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Apologize to first girlfriend?

Autoeng

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I've been struggling with something and would like the opinion of female Tuggers.

When I was 15 I started dating a girl and stayed with her until right before HS graduation. We were in love (or what we knew it to be at that age) and eventually just kind of grew apart. It was probably more a "my fault" kind of thing but it happened so often that she just grew tired of it. We experienced many "firsts" together. After graduation we got together a couple of times. Once neither of us had time for the other and it just didn't take off again. The second time she was ending an engagement and I think I was a known risk. We saw each other a couple of times and went out one night, came back to her house and she fell asleep while we were watching TV. I left, not angry, and we didn't see each other again for 10 years. She got engaged again and I was in an auto accident and she called my Mother to check on me but told her not to tell me.

I was not a very good boyfriend to her. It was all about me. On my way for a date and run into friends? No problemo, I'll skip the date. Want to go out with someone else? No problemo, break up for a weekend. Just not a very good person. Never physical or verbal abusive, I just took care of me.

Flash forward 22 years from HS graduation. We are both married with kids. I live in home town and she lives in Chicago. I'm now in my 40's and start to look back at my life and to how I want to live it in the future. She keeps reoccurring in my dreams, just popping up. Little or no interaction in the dream. I just saw her in them. But it starts to weigh heavily on me, how crappy I treated her.

Now she moves back to the home town. Some of us are planning an impromtdo class get together as our 20th was cancelled. I call her cousin to let her know and find out that she knows and asked her cousin to let some of out classmates know if she sees them.

At the get together we acknowledge each other with smiles and Hi's but spend out time talking to others. As I'm leaving I stop to chat for a minute or so, tell her "glad your back", very timid shoulder hug and leave it at that.

Now the feeling that I need to apologize to her is worse than ever. I have NO desire to do anything other than that and I imagine that she feels the same way.

The question is "If you had a boyfriend who you had good times but crappy times as well (never verbal or physical abuse) and he said that he was sorry for the way he treated you, realized what a butthead he was, would teach his sons not to treat women that way, would it mean anything to you? Am I better leaving 22 year old sleeping dogs lie? In a way it's just "about me" all over again but I would like her to know that I realize these things and do genuinely feel horrible about them. I tell myself that she thinks I am still the same person, feels sorry for my wife and children, maybe even hates me when I really know none of these things.

What I would like to happen is that she says, "thank you". We can be more at ease with each other. Maybe even associate beyond a class reunion as along with the bad memories are a lot of good ones and she is a great person with a great personality that I would feel truly bad if I couldn't say that we weren't friends. I would love to know her again.

If you think apology is in order how do I do that? How do I explain to my wife my need to do it?
 

wackymother

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Let it go. You were young, she was young, it's long in the past. Unless you feel that you really broke her heart...and there's nothing here that remotely suggests that you did...there is no need to go back and apologize and nothing to apologize for. In fact, I think apologizing in the way you're describing would give her a creepy feeling, like you have been thinking of her way too much.
 

Autoeng

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thanks wackymother,

In my post the details of her is less than indicated versus just thinking about how badly I treated her. After all it's all about me!

Broke her heart? Lasting emotional scars? She is the only one that can answer that but I know there were a lot of tears on her part.

I do agree that because of the age that it all says "let it go" and maybe that is what I have to deal with myself but without that closure I'm not sure I can. When something is intruding in your dreams it is there for a reason.
 

Karen G

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Why don't you write her a letter and get all your feelings down on paper. But, after you write it, burn it or shred it. Maybe you can get it out of your system that way.

It's in the past and it should stay there. I don't think your wife would appreciate it if you were communicating with an old girlfriend no matter what the reason would be--I wouldn't if it were my husband.

How would you feel if the situation was reversed and it was your wife thinking about an old boyfriend?
 

wackymother

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I'm now in my 40's and start to look back at my life and to how I want to live it in the future.
Here's the critical part of your post. You're now in your 40s. That's a time when many people look back at their lives and realize the mistakes they made and maybe even think about the pain they have caused others.

