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You Asked: Should I Forgive and Forget?

Dear Sugar,

A little over two years ago, when my father was in the hospital, my older sister and I had a horrible fight. Nasty words were exchanged and our argument even turned somewhat physical. I haven't seen or spoken to her since — she has always been a little on the hateful side. This fight has been eating at me and I was thinking about writing a letter to tell her I have forgiven her and to apologize for my part. I have never in my 49 years had a confrontation like this and I don't know if this will stir the pot more. What do you think? — Ready to Forgive Regan

To see Dear Sugar's answer

Dear Ready to Forgive Regan —

Taking the initiative and making the first move to mend your relationship with your sister takes a lot of strength and courage, so you should be very proud of yourself. It sounds like you two went to blows under at an incredibly stressful time so since all this time has passed, I'm sure she is ready to forgive and forget as well.

Writing a letter is a great format to talk. It won't put her on the spot to respond immediately and you can reread what you've written until you've said everything you wanted to say in, and in the right way. Two years is a long time to go without talking to your sister and I'm sure you miss her terribly, so I say go for it Regan. Even if you stir the pot, at least you can breath a sigh of relief because you made an effort to reach out to her, got a chance to apologize for your wrong doing in the situation, and asked for her forgiveness, too. I wish you luck.


Join The Conversation
kimmbot kimmbot 9 years
Another agreement with Silent Vamp. Be the bigger person, and apologize first. Then, that opens the door for her to apologize in kind. If she doesn't, well she's not really ready to patch things up then, is she?
karlotta karlotta 9 years
Life is way too short to be out of touch with your sister for so long. If anything happened to her tomorrow, you would never forgive yourself. Whatever was said or done can be forgiven - everything can. It is NOTHING compared to the love you have for each other. It isn't the lack of love that's preventing either of you from contacting the other, but hurt and pride. And really, what's most important? Yes... LOVE is. Write the letter today! And if she resists at first, don't take it the wrong way - give her time. With a sweet, kind, forgiving, and loving letter to read over and over again, she will eventually come around. Best of luck to you! PS: I disagree with the others, I think you should tell her you forgive her. First, maybe she needs to hear it, maybe she feels guilty. Second, if she did cause you grief, she needs to know you're not a pushover and taking all the blame in the story. To recover the balance of the relationship, honesty and openness are key. If you take it all upon yourself, you may harbor a lingering resentment. Tell her how you feel. Entirely. But do make it sweet and loving - of course!
jennifer76 jennifer76 9 years
I think its a great idea. Worse case scenario, she's still pissed off and you go on ignoring her. Best case scenario, you get your sister back. What do you have to lose?
jrosenberg02 jrosenberg02 9 years
I'd agree, but with the caveat that if you're going to apologize actually apologize. A lot of people in these kinds of situation send "apology" letters that are really "apology but" letters where you really just want to say "I"m sorry, but you really hurt me and left me no choice" etc. If you're really going to be the bigger person and take the step to repairing the relationship that's fantastic and you should, but if the apology isn't sincere it definitely will just "stir the pot" more.
sugarbritches sugarbritches 9 years
Definately write the letter but wait to send it. I have a 48 hour rule in this kind of situation. I give myself that long after the last revision to make sure I'm comfortable with what I've written. If I still feel good about it 48 hours later...lick it and stamp it. Good luck to you. Family feuds are so painful.
Tullia Tullia 9 years
I agree with all comments above: forgive! after all, you two are family.
amybdk amybdk 9 years
I TOTALLY agree with Silent Vamp. Do apologize for your actions but don't assume she wishes to be forgiven for her part. Suggest starting off on a clean slate and hopefully she'll feel the same! Best wishes!
Knight-Who-Says-Ni Knight-Who-Says-Ni 9 years
Send her the letter! You never know - she may want to patch things up as well, but is too stubborn to make the first move. I recently went through something like this with my own sisters, and I made the first step toward restarting a relationship with them, and it's great! And the worst that could happen is that she doesn't reply. But then, at least you know that you tried. Just a note: Definitely apologize for your part, but you may want to avoid saying that you forgive her. If she's defensive about what happened, that line implies that she did something wrong and it could anger her. I would just apologize and indicate that you'd like to start over. It's not necessary to discuss the fight you guys had any further - that could even frustrate your intentions.
aeschere aeschere 9 years
i admire your strength and maturity to try to patch things up. i think you're doing a very good thing. wishing you the best
cubadog cubadog 9 years
I did the same thing with my Dad. We had a horrible fight and I would not speak to him for 4 years. I wrote a letter and now our relationship is the best it has ever been. It was 10 years ago and I am really glad that I did it.
yoan190 yoan190 9 years
Good luck and hope everything would be better for you two!
erratic-assassin erratic-assassin 9 years
send the letter. what else do you have to lose?
k8-rckstr k8-rckstr 9 years
In my opinon, sending a letter would be a great idea. I think its better than talking to her in person or on the phone, because it will give her as much time as she needs to fully digest everything before she responds. I think if you were to do it in person, it would errupt into a fight again because she might feel like you're attacking her. Seems to me that a letter could not do any harm, as long as you write it from a compassionate point of view and refrain from it having an attacking tone.
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