She told me that all the hurt and pain had come back when I got in touch. That what I put her through badly affected her and still does. That she’s had issues with her relationships and that she’s never quite felt the same again. That she thought I hated her. However, she also told me this: “I like the idea of our trying something together, but I’m afraid of the result.”
A week ago, I sent her the apology:
“(Her name), I’m really sorry to have cut you off in such a way, without explanation, and for not being fair and honest with you. I behaved like a coward and an egoist. My behavior towards you was appalling and insensitive. I always doubted your feelings, and at the time, I thought it was the best way for me.
I am sorry for all the pain and the hurt that I inflicted on you during all these years of questions and distress. During all these years I thought only of you; in the morning when I woke up, throughout the day, and in the evening you were in my thoughts, in my heart. I do not know what you think and feel. (Her name) whatever happens, know that I only wish you happiness in your life.”
I was a real sack of garbage to her. I was selfish and didn’t once think about how cutting her off so abruptly would affect her. Do you think there may be a chance to get her back? Do you think she may still have feelings for me? What’s your opinion on my situation? — Sack of Garbage
I know you think you’re a better person now than when you ghosted a woman you’d been in a relationship with for five years, but I have my doubts. First of all, there’s the fact that you can’t even acknowledge that what you shared was a relationship. Instead, you say you weren’t “officially together” and that it was “a sort of fling that lasted five years.” It was a relationship, ok? It may have been complicated, maybe you weren’t committed or monogamous, it wasn’t “official,” but it was a relationship – a five year relationship that you totally peaced out on without so much as a text. And now, after hearing that your behavior caused this woman so much pain, and has affected her relationships to this day, your primary question is whether you can get her back? Ugh, it’s not about you! You say you were selfish when you cut her off so abruptly five years ago, but you’re still selfish getting in touch with her and not thinking about how that might affect her.
You already fucked up this woman once. You fucked her up so much that she’s struggling with how to process your sudden re-entry into her life. She’s pissed, she’s in pain, she has never felt the same after you ghosted her and, yet, she “likes the idea of your trying something together.” So, yeah, of course, she still has feelings for you, but they’re obviously very mixed. A lot of them – maybe most of them — are not good. She’s afraid of you. She doesn’t trust you. And for all this time, she’s likely been projecting those feelings onto new people she’s tried to date because she probably didn’t completely process the feelings she had when you disappeared without warning or explanation. And now, whatever healing she managed to do in the five years you’ve been away is being threatened by your sudden re-emergence – a re-emergence that’s all about YOU and what YOU want.
You’ve messed her up enough. I would follow up with another note:
“Dear [her name] – This note is only an apology and nothing else. I am sorry for the pain I’ve caused you – for not acknowledging the relationship we shared and the feelings I had for you for the five years we were romantically involved, for contributing to the ambiguousness of our status and for any pain and confusion around that. I’m sorry for any pain I’ve stirred up again now by reaching out to you after all this time and for intentions that were more selfish than altruistic. I missed you and was hopeful that you’d be interested in giving us a chance again, but on further reflection I realize that that wasn’t fair of me. You deserve so much happiness, including a loving relationship with someone you can trust without fear. I understand, given our history and how I treated you, the likelihood of that person being me isn’t great. I also understand how my behavior may make it difficult for you to trust even people who aren’t me, and I’m sorry for that, too. I don’t want to cause you more pain. I only want you to know that our breakup is entirely a reflection of my shortcomings and not a reflection of you at all. I couldn’t be the man you deserved, but I hope you find him and I hope I haven’t caused so much pain that you don’t recognize the promise of a loving relationship when you do.”
Send that and then leave her alone. If she decides to take a chance on you, fine. But let her come to any decision she makes without further pressure from you, and with a reminder — and a warning — that in the past you were not the person she deserved. It’s up to her to decide whether you’re what she deserves going forward. And if she thinks that you are and she wants to give you another chance, it’s up to you not to make her regret that.