• 23/04/2024 20:10

How to apologize correctly in a relationship, and when it’s not worth it at all

You probably say the words “I'm sorry” at least three times a day. You might even use it even more often if you're a woman. This is because society has taught and socialized women to apologize whether they are at fault or not. Often these apologies are even made out of a sense of duty or embarrassment, to keep someone else from getting angry or to hide the fact that we ourselves are angry. But what many people don't realize is that apologizing when you're wrong is bad for your relationship. If you have always wanted to know how to properly apologize in a relationship, then read on.

ContentShould you apologize: ask yourself this question When should you apologize to your partner When should you not apologize to your partner How to apologize correctly in a relationship: do it meaningfully An apology should not be aimed at making people feel sorry for you Don’t look for excuses for your behavior Clarify why you are sorry

WomanEL decided to share her opinion psychotherapist Sarah Chotkowski on when to apologize and when not to apologize to your significant other. Don't worry: it's never too late to evaluate your apology.

Should you apologize: ask yourself this question

According to Sarah Chotkowski, people should follow the “golden rule” when deciding whether to apologize to their partner. “Ask yourself, 'If someone did this to me, would I want an apology?' If the answer is yes, then an apology is in order. If the answer is no, you have not yet released yourself from responsibility – it is important to remember that your partner may have a different threshold for what is worthy of an apology. But this exercise is a good place to start.”

When to apologize to your partner

It may sound cliché, but an apology is only necessary when you've done something wrong. That's all. Not when someone is angry at you for no reason, and not when you want to take the blame just to lighten the mood. When you mess up and offend someone, that's when you should apologize. This is a form of accountability – a way of saying that you take responsibility, acknowledge his pain, and promise that you won't do this in the future.

When not to apologize to your partner

By now, you've probably realized that you're saying “I'm so sorry”  and “I'm sorry” more often than you should. But for those who want concrete examples of when you don't have to apologize to your partner, Chotkowski gives three times when you should refrain from apologizing.

First, if you want to apologize because it's a natural reflex to just say sorry, don't do it. This probably indicates that you feel uncomfortable and want to get rid of this feeling. Instead, try to sit with these feelings and explore what caused them.”

Additionally, Chotkowski notes that you should refrain from saying “I'm sorry” when you're trying to break the habit of over-apologizing. “We (especially women) are used to using the word “sorry” as a universal expression. If “thank you for waiting for me!” can be used instead of “Sorry, I'm late!” try it. This will help make 'I'm sorry' a stronger statement when you say it.” Lastly, don't apologize if you don't mean it (yes, it's that simple!). “It may be tempting to apologize to our partners to reassure them, but we want our partners to be able to trust our word. Apologizing without reason or sincerity will weaken trust in the long run.”

How to properly apologize in a relationship: do it meaningfully

How to make peace with your significant other after a quarrel, Source: freepik.com

We are so used to saying “I’m sorry” that we often stop thinking about why we say it in the first place. Take the time to be mindful of when you apologize.

An apology should not be aimed at making people feel sorry for you

Try not to cry. An apology should not force the other person to provide you with emotional support. You can try writing something down or practicing in front of a mirror or with a friend.

Don’t make excuses for your behavior

When you have done something wrong and need to apologize to your partner, you should always admit your shortcomings and avoid making excuses. This means you should avoid adding “but” or “to be fair” at the end of your apology. This is not the time to bring up the other person's behavior and why you feel they should apologize too.

Clarify why you're sorry

There's nothing more insincere than receiving a generic apology. Chotkowski emphasizes the importance of being clear and specific with your partner when you're apologizing. Admit what exactly you did wrong and how you plan to correct your actions. Don't make promises you don't want or can't keep.

Privacy in relationships is important. But secrecy is something completely different. Find out what the difference is so you don't confuse these concepts.

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