Love Means Having to Say You’re Sorry
Making amends with the person you love and adore and see naked on the regular— what could possibly be hard about that? According to psychotherapist Louann Smith, LCSW, apologies are extra tricky in romantic relationships, where emotions run hot and you have a history.
Smith’s golden rule for being truly contrite: “You can only apologise for one thing at a time for it to really stick.” When you’re saying sorry for your specific screwup, don’t let it become a doorway to other issues in the relationship. That’s where those annoying “buts” come in (“but you always…”).
If you’re due an apology, realise that men are typically raised to avoid sharing vulnerability, says Lerner. “Many men say they’re worried that admitting they’re sorry will unleash endless anger and criticism.” So listen with an open mind, don’t interrupt and avoid shaming him further—you want this to be such a painless episode that he’s willing to experience it again… and again.