How to Apologize to Your Partner

August 10, 2021

No matter how hard you try, your relationship with your partner will not always be absolutely perfect, and that’s okay. There will be times where you fall into disagreements and things will be said that you don’t truly mean. Feelings will be hurt and trust will be broken. It sucks, but it happens.

No matter how hard you try, your relationship with your partner will not always be absolutely perfect, and that’s okay. There will be times where you fall into disagreements and things will be said that you don’t truly mean. Feelings will be hurt and trust will be broken. It sucks, but it happens. The hurt, however, does not have to last forever. Usually, when you hurt your partner’s feelings, the first reaction may not always be to apologize right away. For this reason, Dr. Jennifer Thomas, co-author of When Sorry Isn’t Enough, and Dr. Gary Chapman, author of The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts, have come together to develop the five apology languages.

We all have those times when we think we are right in what we said, neglecting that sometimes our words can be a bit too much to bear to the person who receives them. Taking time to breathe and recognizing that you could be the one in the wrong is always best. Although, sometimes just admitting you’re wrong and saying sorry doesn’t cut it.

Just like we all have our own love languages, we have our own apology language too. This means that your apology should be tailored to the person you’re apologizing to instead of apologizing in the only way you know-how. So, what can you do to ensure that your apology is received well by your partner? By learning the five apology languages, of course.


What Are They?

The five apology languages are composed of: expressing regret, accepting responsibility, genuinely repenting, making restitution, and requesting forgiveness. Like love languages, these apology languages help you tell or show your partner how sorry you are and what you are willing to do to repair the damage. It is about ensuring that all parties feel heard and valued.

Amy Olson, dating and relationship expert tells Cosmopolitan in one of their articles, Your Everything-to-Know Guide to Apology Languages, if neither partner understands the other’s apology language, “misunderstandings may creep in...The only way to avoid them is to know each other’s type and act on it whenever the need arises.” Don’t worry, we are here to help you with that.


What Does Each One Look Like?

1. Expressing regret

When you express regret to your partner, you are showing them that you know what you said or did was wrong. It can be as simple as ‘I feel ashamed for how I hurt you.’


2. Accepting responsibility

This one for me is hard, as it may be for some of you as well. But if you don’t accept responsibility for your contribution to the argument, then your apology will be null and void. It is best not to blame the other person or to say things like ‘I’m sorry you feel that way.’ It’s not very helpful. You want to make sure that you are taking ownership of your actions.  


3.Genuinely repenting

If your main reason for apologizing is to rush back to normalcy and enjoy the perks of being a couple, then your apology probably wasn’t sincere and could actually make things worse. You want to make sure that you are being as genuine as possible; this is not a situation in which you can fake it till you make it. Relationships don't work that way.


4. Making restitution

Normally, restitution is best described as an act of making good or giving an equivalent for some injury. In this case, the apologizer is required to justify or explain their wrongdoing. It’s not about making an excuse for your actions, but rather acknowledging that you hurt your partner’s feelings and open the door for your partner to express what they will need in order to find a resolution. This shows your partner you respect them and their feelings are important to you.


5. Requesting forgiveness

Requesting forgiveness assures your partner you want to see the relationship fully restored. They may need time to forgive you and that’s okay.  It is important that you continue to show through your actions that you are willing to invest your time and energy to make things better for your partner. This will lead to you both coming to an agreement and on track toward forgiveness.


Discover Your Partner’s Apology Language

Now that you are aware of all of the apology languages, you should learn which language your partner responds best to. So how do you go about discovering your partner’s apology language?

All you have to do is take the apology language quiz. Similar to the love language quiz, this is a multiple choice quiz that provides you with options on what type of apology you are looking for from your partner. It is also recommended that you take this with your partner, so that you both are aware of your apology languages and how to provide an apology that fits into each other’s languages.

To learn more about the apology languages, you and your partner can explore Thomas and Chapman’s book in hopes of continuing to apologize better in your relationship.

Having arguments in your relationship is bound to happen once in a while. As long as you and your partner are aware of the best way to apologize to each other, then you both will be able to come to a resolution quicker. Like the five love languages, this is not the end result, but only the beginning of your journey to turning your ‘I’m sorry’ into a more profound apology. Remember, you need all the pieces of the puzzle for you both to remain official.

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Emilia Rivera

My name is Emilia and I am one of the Blog writers here at Official. Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved everything about words from the stories it creates to the alternate universe escape.