Best not to offer advice until its solicited

She advised her cousin to repair her marriage, then learned about years of abuse. Now she doesn't know how to express regret.



May 12, 2020 - 9:03 AM

Hi, Carolyn: My first cousin “Mimi” divorced her husband last year. As a divorcée myself, who hated to see a loved one go through hell unnecessarily, I reached out to her before the divorce was finalized to provide the names of marriage counselors and a few words of encouragement about trying to repair the marriage.

Where I was coming from was, my marriage wasn’t great but I think we could have worked on it, and I live with regret that I chose instead to return to single life in my late 40s. I think I was lazy. I was not implying that Mimi was being lazy, but that may have been the message that came across anyway.

What I have since learned is that Mimi’s divorce was her answer to several years of emotional abuse, which she is just starting to talk about with our family. I feel awful for inadvertently suggesting that she stay married to an abuser. I stepped in where I shouldn’t have. Should I apologize, or just mind my own business from now on? She hasn’t shared the news of the abuse with me personally. — Stepped In

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