How to Apologize to Your Partner

a couple holding hands

Arguments and disagreements can arise in any relationship. Having some conflict every now and then with your partner is a natural part of any happy, healthy relationship. In fact, disagreeing with one another from time to time is a sign that you're both still invested in your relationship, as couples who don't have conflicts might no longer be interested in each other or in sustaining their relationship, and they feel it's not even worth getting into an argument at this point.

When disagreements do arise, it's important to look at these disputes as opportunities to bring you and your partner closer in the end. This often means that one of you, or both of you, should apologize. It's not uncommon to say hurtful things that you don't mean during an argument, or there are times when a minor disagreement about a certain topic can turn into a much larger debate about an entirely different subject. It's helpful to know how to apologize to your partner the right way so that he or she will fully understand that you still care.

1. Know What You're Apologizing For

If you're going to apologize to your partner in a way that'll truly show how sorry you are, you should fully understand what it is that you're apologizing for in the first place. A blanket, "I'm sorry," statement doesn't truly let your partner know that you feel bad about what transpired and that you wish you could take it back.

You should reflect on whatever happened between the two of you, take responsibility, and actually feel remorse for what specifically occurred. Once you hold yourself accountable for exactly what you're apologizing for, your partner will be better able to sense that you're truly sorry on many levels. 

2. Apologize With Both Your Words and Your Actions

When you're going to apologize to your partner, telling him or her how sorry you are for what happened is an important component. However, taking it a step further and actually showing your partner that you learned from what occurred and that you want to make things right can help bring your message home.

For example, if the two of you fought about your tendency to leave out dirty dishes and basically refrain from helping out, then taking action from that moment on is an essential part of the apology process. Not only does this show your partner that you're accountable and feel remorse about your actions, but more importantly, it shows that the argument was a catalyst to make a real change going forward. Surprising your partner with a spotless kitchen and a clean house in conjunction with the apology can be a great way to get the message across.

3. Go Face-to-Face When Saying You're Sorry

While it may be easier and convenient for you to send your partner a text or an email asking for forgiveness, it's actually worthwhile to apologize in person. Sitting down together and having a calm, mature, face-to-face conversation about what happened is an important step in the apology process. This not only gives your partner the perfect opportunity to express his or her feelings about what transpired, but it also enables you to fully listen, to better understand his or her point of view, and to apologize in a way that has true meaning and empathy behind it.

When you're apologizing to your partner, it's also helpful to go out of your way to show him or her that you want to make things right between the two of you, whether it's bringing her a bouquet, picking up his favorite chocolates on the way home from work, or surprising your partner with a home-cooked meal. Putting extra effort into the apology lets your partner know that making him or her happy is still your number one priority, and while there may be bumps in the road, you're in it for the long run.

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