Asking for honest opinions on this apology letter to my wife.
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Old 12-12-2011, 12:04 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Asking for honest opinions on this apology letter to my wife.

Hi. My wife and I have been separated for several months. I understand that nothing I do or say will change her mind about divorce but I just want to reach out to her and apologize for my mistakes in our marriage.

* The part about unfaithfulness refers to an incident where I was inappropriately touched by a massage therapist and I didn't immediately stop the act. I confessed to my wife the day after it happened and although it was not the only reason behind our separation it certainly did not help *

I want her to know that I am sorry for what has happened to our marriage and I don't want to come off as if I'm expecting anything in return from her through this letter. If you can put yourselves in my wife's shoes, how would you react? I really don't want to anger her but show her that I'm sorry. Nor do I want to seem completely spineless although you may think that about me because of the horrible thing I did.
If you have any suggestions, I would like to hear them.

I really appreciate your thoughts and assistance. Thanks.

Dear XXXXXXX

You are an amazing woman and I will forever be thankful that we could share many years together. Our life together is and always will be a wonderful blessing. It is difficult for me to stand by while I know that you are experiencing so much pain and heartache. For that reason along with the sorrow and regret in my heart, I would like to express my deep remorse for the ways I have hurt you, our marriage and our future.

I apologize for my selfish thinking and actions that tore us apart. It was my responsibility to keep us united as one flesh, instead of creating a divide. I ignored my responsibility to foster our union with God and lead us on a spiritual journey that would strengthen our marriage and enhance our lives. I'm truly sorry for not fulfilling those duties as your husband.

My unfaithfulness was an awful and cruel mistake. My actions caused to you feel alone, unloved and resentful in our marriage. I completely disrespected you as a person, friend and as my wife. I led us down the wrong path for which you have had to suffer the consequences. I acted selfishly and irresponsibly when I allowed another woman to come in contact with me. I should not have put myself in a position where any degree of betrayal to you or our marriage could occur. This thoughtless, self-indulgent and unemotional act will always be a source of regret. I'm very sorry for betraying your trust. I'm sorry for neglecting your needs and emotions. I'm sorry for the pain, anger and doubt that you have felt.

I'm sorry for failing to engage as you had hoped and expected with our families. You expressed the importance of family to you but I resisted because of selfishness, fear and doubt. These. or any other excuse are no reason to ignore your needs and feelings. I could have tried harder to build relationships rather than avoid discomfort. I'm sorry for my stubbornness and anything that has caused dissent among you and your family. Please send them my deepest apologies.

I've left you no choice but to turn away from our marriage. I'm sorry that you've had to experience the stress from breakdown of a marriage. I realize that I must accept what I cannot change and find the courage and to become a better man. Unfortunately, there is nothing that I can do to undo the past and a million apologies won't ease the pain in your heart or reignite the love you once felt. I deeply regret my behavior and my unfaithfulness is certainly an unforgivable mistake. You deserve better and I failed you miserably. I'm angry and disappointed with myself when I imagine all the bitter tears you must have shed because of me. It is a lot to expect that you could trust me again and I accept that whatever you choose to do is a result of my actions and a function of your need to survive and protect yourself. Not many can find happiness with a person that has betrayed their trust. The pain that I have caused you requires time to heal. I know that the decision of where we go from here is not mine to make. I won't plead or bargain by making promises or offering reassurances that carry no value now. But I have learned much and I am grateful for the awakening that has allowed me to change my life. I am fully committed to rebuilding my life, family and relationship with God. Although I would prefer to have an opportunity to rebuild our marriage and your trust in me, I do recognize that I cannot force you to do anything that is against your will. I have heard you and understand that what you want is a dissolution of our marriage. I will put aside my need for communication and my hope for reconciliation. I respect your wishes and I will walk away. I simply offer my sincere apologies, my prayers for you and my hope that you find peace, love and joy.
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Old 12-12-2011, 06:23 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Asking for honest opinions on this apology letter to my wife.

