I have been divorced for 10 months (separated for almost two years) From my husband of 22 years. He cheated on me for the final two years of that marriage until I found out and confronted him. He thought we would live together until the divorce came through. It took me two months to pester him out of the house, and I am glad he is gone. Life was very shaky for me and the kids for a while, but I am moving on as the single parent to four teen/young adult children, three of whom refuse to see they’re father at all and one who does so occasionally. We are getting back on our feet and everyone is happier without him around. (He was never much of a father).
Today, he left crying apology emails for each of the kids, I think he wrote himself notes, they all sounded about the same. He also left me a texted apology (no voice mail for me!) The text is as follows:
I just want to say I am sorry. I made some bad choices and we are all paying for them now. What I did to you and the kids was wrong and I’m truly sorry. I know that wont fix anything but I felt the need to say it. I’ve also told the kids the same.
Since I never received a sincere apology from this man in 22 years, I am suspicious of this one. I have a friend who says I should “be mature” and tell him we will “move past this”, but this doesn’t feel right. He devastated five people because he felt he deserved more. I don’t know how to respond or if I should at all.
Chumped but Happier Now
I’m curious why your friend thinks you should tell him “we will move past this”? You did move past it — you divorced him. And everyone seems like they’re getting on with their lives pretty fine, except him.
What are you supposed to do with this apology? Well, you have a few options here.
1.) You could bolster the cheater. I believe this is the path of “maturity” that your friend is suggesting. (Because divorce litigation is so childish and carefree…) Hey, he’s sorry now. We must infer that he sees the error of his ways, feels great depths of sadnesses, and is moved to communicate his regrets to you by text message. I mean, when you’ve committed an atrocity, why lay a wreath when you could text a message?
Anyway, he’s Sad. It’s your job to reassure him after the divorce, that everyone is going to be FINE. Really, it’s just a flesh wound. No harm done. He’s not a bad person. Oh, stop with the awkward apologies, Jeffery! Let’s be friends.
Cue the conscious uncoupling muzak.
2.) You could let him move back home because he’s Sorry Now. Hey, now that he’s gotten the awkward apologies out of the way, you could cease and desist with those consequences. You know, Chumped, if you play your cards right, you could have a chance with him again. And what would be nicer at a time like this than cake?
3.) You could decode the apology. What would the Universal Bullshit Translator say?
I just want to say I am sorry.
So I thought I’d send you a text, instead of one of those insincere gestures like paying your legal bill.
I made some bad choices and we are all paying for them now.
Yes WE all are paying for my bad choices, by which I mean ME included. While acknowledging your suffering, I thought it important to interject how much this hurts me too. More really.
What I did to you and the kids was wrong and I’m truly sorry.
This nugget is fine. It’s an apology. By text. Without an edible arrangement or anything.
I know that wont fix anything but I felt the need to say it. I’ve also told the kids the same.
Actually trying to fix things? Like not contesting the divorce? Or giving you more money to raise four kids? Let me be clear that those tangible expressions of regret are off the table, because hey, they never change anything! But I feel the need to say sorry. Except I texted it. I did say sorry to the kids, might raise their hopes for a reconciliation! Don’t forget me! I suffer too! I won’t fix anything, but I feelz!
4.) You could do absolutely nothing. Okay, he’s sorry. Perhaps he is utterly sincere and would like forgiveness. Whether you forgive him or don’t forgive him, neither path requires communicating with him. You’re not obliged to confer absolution to break no contact.
If he’s truly sorry that just makes a sad situation that much sadder. He fucked it all up for nothing. And now he has to live with the consequences — as you all did. Now it’s his turn to take a bite from the shit sandwich. He served it. The least he can do is eat it without complaint.
I vote for option #4.