Older, wiser woman wants to apologize for past sins

Published 10:00 am Tuesday, July 28, 2020

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 www.DearAbby.comor P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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