On apologies, age differences and letting go.

Dear Coquette,

I’ve just realized that I treated one of my exes very poorly during our break-up. I feel terrible about it and it was never my intention to be cruel, and I want to apologize. I understand this is just me trying to get rid of the guilt I’m suddenly feeling, but do you think it could be mutually beneficial? Should I try a short and direct call or email or just forget about it?

If you genuinely believe that an apology might have a positive effect on your ex, then it’s something to consider. If an apology will have a negative effect on your ex, and you’re just trying to get rid of the guilt, then don’t do it.

The whole point of an apology like this is that it’s not about you. It’s entirely about someone else’s feelings. The goal should be closure for your ex, and any benefit you derive from that is incidental.

I’m 20 going on 40. He’s 30 going on 20. Does this work? Or am I just fooling myself into thinking our respective stages in life won’t get in the way of a serious relationship?

You’re fooling yourself, but not about what you think. You’re not going on 40. You just think you’re way more mature than you actually are. He’s not going on 20. He’s just an emotionally stunted man-child more comfortable dating a girl than a woman.

Yes, you’re still a girl. Quit making that face.

The good news is that your respective stages in life won’t necessarily get in the way of a serious relationship. You’re not gonna live happily ever after, but hey, sticking it out for a year or two at your age definitely counts for something.

I’m in love, but we’re going to college next year. She to Yale, I to Vanderbilt, so it’s most likely too far to keep a relationship in college. Do I just let it go or give a long-distance relationship a shot freshman year in college? It seems like it’d be near impossible, but I want to know what you think about it. Thanks, Coquette.

Let it go. Try to make it as mutual as possible. Your heart will break and you will miss her terribly that first semester at college. Still, if you say your goodbyes and split amicably, you’ll end the relationship on a high note.

If you try to stick it out, at best your relationship will die a slow death of long-distance starvation. At worst, incidents of infidelity will destroy your mutual respect. Either way, it ends badly.

It’s hard to see now, but the best outcome is that you remember each other fondly in the years to come. Life is long. It’s much better to have your first love as a friend 10 years later.


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