Personally, I'm not a great believer in the "dreams have deeper meanings" idea. I think dreams just reflect what you are thinking about. You've started thinking about this, it's bothering you, hence it turns up in your dreams. I don't mean to be nasty...but it IS all about you. Contacting your ex will help you feel better. But how will it help her?
 

Karen G

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I would love to know her again.
I just re-read your first post and this sentence kind of jumped out. I don't think it is healthy for your marriage and family to be dwelling on an old girlfriend. Neither of you is the same person that you were 20+ years ago.

Spend more time thinking of your wife and doing fun, romantic things with and for her. Rekindle the spark you had when you were first dating. Let go of the past and have fun with your wife NOW.
 

pianodinosaur

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I am not a female tugger. However, I think you should devote more attention to your marriage and your children rather than thinking about an ex girlfriend. Instead of apologizing to an ex girlfriend for perceived wrongs that took place 20 years ago, you might consider apologizing to your wife about having hurt her feelings recently. ( I am sure that if you have been married many years you have hurt her feelings more than once, just like the rest of us have hurt our wives feelings more than once. )
 

DaveNV

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I'm not a female, but if you don't mind: It sounds like you're looking back with a more "remembering eye" of what happened than she is. You say she's been engaged a few times since your high school days, and that you're both currently married with kids. Sounds like she is well over you. Her "distance" toward you at the reunion may not have been a sign of any sort of negative feeling - it may only have been that you've been relegated to the list of "someone I used to know."

Accept that she has no desire to rekindle an old friendship with you. If you let her being around get to you, then you're thinking about things a lot more than you should. If you want to put a different spin on it, reverse the situation. How would you feel if SHE was the one trying to reclaim some sort of "old days" friendship, and you weren't interested? It'd be weird.

If you absolutely MUST do something for closure, write your apology in a letter and give it to her sister to deliver for you. Then, do as Wackymother says: Let it go.

Dave
 

Autoeng

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Thanks all especially for the personal thoughts of how you and your significant others would possibly be affected. Possibly will work on the letter idea but have definately ruled out the contact.
 

Mosca

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thanks wackymother,

In my post the details of her is less than indicated versus just thinking about how badly I treated her. After all it's all about me!
And that is why you would be apologizing; for you, not for her.

Let it go.
 

Rose Pink

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Way back in the high school days I had a boyfriend who treated me badly. It wasn't until I was in my 30s or 40s that it dawned on me how badly and I started really hating him. It would have been a sort of closure for me to have had a note from him saying that he realized he had acted like a jerk but I would not want to have any other contact with him and would hope an apology note from him would indicate he wasn't trying to establish contact, either, just trying to clear his conscience. Anyway, that was 10-20 years ago that I had those hateful feelings and now I don't really care at all. Time heals.

If you really need to get it off your chest, a very short simple note admitting your faults is enough. (as in "I've been thinking about my life and realize I treated you badly. I was a total and complete jerk and I want you to know I am sorry.") Let her know you are not trying to re-establish any kind of relationship at all.

Then, as pianodinosaur said, apologize to your wife. She probably needs it more.
 
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CalifasGirl

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let it go

Wow, old memories. My first boyfriend was a jerk. He was self-centered. I have forgotten all about him. I don't need any closure since it's in the past. It would be weird and creepy to get a note or letter from him.

I agree with the others. You are feeling guilt, but contact with her is for YOU, not her. If you need to, apologize in a letter and burn it like Karen G says.

If you happen to run into her, you can apologize then, but don't go out of your way to write a letter to her. It might creep her out.

I don't think about my ex at all. I hope he's happy. I know that I am. I would think it would be the same for the two of you...unless you are thinking about your ex because you are not happy in your current marriage, and your ex is an excuse to think of someone else who might have made you happier. Is it a case of the grass is always greener? The big WHAT IF?

If this is bothering you a lot, you might want to go to some counseling to see what it is. Perhaps there is something lacking in your marriage that you want to fix, and the dream of your ex is telling you something that needs to be corrected in your current marriage. Maybe it's something that could be corrected by working it through together, but your dreams are reminding you that you have been ignoring it for too long.

