“Sorry, but . . .”

Maybe the most important thing I have learned, is that apologies do not end with “but”.


“I’m sorry I didn’t listen to you, but you came home so late I was too  sleepy” (I tried to share my joy of my first ever art show with him, but when he looked around me to see the TV, I called my mom to talk instead)

“I’m sorry I didn’t help much with the kids for the last 8 years, but it is hard for men to connect to little children, it will be easier now that they’re getting older” (I found out he made the kids have bedtime stories laying in bed with their eyes closed, how do you read a picture book together with your eyes closed?)

“I’m sorry I didn’t help you carry laundry downstairs, but I thought it made you proud to do your job on your own” (I have an injury from childhood that makes walking difficult, and stairs I have to hold on to the rail, making carrying baskets very difficult)

“I’m sorry I never cut the grass, but those city rules are nuts, who cares if it is 12 inches tall?” (I hired a lawn service to avoid penalties and be able to have my kids play outside in a cared for lawn, his brand new mower sits unused in the garage)

“I’m sorry I can’t give you space right now to heal, but If I back off I’m afraid I’ll lose you forever” (So he continues to hug, pet and say he loves me 600 times a day, when I have not had that attention from him ever, it feels so false)

“I’m sorry I yell at you and the kids, but my life is very stressful and I can’t handle when things change and I don’t know” (like when I had 2 flavors of ice cream for the kids, that was a stressful change we all needed to suffer your yelling)

“I’m sorry I yell at the kids to be quiet, but my whole day is very noisy” (when the kids start singing and giggling in the van, he tells them to stop)

“I’m sorry you have been unhappy, but I didn’t know” (He hasn’t looked at me, really looked at me,  in years, of course he doesn’t know.)

“I’m sorry you are hurting, but you can’t make me leave” (He has always convinced me to hang in there and give him another chance. I’m not sure I can or should this time.)

“I’m sorry I didn’t call, but -I forgot- my phone died-I lost track of time-I’m just so busy” (I can’t call him at work, and his cell phone doesn’t work in the factory? and I never know what time he’ll be home)

“I’m sorry I didn’t get you anything for -Christmas-Anniversary-Birthday-, but the store had nothing I could afford for you that was nice or would mean anything” (you mean when you went out Christmas Eve to Walmart just because I hinted that I was excited to open gifts? That I have every year managed to do something special for little or no money for you? That I work with the kids so they each have something for you? Thank you for the boxed set of DVDs you grabbed from the end aisle display)

“I’m sorry that when I brought you home from the sedated dental visit, I left you in your coat, sitting up in a chair alone for hours, but I didn’t think it would hurt your neck like that”

“I’m sorry I never told anyone how sick you were, that you slept everyday all day, and that I didn’t check on you the night you took all those sleeping pills, and just kept you to myself, but I was so used to you sleeping I didn’t know you needed help and I was just a dumb kid.” (I told him everyday about the pain, and the images of death that haunted me, my desire to just stop breathing and escape this dismal world of no hope – he was 29, I was 25, not really dumb kids exactly)

“I’m sorry I didn’t pay any attention to you, but I thought it was just your depression complaining”

“I’m sorry I crush your feelings every time you reach out to me, but I’m just a dumb guy and can’t be expected to know any better.”


I could go on and on. Well, my husband, I’m just sorry. No but.



8 thoughts on ““Sorry, but . . .”

  1. WOW! What a powerful post this is. You are absolutely right, apologies do NOT come with a ‘but’. You are thinking with such a clear head…no matter how bad this all feels right now, remember that you are doing a great thing, standing up for and taking care of yourself.

    It’s nice that he wants to make things better, but he has to be able to see the big picture here and simply accepting the ‘blame’ with a million excuses is not going to cut it. Stay strong. You’re doing really well. xx

  2. You’re right, a “but’ at the end, either spoken or not (my NM figured if she didn’t SAY it, it wasn’t said) negates the apology. They might as well say, “Blah, blah, blah but ____” insert excuse.

  3. Not only are these excuses, but they kind of imply it’s your fault. Like — I was tired and you bothered me… Blah blah blah yadda yadda.

    To be capable of change, he has to accept responsibility and be accountable for his behavior. He has to be sorry and do better -/ that’s what amends are.

    • Yes, he accepts he has an anger problem, but is not yet accepting all of the other ways he hurt us. But he saw me, really saw me for the first time yesterday, and started sobbing. He is hurting inside and needs help. I will help him find support and get stronger and get tools. I will no longer ‘help’ by telling him he has my love. I have always given that back to him to stop his pain. Well, he needs to heal himself now. I won’t abandon him, but I will no longer be his everything.

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