It’s so galling. They broke this relationship, this family, and they’re not one bit sorry! Well, they SHOULD be! I demand an apology! And I refuse to heal until I get one! I’ll just turn blue while I wait for closure.
Yeah. Totally self defeating. Let’s examine the whole apology thing.
1) Don’t you have better things to do? Waiting for an apology from your cheater, not feeling like you’re going to put this nightmare to rest until you get one, is giving your cheater an awful lot of power over you. And it’s exactly what they want — centrality. To know that they influence your mental state so much, that they can make you dance if only you get that “apology.” Desperately needing an apology is currency to a disordered person. Hmm. I wonder what you’ll do if I give you this apology. How badly do you need it? Can I come home? Will you lend me some money?
2) What is an apology from a liar? It’s words. It’s bad stock. You need some tangible assets. Cash on the barrelhead, son. We don’t take credit.
Sorry is as sorry does. Only look at their actions. Demand renumeration (a postnup, an uncontested divorce settlement). They balk at that? They aren’t sorry.
3) It’s unjust. So just eat the shit sandwich already. You’re angry that you got chumped. I get it. Part of getting to meh is accepting the injustice. It wasn’t fair. It was wrong. Your trust was sorely abused. You don’t need the apology to know it was unjust. You can accept the injustice and trust your senses without them acknowledging it. Sucks, of course. But the reality doesn’t change.
4) It’s broken. You can’t unring that bell or unfuck that whore. An apology isn’t going to glue together what’s broken. It’s acknowledging responsibility for breakage, that’s it. Figure out what you want. Are you guilty of magical thinking? Do you want things that cannot be put right put right again? (The whore to be unfucked) or do you want a reality check from your cheater acknowledging that they did this. Okay, they admitted it. They feel bad. Not half as bad as you feel. Now what?
5) Stop looking to your cheater to validate you. That’s what the need for an apology is — validation that you mattered. You’re asking the person who hurt you to make this better. This is the LAST person likely to make it better. If they were invested in making things better they would not have cheated on you, lied about it, gaslighting you, blameshifted, and taken all the power tools and crystal decanters when they left.
Find your comfort elsewhere. Of course you matter. Surround yourself with the people who don’t need a remedial course on that.
6) What are you going to do with a sincere apology? No — REALLY. Assuming you ever get one, what are you going to do with it? Reconcile with them? Second guess yourself? Do the you-are-so-wrong-I’m-glad-you-finally-admitted-it happy dance? Revel in the validation that they Get It? Oh hurrah, the dim person Has Seen the Light!
Newsflash — it was obvious to everyone that running off and abandoning your spouse and three children for some nitwit they connected with on FaceBook was a ruinous, painful decision. It’s only clear to them NOW? What are you supposed to do with that? Are they going to refund you the last 15 years of your life?
Do you want the satisfaction of closing the door in their face? Oh HA! See how it FEELS, sucker! You want to be the powerful person for once?
Then you’re still enmeshed with them. You care what they feel. You still want to “win.”
The name of the game is meh. Don’t care. They are yesterday’s news.
I’m not being bitter, chumps. A heartfelt apology is a beautiful thing — but notice how the really gruesome things in life don’t get apologized for until ages after the harm was done. The Catholic Church just said sorry to Galileo 500 years after the fact. I’m sure Galileo’s moldering corpse really appreciates it.
Betraying your spouse, inflicting that kind of harm on someone, requires more than an apology. Or buckets of them. It’s a long, slow, humbling grind toward self improvement. Waiting for that character transplant requires a huge investment from the chump — a risk with terrifically bad odds, that I would implore you not to make.
On the off chance that they grow that much character, and spend the required years in therapy — by the time you get an apology, you will be so moved on that it won’t matter. It will be a big shrug. Oh. It’s you. What do you want?
Because they want something. At best, apologizing will be for them, to salve their conscience. At worst, it’s another onslaught of manipulation. This theater you humans call “remorse” has worked in the past. Do a little play-acting and the gates open to the kingdom of cake!
Keep the gates shut. Let them keep their apology. Or accept it in the spirit you received that ugly sweater from Aunt Mildred when you were 13. “Oh, um, thank you.” A well intended, useless item from someone who doesn’t really get you at all. Stuff it in the back of your closet.
This column ran previously.