The perfect art of apologising

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By Elijah Mutabuza

 

 

What is an apology in a relationship?

An apology is a genuine expression of regret or remorse for having said or done something that offended your partner.

Why Apologizing is Crucial to Your Relationship

If you want greater intimacy in your relationship, offer a genuine apology when your partner has been offended by your words or deeds. If you do not apologize, your partner will feel betrayed, distrustful, or hold unspoken resentments.

Apologies Must Be Genuine to Be Effective

When you apologize, your apology must be sincere and show caring for your partner. It is often too easy to say “I’m sorry” and not think about the consequences of your actions. Apologizing can also be difficult if you fear your partner will criticize or shame you for your behavior or if you are not accustomed to apologizing. You may even feel that your partner is making too much out of the incident and see no need to apologize. Asking why your partner why he or she is upset and discovering what the feelings are behind their hurt will go a long way in helping you repair the split in your relationship.

How to Apologize to your Partner

Describe what you did that was disturbing to your partner. It is preferable to speak to your partner in person, but you may also write an apology letter if face to face contact feels too difficult.
“I’m sorry that I didn’t call you when I was going to be late the other evening.”

Acknowledge your partner’s upset, show empathy and caring for his or her hurt.
“I can see that this was upsetting for you and I want you to know that it wasn’t my intention to hurt you.”

Ask your partner questions about why he/she feels hurt, if you don’t already know.
“I think I understand why you got upset but would you tell me what your feelings are about my being late?

Take responsibility for upsetting your partner by acknowledging the behavior that hurt your partner.
“I realize now that not calling was hurtful to you and didn’t show you the kind of respect you deserve.

Check in with your partner to be sure that you fully understood his/her feelings and see if they need more from you to regain their trust.
“Are you able to accept my apology or are there other feelings that you would like to share with me?”

Apologizing is not so much about accepting blame for doing something wrong as it is about understanding your partner’s feelings, saying you are sorry that your actions hurt him or her, and then stating how you intend to do something different in the future.  Making amends in this way will strengthen the bonds between you and help you create a caring and loving relationship.