DEAR HARRIETTE: I was married many years ago to a nice man, and I did not treat him well. I have never felt good about my behavior. Even though a lot of years have passed, I still think about that period in my life from time to time, and I cringe. As we get older, I keep thinking that I want to apologize to him. I don’t want to upset his life, though. He has remarried and has a family. I have not seen him for decades. If I can find his address, do you think it would be appropriate to send him a note of apology? Life is short, and many people I grew up with are dying. I don’t want either of us to die before I express my apology. -- Making Amends
DEAR MAKING AMENDS: Think carefully about what you want to say to this man. Do you believe that he will appreciate a sincere apology from you, or do you think it will just stir up old negative emotions? I ask that because it could be that you need to apologize in order to cleanse your soul, but he may not need to receive your apology. Sit with that for a bit to determine what your heart says.
If you believe he will value your apology, do your research and find an address for your ex. Carefully write your note. You may not need to go into details. Again, rubbing his nose in old wounds could be cruel. Just express your regret. Tell him you are not asking for anything. Instead, you just felt it was important that at this point in your life and after much reflection, you let him know how sorry you are for any pain you caused him.