Swallowing your pride and admitting your role in having done or said something to hurt your boyfriend is extraordinarily difficult, but necessary. For the continued health of your relationship, asking for forgiveness can be the door you open to improved communication in the future. In addition, letting your boyfriend know that you still love him can reduce his insecurities in the relationship that may arise with disagreement. It’s important to express your feelings and request forgiveness in a way that allows you to accept responsibility for your actions, without also making assumptions about your boyfriend’s feelings. Clarifying what you’re both saying and hearing can help both of you move forward in your relationship and let go of past hurt.
Apologize to your boyfriend for what you said or did. An effective apology isn’t simply saying “I’m sorry.” Instead, include a statement that explains your feelings of regret for what you have said or done. This statement of regret, explains author Beverly Engel in “How To Give a Meaningful Apology,” is an expression of empathy for the effects of your behavior on the other person. In the case of your boyfriend, regret can be expressed by explaining, “I know what I said hurt you and I feel upset for having done that to you.”
Express your feelings of love to your boyfriend. Always start your expressions with the pronoun “I,” which gives your statement more impact than using “you.” Avoid blanket statements of “I love you,” and instead, be specific, such as, “I love your kind heart and sense of humor.” Don’t ask for or anticipate that your boyfriend will reciprocate your expression of love, especially if you and he have had a recent falling out or disagreement. Telling your boyfriend that you love him is an act of giving, not receiving, and clarifies to him how you feel about your relationship, despite its challenges.
Ask for forgiveness. Forgiveness should never be an expectation or demand, but it can and should be a request. Asking your boyfriend to forgive you, however, is an act of swallowing your pride and putting aside grudges and defensiveness. Ask simply, such as, “Can you please forgive me for hurting you?” Allow your boyfriend time to think and time to respond and don’t badger him for an answer. With your request for forgiveness, it can also help your case to add what you intend to change to avoid making the same mistake again. Be specific, such as, “The next time I go out with friends, I will make it a point to give you a call if it is getting late and I won’t be home.”
Change your behaviors to include those that show your boyfriend how you feel about him. Actions can define your feelings in a way that words cannot always capture. Consider the things you can do, such as cooking his favorite meal, watching a movie together or calling him unexpectedly. These are expressions of love that also convey commitment to improving the relationship. If you’re at a loss as to what to do to show your feelings, ask your friends or family members for ideas. No matter what you choose to do to express your feelings, keep in mind that you are doing it for your boyfriend, and also for the two of you as a couple.
Maura Banar has been a professional writer since 2001 and is a psychotherapist. Her work has appeared in "Imagination, Cognition and Personality" and "Dreaming: The Journal of the International Association for the Study of Dreams." Banar received her Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Buffalo State College and her Master of Arts in mental health counseling from Medaille College.
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