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How to Apologize to Your Lover

by Karen L. Blair

Apologizing to someone very close, such as a lover can be quite challenging. It is difficult to admit when we have disappointed or hurt someone important to us, but it is important for our relationship that we provide timely and effective apologies when necessary. It is important to tailor your apology to the specific event that has transpired, but here are some general guidelines that you can follow when forming your apology to your lover.

The Ingredients of An Effective Apology

Provide a clear statement of regret to your lover by stating that you are sorry and specifically stating the event or action for which you are sorry. Simply saying that you are sorry without providing information about what you are sorry for can make your lover feel that your apology is insincere or flippant. Similarly, stating what you are sorry for without clearly making a statement of regret can make your lover feel that you are sidestepping the actual apology and that you are not truly sorry for your actions, but rather are perhaps simply sorry for their response to your actions.

Make a request for forgiveness. Asking your lover to forgive your actions must be handled delicately, as asking too soon can make you seem like you are rushing through the process and not truly concerned about their feelings. On the other hand, asking too late can make your request seem like an after thought. Asking for forgiveness from your lover lets you know that you value your relationship with them and that you have an interest in maintaining the relationship's harmony and happiness. Asking and receiving forgiveness is a way of restoring this harmony to the relationship and therefore demonstrates your concern for your lover and for your relationship.

Do your best to empathize with your lover's feelings. While it can be difficult to know exactly how another person is feeling, make an effort to consider how your actions may have made your lover's feelings. By understanding your lover's feelings and being empathetic, you will be able to offer a more sincere apology that truly addresses the consequences of your actions and sincerely attempts to rectify the situation.

Make an offer of reconciliation to your lover. By offering some form of compensation you are letting your lover know that you would like to make your wrong right and repair any damage that you have done. Although it is not always possible to offer a compensation that will completely solve the problem or make up for what was done, making the offer can go a long way in showing your lover that you care and that you want to make an effort to make them feel better. It is important that what you offer be closely related to what you have done. In other words, do not offer to get your lover's car fixed if what your transgression was hurting their feelings during a completely unrelated argument. For your offer of reconciliation to be seen as sincere, you must match the offer to the event or action for which you are apologizing.

Warning

  • Forgiveness can take time, so be patient. You cannot force your lover to forgive you or to accept your apology. All you can do is provide the best apology you can and then give them the time and space that they may need to consider your apology and their own feelings.

About the Author

Karen L. Blair has been professionally writing since 2001. Her work has been published in academic journals such as the "Journal of Sex Research," "Journal of Social and Personal Relationships" and "Psychology & Sexuality." Blair received her M.Sc. in psychology at Acadia University and her Ph.D. in social psychology at Queen's University. She is currently a post-doctoral fellow and research consultant.

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