How to Apologize to Someone Sincerely and Heal a Relationship
All couples fight — it’s inevitable! (And totally unrealistic to believe otherwise.) There are going to be times when you or your partner flies off the handle without thinking or makes a regrettable comment in the heat of the moment. It happens to the best of us, right?
This is why it’s so necessary to learn how to sincerely apologize — which is not always easy, especially if you’ve truly hurt someone. It’s tough to know that you’ve caused your partner (or anyone) emotional distress, but that’s what makes an apology even more necessary.
When it comes to a sincere apology, saying “I’m sorry” isn’t enough. It’s all about showing your partner that you genuinely understand the pain you’ve caused them and that you’ve reflected on how to avoid making the same mistake in the future.
So, how exactly do you offer a sincere, heartfelt apology? Here, we’ll take a look at the best pieces of advice for apologizing to someone you’ve hurt in order to heal and move forward.
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Don’t Rush Your Apology
When you’re in the middle of an argument, it’s easy to blurt out “I’m sorry” in an attempt to smooth things over. Unfortunately, offering up an apology just to ease the tension actually does more harm than good.
When it comes to more serious or complicated situations, you can’t truly apologize until you fully understand how the other person is feeling. The best way to figure it out? Ask them. Calmly ask your partner what’s going on and explain that you want to genuinely understand any emotions they are feeling and why.
Once you’ve given them the floor, sit back and listen! (And we mean seriously listen.) An apology is not sincere if you don’t have a full grasp on what it is you’re apologizing for. Practice active listening (make eye contact, acknowledge that you are hearing what they have to say) and ask them to clarify anything you don’t understand. You are then able to offer an honest and heartfelt apology that addresses their specific feelings and concerns.
Stay Away From “If” and “But” Statements
Starting your apology with “I’m sorry, but…” is a quick way to show your insincerity. Doing so can make your partner feel as though their feelings are not validated. When you say something like, “I’m sorry if what I said made you feel that way,” it shifts the responsibility away from you and onto your partner (which is not fair to them). Throwing in a disclaimer to defend yourself sends the message that you’re only apologizing because you feel obligated to — not because you acknowledge that what you did was wrong.
An apology should never be a debate. The reason you are apologizing is to address the other person’s feelings, not your own. Putting blame on your partner for how they feel, rather than taking responsibility for how your actions caused those feelings, does not constitute a sincere apology.
Don’t Just Say You’re Sorry — Show It
Actions speak louder than words! You can offer the most heart-warming apology on the planet, but if you don’t show that you actually mean it, the apology is wasted. What can you do to prove that you understand how your actions affected your partner?
After you apologize, come up with a solution or game plan to make up for the hurt you’ve caused your partner. Most importantly, follow through! Show them that you’re willing to put in the effort to show them that their feelings are validated and cared about. This includes speaking with a professional or getting help from wherever you need it. In order to change negative or hurtful behavior, you need to get to the root of what’s causing it — and sometimes you can’t do that alone.
One of the best ways to show your commitment to improving your relationship is by seeking advice from a professional relationship coach. The Relish relationship coaching app offers tailored lessons, insights, and more to help restore the connection between you and your partner. Download the app and get started with your 7-day free trial!
Don’t Text Your Apology
As tempting as it is to send an “I’m sorry” text after an argument, try to refrain. An apology over text is impersonal and a tad insensitive (especially if it was a big fight). You can’t truly convey what you’re trying to say over a digital screen.
The most effective way to apologize is to ensure it happens in person. After all, you can’t actually offer a sincere apology if you don’t honestly understand where your partner is coming from, and it’s impossible to figure it out from a heated text exchange.
Be Patient For Forgiveness
Depending on the gravity of the situation, your partner might not be quick to forgive — and that’s okay. The goal of your apology shouldn’t be to abruptly sweep your issues under the rug and forget they ever happened. The goal is to show your partner that you are sincerely invested in their feelings and will do whatever you can to heal their pain and restore any broken trust — no matter how long it takes.
If your conflict involves infidelity, remember that it will likely take a significant amount of time to rebuild your relationship. Cheating doesn’t always signal the end of a relationship, but that type of betrayal is enough to derail things for quite some time. If you and your partner are committed to addressing the reasons behind the infidelity and how to fix your broken trust, you can work on moving forward.
Restoring broken trust in your relationship is possible, and Relish can help start your rebuilding process. Download the app for access to personalized relationship help, along with advice from a professional, compassionate relationship coach. Try your first 7 days for free!
Remind Yourself That It’s Never Too Late to Apologize
If people leave your life before you get the chance to apologize, or things are so bad that an apology doesn’t seem possible, remind yourself that it is never too late to seek forgiveness from others. Even if you believe the idea of reconciling is hopeless, it is still worth a try. It’s not healthy to keep emotions bottled up, especially if you have the incessant urge to make things right.
If you feel like giving up on restoring a relationship with someone, think about what it would feel like to live with the regret. If you’ve hurt someone you love (whether it’s romantic or not), and you have the overwhelming desire to fix the situation, never stop trying!
Learning how to apologize to someone effectively is necessary for any relationship — not just romantic ones. Taking accountability for your actions, doing your best to understand the other person’s feelings, and following through with any promises to better yourself are all critical in offering a sincere, honest apology. It is only then that you are able to move forward, heal, and come out stronger in the end.
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