I received an apology letter from my WW’s AP, who’s workplace affair with my wife ended 17 years ago. The letter wasn’t out of the blue. It came as a result of actions I took. Specifically, I built and ranked a website to the #1 spot in Google for his name. On the site, it outlined all of the sleazy things he had done and generally just what I thought of him and his actions. This was therapeutic and allowed me to feel heard, but also it was done because he never had any meaningful consequences happen to him, or so it would seem from the outside. I wanted to expose him to his wife, kids, family, potential future employers or lovers. If you're thinking my focus is on the wrong person, it’s not. Me and my wife have processed this ad nauseum and I do place the majority of blame on her, however, this guy was extremely proactive in what he was doing and groomed my wife with clear forethought of action and a very deep understanding of how to exploit female psychology. The anger I’ve had for him has been very toxic and it was my goal with this entire thing to help me with that one aspect of my recovery.
A few months later I was eventually contacted by his wife, who had found out about the site from him, who had heard about it from one of his family members who came across it. Every member of his family saw the website. I agreed to a phone call with the wife and she told me that they were in the midst of a divorce after 15 years of marriage and 2 kids (by coincidence and unrelated to the website). What had seemed from the outside to be the picture perfect life for him (something which has continually bothered me) was actually not. He hadn’t held down a job since 2010 and his wife, who was the breadwinner of the family, grew so tired of his leeching and laziness that she filed for divorce this Summer and is now seeing a boyfriend with him having moved out of their 2 million dollar home into an apartment. She also said she had tried to leave him in 2014 only to be talked out of it, so his marriage had been in a bad place for a long time. I feel absolutely no shame in being very pleased by all of this and it has helped me to know that karma got this guy. She eventually got to the reason she was calling, which was to ask that I remove the site as favor to her because she didn’t want her kids finding it and having to see their Dad in such a shameful way. She said had it not been for her kids, she would have had no issues with it.
I found myself liking her and wanting to help her, but I told her it didn’t feel right to me that someone else fix this for him. So I told her that if he wrote me an apology letter that felt genuine that I would consider it. I had also been going back and forth with myself on removing the site anyway, since to some degree it was a weight on me. If an apology might do something more for me, why not go for it.
Two days later I received his apology via email. While some of it is precisely the stuff I was hoping to hear, other parts I found angering. It seems as if he is still romanticizing the affair in his mind, as expressed by his comments that he "could not control" his attraction to my wife, which I assert is BS. He never should have allowed himself to become attracted to my wife in the first place, but he went ahead and said what he should have done is basically let my wife know he was attracted to her and then let her decide what to do about our marriage without it going further. So essentially what he feels he should have done is still attempt to steal my wife, but only go about it in a slightly more respectful way. He apparently doesn’t understand the concept of not flirting with, gossiping with, or sharing personal information with taken women, which has been a pattern of his based on things both my wife and his wife told me.
I really want to respond with my thoughts and end with telling him that I’d like it to be our last correspondence. I know that a back and forth communication would do more harm than good, but I think a final response would be the culmination of my efforts to feel heard and enable me to release a lot of the toxicity I’ve held towards him and in essence get in the last word.
I'd like to make sure I’ve thought about all aspects completely and wanted to get the collective wisdom of SI prior to taking any action, so please give me your take on his letter of apology. If you would like to know more about this guy or what happened, the full story is in my bio.
"My Apology to You"
Even before your website, I had wanted to reach out to you for years, but I didn't because ironically, I feared it would be triggering for you and perhaps best to let sleeping dogs lie. But this is something you not only seem open to, but requested so now I can unburden myself and hopefully ease some pain for both of us (coincidentally, it would seem we both are going through very difficult times marriage wise if that makes you feel any better).
I will start with the simple, I am sorry for what happened between you, me, and your spouse 17 years ago in [redacted]. I cannot control that I was attracted to [redacted] at the time, but what I have come to understand is that I should not have pursued or allowed a romantic relationship to form until she made a final decision about the direction of her marriage; people are free to enter and leave relationships as they see fit but if I could go back in time, I would have waited until she either did or did not divorce, and give you a chance to address your marriage, and regret that I did not give you that courtesy. Marriage means a lot to me now, and you now know that I am no stranger to marital difficulties as well, and we both know that it hurts far more than clueless single guys in their 20s could ever imagine. For the entire romantic relationship I had with [redacted] while she was still with you, I deeply apologize.
I do not feel the same way about you today that I did back then, I am trying to be a more compassionate person and it would seem that like myself at the moment, you too are in pain and perhaps have occasionally been for many years over this ordeal. I can't tell you how to process any emotions, but hopefully a couple things to keep in mind might help:
(1) [redacted], when truly pushed, chose you; despite what you may think, I was very sad when she chose you over me (I remember it was the night of hurricane Katrina, and crying nonstop as the levies broke) despite now knowing I should have waited until you had a chance to weigh in on sustaining the marriage. I'm sure she's glad she did, and I am too since it opened me up to [his wife] later. But again, you were her unequivocal choice for a long term partner not me.
(2) The person who intervened in your marriage (me), is not happy he did. I do not consider it a win at all, and your pain over the matter does not bring me any satisfaction, quite the contrary I am writing this in detail because the world would be a tiny bit better if two guys with unfortunate connections to each other managed to put that unfortunate history together to rest.
Finally, know that my only lingering emotion in all this was towards you: one of regret. After December 2005, I never contacted [redacted], nor had any hope of one day pursuing her. I married the next girl after [redacted], built a family with her, and until 2022 remained married and focused only on her. As time has gone on, and I've hopefully become a better person, my only thoughts about [redacted] revolved around hoping that you two were happy, healthy and successful. You appear very successful career wise, but I am hoping with this note of apology you can also be successful with happiness in your marriage, general outlook, or whatever new direction you want to take.
You are welcome to call me if you think it wouldn't be more harm than it's worth, I will say the same things to you on the phone that I am saying now, but again only you know if that will help or not. You will always know the name [redacted], and I will always know the name [redacted], but I am hoping that after this note and/or phone call, we can one day hear these respective names without feeling a sense of dread or pain, but rather one of resolution and healing.
I truly wish there had been a scenario where I could have still met my wife, had my kids and had none of what happened between us happen.
EDIT AND CLARIFICATION REGARDING THE WEBSITE: The site was taken down as soon as I received his apology.
[This message edited by gainingclosure at 5:49 PM, Tuesday, November 1st]