Does a good apology make a difference in a relationship?

Because a meaningless “sorry” is not enough.

12 May, 2024
Does a good apology make a difference in a relationship?

Forget the fancy dinners and flower bouquets. For me, the key to a happy relationship is something far simpler (and often overlooked)—a well-crafted apology after a fight. Especially when your relationship seems to be stuck on the same track, playing the same fight over and over again; even on the most trivial things. 

Dishes left in the sink? World War III. Forgot to pick up milk? Silent treatment for hours. It’s very easy to dismiss daily bickering as an “adjustment phase” after the honeymoon stage is over. But what if it’s a sign of something deeper? Fighting daily can’t just be brushed off as a phase. The ideal thing to do would be to sit down and have a conversation with your partner about it, and maybe apologise if you’re the one at fault. 

However, a simple “sorry” can sometimes feel awkward and insufficient. A well-thought apology, on the other hand, can make a world of difference. And here’s why. 

It validates feelings 

A meaningful apology doesn’t only mean admitting you’re at fault but also acknowledging that you hurt your partner’s feelings. By recognising and empathising with your partner’s emotional experience you’re showing them that their feelings are important and that they deserve to be heard.

Mends broken trust

Daily fights, even minor ones, can chip away at trust in a relationship. A heartfelt apology shows that you recognise the impact of the argument and that you regret the pain you caused. This simple act demonstrates your commitment to the relationship, paving the way for healing and renewed trust in each other. 

Opens the door to communication

By expressing genuine regret and offering to talk things through, you not only create an understanding environment but also cultivate trust and empathy within the relationship, facilitating the exploration and resolution of the root causes contributing to ongoing conflicts. This open communication is important for addressing the underlying issues that may be fueling the constant arguments, paving the way for deeper connections. 

Less resentment, more connection

Unexpressed hurt and unresolved arguments can build resentment over time. A good apology acknowledges the mistake and allows your partner to move past the hurt. This leads to a more positive and connected dynamic within the relationship. When your partner sees that you can empathise with them and understand their perspective during a fight, they will automatically feel connected with you. 

Presents future conflict

A sincere apology not only acknowledges the underlying issues that led to the argument but also helps you understand the root cause to prevent them from reoccurring. This reduces tension within your relationship, cultivating a healthier dynamic and fostering an environment of mutual respect and understanding.

Strengthens your bond

Navigating conflict together and emerging stronger on the other side can solidify your bond as a couple. A good apology shows your partner you’re willing to work through challenges and prioritise the relationship. 

Lead image credits: Netflix

Also read: 5 ways to build trust in a new relationship

Also read: How to deal with a partner who gets defensive in conflicts