We all mess up from time to time. We let others down, hurt those we love, and break promises.
These are normal behaviors and don’t make you a bad person.
However, we must apologize when we’ve hurt someone’s feelings. This is especially true in romantic relationships.
A sincere apology, one offered from the heart, can make a world of difference to your girlfriend.
In this article, we’ll explore several ways to apologize to your girlfriend effectively if you’ve recently hurt her feelings.
Remember that words rarely suffice, so we won’t promise that simply using one of the apology examples below will fix things for you.
However, we will explore the reasoning and approach behind each type of apology to help you make it your own, thus more genuine and effective.
How to apologize to your girlfriend
First things first, only apologize if you mean it.
Some of us apologize with a half-baked apology (‘Ok! I’m sorry! Let’s move on?’) because we want to smooth things over quickly.
Perhaps we struggle with guilt and apologize to get over it, or maybe our unforgiving girlfriend has cut us off, and we only apologize because we miss her. Such an apology means nothing and is likely to exacerbate the problem later.
So, speak from the heart instead of offering your girlfriend a half-baked apology. When it comes time to apologize, consider the following verbal apology guidelines:
1. Let her know that you regret your behavior
Let your girlfriend know that you regret what you did.
This is better than a simple ‘I’m sorry because it shows her that you understand what happened.
The biggest, grandiose apology in the world won’t make a difference if you can’t demonstrate your understanding of the situation to her.
Women want a man who understands their feelings, not one who will apologize simply for apologies sake.
‘I’m sorry about what I did. It wasn’t fair on you, and I regret hurting you. I hope you can forgive me.’
I truly regret what I did. I understand your feelings, so I want to tell you I’m sorry.’
2. Offer an explanation
Sometimes arguments and hurt feelings stem from misunderstandings and miscommunication.
If you’ve hurt your girlfriend’s feelings, you must apologize, but explaining why things happened the way they did may help diffuse the situation and make her more likely to forgive you.
For example, imagine your girlfriend hates appearing stupid in front of others, but you don’t know that yet. Picture a group setting where you tell your friends a story about something silly your girlfriend did while she’s there. Everyone laughs, and it seems harmless, but when you get home, she’s fuming.
If she’s honest enough to tell you she’s mad at you, why include your intentions in your apology.
Let her know that you understand that she feels hurt or angry. Also, let her know that you didn’t mean to make her feel stupid and that you wanted to include her in the joke.
Be mindful of over-explaining or justifying your behavior because that can imply that you believe the apology is unnecessary.
‘I’m sorry I hurt you earlier; I didn’t mean to embarrass you in front of everyone; I intended to include everyone in the joke. I won’t do that to you again.’
3. Acknowledge your mistake
One of the most respectable and admirable qualities in a person is their ability to take personal accountability for their actions.
Everyone is capable of this level of maturity, but not everyone is willing to take the first step.
When trying to fix things with your girlfriend, acknowledge your mistake. Doing so demonstrates that you understand what went wrong.
The alternative is not understanding and apologizing because your girlfriend is mad, not because you believe you did something wrong,
When you acknowledge your mistake, your apology sounds more sincere. Accountability, humility, and authenticity are involved in a sincere apology that lets your girlfriend know you mean it.
I see what I did wrong. It was a mistake, and I regret making it. I’m genuinely sorry, and I hope you can accept my apology.
‘I take responsibility for what happened. I see now how that was hurtful. I’m sorry.’
4. Offer to make amends
As mentioned earlier, the words’ I’m sorry’ rarely make for a sufficient apology.
A good apology begins with ‘I’m sorry ‘and is followed by an expression of regret, acknowledgment of your mistake, an explanation if appropriate, and then an offer to make amends.
So, figure out how you can make it up to her and let her know. It may take some guesswork, but you can ask her directly what she needs from you now.
If she’s still hurting, she may not be able to tell you precisely what she needs, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still try.
For example, if you were rude to a friend of hers, let her know that you want to speak to that friend and apologize. This shows your accountability and willingness to make things right.
I understand that I hurt you, and I’m sorry. Is there some way I can make it up to you? What do you need?
