The One Thing A Sincere Apology Requires

No matter how much you want to be forgiven, saying you're sorry only works if you include this.

woman comforting man fizkes / Shutterstock

So, you found yourself in another argument with your partner and things aren't looking too great. And it seems no matter how much you apologize it only seems to be making things worse.

So, what can you do differently to make your apology feel more sincere?

Relationship podcaster Jimmy Knowles breaks down the one thing you need to do to genuinely apologize and fix almost any situation.

The One Thing A Sincere Apology Requires

"Listen, I'm all for apologizing," says Knowles. "But if you keep saying the words I'm sorry but never changing your behavior that's not taking accountability."


And even if you apologize guess what? It might fall flat in your partner's eyes if your behavior remains the same.


Knowles says, "Your partner is eventually gonna say I don't care that you're sorry."

And it's not about being passive-aggressive or rude; your partner is simply keeping it real with you.

Here's the reality, they are tired of hearing "I'm sorry," all the time. Yes, it's exhausting to forgive someone for the same mistakes over and over again. Honestly, it's not only tiring but also disrespectful.

Your partner doesn't deserve another false promise. What they need is a change in behavior or honesty.

@drkathynickerson Here are the four steps to change your behavior. The secret is to change in the smallest most specific way possible. For more on this, check out the book Atomic Habits by James Clear, it's one of my faves! ##atomichabits##infidelityinamarriage##affairrecovery##infidelity##triggers ♬ original sound - Dr Kathy Nickerson

And as their partner, you should keep it one hundred with them. If you don't plan on changing your behavior then let them know.


RELATED: 7 Crucial Steps To Formulating The Best, Most Sincere Apology Ever

As Knowles points out, "That would at least be more mature than continuing to say I'm sorry but never changing anything."

And if we're being completely honest, we need to ask ourselves a straightforward question: Are we genuinely sorry?

There are two possibilities here:

  1. You don't see your behavior as wrong. However, you apologize because you understand your actions hurt them.
  2. You're sorry and you genuinely want to improve, but you keep finding yourself making the same mistakes.

Which is why Knowles suggests these two steps.

1. Understand your actions

For starters, it's important to understand that your actions have consequences.


Likely, you've broken trust in your relationship. You've hurt your partner so much that they feel both defeated and on edge.

The truth is, they can't trust you even though they want to. And admitting this to themselves is an incredibly painful wake-up call.

RELATED: The Key Ingredient Every Truly Sincere Apology Needs


2. Explore their pain

When you understand your actions you need to start exploring your partner's pain next. Likely, your partner has buried their pain deep within themselves.

They know how to hide their pain and are already checked out mentally from the relationship.

This is why you need to sit down with your partner and talk things out. Acknowledge your past wrongs and listen to their pain, even if it makes you uncomfortable.

But remember, there's no need to feel ashamed of it. Being hard on yourself won't fix the real problem.

Knowles suggests, "Take accountability, and as hard as it is, admit you might need some help in this area."


Don't be afraid to admit, "I need help," because let's be honest, we all need help from time to time.

Just figure out what works best for you both, whether it's creating a schedule or even trying out counseling.

But the most important thing is to understand the problem and the pain you've caused. Then take active steps to work on it together.

RELATED: 9 Things You Can Do To Fix A Broken Relationship

Marielisa Reyes is a writer with a bachelor's degree in psychology who covers self-help, relationships, career, and family topics.