I would focus on why you keep dreaming about your ex, and leave your ex out of the situation. This is something about YOU, not her, so dragging her into this would be unfair to her.

Good luck in figuring this out.
 
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3kids4me

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What I would like to happen is that she says, "thank you". We can be more at ease with each other. Maybe even associate beyond a class reunion as along with the bad memories are a lot of good ones and she is a great person with a great personality that I would feel truly bad if I couldn't say that we weren't friends. I would love to know her again.
This suggests to me that you were looking at the apology as a way of getting back in touch with her again, not really because you feel the need to apologize. Therefore, I would leave it alone.
 

falmouth3

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This suggests to me that you were looking at the apology as a way of getting back in touch with her again, not really because you feel the need to apologize. Therefore, I would leave it alone.
I agree. If it were me that you were contacting to apologise for some ancient issues, I'd be wondering if you had another motive. Just leave it alone.

Sue
 

Gerie

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What's with guys and the need to apologize for stupid, cruel, lame behavior a gazillion years in the past? Within a short time period I was party to two of these situations.

My friend (55) told me he contacted an old girlfriend and felt a great deal of relief after he apologized to her for the cruel way he ended their relationship when they were high school seniors. C'mon now. He was 18 years old. Doesn't stupidity go hand in hand with that age?

Then, a few months later I received a phone call from an old college boyfriend saying our break-up plagued him for years, because of the heartless, insensitive way he dumped me 30 years prior. I told him an apology was not necessary. There is no way to break up nicely. I heard from him once or twice since, but that's it. It obviously was not an attempt to "reignite" an old relationship, just something that had been eating at him.

I feel no need at all to apologize to any man for my past behavior, even though I'm sure it's not always been the sweetest.
 

luvsvacation22

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Let it go! Don't even write the letter. If you do write it, tear it up after ( like previously mentioned.)

The reason you are dreaming about her, is because you are thinking about her. I have also heard it said.... when we slept our minds are liking a computer running with no one at the helm. Things in your day, past experiences, people, whatever can come up on the screen and it means nothing.

Take care of what you have in front of you, your wife and kids! Let bygones be bygones. Take control of your thoughts and think about something else!

Take heed to the advice given by many wise people, it could save you and the ones you love additional heartache.
 

pcgirl54

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As a wife I would not be happy finding out my spouse wrote a letter to a past girlfriend no matter what. You are going to cause more harm then good to your present partner.

We all do stupid things in our teens and twenties then get wiser as life goes on hopefully. Things of the past are just that-let it be and honor your wife. Use what you learned about being self centered and do something special for your spouse.

Dreams are just ways of sorting things out in our head nothing more. You cannot regain what is in the past. It is gone and likely would not have worked out anyway.
 

lprstn

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Ask you wife her opinion....

If you are happily married, as I am, talk to your wife. Heck I ask my DH everything. We have even run into several of his ex girlfriends. One even called him up to have him sell her house, and she asked him if his wife minded. I lauphed and said, no...cause I get the $$.

Anyway, if its something that you can run by your wife than its not a big deal. I personally feel that sometime saying you are sorry to someone in your past shows growth. I've done it, however I didn't seek out the person or dream about them every night. That may be an incident you may want to delve deeper into.

Again, ask your wife's opinion and see what she says ... leave out the dreaming about her part though.
 

mamiecarter

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aSK YOU WIFE IF IT IS ok FOR YOU TO CONTACT HER

Why don't you talk to your wife, tell her you would like to look up a high school girlfriend for old times sake and if she says yes contact her and see if you and your wife can visit her. You have all moved on and a lot of time has passed so it sounds more like going to a high school reunion in miniature than a romantic event. you can both laugh, and your wife to at what silly teenagers you were and talk about your old high school buddies.

Dreams are funny things. Often they are not about what they seem to be about but something symmetrical. More rhyme than reason. So maybe it is really about how you have failed to be the best possible husband. Ask you wife if you need to apologize to her for anything and if maybe there are some areas where you need to try harder.
 
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