Should I apol­o­gize for mis­takes I made 20 years ago?

Chicago Sun-Times - - ENTERTAINM­ENT - DEAR ABBY

Dear Abby: Is it ever too late to apol­o­gize to an ex-boyfriend? I’m in my mid-40s now, and over the last three years, I have gone through a sig­nif­i­cant change. It has helped me to face my­self, let go of use­less hate and anger and for­give the peo­ple who hurt me. It has made me a much hap­pier per­son.

One of the re­sults of this change is re­al­iz­ing how much I dis­like who I was when I was younger. I’m sure many peo­ple made mis­takes in their early 20s and maybe blew it off, be­cause I know I did. But now I can’t. I’m ashamed of my pre­vi­ous be­hav­ior and have been think­ing about reach­ing out to him to apol­o­gize for the hor­ri­ble things I did while we were to­gether.

My fam­ily says I shouldn’t do it. They say I’m be­ing ridicu­lous be­cause “who cares about how an old part­ner treated you decades ago?” But I’m strug­gling with let­ting it go. I learned years ago to take re­spon­si­bil­ity for my mis­takes, but it’s some­thing I didn’t do in that re­la­tion­ship.

I’m cur­rently in a solid and happy re­la­tion­ship, which is why I think my fam­ily may be so against this, and while I don’t know my ex’s re­la­tion­ship sta­tus, I have no ul­te­rior mo­tives for reach­ing out. The per­son I am to­day just wants very much to apol­o­gize for the per­son I used to be, but I don’t want to cause any prob­lems. What is your neu­tral ad­vice? Sorry in the South­west

Dear Sorry in the South­west: I don’t think it is ever too late to say “I’m sorry,” and I se­ri­ously doubt that an over­due apol­ogy for your past be­hav­ior would cause prob­lems. Be­cause you feel com­pelled to of­fer one, go ahead and do it. You may be pleas­antly surprised to find that your former flame re­cov­ered from what­ever you did and went on with his life as you have with yours. And if that’s not the case, he may need to re­ceive your apol­ogy as much as you need to give it.

Dear Abby: My fam­ily and I moved to Las Ve­gas seven months ago, and we love it here. We are not heavy gam­blers, but we oc­ca­sion­ally like to hit a lo­cal casino (once, maybe twice a month) and never spend more than $50. We con­sider it pay­ing for en­ter­tain­ment rather than a chance at win­ning it big.

My par­ents are com­ing to visit soon and, un­for­tu­nately, they have had a his­tory of com­pul­sive gam­bling. They ad­mit they have a prob­lem and have been go­ing to sup­port groups off and on for the past year.

We have lots of off-strip fun planned, but I know they will want to visit a casino be­cause, well, it’s Ve­gas! Would I be en­abling them if I went with them to a casino? Could this trig­ger more com­pul­sive gam­bling when they re­turn home? Are there any bound­aries I should set? I don’t want to see them spi­ral into their ad­dic­tion again, but I also want us all to en­joy the “What hap­pens in Ve­gas ...” va­ca­tion men­tal­ity dur­ing their visit. Gam­bling with their Ad­dic­tion

Dear Gam­bling: The “what hap­pens in Ve­gas (stays in Ve­gas)” men­tal­ity means that what hap­pened in Ve­gas was not some­thing to be proud of. It would ab­so­lutely chal­lenge your par­ents’ “so­bri­ety” if you take them to a casino, and your fear that it could jump-start a re­lapse is well-founded. Keep them busy, but don’t take them to places where they are tempted to gam­ble. If they de­cide to do it on their own, you won’t have any­thing to feel guilty about.


Dear Abby is writ­ten by Abi­gail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Con­tact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los An­ge­les, CA 90069.

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