Every week, Dear Prudence answers additional questions from readers, just for Slate Plus members. Submit questions here. (It’s anonymous!)
Q. Friendless in Phoenix: I’ve recently acted like the kind of person you get a lot of letters about, to my embarrassment, and I need advice on how to get out of the mess I’m in.
I’m a 28-year-old woman who used to have a tight, supportive friend group, but I seem to have alienated them all since dating “Aaron.” I met Aaron in my hometown during a really bad time with my family (involving drug abuse and a young relative’s death). He was supportive and made me laugh when I really, really needed it, and the sex was incredible. Because of this, I overlooked A LOT of problems with him. We got serious quickly and he moved in with me when I went home after the family crisis died down.
My friends hated him. He got drunk and hit on my friends “Nancy” and “Helen” (a gay couple) at a party until they left. Helen phoned me the next day to say how uncomfortable it made her, and since I didn’t want to hear it, I basically told her to grow up and that it wasn’t news that men find lesbian couples hot. She stopped speaking to me after this, along with her partner and another friend who is a bi woman. This was the first of many incidents until a year had passed and I found myself with no female friends and almost no guy friends since Aaron had been aggressive with the men I was closest to. Aaron and I have now broken up after I finally saw the light when he cheated on me. I feel devastated and completely alone right now. I have no close friends to turn to and feel like it’s my fault. Can I/should I reach out and apologize to my old friends, explaining myself? Do I just need to find a whole new group of people now? Please don’t judge me, I am at my lowest right now already.
A: You should say you’re sorry to all these people you wronged, but this is one of those apologies that absolutely has to come with a “Here’s what I’ve learned about myself, and here’s how I plan to be better in the future” section. Take your time and really reflect on those topics, with a special focus on how comfortable you felt disrespecting your lesbian friends. Because right now I’m getting that you’re only feeling regret because you’re alone, and if they pick up on that too, they’ll have a hard time forgiving you.
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