You may have gotten into the doghouse by ...
- forgetting an anniversary or another important date
- breaking a promise (again)
- being consistently late for dates
- getting caught flirting, texting with your ex or watching porn
- saying something hurtful, demeaning, rude or unkind
The severity varies and what seems like "no big deal" to you could be a very big deal to your partner. This is why you see (and hear) a strong reaction that lets you know, without a doubt, that your partner is mad.
When people find themselves in the doghouse in their relationship, they react in different ways like trying to minimize the situation and their partner's emotions, ignoring their partner's anger, apologizing immediately and profusely and/or purchasing gifts to try to make amends.
Think about the promise of the message on the flower shop's marquee!
Flowers, empty words and attempts to dismiss or avoid your partner's ire are not effective. Many of these efforts can backfire and lead to even more disconnection and conflict.
Instead, get out of the doghouse by doing these three things ...
1. Be honest with yourself about what happened and why. If you want to regain the harmony in your relationship, you absolutely have to own up to what you said or did. First, be honest with yourself. Are you clear about what happened that might have upset or hurt your partner? If you're not, then ask him or her to "please help me understand." The answer may surprise you.
Explore your motives for what you said or did. Were you acting from long-held resentment or anger of your own? Were you truly "not thinking" or was something else behind what happened?
Before you can make amends in a genuine way, you've got to have a good understanding of what happened and why it did from your own perspective.
2. Take responsibility for what you said or did. Say "I'm sorry" only when you really feel it. If you don't believe that you've done something wrong or if you feel completely justified in your actions, that's going to drown out any apology you attempt to make.
This is why it's so important for you to understand what you did and why.
When you can apologize in a sincere way, do so and be sure to take responsibility for your part in whatever happened. Even if your partner sees this as all your fault, don't take more than your share. Own your role and give your partner a chance to own his or her role.