How to say, “I’m Sorry” to your partner

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“Love means never having to say you’re sorry” is one of the most insidious aphorisms ever to come from a cheesy romantic movie. If anything, love—especially the kind that includes living with someone—gives you extra incentive to apologize. Yes, saying sorry can be hard, but it’s way better than suffering your partner’s icy stares from across the kitchen table for three days.

Most of us aren’t very good at apologizing, especially after a fight. Of course, it would be great if you sidestepped an argument altogether by, say, waiting to talk until you’re more calm. Or until you’ve eaten. Or remembering that it’s never you versus your partner, it’s you and your partner versus a problem. No matter how good you get at communicating maturely, disagreements will happen. Here’s how to say sorry afterward:

Should you apologize? In a word: yes. Apologizing isn’t always about being wrong, sometimes it’s about the way you said or did something, or how someone else was affected by what you said or did. Even if you feel that you were and still are right that you guys went to her parents’ for Christmas last year (and the year before), you can still apologize after your blow-out fight for how it went down. You also don’t need to hold on to sorrys like you only get 140 in your entire life. The key is to match the size of the sorry to the size of the conflict. If you were a total grouch last week because of work, you can acknowledge that you sucked to be around and that you’re sorry for it without sitting down and mapping out the steps you’re going to take to never be grouchy again. Simple sorrys are surprisingly effective. But when you do have a nastier conflict, and especially if you said or did something hurtful, you need to apologize and apologize well.

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One Response to How to say, “I’m Sorry” to your partner

  1. Interesting point of view. Love is indeed about the capability to apologize when you feel is needed.

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