Dear Chump Lady,
It’s hard to know where to start, but I divorced a serial cheater. Not only did he cheat with multiple women over the course of our 21-year marriage, he was mentally and physically abusive and he possessed this mind-boggling dodge and weave gift that he carries over from his political spin doctor job. No matter what happened, it was never his fault always mine.
I was a broken shell when I dragged myself away and moved in with my mother.
Fast forward through therapy and a few years. I feel better than I ever felt. I met and married the man of my dreams. Yes, he treats me like a princess. I laugh now as much or more than I cried before.
No contact has been wonderful. My emails related to our bills or our children are very brief. I notified the ex-husband that my last name and address had changed so he could send the support payments. I received this masterpiece:
I had planned to write you regarding the news, which I found out inadvertently.
Congratulations. I wish you all the happiness in the world, which you deserve. I hope the new man in your life appreciates what he has in you.
There are not adequate words to apologize for my conduct and collapse toward the end of the marriage. It was my fault, and my actions were to blame. You tried hard to make things work, on many occasions, and I let many underlying issues, bad choices and pressures knock me off course. Again, it was my fault, and I am to blame for the choices I made and the damage I caused to people I cared for. I hope that I merit forgiveness someday.
Nearly 30 years ago, you came into my life. Early on, we had days of concerts, cats, apartments and credit cards, and later, houses, kids, jobs, and the dogs. Today, there are only a river of happy memories and good times that I look back on, and appreciate all that you did for me on that journey. No one could have done more for me during those years.
While I am sad that things ended as they did between us, and that my actions caused me to lose you, I want you to know I only have the best of intentions and regard for you. I will be as supportive as needed, along with living up to the agreements we reached, from a respectful distance. Remember, that I will always be here for you.
I have worked hard to become a better person since you left, and know I have many more miles to take on that trip. Knowing you are happy, safe and secure is very important to me, and again, I wish you happiness and good luck on the days ahead. You have my love and my respect.
Several people who have read this “apology” seem to think it’s sincere. I don’t. I think it’s a carefully crafted piece of boohoo, poor me bologna and I’m not buying it. Before I left he told me that for years he had been miserable with me — now it’s a “river of happy memories”?
I think this is complete bullshit but also a very good example of expert manipulation. It’s how he managed to suck me into coming back before, but this time I recognize it for the bullshit that it is and it is some scary stuff.
Hoping to get your perspective,
I don’t think it really matters if it’s a sincere Paul-on-the-road-to-Damascus apology or some expertly crafted bullshit. What matters is you’ve moved on. You gained a new life, got a new man, did all the hard, painful work to be mighty — this apology now is fairly pointless. “Worm” lost his centrality long ago. He’s just a dude who writes a check.
But, but… he’s sorry!
Say I wanted a Breyer horse for Christmas in 1974 and I didn’t get one. And NOW I get a Breyer horse — Misty of Chincoteague! Okay… that’s lovely, but I’m a 52-year-old woman who no longer plays with plastic horses.
I can’t go back and be 8 and sufficiently appreciate this. Misty is just going to sit on a shelf and gather dust.
Mr. CL just interjected: “Timing is everything. This apology is like jumping out of an airplane, crashing to the ground, and then releasing your parachute.”
A fine metaphor, except you’d be flattened and probably wouldn’t have the dexterity to operate a parachute… but no matter. Too late, Worm! TOO LATE!
It’s never too late for forgiveness and absolution of sins!
Okay. I don’t disagree, if you’re the forgiving kind. But I tell everyone here: please don’t predicate your healing on getting an apology from your cheater. Waiting for that Breyer horse keeps you from moving on with your life. Wormfree2017 — this pisses you off, because you probably fell for something similar in the past. And given that it was mindfuckery before, how would you ever know if it was for real now?
I’d say you don’t have to know. You’re not continuing a relationship with him. And he’s clearly fishing for one with you.
Remember, that I will always be here for you.
You know what conveys his apologies?
living up to the agreements we reached, from a respectful distance
Yes. You do that, sir.
Now, I realize it’s a bitch cookie kind of sorry (shouldn’t we all abide by the legal agreement we reached?) but not being a total dick about child support is sporting of him.
Early on, we had days of concerts, cats, apartments and credit cards, and later, houses, kids, jobs, and the dogs.
We had Buicks, hikes, and oven mitts. Clean gutters and credit cards. Tunafish and children. Dogs and dog poop.
DON’T YOU MISS THE CREDIT CARDS, Wormfree2017? Everything you shared together!
I appreciate all that you did for me on that journey. No one could have done more for me during those years.
He appreciates that you were damn fine kibble. So much him.
It’s a Journey down a River of Happy Memories. Yes, he’s the Huck Finn of Self Discovery.
Oh stop snarking, Tracy. Maybe he’s truly sorry.
Maybe he is. Earmark the checks accordingly.