Advice to a reader whose ex insists on apologizing in person years later
Hello friends! Welcome back to another edition of Dear Dating Bitch – my modern-day agony aunt advice column.
If you’re new to my blog, this is a segment I do where I answer reader questions about dating, love, relationships, breakups, or anything else related to matters of the heart.
It’s probably one of my favorite posts to write, too, simply because I love the idea of a more interactive platform. So, if you have a question for me, make sure you submit it here! It seriously makes my day.
*Note: questions may have been edited for length/clarity.
Let’s Get to the Advice
Q: My ex – who humiliated me by breaking up with me in front of her sister – wants to meet-up with me after 2 years to apologize. How should I act when she apologizes, and what should my response be?
– Humiliated Ex
Dear Humiliated Ex:
I’m not sure why this person insists on an in-person meeting to apologize, or, better yet, why you feel like that’s a good idea.
I mean, on the one hand, I get it. With so many of us still waiting for an apology from someone who’s wronged us in the past, there has to be something thrilling about getting that kind of message.
And I can imagine that you might also envision meeting up with her, armed with a perfect response to seriously put her in her place and leave her as hurt as she left you. (I think that most of us, if we’re honest with ourselves, would feel that way too.)
But, still, I’m going to advise you to let that scenario play out in your head only.
As good as it might feel to do so (or, as good as you think it might feel), I don’t think there’s anything to be gained by going through with this in-person apology song and dance.
In fact, I think there’s decidedly more to lose.
Think about it like this: your ex left you hurt and humiliated by breaking up with you in the manner she did. She then further hurt you by leaving you without closure for TWO YEARS. Now, she wants to waltz back into your life to make amends. Does that sound legit to you?
Because, to me, it sounds like she is still putting her own wants and needs ahead of yours. She’s also still exerting some level of control and manipulation over your thoughts/feelings/actions.
If someone wants to apologize, they can do so, no strings attached. An apology (a true apology) doesn’t require a response or an acceptance (much less an in-person meeting) from the other person.
So, the fact that she insists on meeting up with you in-person to deliver this long-overdue apology… well, that’s a string Pinocchio.
Whether she wants a friendship, a relationship, or just to feel better about herself, I can’t answer. But I DO know that she wants something from you, and you shouldn’t bother giving it to her.
Instead, your response can be one of two things:
- Complete silence – you don’t have to take her up on her meeting and you don’t have to give any explanation for why
- “Thanks for the offer, but I’m not really interested in meeting up right now.” (Any further responses from her, then, should be ignored.)
But, if you absolutely insist on an in-person meeting, here’s my best advice for that:
• Keep your get-together as short as possible
• Don’t smile or act happy to see her (you should act as if you’re doing her a favor by meeting with her – because, in fact, you are)
• Don’t offer any sort of empathy towards her (for instance – don’t say, “It’s OK,” when she apologizes in the interest of being “polite”)
• Thank her curtly for her apology but don’t offer any acceptance of said apology (so, when she apologizes, say “thank you for acknowledging how much you hurt me,” but don’t tell her that you appreciate it or that it’s water under the bridge)
And after that, cut ties.
Q: Am I doing the right thing if I become friends with benefits with my ex? I am the one who asked him.
Dear Possible FWB:
It’s rare that I get a question I can give a one-word answer to. In this case, though, I’ve got a simple (and emphatic) NO to hand out.
I think that’s almost always a mistake to sleep with an ex – regardless of who initiates it (and, yeah, I say this from personal experience. Don’t worry, we’ll get to that story another day.)
So, NO, you’re most decidedly not doing the right thing by engaging in a FWB-situation with your ex. But I suspect you already know that deep down.
Q: How long should I wait for my ex to make up her mind about who she wants to be with?
– Ex in Limbo
Dear Ex in Limbo:
Don’t wait – if she isn’t sure about you, you aren’t a priority. As much as that might hurt – and trust me, honey, I know it hurts – it’s better to find out about it now.
If you’re still in contact with her (which, I assume you are based on the wording here), you can send her a short message to let her know you’re moving on. Again, I’m emphasizing can – it’s always a kindness to give someone a heads up before dropping them from your life, but in this situation, you certainly aren’t obligated to.
“Jane, I’ve come to see that this situation isn’t healthy for me and I wanted to let you know upfront that I’m going to be taking some space for awhile. I hope you find what you’re looking for. Take care.”
Notice that this message does NOT leave any room for “maybe in the future” or “if you pick me, I’ll stay” – it’s a cut and dry, “See you, later.” That’s how you should word it and that’s how you should frame it in your mind.
Hopefully you found my advice helpful! Remember kids – sex with an ex is never a good idea (and honestly, neither is accepting the insistence of an in-person apology.)
Do you have questions on your love life? Email me at email@example.com or send it in anonymously here.
As always, thank you for reading and showing your support. Let me know your thoughts below – I love getting reader feedback.