I recently received a lengthy e-mail from my former fiancé, expressing his earnest apologies for his role in an atrophying relationship that served to chip away at my happiness and ultimately my very identity. I’ve received apologies from him before but, as he stated, they were not entirely sincere, most often peppered with buts and justifications. He was sure to explain that this act of contrition was in no way for his benefit but only for my peace of mind. I have pondered if this is truly the case.
Two years after the fact I have long since moved beyond needing him to confess all he had done wrong in our relationship. Not to disparage his seemingly honest efforts, but most of it has become white noise after I have come to terms with the fact that his actions had nothing to do with me and my ability to make him happy. Much of what he said I already knew and understood.
He knows to me to be an emotionally intelligent person, and I find it hard to believe that he imagines me walking through my life miserable and unable to move forward with the epic failure that was our relationship weighing heavily upon my small shoulders. While reading his e-mail, I envisioned him thinking his absolute admission of guilt would free me from the prison his cruelty had created. Realistically though he had to know this wouldn’t be the case.
Though he feigned to be completely oblivious of my current situation he is moderately aware of the fact that I am doing well. In fact, I am fairly certain he has read this blog—hi Jim—and I know he has spoken to mutual friends about the progress I’ve made in my life since we parted ways. This suggests that perhaps the mea culpa was more to ease a guilty conscience than to repair any wounds of my own. I do appreciate the sentiments and honestly don’t mind if they were self serving, but it made me wonder if anyone has ever actually needed such an apology to move on with his or her life after a particularly tumultuous relationship.
I’m inclined to think that if someone truly is over a relationship, they have moved past needing any sort of apology from the one who wronged them. I don’t think any complex I may or may not have developed as a result of the relationship will be eradicated due to this attempt at a redress. I believe people need to learn to heal on their own, independently of the person who hurt them to fully overcome any type of heartbreak-inspired neurosis.
Maybe I’m wrong though, maybe I’m too hardened by the whole disaster and most people would garner some sense of calm from such a confession. Perhaps some individuals are tricked into thinking that there was something they did to deserve to be mistreated and an admission of guilt on the other end is exactly what they need shed some liberating light on the situation.
Either way I guess I wouldn’t want to deter anyone from offering an apology to people they’ve hurt no matter what type of mistakes were made or how much time has passed since the transgressions occurred. I am a firm believer that anyone who has been wronged deserves a sincere apology. And if that apology brings any level of peace to the guilty party or the victim then it was not a wasted act.