The Oneida Daily Dispatch (Oneida, NY)
My family’s turned their backs on me
DEAR ANNIE >> My biological family wants nothing to do with me or my new wife. Our story is long. My sons, their wives and children are all very mad at me for saying and doing a few things they didn’t like. I have said I was very sorry, but nothing will ever change. I left their mother because of her anger problems, so that’s two strikes against me. My middle son has even threatened legal action if I say anything else, so it seems like that’s it. Any words of advice?
— Forgotten Father
DEAR FORGOTTEN FATHER >> While you don’t specify what actions have incited this domino effect, there’s no doubt that turmoil among family members is potentially a tragedy. As difficult as it is to do nothing, it sounds as though you’ve already said all that you can to make amends but that your family may not be in a place yet to hear it. Considering your divorce and your son’s legal threats, the path forward seems clear: keep your head down and lay low for the foreseeable future while everyone cools off and comes to terms with your new family dynamic.
Whether it’s through a text, phone call, letter or face-to-face conversation, assure your loved ones that you’ll always be there for them, willing to talk whenever they are, and let them come to you when they are ready. Someday, hopefully, they will be.
DEAR ANNIE >> I’ve been married to my husband for five years. We have been together for over 25 years, at first as distant friends. I caught him cheating three years into our marriage with another woman and forgave him. He said he would never do it again and was sorry for hurting me, but now that that’s over, he still lies about where he goes and he stays out late.
I recently had foot surgery and am at home on bedrest; my husband stays gone until late, comes home and goes to bed. I have moved in with my sister because I need proper care postprocedure, and all he had to say about it was that my family is controlling me. I can’t trust him anymore. What do you think I should do? — A Wife Who’s Lost
DEAR LOST FOOTING >> Instead of working to regain your trust and prove he’s capable of change, your husband has taken your graciousness for granted. He broke a vow two years ago when he was first unfaithful to you, and now he’s cast another promise aside: in sickness and in health. While I’m glad your sister has helped see you through your recovery, your husband’s absence during this time is both disheartening and unacceptable.
If you’re willing to give things another shot, see if your husband would be open to attending marriage counseling. The issues you’re currently facing run deeper than here and now, and only by repairing the cracks in your foundation will you have any chance of going the distance.
DEAR ANNIE >> I was in a long-distance relationship with a girl for several months. The relationship ended at my insistence and in the most cowardly way possible: a text. I have wrestled with the shame of that for quite some time. I have also wrestled with whether or not to reach out to her and apologize. The biggest problem is that this was 12 years ago.
I don’t wish to reconnect to try and get back together but rather to apologize for the immature, nay, dirtbag way I ended things. This has bugged me off and on for years. I did not give her the respect that she deserved. At this point, is it selfish to reach out and attempt this? What I do not want is to cause distress or anger on her part. Last I heard, she was married and happy as far as I could tell. — Torn in the Midwest
DEAR TORN >> It’s long been said that time heals all wounds, and after a decade-plus, I’m sure this woman has completely recovered from the damage you caused 12 years ago. That said, everyone appreciates an apology when they’ve been wronged. This has weighed on you many times over many years, and reaching out in the form of a letter or an email could serve as a final dose of closure for you both.
Poet Nikki Giovanni once said: “Mistakes are a fact of life. It is the response to the error that counts.” Keep any correspondence to this woman brief and don’t expect any sort of reply. Better late than never.