Uh oh, there’s trouble in paradise. Your girlfriend knows she did something wrong and here she is with her most remorseful face and an apology on her lips. You’re not quite sure what to tell her because on the one hand, you’re ready to forgive her. But on the other hand, you don’t want her to think you’re a pushover who will forgive her every single time.
So what should you say?
1. “Thank you for acknowledging what you did.” You may not know exactly how to feel when she musters up the courage to apologize for what she did. However, don’t leave her hanging with silence. No matter what she did, she deserves better than the uncertainty of your silence. Instead, if you’re completely unsure about what to say to her, just start off by thanking her for acknowledging what she did.
Keep in mind that you shouldn’t simply say “thank you,” as she might think you’re thanking her for what she did – that’s some serious cognitive dissonance waiting to happen! Instead, you’re saying thank you to her because she took the time to muster up the words to apologize to you. Start with this acknowledgement first so you have some time to think about what to say next.
2. “I accept your apology.” If you accept her apology, say so. Again, silence really isn’t the best response at the moment considering she made the effort to say sorry. Yes, saying sorry is a small thing compared to what she did wrong, but we’re not here to judge her. Instead, we’re here to respond to her apology.
By saying you accept her apology, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you forgive her. It only means you accept that she says sorry, but you still need a little time to think about whether or not she should be forgiven.
3. “I forgive you.” When you have thought over what she did and you have decided that it’s not big enough of a deal to break up with her, then tell her you forgive her. This might make her breathe a sigh of relief, but it doesn’t necessarily mean she’s already off the hook. Just because you forgive her doesn’t mean you’re still not reeling from the pain of what she did – but of course that depends entirely on whether or not what she did is a big deal.
When a person apologizes to you, forgiving them is just the first step of many. But it’s still a good idea to tell her that you have forgiven her and that you’re willing to move on to the next step.
4. “Please don’t ever do it again.” What good is an apology if she’s going to do it again and again, right? So you need to remind her not to repeat what she did. If it’s something as simple as forgetting her house keys or forgetting to take out the trash, a simple response like this is usually enough to help her remember next time. However, if she did something very wrong like party the night away without telling you or losing her expensive engagement ring, then perhaps a more hard-hitting response is appropriate…
5. “We need to make sure this never happens again.” You never ever want her to do the thing she’s apologizing for. You want her to remember how much it hurt you, but you also want to take the necessary precautions to ensure it never happens again. This is the time to formulate a game plan.
First, figure out what made her do what she did. Perhaps it was an irrational spur-of-the moment decision that made her want to ignore you while she went out with friends. Maybe she just didn’t realize how much doing something like that could hurt you. Whatever the trigger may be, it’s important to know what it is so that you can discuss what she can do about it in the future.
Now that you know the trigger, figure out an alternative plan of action. Maybe she gets impulsive when she’s angry and you want to steer her towards healthier options of venting out. You can tell her that when she’s mad at you, instead of ignoring you, she can just say what’s bothering her. If that’s not going to work, you can ask her to write you a long litany of all the things you did wrong and you promise not to get mad. And instead of getting mad, promise her you’re willing to talk it over.
A relationship is about compromise. If you don’t want her to do the things that hurt you, you should also reinforce the positive actions she takes.
6. “I’m sorry too.” Let’s say she’s apologizing for something she did in reaction to something you did. Most of the time, this is the common problem among couples. One person apologizes while the other party refuses to acknowledge their flaws. It’s time to let your guard down and also tell her that you’re sorry for driving her to what she did.
If you had something to do about what she did, she also deserves an apology from you. It doesn’t matter if what she did made a bigger impact. Saying you’re sorry too will help her see that you can also lower your pride and apologize.
7. “Don’t worry about it.” Apologies aren’t always as big a deal as some people make them out to be. There are times when you can let what she did slide, and yet she still apologized because she’s worried you might get made. Assuage her fears and just tell her that it’s not a big deal. You forgive her and you just hope it doesn’t happen again.
If she’s super stressed about what she did because she thinks you’d be really mad, give her a lighthearted response to show her that it’s all okay. Give her your most charming smile and give her a hug to comfort her. This is the best response to an apology.
In a relationship, it’s important to own up to your mistakes and forgive your partner for theirs. Allow your girl to be remorseful but at the same time, comfort her and thank her for being the first to apologize.