Daily Press (Sunday)

Lying ex wants to meet to apologize

- Adapted from an online discussion. Email tellme@washpost. com or write “Tell Me About It” c/o The Washington Post, Style Plus, 1150 15th St. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20071

Dear Carolyn: My soonto-be-ex-husband spent the better part of the last year lying to me about everything, from when he was going to the grocery store to having an affair.

He recently confessed that he felt the need to lie in order to maintain his independen­ce. When I would catch him in a lie, he would blame me for being jealous or controllin­g or imagining things.

His behavior crushed my spirit, my selfconfid­ence and our marriage.

With several months of hindsight, he’s contacted me claiming that he realizes how terrible his behavior was and how awful he feels for treating me so badly. He wants to get together, claiming he wants to apologize in hopes that we could become friends, because he misses me.

He hurt me to the core. I’ve spent months in therapy dealing with the PTSD of his emotional abuse. And I am in a much better place.

He’s pleading for an opportunit­y to show me that he’s processed all his emotions and is ready to make amends.

I’m skeptical; I’m protective of the recovery I’ve made.

For a few days, I fantasized that he might be so genuine that we could repair and renew our relationsh­ip.

Now I realize that’s my codependen­t nature wanting to save a relationsh­ip at any cost.

I don’t want to hate him for the rest of my life. How do I decide whether to risk my recovery in hopes of receiving both validation of my pain and possibly his regret or remorse, which might grease my forgivenes­s? Or whether to let him fester in the mess he has made and just keep moving on in the right direction, alone, away from his abuse, toward my self-confidence and independen­ce? — Repair the Damage?

Dear Repair the Damage?:

If he were genuinely interested in your well-being, then he would offer an apology and amends that require nothing of you. Zero.

In other words, you would already have the apology and amends from him in a form that didn’t require you to respond in any way because it was for you entirely.

Instead, he wants something out of it for himself — your forgivenes­s, your presence, your attention, your gift of a get-out-of-abuse-jail-free card.

This is a transactio­n for his benefit, not for yours, meaning he is not recovered either miraculous­ly or through hard work.

Accept his invitation to hear his apology as the apology itself. “Got it, thanks, glad you’re doing better, and no, I won’t meet you. If you need me, contact me through (attorney’s name).”

You don’t have to

“hate him for the rest of my life.” Just see him as someone who doesn’t have your back, doesn’t hold others’ needs as equal to his own, and uses lies and manipulati­on to cover up those failures.

Then choose to live your life hereafter in a place beyond his reach.

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