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Originally Posted by wifeofhusband View Post
So you're hoping for another chance with this letter? (It certainly reads this way). How I would respond as your wife would depend on exactly what happened (does 'not stopped straight away mean 5 seconds or you let her go all the way, for example) and how angry I still was about that. The thing I wonder about is that you say that you *just* want to apologize and recognize you can't change anything - yet this letter says something different to me. You are asking for another chance in the last paragraph and not just once. Not directly, but it doesn't read that you recognize her decision as final and set already. It doesn't come across as you expecting anything - it does come off as you are hoping for something. I really don't think you have put aside hope of reconciliation yet. I'm not saying that's right or wrong, it's fine not to give up until it's really over. You asked for opinions on how we'd respond so this is how I would read it if I were receiving it.
Yes, I am holding on to hope that she will choose to reconcile or at least begin communicating. It has been difficult for me to not know how she is doing. I want to understand her feelings and help her get through them. Right now, she is very upset and really can't be around me. The last time I saw her she started to shake and cry and fell to the floor. It was horrible to see her like that.

As for what happened. I didn't stop it after 5 seconds but it definitely did NOT go all the way. It went on for about a minute and I felt horrible after. I told my wife because of guilt and she deserved to know about what happened.

She asked for a separation about 2 weeks later and because of my own doubt over our marriage I agreed. I think we both knew our marriage needed help. At first we still saw each other but she has grown more angry and resentful more recently.

I appreciate your comments. Thanks
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Old 12-12-2011, 06:37 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Asking for honest opinions on this apology letter to my wife.

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Originally Posted by Chelle D View Post
I think most of it is pretty good. Depends if you "only" want to apologize, or if you DO want hope for a reconciliation. IF that is the case, I'd change just a couple lines.



maybe something like - I will put aside my need for communication and my hope for reconciliation, if you find that you still do not want or desire these.

and
I respect your wishes and I will walk away, if that is truly your final choice.


And the part
"I've left you no choice but to turn away from our marriage"

maybe "I feel I've left you no choice..." Or "I hope I'll leave you with another option other than to turn away from our marriage."

You don't want to have that {that she has no choice} be a self fulfilling prophesy, If it really isn't your desire.


Maybe you could add , somewhere in there, what had made you fall in love with her in the first place...(to have her think back to good memories with you.... you don't want her constantly dwelling on the error.) And then tell her that you still feel the same, or that you want to recapture and re-earn her love.

I think I have one more point. I will re-read it & reply again.
Thank you. I do want her to know that I'm willing to reconcile and work together to rebuild our marriage, but I don't want this letter to seem like a plead.
I want to apologize and I feel that a sincere apology doesn't ask for anything in return. The challenging part of this is that my wife is very sensitive and feeling very vulnerable which causes her to hear my words as selfish and hurtful and that has made it very difficult to communicate. I've tried sending emails but those were more desperate and I think it may mean more for her to receive a physical letter that she can hold and read.

There is a delicate balance between listing the things I'm sorry for and her dwelling on the list of things. I've considered writing about some of our great times together but I think that would be sort of manipulative.

Thank you for your thoughts.
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Old 12-12-2011, 10:44 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Asking for honest opinions on this apology letter to my wife.

I think the first part of the letter is pretty good, but you don't say HOW you are going to change. No offence, but "prayer" does not change your bad habits. Getting therapy with a psychologist who can help you identify your issues and then work to fix them is what lasting and meaningful change requires. You did a lot of things to damage your marriage. Typically people don't do these these to purposefully be desctrucive. They have deep-seated issues that need time to untangle and heal. It's great if you want religion in your life, but that's not the only thing you need to do to become a fully actualized person.

Your word does not hold much value right now, unfortunately, because you cheated, which required you to lie repeatedly. Talk is cheap and what counts are ACTIONS. So instead of your last paragraph, how about something like:

"I am so sorry that I was never able to show you all the love and admiration I have for you. I am so sorry I chose to deal with my life and my unhappiness in myself through unhealthy and destructive coping mechanisms (cheating). You should know that you were never the problem and it was never your fault. It was my own insecurity and weakness that has caused this mess.

