Getting into arguments and disagreeing is commonplace in any relationship but what about those times when you do or say something that legitimately upsets your partner? Now, this doesn't pertain to a poorly made joke or not cleaning up or something silly; If the person you're in a relationship with is getting upset for little things you might want to take a step back and reevaluate.
No, what I mean is something major like if you're talking to an ex when you said you wouldn't, keeping secrets or lying, doing anything that could and would hurt them and maybe even knowing that when you do it. Finding a way to show you're sorry can be hard and it might take a while but if the relationship is strong and worth it, you'll be able to get through; there are some easy and rational things to do when apologizing to your partner and here they are!
Listen To Them
This is an easy one but it's also going to be pretty hard because you're probably going to hear all about what you did and it won't be fun. They're going to need to talk about it, air it all out, tell you how it made them feel and you know what? You're going to sit and listen, that is your job at that moment. You're going to want to defend yourself but being aggressive could possibly make the situation worse and while you should be active in the conversation and tell your side, they get to go first.
Face them, every part of you should look interested in what they have to say – body language says a lot and if you're turned away or slumped over it's going to come off as if you don't care. Being fully involved in the conversation will help you in the long run as well, absorb it all and remember it the next time something comes along that could cause your partner major upset.
There's going to have to be a lot of reassurance and letting them know that how they're feeling is warranted and okay. Don't say things like “I'm sorry you feel that way”, it implies that the fault lies with them for feeling the way they do, not with you. The best way to look at this step is simple – how would you want to be treated if the roles were reversed? Makes sense, right?
You would want to be heard and told that you have every right to the emotions you're feeling; it sucks so much to have someone who has hurt you ignore how you're feeling and brush it off as if it's not important so don't do that to your partner. But remember, acknowledging your partner's emotions will not make them magically go away; they're still going to need time to process and deal with everything so give them time to work it out.
Apologize and Mean It
This part could be tricky and actually take a while depending on the circumstances of your situation and because you want them to know that you're actually sorry. First and most importantly, show them by not doing what you did to upset them in the first place, this goes back to validating their feelings on everything and shows that you know you did wrong.
Second, don't say it if you don't mean it; what good is an apology if its empty. And third, don't manipulate them into forgiving you; this isn't going to help either of you and could potentially make things worse. Rushing or pressuring them into accepting your apology can lead to resentment and that's not healthy.
You can do small things for them to physically show them if you're unable to find the right thing to say – make them their favorite dinner, flowers, plan a night out or just show them love and reassurance because they're going to need it. Not giving an apology can be a deal breaker for some so make sure when the time comes for you to apologize you're doing it sincerely and from the heart.
Give Them Space
Sometimes the best thing to do is walk away and give them time to themselves. This could be the hardest part because most likely, don't want to do that, you want to talk and explain but if they're not ready for that conversation it won't be productive. How much time they need is going to vary from person to person and on the situation, wait for them to contact you or reach out after a bit of time to let them know you're thinking about them.
If they don't respond, don't give up but don't push either. If you share a home together this can be a little more difficult, so leave the room or take a walk, let them have their time alone in a space they feel comfortable in. The time you spend apart will help both of you get your thoughts together so a constructive and hopefully positive conversation can take place.
Something that may be forgotten in all of this is forgiving yourself; this could be just as important as receiving forgiveness from your partner. If you hold on to the guilt of hurting them, it's going to become toxic to you, your partner and the relationship. By looking within yourself and seeing what you can work on so you don't continue to repeat old hurtful behaviors can do wonders and help show your partner that you are truly sorry.
All of these things can be applied to a lot of different situations in a relationship, not just when there's a fight, the two of you are a team and there needs to be respect and understanding. Sometimes we're jerks, we let pride get in the way and we hurt the person we love, its then up to us to fix it and make it right.
You have to remember why you're in the relationship in the first place; you love and care about your partner and their happiness should be important to you. If you consider these steps and use them to help apologize you can begin to build back up what was broken.