Monday, May 31, 2010

Time to Move On?

Dear Jocelyn,
It’s been three and a half years since an icky breakup with an ex-boyfriend. At the time, he made it very clear he did not want to hear from me again, and I respected that and moved on with my life. However, I regret that I never got the chance to apologize for acting like a jerk at times and treating him so badly, and I also have a few small things that belong to him that I never was able to return. Now, I am in a happy and stable relationship with someone else, and I wonder if it might be an appropriate time to contact my old beau very briefly, simply to apologize for my behavior and ask if he wants those small things returned. My current boyfriend is okay with me contacting him, but warned me not to do it if my only motivation was to feel better about myself. It’s true I’d feel better with some sort of amicable resolution, but I really feel I owe the guy an apology. I don’t want to pursue a continued friendship with him, but I do want to clear the air. Do you think that would be acceptable or just a bad idea? Also, if I never contact him again, what am I supposed to do with his belongings? Just throw it all out?
     - Seeking reconciliation

Dear Seeking,
Your boyfriend is right that reconciliation should not be sought after simply to ease your conscience. In situations like this, it is good to ask yourself what good would come out of your contact. Your ex-boyfriend asked to be left alone, which you respected. This allowed him time to heal and move on without interference from you. At this point, it might be helpful to hear an apology from you, which may allow him to let go of any lingering bitterness he might hold.

I suggest you write a short apology in a letter and mail it, along with the belongings, to your ex. This will allow you to return his possessions and express your sorrow for your wrongdoings. It will also give him the choice to read your letter or throw it away, depending upon his desires. I would not call or attempt to see him in person, which might be an unwanted intrusion. If he does not respond after the package is sent, then do not attempt any further contact - you have done your part.
     -Jocelyn

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