I am beginning to work with a counselor to work on myself and all of my issues that caused me to act out and hurt you so badly. I know it is probably too late for us, but I did want you to know how truly sorry I am for hurting you. I love you deeply and I am devestated that my efforts to change may have come too late for us. Nevertheless, I am committed to becoming a better man, a man who can give his wife the type of love, trust, and commitment that she deserves. I still want to spend the rest of my life with you, but as the man you deserve, not the man I was. But I know my words don't mean much right now because of all of the things I've done and you are wise not to put your faith in my words right now. But I hope in time you will see that I have changed, through my actions.

I am giving you the space asked me to give you and will be working hard on myself going forward. I will understand if you have no desire to wait for me, but please know that I will always want to hear from you and that I will always love and respect you."

Then you have to do what you say you are going to do. Don't call her, just work on yourself. Maybe in a month or two you can call her to check in. Or maybe she will call you.

There is a good chance that she thinks this is just your lame attempt to get her back and that you won't actually follow through with working on yourself. This is your chance to prove her wrong.
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Old 12-12-2011, 11:17 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Asking for honest opinions on this apology letter to my wife.

I really don't know all the specifics or details, but in my opinion, FWIW, I would spend less time focussing on the presumptions you make about the way you hurt her, the specific feelings she may have (unless she has told you specifically such feelings and you are trying to simply demonstrate that you were listening). Don't pretend that you understand how she feels (because I don't think you truly can), just acknowledge that your actions have caused her pain and continue to be remorseful about it.

Your letter does well by not shifting the blame to her, just realize that your words carry little value, so the more of them you throw at her the more reluctant she will be. You are not writing a piece of literature, your audience is her only, so just show her the part of you she knows and is familiar with, brevity is important, don't be too longwinded.
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Old 12-12-2011, 12:52 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Asking for honest opinions on this apology letter to my wife.

Your letter screams of neediness and insecurity. I'm not saying that to be mean, just the truth.

Apologies should be:
short,
direct,
to the point,
in person (as much as possible),
only for true transgressions,
given with the intent to change,
then over.

You would be better served to allow her space, do a 180, and find a way to improve yourself.

Your apology won't mean anything if you display the same characteristics that put you where you are, in the first place. It will only build on the issues you already have.

Read the "180". Read "No more Mr. Nice Guy" by Glover.

Fix yourself first, then allow her back into your life.
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Old 12-12-2011, 07:33 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Asking for honest opinions on this apology letter to my wife.

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Originally Posted by Chelle D View Post
Yes, I went and read your other post too.... I can see that you have already emailed, etc, before. So, my second thought is a little void now.

I was thinking that you don't want to say that you wont plead or bargain... because that might portray that you are not willing to do all it takes. Just say that" you wont make promises... that carry no value."...

Now I am kind of sitting on the fence about it. It really does sound like a good heartfelt apology letter, however - with the way you describe who your wife's mind works. That's a little scary/touchy.

I think getting a physical letter to hold is probably a more "tangible" apology for her.. but then could also be a catalyst for her to keep going back to... to relive the pain and keep dwelling on the error/problem. You really need/want her to let go, and start healing and start thinking about how good you two are together. You want her to think about you in ways that portray you as needing her/ ways that she wants to keep loving you.
Yes, it's been a lot for my wife to be able to communicate. She carries a lot of hurt and anger, very understably so and this has made any hope for reconciliation very slim. I simply want to let her know that I recognize my errors and have remorse for my actions. Regardless of whether I meant to hurt her, that is how she sees this.

I have been working with a therapist for several months now and my wife is aware of this. I have asked if she would be willing to see a marriage counselor but she doesn't want to. I really wish we could because a counselor would help us to voice our feelings and temper the emotions from boiling over.

Thank you for the advice.
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Old 12-12-2011, 07:39 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Asking for honest opinions on this apology letter to my wife.

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Originally Posted by Laurae1967 View Post
I think the first part of the letter is pretty good, but you don't say HOW you are going to change. No offence, but "prayer" does not change your bad habits. Getting therapy with a psychologist who can help you identify your issues and then work to fix them is what lasting and meaningful change requires. You did a lot of things to damage your marriage. Typically people don't do these these to purposefully be desctrucive. They have deep-seated issues that need time to untangle and heal. It's great if you want religion in your life, but that's not the only thing you need to do to become a fully actualized person.

