I recently exited a long term relationship (3+ years). During the last year and a half of the relationship I grew quite close with another friend. This came to a head about six months before my relationship ended, with the realization that this friend and I shared mutual feelings for each other, beyond just friendship.
However, after the initial conversation where we came to this realization (there was wine involved) we rarely talked about it and never in any great depth. By my inaction, I implicitly chose to stay with my then-SO; though again this was never explicitly stated or addressed between this friend and I.
Fast forward to now, after my SO and I have separated. I've been reflecting on the relationship and the things that led to its failure, as one does. One of the conclusions I've come to is that I treated this friend of mine quite terribly during this period. In the vernacular, I "had them on the hook": never outright rejecting them while also keeping a spark of hope alive for "someday".
This, coupled with small things I did throughout this period, contributed to my disrespect of both their time/energy and their feelings for me. Further, some of the things this friend has said to me recently has confirmed my belief that they feel disrespected because of my actions.
To be clear, I have only come to this realization upon reflection after the fact. In the moment, I was completely unaware of the affect I was having on them, which is another problem.
Is there a way that I can convey a sincere apology to this friend without implying that, now that I am no longer in a relationship, I want to get together with them. I want to assure them of the following:
- I value their feelings
- I am sorry for disrespecting them
- I am sorry for not recognizing that I was disrespecting them
- While this self-reflection happened as a result of my break up, this apology is not a ploy to try to get together with them
I suspect that there may not be a way to accomplish all of the above, so barring that, how can I convey as much of the above as possible?
To conclude, I respect this friend very much, and I highly value their opinion of me. While I accept that I may have irrevocably damaged that opinion, I would at least like to try to apologize for my mistakes. That is more important to me that anything.