Do you own up to your mistakes in your relationship? Most of us struggle to some extent with that. Think over these phrases. Do you and your partner regularly say them to each other?
“I am sorry for hurting you.”
“I made a mistake.”
“I was wrong.”
“I’m sorry for being mean.”
If not, you’re missing out on some serious benefits in your relationship. And even if you’re good at apologizing most of the time, we can all get better at it. Just what could you be missing out on by not admitting you’re wrong? Here are five specific perks worth having if you learn how to apologize more.
Comfortability in Your Relationship
It’s tough business feeling like you always have to be right. That’s a heavy boulder to lug around each day. And, most of all, that’s a lousy way to experience your romantic relationship. You should feel the safest and most at home with your significant other.
But that definitely can’t happen if you regularly fail to admit mistakes. A great relationship should be like a cozy pair of slippers. They may not be the most dazzling footwear around but they just ‘feel right’.
That’s what coming home to your relationship can be like. The two of you aren’t perfect. Even awkwardly so at times. But, man, how much lighter the air feels around each other once you start admitting you don’t have it all together.
Asking yourself, “Am I wrong,” or, “should I apologize,” is a great start. Learning how to apologize without blame shifting is the next step when you mess up in a relationship. This isn’t the time for self-justification. The best way to say sorry is to focus solely on your shortcomings.
You’ll Make it Easier for Your Partner to Admit They’re Wrong
Ever noticed how not admitting you’re wrong gets passed on to your partner? One person in the relationship refuses to take any of the blame for a problem. And almost instantly, in many cases, the other mimics the same behavior.
When one person refuses to be vulnerable in a relationship, they make it much harder for the other to do the same. What happens when one person admits they’re wrong? Most of the time, the other person does the same.
The best news of all is that admitting you’re wrong usually makes your partner want to do the same! And it takes far less energy or frustration than trying to act perfect when you know you’re not. All people in romantic relationships are flawed. The sooner we all admit that, the easier it’ll be for our partner to do the same.
Positive Change Can Finally Happen
One of the worst parts of not admitting you’re wrong is you can’t grow personally or as a couple. Realizing your inadequacy is the first step towards positive change. When we fail to admit mistakes, we deceive ourselves into thinking we no longer need to grow.
Gustavo Razzetti aptly describes this tendency in his “Psychology Today” article entitled What If You’re the One Who’s Wrong?
“Even when we realize we are wrong, we keep denying it. Winning an argument matters more than learning something new—we love being right.”
The end result in a relationship is a stunted and bitter existence. Admitting your life and relationship need work, however, opens up all sorts of new possibilities. Now, instead of fighting with each other and constantly trying to defend yourselves, you can work together on personal and relational goals.
You Can See the Best in Your Partner
It’s human nature to hold others to higher standards than we hold ourselves to. This is especially dangerous in our most important relationship. Over time, this process clouds the reality of a relationship.
The temptation is to believe we are above the need for change but our spouse or partner can’t do anything right. And when this lie is perpetuated enough, the relationship breaks down. And sometimes this results in irreparable damage.
Once we start focusing on all the good we’re doing in the relationship and all the bad our partner’s doing, we begin magnifying the faults of our partner. You and your partner can break this cycle by regularly admitting your mistakes though.
This will help each of you to have a more realistic view of yourselves and your partner. The result is you’ll look for the good in your partner and magnify those positive qualities instead of magnifying the bad. Do that and your relationship will improve in a hurry!
Your Spouse or Partner Will Respect You More
The final surprising benefit of admitting wrong in a relationship is you’ll develop greater mutual respect. We all have a need to be respected by others. This is the truest when it comes to our romantic relationship.
Much like admitting you’re wrong, respect is also contagious. And this mutual respect will guard your relationship. It’s an incredibly strong glue that keeps you together. Your partner becomes your haven even if you experience a world of critics outside of that bond.
Many would agree that the final sign of death in a relationship is contempt. In other words, it’s a complete lack of respect for the other person in the relationship. And when that happens, there’s often very little that can be done. In light of that, admitting mistakes in a relationship is crucial.
Having said all of this, it’s not healthy to feel forced to apologize when you’ve done nothing wrong in a relationship. It takes wisdom to know when to apologize. Saying sorry too much in a relationship isn’t healthy.
If you regularly feel pressured to do this, it could be a sign of a manipulation tactic known as gaslighting. People who never apologize also rank high in narcissistic tendencies.
Do You Struggle to Own Up to Your Mistakes in Your Relationship?
If this is a challenge, it’s sometimes difficult to resolve it without a trained third-party to help. That’s where individual counseling, couples therapy or marriage counseling can make a big difference.
Being wrong at times is human. Through counseling, you can learn how to apologize to someone you love better. To take the blame when it’s merited isn’t weak—it takes courage. You don’t have let the fear of being wrong keep you from the relational benefits just mentioned.
If you and your partner long to experience these five life-changing benefits in your relationship, feel free to reach out to the OC Relationship Center. We provide counseling in Mission Viejo, California and therapy in Newport Beach, California. Scheduling an appointment with us is always super quick, easy and confidential.