Letter of apology

popi_gwJune 21, 2007

I have a friend who is going through a divorce, has been separated for a year. She had an affair.

Her husband has said to her, that she should write a letter of apology (for the affair), to her father-in-law, ie: DH's father.

Do you think this is helpful? Apparently the FIL is very upset about the marriage break-up, as I am sure everyone is.

What should I advise my friend ?

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If she's truly sorry, I'd advise her to offer a sincere, face-to-face apology the next time she takes the kids to see Grandpa.

She certainly doesn't want a letter of apology floating around during divorce proceedings or after. It could *accidentally* end up in the office of ex husband's lawyer, or in the hands of one of her children years from now.

Personally, I don't see what an apology to her ex FIL would accomplish. Something to frame and put on the wall of his den? Something to pull out and share with the other inlaws over Thanksgiving dinner? Every family has its own dynamic, so if she thinks she owes an apology, urge her not to put it in writing.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2007 at 7:28AM
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Since she had an affair, and is now going through a divorce, why should she apologize in writing to her soon-to-be-ex FIL?

IF - and that IS a big IF - she is truly sorry and desires to take action... I agree with bunglogrl above - NOT in writing (and NOT on the phone where it can be recorded and used against her!).

Anyways, shouldn't any apology be going to the soon-to-be-ex husband who was cheated on?

    Bookmark   June 21, 2007 at 8:22AM
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I am very much against people who cheat and i choose to not have them as friends. However, i remember many years ago when i was 18 my boyfriend cheated on me. I was so hurt that when we did get back together i asked my mom to say something to him. She said "this is your relationship, not mine. I love you but i cant fix things for you." Your friend does not owe her FIL an apology. This was not his relationship.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2007 at 9:31AM
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Ditto ninos.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2007 at 12:08PM
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You know, I generally feel like ninos too.

And, although I used to think that cheating was the worst thing someone could do to a spouse, as I've grown older, I have decided that there are many worse things that spouses can do. Who knows how her husband treated her....maybe he abused, beat her and ran around on her too... so maybe even the apology should go the other way. Woman don't usually cheat for sex. Who knows? It's between the couple and no one else. ...maybe the children when they are older, but a FIL shouldn't be involved, IMHO.

popi, does it bother you that your friend had an affair or do you feel there were some mitigating circumstances that still allow you to want to be her friend and help her, or do you just accept her as being human? I think it is nice that you are standing by her regardless.

NEVER ADMIT TO ANYTHING IN WRITING. I would bet the husband wants to use the letter in court or to show the kids later. Sounds very suspicious to me and makes me think he wasn't quite the gem either.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2007 at 1:16PM
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Thanks for the input. I thought that she should not write the letter, the man is in another country, so she would have to write. Her DH is proving to be irrational, so he is not to be trusted.

Carla, I see my role as supportive to both people. I have known these people for many years. Its not my place to pass judgement. She made a mistake, but its happened and it has to be dealt with. It doesnt change her role as being a friend to me. There are 4 children involved, so they need to be looked after.

The husband is having a tough time dealing with the situation. I wonder how I can help him, I was thinking of a book, to just put on his doorstep....any ideas ? Or is this totally pathetic !

I am treading carefully here. Sometimes I think people get too involved, and take sides, and its just hurts the children, in the end. I don't want to be that person.


    Bookmark   June 21, 2007 at 7:32PM
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You're an observer. Don't imagine yourself as anything other. Your view is limited and biased. It couldn't be anything other. You don't know as much as you think you know. Nobody could. Be careful.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2007 at 8:18PM
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I second that.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2007 at 2:25PM
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Yes you are right Asolo, I will be very mindful of what I say and do.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2007 at 9:33PM
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Mentioned this in another thread -

The best book for affairs is How Can I Forgive You by Janis Abrahms Spring. Also, After the Affair also by Janis.

Even when a couple splits there still can be forgiveness, so that people can move on and be complete without baggage in future relationships.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2007 at 1:24AM
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Yes, you are right, Amy, forgiveness is the key to future happiness.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2007 at 10:22PM
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I would never right that letter. No one knows what goes on inside a marriage. There are two sides to every story. They are going through a divorce anyway. If an apology is given, it should be oral or in person if possible.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2007 at 1:46PM
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I have a friend, her husband had the affair/s. They had children. Their daughter was the best friend of my daughter. Now years later they are still friends. A few years ago the mom visited us while on vacation. We had a few drinks and started talking about way back when. She let me know that at the time she was SO upset that I didn't take her side and tell her girls what a #^^&^$(&&)%$# her husband was. I told her that he was always good to my family, good to his girls and except for the one point overall a good person. While I would not have put up with what he did, it wasn't to me -- so I felt the best position to take was netural and supportive of the children. In part because of being a neutral, the childrens friendship never suffered, my friendship had no lasting damage with either party and they also have learned to get along (both parties were encouraged to seek therapy for the sake of the children, and both did).

If as all possible, straddle that fence, be there for the kids, stay out of the mess. Listen, don't judge. Cry if they need someone to cry with, but under no cercomstances take a side.


    Bookmark   July 20, 2007 at 5:32PM
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It they are acquaintances of course don't get involved...but if you are really good friends even not choosing is still taking a side ("If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice" ... a choice that speaks volumns). That's just how they will probably see it and how it will be. Even the woman in susan's example was "SO upset". Why, because most woman know that a true friend will be on your side, through the good and the bad, even if you are wrong. If I was going through a divorce and my best friends didn't choose my side; they wouldn't be my friends. I'm guess maybe I'm just not into Switzerland type people.

It's hard if they are both such good friends but there will come a time when you will probably have to pick one over the other...even if it's just for a party, a weekend on your boat, or a movie invite. Ever see "The Four Seasons?" It's gonna happen. Thinking you can stay best friends with both and remain nuetral is easier said than done and will probably just create hard feelings all around. It's not about knowing all the facts, judging, blame or finger pointing... Just really the acknowledgement that when a couple splits, their friends usually do too; You probably just won't be able to have them both in your life as serious friends.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2007 at 11:51PM
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Carla, Even the friend in my example now SEES the wisdom of not choosing between the adults and supporting the children. THAT was my choice, and will always be my pathway. No regrets and NONE FROM the whole group involved, in fact we are credited on showing the mom and dad who really mattered in that situation.


    Bookmark   July 22, 2007 at 2:53PM
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Sorry, I didn't mean the children should have been involved in anyway and their well being, of course, should always come first. Never even knew anyone who wanted to have others tell their children stuff...that is wrong. I just meant that generally most people/couples are unable to hold close friendships with both parties after a divorce.

And, most of the times a good friend will need a hand to hold, a shoulder to cry on and a person who will agree that their X is the devil incarnate. (Again, not be be said or repeated to the kids though). I just think close friends and relatives do have to choose sides if they are close enough. I just haven't seen many cases where all adult parties involved could still socialize together and remain close friends. Neutrality just doesn't usually work for a long time in a divorce with close friends. Usually one friend gets dropped.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2007 at 5:55PM
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