Sometimes it’s really hard to admit you’re wrong—and in any long term relationship, there’ll be plenty of times when you and your boyfriend are both off target about something. So, if you were caught in a white lie, or perhaps took a bad day out on him when he didn’t actually deserve it, how do you recover? Simple—you apologize.
You can very easily say, “I’m sorry,” but the most meaningful apologies come from the heart. Otherwise, it can seem as if you’re just stating those two words to move on. With every apology, you should acknowledge that your partner might have been hurt by what you said. Words are important, and if you respect him, you’ll use them the right way.
Here are a few tips on how to apologize to your boyfriend:
1. See things from his perspective.
It’s always important to see something from someone else’s point of view. Let’s say you were home sick, while your boyfriend had a tough day at work. When he gets home, all he wants is a little bit of silence. But all you want is comfort—and since you’ve been waiting all day, you might snap at him if he doesn’t come to your rescue immediately after entering your apartment. Do you deserve a little TLC? Of course you do. But, should you have screamed at him since he just needed some time to unwind? Probably not. Tell him you’re sorry, and recognize that if you had a stressful day in the office, you’d also ask for a second to regroup. Show him you understand his point of view.
2. Cool down before you apologize.
You might be heated, and when you’re heated, you may say things you don’t mean. “I’m sorry” doesn’t sound half as good if it’s followed by, “you don’t understand my point of view.” An apology should focus around the feelings of the person you hurt. It shouldn’t be a way to get the last word in. Taking some time, and thinking through your feelings may be beneficial for both of you.
3. Think about what you actually did or said.
Oftentimes, we say things out of anger. Even though we don’t really want to hurt someone’s feelings, at the time, it might seem like our only option. It can get very frustrating when your boyfriend forgets to do tasks you ask of him, especially if you’ve asked him a few times. (And especially if he’s the one who enforced the “if you need help, just ask!” policy.) But, that doesn’t mean you should tell him he’s too stupid to remember to pitch in. Next time it happens, just tell him how his lack of action made you feel before resorting to name calling. “When you ignore these tasks, I feel like I’m solely responsible for the housework, which is tough” might work.
4. Admit that you might need to control your volume.
Think about it—what good does yelling do? When you get yelled at, how do you feel? Probably on edge and unable to think straight. It might feel good for you to yell, but it’s not helping the situation. If anything, escalates thingsl. Maybe you yell to feel heard, but oftentimes people shut out what you have to say if it’s said with resentment. When you’re both at a better mental place, you should tell him that you’re sorry and will try hard not to escalate matters by yelling or talking down to him. He’ll appreciate it, and so will your vocal cords.
5. Tell him how much you appreciate him.
When a couple gets into a fight, both parties often feel undervalued—even just temporarily. So if things got out of hand, and you were to blame, make sure you tell him how important he is to you after stating you’re sorry. Just make sure you mean it. Try something like, “I’m sorry I accused you of texting other girls, when it was just your mom. I’m letting some past insecurities get the best of me, but you’ve honestly never gave me the impression that you’d ever treat me that way. I’m so lucky to have you. Thank you for being patient with me.”
6. Remember, actions speak louder than words.
Yes, “I’m sorry” can go a long way. But if you did something that made him lose some of his trust in you, you need to prove that your actions don’t define your character. Anyone can say I’m sorry. Proving yourself by stepping up your behavior is much more powerful. Say, for example, you got a little wild during a boozy girl’s night out and got someone else’s number. Saying I’m sorry is fine, but deleting that contact in front of him—and making sure you’re not drinking over your limit during the next outing—will speak volumes.
7. Vow to work on the relationship.
If you really like this guy, you’ll recognize the fact that it takes a lot of hard work to keep a relationship healthy. If you notice the two of you are fighting a lot, you might want to consider couples counseling in order to communicate better. And when you present that to him, along with an I’m sorry, make sure to note that it’s simply about communication.
“I hate getting mad at you for small reasons, and I want to improve on that. Would you consider seeing a counselor so we can strengthen our relationship?” is a good way to present it. He might be a little hesitant that a counselor will be involved (prior to what you may believe, going to counseling doesn’t necessarily mean your relationship is on the brink of disaster) but he should at least appreciate the fact that you’re looking forward to fix the problem. If you figure out how and why these petty fights keep happening, the need to say “I’m sorry” will lessen over time.
If you want to keep things happy with your boyfriend, admitting when you’re wrong is a big step in the right direction. Everyone makes mistakes, but only true adults know how to own up to them. If you strive to make things better, your relationship will be rock solid.