DEAR CAROLYN: A year ago I had an emotional affair with my son's soccer coach. I was under the impression his relationship with his wife was on the rocks. At the time, my relationship was less than great with my husband.
I went ahead with the secret relationship even after being approached by his wife, who suspected. I brushed it off and said we were just friends. Basically, I lied, and my relationship continued to blossom with the coach.
So now I am OK in my marriage, and feeling less than great about the harm I have caused another family, and my own. I am wondering if it is appropriate to apologize to coach's wife even after all this time. Would this cause a bigger stir than necessary?
I know apologies and forgiveness are important, but is this just a little beyond the realm of apologies?
Feeling Less Than Great
FEELING LESS THAN GREAT: It's a lot beyond the realm of apologies.
The only reason to apologize would be for the wife to feel better, and I feel pretty comfortable guessing that the best the wife can feel is in not thinking about you or this bad episode in her life. Your parachuting in from the past to remind her that you exist would not accomplish that.
You want to apologize for you to feel better. That's a no.
To reckon with the harm you did — which is indeed a good impulse — your best bet is to look forward. That doesn't just include the obvious, of not doing this again, but also putting your energy toward a greater good. It doesn't even have to be related — just, a decision to be a purposeful part of the world in some way you're equipped to contribute.
This isn't just advice for you, either, but for anyone, since we're all going to do damage somehow to someone, being human and all. So it's on us to renew our focus, when we're in a position to, on efforts to the good.
DEAR CAROLYN: My boyfriend of a year and a half makes good money, but I do make more, so I said we should split our upcoming vacation expenses accordingly. Meaning basically I'm paying about 60% of all joint expenses and he's covering the rest. Recently he told me he wants to do a really expensive diving excursion while we're there. I'm not at all interested. He knows and said he would do it without me.
I thought we were good until I found out he still expects me to cover 60% of his solo excursion. When I explained that since this was something for him only, I didn't think it would be fair that I pay, he seemed really put out and said he thought we would split every expense 60/40. He can afford the excursion without me but he'd have to cut back and save up, starting now.
Am I being unfair or is he trying to take advantage of my generosity?
VACATION SNAG: I can't imagine any scenario where I would ask a partner, friend or even benefactor for this money — much less be miffed not to get it.
Not sure I could get past it, even. Any technical arguments for the cost-split notwithstanding.