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How to Write a Letter Saying That I'm Sorry to the One I Love

by Dr. Sonya Lott, studioD

You have said or done something that was hurtful to your lover. Perhaps you didn’t initially realize your actions were hurtful, and, as a result, you didn’t apologize. But now you are sincerely sorry. Apologizing to a loved one when you have hurt them helps to keep the two of you emotionally connected. If you want to express your sincerity or you are in a long distance relationship, writing a letter of apology may help heal the hurt, while allowing your partner space.

Handwrite your letter of apology even though using emails and texts for communication is acceptable in today's world. Write your letter by hand to personalize it and demonstrate how much the relationship means to you.

Purchase a hand-designed note card or other stationery to write your letter and hand-deliver it if possible. Both actions require more effort on your part and communicate how special your partner is to you.

Apologize at the beginning of the letter. For an effective apology, take responsibility at the start for what you did that was hurtful, says psychiatrist Aaron Lazare in his book “On Apology.”

Don’t minimize your actions. Show that you recognize that you have hurt your partner and that you are not simply apologizing to avoid upset feelings.

Tell your lover that you regret the harm you caused and offer a specific way it from happening again. This gives reassurance of your sincerity and leads to more trust, according to Dr. Lazare.

Focus on your apology and the situation that caused the hurt feelings. Any additional content in the letter takes away from the primary point of the letter: to take responsibility for your behavior, acknowledge the hurt you have caused and provide reassurance it will not happen again, reports Dr. Lazare.

Tell your partner that you still love them. Reminding your partner when you experience conflict helps to maintain the emotional connection.

About the Author

Sonya Lott, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in Pennsylvania, who offers online and in office counseling to individuals struggling with grief, loss or a life transition. She also facilitates mental health workshops for educational, professional, and community groups and maintains a blog on her website www.drsonyalott.com.

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