My husband is one month sober. I thought he would be able to apologize when he says mean things to me, and that part of the reason he didn’t when he was drinking was because of shame. Well, he is not drinking anymore, but still refuses to say sorry when he says something unkind. For instance, last night he said that no one would ever choose me as their partner, and I told him that was mean. I asked him to say sorry and he refuses. He says it is true. So anyway, what do you think fuels this kind of behavior? And also, how should I respond to it? Should I just let go of my anger even though he hasn’t apologized? I don’t believe in divorce except in the case of adultery, because of my faith, which is being severely tested right now. Otherwise, I would probably give up on the relationship because to me, saying you are sorry is that important.
Dear AD1983. Maybe you can pretend he’s a toddler- and soberwise- he kind of is. I say that because it was easier not to hold a grudge when my kids said things that hurt my feelings. I figured they didn’t grasp how much it hurt.
Fast forward 20 years, my son went through rehab, and one thing I was really looking forward to when he came home was him sitting me down, (this is ALL my construct) and reeling off all sorts of apologies for all sorts of things that he did to disrespect me, hurt me, deceive me, whatever- my “hit” list was LONG. So, it just hasn’t happened, YET. I have done a lot of work to gird myself with acceptance that I don’t get to get what I want in the way I want it, but I can work to improve how it goes in our future. We are going to be ok.
It’s different for everyone and everyone has different thresholds and tolerance points, so I’m sure you’ll sort it out and the counselors here can help you craft a way to communicate that may be more successful. Good luck and keep being brave and keep the faith. There’s also a TedTalk by Harriet Lerner on this subject that’s worthwhile.
Thanks, Diana. That was a helpful response.