I have been married for almost 20 years and we have three teenagers together. Our marriage has been rocky for about a year: My spouse had been treating me poorly (talking down to me, challenging my professional opinion in front of others, not backing me up with our kids, delivering passive-aggressive barbs). Recently I happened to be at an event with his co-worker (whom we have socialized with many times) and I chose (wrongly) to unload much of the above behavior, with a few choice expletives thrown in for good measure. This co-worker gave my spouse a pretty verbatim account of what I said within a day or so. My spouse then came to me to extract an entitled pound of flesh—it was the wrong audience, wrong occasion, I was wrong, wrong, wrong. And I felt terrible for betraying our marriage. Here’s my question: When is my sincere apology enough? When am I able to discuss or try to point out anything that may have lead me to have this chat without having to apologize again and again? My spouse doesn’t seem to get that many of my gripes are legitimate, or if so, uses my behavior as a deflection. I feel like I’m going crazy.
—When Is a Sincere Apology Enough?