How to Say Sorry to Your Partner

The fact is that no one is perfect. We all have the capacity to make mistakes and we make them often. Sometimes these mistakes can hurt other people, especially those we are closest to. The fights we have when we are in a relationship are made worse by our need to avoid irreparable damage. We may want to stay away from saying how we truly feel, since this may scare the other person away. However, when we try to bottle things up, we become more sensitive and easily triggered into an argument. Any fight in a relationship may feel like the end of the world when you have low self-esteem. But, arguments may be a time to help the relationship grow stronger if you know the tools to use.

The Power of Apology

There is usually no “right” person and “wrong” person in a fight. In most cases, both people involved have said and done hurtful things. Think about the fight you had with your partner. What did you say or do that you wish you could have done better? There may only be one thing. There may be several. While we are in an argument, we do not always say or do things in the most effective way. The heightened emotions cause us to lose sight of logic. At times, we become more interested in winning the argument, rather than preserving the relationship. If you want to maintain the relationship after the argument is over, the best first step is making an apology.

This apology cannot be of “sorry, not sorry” variety. This must be a sincere admission of what you were responsible for saying or doing during the argument. However, the ability to express this will first require:

  • Awareness of your role in the argument
  • Genuine desire to repair whatever hurt was caused
  • Forgiveness of your partner for what they said or did during the argument
  • Patience to allow your partner the time to also forgive you

When you apologize, it is best to objectively state what you did and the actions you are sorry for, using “I” statements. Do not passive aggressively direct blame toward your partner. An apology is not the time to say that all your actions were the result of your partner’s poor decisions. A sincere sentiment requires that you become accountable for the role that you played in the argument. This is a very vulnerable place to be in. However, when you realize the strength it takes to apologize and take ownership for your actions, you will be able to increase your overall self-confidence.


Calm Down and Focus on Your Partner

After the argument, take some time for yourself to reflect. This time is useful to help you get back to a neutral state of mind. You can try to find a private space to breathe deeply, practice meditation, or even do some yoga. Once you can calm yourself down, you can approach the apology with more self-esteem and awareness. When you apologize, and take ownership of your role, you can focus on the way that your words and actions made your partner feel, instead of solely thinking about the way that you felt. This is necessary to build strength in your relationship, and begins the healing process.

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