Your word does not hold much value right now, unfortunately, because you cheated, which required you to lie repeatedly. Talk is cheap and what counts are ACTIONS. So instead of your last paragraph, how about something like:

"I am so sorry that I was never able to show you all the love and admiration I have for you. I am so sorry I chose to deal with my life and my unhappiness in myself through unhealthy and destructive coping mechanisms (cheating). You should know that you were never the problem and it was never your fault. It was my own insecurity and weakness that has caused this mess.

I am beginning to work with a counselor to work on myself and all of my issues that caused me to act out and hurt you so badly. I know it is probably too late for us, but I did want you to know how truly sorry I am for hurting you. I love you deeply and I am devestated that my efforts to change may have come too late for us. Nevertheless, I am committed to becoming a better man, a man who can give his wife the type of love, trust, and commitment that she deserves. I still want to spend the rest of my life with you, but as the man you deserve, not the man I was. But I know my words don't mean much right now because of all of the things I've done and you are wise not to put your faith in my words right now. But I hope in time you will see that I have changed, through my actions.

I am giving you the space asked me to give you and will be working hard on myself going forward. I will understand if you have no desire to wait for me, but please know that I will always want to hear from you and that I will always love and respect you."

Then you have to do what you say you are going to do. Don't call her, just work on yourself. Maybe in a month or two you can call her to check in. Or maybe she will call you.

There is a good chance that she thinks this is just your lame attempt to get her back and that you won't actually follow through with working on yourself. This is your chance to prove her wrong.
Your writing is very helpful. I've realized how different men and women's needs are and subsequently their needs and expectations.

I have been working with a therapist and I do recognize my errors and the ways that I must improve myself. I have been struggling with insecurity and self doubt for many years. My wife has told me that because of my struggles which I openly communicated with her she was reluctant to cause me any more stress by voicing her needs and struggles while we were together. NOT that this is any excuse for my behavior but I did feel isolated during our marriage and this was for many reasons. I know that working on myself should be priority for only myself not doing so for anyone else and her ability to see that will only be a secondary benefit.
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Old 12-12-2011, 07:40 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Asking for honest opinions on this apology letter to my wife.

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Originally Posted by Lon View Post
I really don't know all the specifics or details, but in my opinion, FWIW, I would spend less time focussing on the presumptions you make about the way you hurt her, the specific feelings she may have (unless she has told you specifically such feelings and you are trying to simply demonstrate that you were listening). Don't pretend that you understand how she feels (because I don't think you truly can), just acknowledge that your actions have caused her pain and continue to be remorseful about it.

Your letter does well by not shifting the blame to her, just realize that your words carry little value, so the more of them you throw at her the more reluctant she will be. You are not writing a piece of literature, your audience is her only, so just show her the part of you she knows and is familiar with, brevity is important, don't be too longwinded.
You make a good point. I shouldn't assume that I know what she's feeling, thinking or going through. She has told me how hurt she is and that her trust for me is damaged.

I will try to be concise with this letter.

Thank you.
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Old 12-12-2011, 07:45 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Asking for honest opinions on this apology letter to my wife.

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Originally Posted by Mistys dad View Post
Your letter screams of neediness and insecurity. I'm not saying that to be mean, just the truth.

Apologies should be:
short,
direct,
to the point,
in person (as much as possible),
only for true transgressions,
given with the intent to change,
then over.

You would be better served to allow her space, do a 180, and find a way to improve yourself.

Your apology won't mean anything if you display the same characteristics that put you where you are, in the first place. It will only build on the issues you already have.

Read the "180". Read "No more Mr. Nice Guy" by Glover.

Fix yourself first, then allow her back into your life.
I will try and be more direct with my words and less longwinded.

I know I can't rush her healing, but it's so hard to be apart from her when I really want to console and love her. That probably won't help if she is not open to receiving my help or love.

