Fighting is no fun. But, all couples have fights, especially people in long term relationships. Sometimes these are just misunderstandings. Other times, you might have done something wrong and sincerely want to tell your boyfriend that you’re sorry.
It might seem simple on the surface, but apologizing isn’t always easy. Sometimes “sorry” won’t cut it due to the damage your action might have done to the relationship. Maybe you just don’t know what to say. Many people simply aren’t good at giving an apology.
If you’ve messed up in a relationship and are wondering how to apologize to your boyfriend, this article is for you! As a relationship coach, I’ll walk you through the process to get the best chance of hearing “I forgive you.”
However, keep in mind that you might not be forgiven. Perhaps your boyfriend simply can’t forgive what you’ve done. Or, maybe the relationship can’t be repaired. However, these tips will at least help you get the answer you want. And, whatever happens, you can know you at least tried.
Only Apologize If You’re Guilty
I’ve known many women who were raised to value “keeping the peace” above all else. So, they hated conflict and tried to diffuse conflicts with their parents, friends, and others by taking the blame in all situations. But, constantly avoiding conflict isn’t healthy in relationships.
So, you might be doing the same with your current boyfriend. He does something wrong, you get upset, he gets upset, and you apologize. Or, maybe you just get into a fight and, in order to end it, you say “sorry” just to get back to normal.
However, this is a bad pattern. Ultimately, you should only apologize if you’ve done something wrong. A healthy relationship involves each partner taking responsibility for his or her actions…not one person taking the “blame” for the other’s actions.
Own Up To Your Actions
While many people apologize when they shouldn’t, the opposite can be true too: being stubborn and refusing to admit when you’re in the wrong. If your boyfriend is mad, make sure you figure out why. It’s possible you did something accidentally or maybe you truly were a jerk and are being stubborn about it.
If you value the relationship, then it’s important to figure out what you did and be upfront about that. As a guy, I can tell you it’s frustrating when a woman apologizes and doesn’t own up to her actual behavior. If you did something wrong, just own it. We will respect you and forgive you are more quickly.
We all have reasons why we make the decisions we make. You might be tempted to explain yourself when you’re apologizing to your boyfriend. And, there’s nothing wrong with explaining yourself and your motivations. He might find it helpful to see your reasoning.
However, avoid turning your apology into a long, drawn out affair filled with excuses and justifications for your behavior. No man wants to hear an apology to him turn into a big event about you. So, do your best to keep your words focused on what you did and why you’re sorry.
Give Him Time And Space
When someone is emotionally or mentally hurt, you can’t expect your apology to immediately solve the problem. In some cases, the issue requiring an apology might be a major wrong or something that’s been happening for a long time. Realistically, view the apology as the start of solving the issue. Most of the hard work comes after the apology.
Also, an apology might make you feel relieved, but it doesn’t make his hurt feelings instantly go away, especially if you’re apologizing for something big. Human emotions are complicated and driven by hormones. He might want to accept your apology instantly, but the adrenaline and cortisol, both stress hormones, are overwhelming his thinking.
If he accepts your apology sincerely, view it as a positive first step. But, realize he might need space and time to fully forgive you and go back to his previous self. Don’t get angry if he doesn’t immediately pronounce you fully forgiven and act like nothing happened.
In terms of space, he might just need to spend a little time apart. Maybe it’s hanging out with his guy friends a couple nights or playing video games by himself. It could be that he pulls away emotionally a little bit. Just realize that this is normal.
When looking at the time factor, everyone is different. It might take him a couple of hours to calm down. For some guys, it might be a couple of days. If the situation is getting better, you should notice him becoming more emotionally available and happier.
Change Your Behavior
The most important part of an authentic apology? Making sure you don’t have to apologize for that issue again. So, whatever it is you did to warrant your apology, resolve to stop doing that behavior.
It’s easier said than done for sure! After all, everyone is imperfect and makes mistakes. But, you’ll want to sincerely work to not make the same mistake again and convey that to your boyfriend.
For example, if you spent too much money on clothes and can’t pay the water bill, you promise him that you’re going to not let it happen again. Then, maybe you hand him your store credit card to keep for a month. If you were messaging an ex, you show your boyfriend that you’ve stopped texting and blocked the ex on Snapchat.
These and similar actions show that you’re not only truly contrite, but also resolving to make the situation right.
An Apology Template
While these steps are helpful, some people visiting this article might want a template for how to apologize to your boyfriend. If so, this phrase will be useful. It includes all of the previous advice rolled into one phrase:
“I’m sorry for doing [list specific action]. I know I was wrong and I promise it’s not going to happen again. I hope you can forgive me.”
While that’s not a magical phrase, it is an honest, authentic apology that is focused on your wrongdoing, his forgiveness, and the promise of change. If you use this line, your chances of success will be much greater.
Best of luck apologizing to your boyfriend! Communication is key to having a loving, lasting long term relationship. By taking the initiative to apologize, you’re at least showing that you care enough about the relationship to humbly say you’re sorry. Let’s hope he can honestly forgive you and move on.
For more tips from the perspective of a man and a dating coach, we invite you to visit our For Women Page