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How late is too late to apologise?

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peterjg

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Mar 16, 2010
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Australia
Over thirty years ago, I turned up where the other two people in a triangular relationship were getting together again. I left immediately when I perceived a look of coldness, pained distress, and rejection from her.

I was too emotionally numb to make any pretense of apology at the time.

I encountered her accidentally about a dozen years later. She was completely withdrawn, utterly non-committal. After babbling on for a few seconds, I sensed her inner pain, I recalled how distressed she had seemed, and withdrew.

Finally, I am no longer numb. This woman showed me nothing but love for many months. Neurotically, I find it difficult to make sincere apologies unless I commit to myself to apologize to the other fellow involved.

So should I track this fellow down and apologize?
 
Astrid

Astrid

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I don't think it is ever too late to apologize. If it will make you feel better, then I think you should. However if you have good reason to believe that this person will only be upset by your contacting him, then it's probably best to let it go.
 
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peterjg

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Mar 16, 2010
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Thanks for the reply. The amount of time that has elapsed is my main concern, and you have set my mind at rest on that at least.

I need to put this matter to bed, to ensure that the next move is up to somebody else, that I have left nothing undone in attempting to repair things. Otherwise I will continue to have neuroses in dealing with other people, apologizing, forming relationships. My heart still wishes for her of course, though she is completely unobtainable to me. One goes to apologize to somebody, and the words just stick in the throat, unable to be uttered.

There was never any threat of violence, even bad language, between any persons. If I do apologize, it will only be by mail, so no interpersonal intimidation will be involved.

My main sense of guilt is about her. She was incredibly distressed at the time. When I encountered her later, one could sense the pain. I think now it was involuntary extreme compassion at my own emotionally numbed state, subsequently repressed and converted to antipathy towards myself. Perhaps this is my own wish fulfillment, the coinage of my own mind. However no other explanation makes any sense. At the time I found it utterly perplexing. I need to communicate to her somehow that, after all that love, I am at least contrite.
 
S

*Sapphire*

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Unobtainable so - move on!
As direct as this comment may be, I must say I heartily agree! :)

It sounds like it was her choice to be with the other man? What do you have to apologise for? What you might have interpreted as her pain may well have been her guilt or yours.

Some things in life are probably best left, do you really think uttering one word will make a difference to yours or her life?

I suggest sending a balloon off into the sky with the words sorry on, pray if you need to, do something that will help you let go and move on, 30 years is a long time.
 
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peterjg

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Mar 16, 2010
Messages
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Location
Australia
One does not choose to fall in or out of love. It just happens. I feel that one should never repress this emotion, as I know the negative effects of this. Try repression by all means, if you want to become neurotic. I've been there, and satisfied my curiosity. I'd rather take hemlock than drink from that cup again.

Of course I "moved on" as soon as I left that encounter so long ago, as I was completely convinced I could never approach her again. It is only with a great deal of difficulty that I can remember the pain involved in that incident at all, as causing such distress disagrees with my self-image. I had already repressed most of my feelings for her by the time of the encounter, and afterwards completely repressed everything, and although I recall being far less heart-broken than with another woman from the year before, nevertheless I became emotionally numbed, neurotic, unable to focus or concentrate, falling to a "psychogenic breakdown" that had all the symptoms of schizophrenia. I talked to a psychologist at the time, but never mentioned her name at all, as I had "moved on" as you say. Nevertheless, if I had allowed myself to feel whatever I felt for her, I am convinced I would not have had these problems.

So if one finds oneself in love that is unrequited, I feel it is better to manage it. One ensures that one has repaired or advanced the relationship as far as it will go. If this is done, then the heart can have no complaint about its needs not being met.

Still, I am prepared to consider good arguments for repressing ones feelings and becoming neurotic. I tried it for thirty years and cannot say much for it.:)
 
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