Although it can be uncomfortable to admit wrongdoings, the best thing you can do after making a mistake in your relationship is to offer a sincere and thoughtfully considered apology. You may find it hard to apologize to your boyfriend due to feelings of pride or insecurity, but an effective apology can go a long way toward rectifying a wrong that was done and moving your relationship forward.
Apologizing to Your Boyfriend
Make a very clear statement of regret by specifically stating that you are sorry for having messed something up. It is important that you offer both a statement of remorse that lets your boyfriend know that you are sorry and an acknowledgement of what you have done. Failing to explain what you are sorry for can make your apology seem flippant or insincere, while saying only that you are sorry and not explaining the circumstances of your remorse can weaken the apology.
Ask your boyfriend to forgive you for your mistake. It is important that, while apologizing and asking for forgiveness, you avoid offering explanations that could be perceived as excuses. It is okay to offer some context or explanation, but focus more on your own regret and remorse. Asking your boyfriend to forgive you is a way of acknowledging that you have done wrong by him and that you value his love and affection and would like to set the relationship back on course.
Attempt to understand how your actions have made your boyfriend feel. It can be hard to imagine the feelings of others, but by empathizing with your boyfriend, you will be able to offer a more effective and heartfelt apology. The most successful apologies are tailored to the recipient and take into consideration the recipient's feelings and personality.
Offer to make amends by doing something to fix the situation. Although you cannot undo your actions, you may be able to rectify the consequences of your actions. The best apologies include a form of reconciliation that is specifically tied to the transgression. For example, if you scratched your boyfriend's car, offer to have the scratch repaired and the car returned to its prior state.
- Journal of Psycholinguistic Research: How Effective Are the Things People Say to Apologize? Effects of the Realization of the Apology Speech Act
- Pick the Brain: 5 Steps to An Effective Apology
- Journal of Personality and Social Psychology: Interpersonal Forgiving in Close Relationships: II. Theoretical Elaboration and Measurement
- Journal of Experimental Social Psychology: Better Late than Early: The Influence of Timing on Apology Effectiveness
- Cat Saunders: Four Principles of Effective Apologies
- Be patient. Some people need time to process an apology and to consider their response. If your boyfriend does not immediately forgive you or respond positively, do not respond in anger. Give your boyfriend some time and remain calm.
- The timing of your apology can be very important. Apologies offered too soon can seem insincere, whereas apologies offered too late can seem like afterthoughts. Put thought into your apology before delivering it, but do not wait too long.
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.