‘I’m sorry. I see what I did wrong and want to make amends. I’m going to…’
5. Follow through with your promises
It’s essential to offer to make amends when you’ve hurt someone. Equally important is following through with that offer.
Actions speak louder than words. People are reluctant to fully accept an apology until they see that you’re active in trying to fix things.
There’s nothing more frustrating than someone making a big apology and then making the same mistake again.
Following your promises is an effective way to apologize and a necessary trait to cultivate.
The source of hurt in many relationship scenarios is a broken promise. Learn how to make promises with which you’ll follow through by only making them when you mean to take action.
At first, that may mean making fewer promises.
Instead of making them from a place of urgency and fear, make them from a place of honesty, authenticity, and confidence.
There may be fewer promises made, but the ones you make will be easier to achieve if they come from a real place.
Consistency in your follow-through demonstrates responsibility and maturity and will go a long way in repairing the relationship dynamic.
6. Have patience
Just because you’ve apologized doesn’t mean you should be forgiven immediately.
All the pain your girlfriend feels won’t suddenly dissipate when she hears you say you’re sorry. Processing what happened may take her some time, and she’ll have to reassess the relationship.
You may want to control things by rushing her acceptance and forgiveness. You may be tempted to send an anxious or over-eager text message to see how she feels and if she forgives you yet.
Waiting in that limbo state where you don’t yet know if you’re forgiven can be excruciating, but bear it. Cultivate patience for your girlfriend and let her take all the time she needs.
‘I’m sorry for what I did. I don’t think it was fair, and I regret it. I hope you forgive me, but I understand if you can’t, or it takes some time.’
Showing your girlfriend that you have patience and that you’re willing to wait until she’s ready to accept your apology shows you care.
She knows you’re eagerly awaiting her forgiveness and bearing the discomfort of not knowing if it will come.
She will likely see that you’re sincere if you can offer patience and support without complaining or arguing for more immediate forgiveness.
How to say sorry without saying sorry
Apologizing is more than a simple ‘I’m sorry.’ Talk is cheap, and words don’t always suffice when someone has been hurt.
Instead of relying on words alone, try the following:
1. Use body language
We communicate most of what we mean through body language.
Our posture, body orientation, facial expression, level of eye contact, and even tone of voice reveal more profound messages and feelings that words simply cannot.
So, if you want to make your apology sincere, incorporate your body language wisely.
Make and maintain eye contact, orient your body towards your girlfriend, and pay close attention to her as you apologize.
Your presence will affirm that you’re there with her and that the communication channel is honest and open.
2. Find a way to thank her for her forgiveness
Forgiveness is not easy, especially when one has been deeply let down or hurt.
You love your girlfriend, and you know that you’re sorry for whatever you did, so make sure to find a way to thank her if she does come to forgive you.
A heartfelt thank you can make a big difference to the relationship dynamic jeopardized by your mistake.
Consider a romantic date or a trip together. Remember her favorite flowers, chocolates, or clothes and offer her a gift as a thank you.
You can also offer a simple yet still heartfelt thank you.
A genuine thank you message will show her how happy and relieved you are that you two get to continue the relationship.
3. Spend quality time together
Quality time spent together is one of the five love languages.
If you’ve done something to make your girlfriend feel hurt, then try to repair the relationship between the two of you with quality time.
Go on a date, set aside to make dinner and watch a movie, or be as present as possible whenever you two spend time together.
Hurt and pain in a relationship can jeopardize it, but the relationship can survive as long as both partners commit to it.
One way of moving on from mistakes and hurt is to spend quality time together (after you’ve sincerely apologized and offered to make amends, of course.)
An apology does not mean immediate forgiveness. Patience is vital when making a genuine apology because we all process pain and hurt differently.
One person may take a night to process and let go of an issue, while another may need weeks or months.
Be patient with your girlfriend, understand that you did the wrong thing, and ask her for her forgiveness.
Let her take all the time she needs to process, forgive, and welcome you back into her loving arms.
At the same time, you don’t want to end up constantly apologizing and begging for her forgiveness.
Relationships are a two-way street; even though you may be the perpetrator of her pain, it’s also on her to practice forgiveness.
If she doesn’t want to forgive you, that’s a more significant relationship issue that needs attention.