By: Dr. Love
If you are wondering how to say I am sorry after a bad argument, you aren’t alone. It’s common for couples to have spats from time to time, regardless of the length of the relationship. And to keep it real folks – sometimes those arguments can get rather nasty.
So what should you do say or do something that is over the top during a disagreement? What if the words that come out of your mouth are just plain mean? Can you do anything to show remorse in a way that helps to repair the damage?
Obviously, it is always a good idea to stop an argument before it gets out of hand. This can be accomplished by establishing basic ground rules for disagreements. There are times, however, when things blow up seemingly out of nowhere. This is particularly true when emotions run high or if alcohol is involved.
If you have found yourself in a situation where you have said or done something in the heat of the moment that requires an earnest apology, consider these 5 tips. While there is no guarantee these will work in your situation, they may help to warm the chilly waters that are flowing through your love life.
Are you ready? Let’s jump right in!
1. Own the wrong
The first step in saying you are sorry for something you have done is to fully own your behavior. This means clearly communicating to your mate that the words you used or the behavior you engaged in were flat out wrong. When seeking forgiveness, it is vital that you communicate your recognition that your actions were hurtful.
2. Make it about your mate – not you
When you apologize, don’t rationalize your behaviors or turn the apology into some type of justification that is based on a reaction to what your mate said or did. Doing could only make a bad situation worse and create a dynamic where you come off as a narcissist. Remember, this is about your behaviors and your actions and how they impacted the person you are with. Make the apology about your mate’s feelings.
3. Demonstrate sorrow in some way
In order to cement your apology in the language of forgiveness and empathy, it is important to demonstrate your intent with something tangible. You don’t need to spend big money to do this either. Simple gestures that are meaningful will be sufficient. Examples include making your mate their favorite meal or running an errand for them. You can even get a bit romantic and write a love note with words that represent your true, loving feelings.
4. Don’t expect instant results
After you have said you are sorry and demonstrated you understand the seriousness of your actions, it is vital that you let some time past. The wound you inflicted needs an opportunity to heal. It may take a few days for your mate to fully absorb your apology. Your penance will be having to stay in proverbial dog house for a little while. You may be tempted to continue apologizing during this period but don’t. Doing so will make you come off a bit codependent. Just let the apology stand in your mate’s conscious.
5. Avoid the behaviors in the future
Once the apology has been fully accepted, you may think that you have clear sailing ahead. This belief however, would be a giant mistake. Your mate will likely be ultra-sensitive and hyper-vigilant to a repeat performance of the offending behaviors. You would do well to make sure you monitor your actions and carefully give thought to how you react moving forward. If you struggle with anger management issues, this point is particularly true.
Avoiding major blowups should be the primary goal for most couples. Still, heated arguments can to the best of us. There is an old saying that when we love deeply – we hurt deeply. It is for this reason your words and actions can have a powerful impact on the person you are romantically involved with.
FYI: If you have noticed a pattern of arguments with your significant other, counseling may help. Some people find couples therapy to be useful with providing lovers the necessary skills and tools to work through disagreements in healthy ways. Others find one on one counseling a productive as a way of identifying toxic patterns.