Dear Amy: I’m looking for some wisdom: How do you have a meaningful relationship with a family member or friend when that person hurt you, continues to hurt you, doesn’t think he/she has done anything wrong, and refuses to apologize?
Do you simply forgive without an apology, and if that’s the case, how do you open your heart again to that person?
It makes me sad to think of ending a long relationship, but the wrongs done impact me greatly and are so immoral that I can’t imagine being able to have any meaningful relationship with them, especially since the same wrongs continue.
The person’s actions are mean-spirited and disrespectful to me. They offer very selfish justifications.
I can’t even be in the same room with them now because it repulses me. We talked things over, and that made everything worse.
I don’t know how to be the bigger person and forgive everything without an apology and still be able to have a meaningful relationship with them.
The hurt is too deep, and time isn’t healing any of it.
I would appreciate some general guidance.
Dear Wounded: You ask how to have a meaningful relationship with a person who has hurt -- and continues to hurt -- you.
You don’t. A consequence of someone willfully hurting you is that your meaningful relationship is going to take a hit.
It is natural to avoid someone who hurts and repulses you. In some contexts, avoidance is also the smartest thing to do.
One path to healing is to work on loving yourself more. The stronger you are, and the better you feel about yourself, the easier it will be to release the pain this person has caused you.
You should table forgiveness for now, and work on acceptance – of the other person’s flawed humanity, and the fact that you cannot change them. Once you truly accept this, you will be able to release your own anger. Forgiveness should follow.
Dear Amy: I’m in my 40s, and my guy and I decided to get married.
We invited more than 100 family and friends (including spouses and children). About 25 of our invitees responded either that they couldn’t come, or they didn’t respond at all. Only two of these people sent a gift (a check).
I am shocked. I have been to so many graduations, birthdays and weddings over the years and always thought that if I received an invitation, that meant I should send or bring a gift.
Did I miss the memo where people are just deciding not to send wedding gifts?
A similar thing happened with my bridal shower. A portion either didn’t RSVP, or they said they couldn’t come, and still didn’t send a gift or a card.
I don’t think I am a greedy person and we don’t necessarily need everyone to send us money, but I have always sent gifts to these friends and family members in the past and, in my head, I think weddings are the ultimate celebration. Aren’t they happy for our union?
Dear Disappointed: Being invited to a wedding does not obligate someone to send a gift. If it’s a close friend or family member, you would want to, but receiving an invitation does not establish this obligation.
If receiving a wedding invitation did obligate a person to send a gift, then I assume we would all receive more invitations from gift-grabby strangers.
Receiving an invitation DOES obligate someone to respond and extend their congratulations, however. You say that 25 people out of more than 100 either didn’t respond, or said they couldn’t attend. That means that 75 did respond/attend. That’s actually a very good response/attendance rate. This is something to celebrate.
You seem very disappointed, but I’m not sure why. I hope you can look back on your wedding day and remember joyfully all of the people who DID attend and who did celebrate along with you, instead of focusing on those who missed your special day.
Dear Amy: “Sleepless Sister” worried about her sister’s relationship with a married man.
I think if she were my sister, I would also point out that if he’ll cheat with her, he’ll cheat on her. What kind of foundation is that for a lasting relationship? She may need to be there for her sister when Mr. Wonderful goes back to his family or finds a new love.
Dear Wiser: This very logical explanation about how cheating works does not seem to persuade people, unfortunately.
Email Amy at firstname.lastname@example.org.