Maybe this is comes from a selfish place, but I do want her to recognize her role in some of our marital issues. I know that I made a huge mistake but I honestly don't believe that it completely caused our separation. I hope that she is receiving honest advice from those that are supporting her now.
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Old 12-12-2011, 08:43 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Asking for honest opinions on this apology letter to my wife.

Read your own letter.

Dear Wife,

These are the ways I have failed you.

These are the reasons why I am a bad husband.

These are the reasons you should not want to be with me.

These are the reasons why you should look at me as weak, failed and unworthy of your love.

Signed,

Your unworthy husband.



Why would you give her more reasons to leave? Instead, let her have her space, look at the "180". Understand that you need to "man up" and make yourself a better man, so you can be a better husband, and a better partner.

It may seem counter-intuitive. But, believe that she isnt trying to leave. She is looking to you to lead, be strong, fix yourself and re-become the man she fell in love with.
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Old 12-12-2011, 09:24 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Asking for honest opinions on this apology letter to my wife.

I would really toss the letter idea. i know you're hurting deeply right now, but writing her isn't doing anything but repeating what you've probably already said a hundred times. It also comes across as begging which isn't very appealing. If she had sympathy for you, she'd be working things out. If it's been months and she hasn't made ANY attempt to reconcile your marriage, or even befriend you, I say move on. It seems that there is enough resentment and anger to make words meaningless. Actions must be taken, and a lot of them. Show her you can be the guy you need to be. Take care of yourself, mentally and physically. You'll gain some self-esteem and she'll see what she's missing. Whether you get back together or not, it's a win.
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Old 12-13-2011, 06:48 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Asking for honest opinions on this apology letter to my wife.

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Originally Posted by Mistys dad View Post
Read your own letter.

Dear Wife,

These are the ways I have failed you.

These are the reasons why I am a bad husband.

These are the reasons you should not want to be with me.

These are the reasons why you should look at me as weak, failed and unworthy of your love.

Signed,

Your unworthy husband.



Why would you give her more reasons to leave? Instead, let her have her space, look at the "180". Understand that you need to "man up" and make yourself a better man, so you can be a better husband, and a better partner.

It may seem counter-intuitive. But, believe that she isnt trying to leave. She is looking to you to lead, be strong, fix yourself and re-become the man she fell in love with.

This is really BAD advice and totally off the mark, from a woman's perspective.

Keep working in therapy, give her space, but the 180 is not appropriate for the cheater to use. It's for the betrayed spouse when the cheater is not ready to get with the program.

OP - I read what you said about your wife blaming her lack of communication on you. That is on HER. But I think now is not the time to deal with that. If and when she agrees to reconcile, this is something she will need to work on, but it cannot be in the context of your infidelity. Your choice to cheat was your own.

If you have apologized many times before and have been chasing her down trying to win her back, maybe the letter is not such a good idea. But if you have not fully apologized and taken 100% responsibiity for the cheating and damage, you should send the letter. Only you know the situation.

But remember that actions speak louder than words. Giving her some space and working on your stuff might give her the room to miss you. If you decide to send the letter, don't contact her for at least a month after that.
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Old 12-13-2011, 09:36 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Asking for honest opinions on this apology letter to my wife.

After reading through these posts again, I think Mistys Dad is giving you good advice (though the 180 is more for the dealing with low self esteem in a relationship). A beautifully written letter won't impress her, rehashing all the ways you've let her down doesn't restore her attraction or respect for you, more apologies will only set you back. If you have already apologized, whether or not she chose to hear or accept it, like the other commenters here, I too suggest ditching the letter. All you can do is live well, be kind compassionate and loving and ask her to be in your life - its her choice if she wants to or not.
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Old 12-13-2011, 10:52 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Asking for honest opinions on this apology letter to my wife.

I don't see the "cheating".

OP says he was touched inappropriately by a Masseuse and didn't stop it immediately. But also told his wife that day.

That may not be something innocent, but it's far from cheating.

It sounds more like a short moment has been blown into a major event.

If a woman was to say the same thing about a massage therapist, the lynch mob would be looking for the therapist.
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