, guilt, or insincere flattery to control or influence the recipient’s feelings or actions, often serving the writer’s selfish interests rather than expressing genuine love or affection.

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