Overdue Apologies


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Not everybody does. Did this person ask you not to contact them? Have you heard things through the grapevine that suggest that your apology might be helpful? Is this person the forgiving kind?

My Apologies

The forgetting kind? Also, do you have a history of needing the Last Word? We can file this under YMMV, but I feel very strongly that if a two-years-too-late apology is going to come at all, then it had better be specific. On the other hand, if he Emailed me to say that he was sorry he gaslighted me, well, that would be something. Sure, some people still appreciate it even then, as is clear from the varied comments here, but my abusive ex came back a year and a half later to apologize and it was fucking horrible, made me burst into tears, and I was an emotional wreck for the rest of the week.

Know When and How to Say You Are Sorry

They do not even want to be reminded that you exist. And if you are really sorry, you need to accept that. This is more a general response in case other people are thinking about apologizing. Any contact from him, no matter how positive, triggers months of anxiety. I often think, even in the unlikely scenario that he did completely change and learn the error of his ways, part of that would be realising that contacting me would harm me, whatever he had to say.

He would be busy making amends through helping others, somehow. The greatest recompense he could make to me would be uninterrupted peace. How could I possibly know if this time he was actually sorry. Just like every other time. It just felt like I was being roped right back into the abuse cycle all over again. The good news is that you stayed un-roped, even though it threw you off your rails for a week.

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That was hard! Good for you! Yeah, this is a great point. If you were actually abusive or otherwise did substantial tangible harm to someone, then leave them alone. But if you were just kind of douchey, immature, selfish, unkind, or whatever, then maybe it is ok, subject to all of the caveats raised on this thread. Already this comment thread has people who have had all those reactions. There are times long-overdue-apologies are the right thing to do, but you really have to ask yourself what you hope to achieve other than easing your own conscience.

Count me as one who would appreciate an apology for wrongdoings of long ago.

This is Goodbye and an Overdue Apology

Offhand, I only remember being on the receiving end of such apologies twice. They both happened at my 20th high school reunion, from former classmates who made fun of me in fourth grade and eighth grade, respectively. I barely remembered one, and remembered mostly good things about the other.

I still appreciated the gesture. It was five years too late, and I had to ask for it, but it was still an apology and it still felt good. Continue having your contact cut-off. Breaking up with someone is not a way to even figuratively kick them in the nuts. It may hurt but people end relationships all the time. Guys I have been involved with have broken up with me and I never thought they owed me an apology for it. As far as late apologies go, eh. And you know—one hurtful person in my life kept apologizing for the shitty things he did and then continued to do them.

But in this case, I really do not see how you owe anyone an apology. People end relationships. People ask for and expect space. You broke up with a person you really liked, but needed to be apart from.

2. For Request Emails

You moved on with your life, he moved on with his. Whatever the effect the apology had on him, I think maybe the thing to consider here is why this is still such a huge deal to you. I think it almost affected my bully more than it affected me as she spoke of how she thinks about it all the time and continuously feels terrible about having been that person.


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All it did was stir up some weird shit in me and a strange sense of guilt. The apology almost opened some old wounds inside me although I accepted it as graciously as I could in the circumstances the whole exchange took place in the ladies bathroom of a pub. But I think you have to know your audience. It looks like there are plenty of people who deal with things moving on, and forcing someone to re-live a bad experience by your random apology can be really intrusive and unwanted, no matter what the good intentions are behind it.


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  • I think it depends on the person and the manner of the apology. I had a college roommate email me several years later and apologize for being such a party girl crazypants, and it really made me feel good. She was a frustrating roommate to have set her three!

    Apologize For a Late Payment

    I had an apology such as this come back to nip me in the arse just a bit. Surprised indeed I was to hear back, and pleased at first, particularly because he did not want to go over all the relationship Feelings. We exchanged a couple letters and then I got one which set off all my warning bells, so just sort of never wrote him back.

    For me, sending the apology was a final goodbye and for him receiving the apology was permission to glom on again. My response has been essentially: what on earth was the point of that email? I am certainly not happy that the friendship is broken. However, you have the right to make decisions about who is going to be in your life. I am, however, pissed because you dicked me around and took several months to finally tell me that, and only did so because I prompted you to do so.

    And left me hanging for days after I prompted you to do so. And then told me that you knew a break had to happen, but I had to figure it out for myself. In any case, part of me still wants to be friends. Because there is good in her, I feel it. So I doubt it will ever happen, even if she decided she wanted to reconnect. So in the meantime: I want nothing from her. Nothing she can say can make it better. Before contacting an ex, figure out what you want from that communication.


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    • Figure out if it is about them, or about you. Think about whether you even know what is good for the other person. If you do want a response, do you want to re-open a relationship? If not, then why do you want a response? As I said to my dearest friend as we talked about this, it is not her fault that I am still processing. It is not her fault that if I have issues letting go. It is my responsibility to take care of myself and to deal with the situation on hand in a healthy manner.

      In the same way, you are not responsible for the way your ex feels.

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