The first degree of apology is for those small things that we could just let pass by without any apology at all.
But, if you truly love your partner, you will want to acknowledge even the smallest wrongdoing, and give a short but sweet apology to let them know you care. Your partner will be thankful that you are concerned with all of their wants and needs, and have taken the time to address why they are upset.
For example, my boyfriend’s work involves being contracted out to many different fundraising, and promotion events, that often run late into the night. I attend many of these events, but when I don’t, I simply ask him to send me a quick message so I know approximately what time he will be home.
If I don’t get a text, I wake up well into the night freaked out, worrying that something bad has happened. My anxiety is probably the result of losing too many people to road accidents, but it is still something I need his help with soothing, when he is going to be working late.
One night he forgot to text me, and I sat up until 3:30 am trying to contact him. His phone died, and he didn’t think to send a message from a friend’s phone. I was upset, all I needed was a quick update so I didn’t need to worry.
When he got home and I confronted him about the situation. He was defensive at first, and didn’t seem to think he had done anything wrong. After I explained where my anxiety came from, he offered the perfect simple apology.
He kissed my forehead, hugged me and said, “I’m sorry that I worried you. Next time if my battery dies I will borrow someone’s phone and let you know.”
No one is perfect, and sometimes, even the most organized person can forget an important date, event, or responsibility.
I’m not a freak over birthdays but a nice good morning birthday kiss, and tea in bed would be nice. But this year, my boyfriend forgot, and all I got was a rushed goodbye kiss, and no mention to expect anything fun later that day.
Thanks to social media, my boyfriend realized his blunder mid-day and called me, and he promised to make it up to me. He organized a nice gesture apology in the form of a dozen heart balloons *I’m not really one for roses*, and a delicious birthday cake. [Read: 25 simple and really sweet romantic gestures for everyday life]
A good gesture apology doesn’t need to be too big, but it can’t be too small either. It should be just enough to let your partner know you are truly sorry.
#3 The Wholehearted Apology
The third degree of apology is for those of us that have really messed something up big time. This apology isn’t for forgetting to call, or mixing up a birthday. It is in response to something that could cause serious relationship turmoil.
The wholehearted apology is somewhat less concerned with what you do, or what gifts you bear, and more about what you say, and how you follow up.
No amounts of flowers or chocolates are going to offer your partner the apology they need if monogamy was something you promised each other in your relationship.
The wholehearted apology thus should begin with some deep reflection on why you are in this situation in the first place, and where to go next. Even if you’ve done something so big that it might mean the end of your relationship, you still need to offer a well thought-out, wholehearted apology.
You need to think of exactly what it is that you want to say, and how you want to say it. You need to be honest, and insightful. Don’t say things that are typical, and what your partner is expecting. Say the truth, even if it sucks. [Read: 18 critical signs of an unhealthy relationship]
Wholehearted apologies are the hardest, because sometimes, you won’t be forgiven. The best that you can do is to offer your sincere regret, uphold the promises you made after the apology, and try to learn from your mistakes.
Apologizing in love
While these essential steps, and different degrees of “I’m sorry” can help you out if you’ve made a mistake in love and need to apologize, they are not fail proof.
Not all things can be forgiven. If you’ve done something truly menacing or cruel that could likely have a lasting impact on a relationship, regardless if an apology is given or not, forgiveness might be hard to come by.
It’s best to steer clear of such a situation from the beginning, and instead be honest and trustworthy throughout your relationship. Then you won’t need to do so much apologizing.
So the next time you’ve fumbled in love and want to apologize and say sorry, in a small or big way, keep these 8 essential steps and 3 different kinds of apologies in mind. And for your relationship’s sake, do the right thing!
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