How to Move on When You Make a Mistake in Your Relationship
We would like to believe that we're right 100% of the time, but unfortunately, that's not possible.
We are human and we all make mistakes, but it still doesn't feel good when you realize that you're wrong. It's even worse when you make a mistake in a relationship because you love your partner and don't want to hurt them. Sometimes it feels like your relationship will never move past the mistake or that you'll never be able to fix the problem, but that isn't a helpful mindset. It's equally unhelpful to avoid an error as it is to get stuck on it. The only way you can move on from a mistake is to work through it. Here are four ways you can move on from a mistake and create a stronger relationship with the person you're dating.
You can't fix a problem if you don't address it, and ignoring it will only make it worse. Acknowledging the mistake is the very first step of correcting it. When you talk to your partner, you want to be as specific as possible so you both know what mistake you're addressing. It can be a simple statement like, "I would like to talk about how I missed your performance because I was late to your show," or "I said that you weren't a good partner when we were fighting, and that wasn't fair."
Validate How the Other Person Feels
The next step is to validate your partner's feelings. The worst apology includes the phrase, "I'm sorry that you feel like I made you sad," or "I'm sorry that you were angry at me." This shifts the blame to your partner and takes responsibility from you. It makes it seem like their reactions to the problem were not valid. You can ask your partner if they want to talk about how your actions upset them. It may be difficult to listen because you never want to hurt your partner, but it's essential to listen and validate how they feel.
Apologize and Explain How You'll Fix the Mistake or Change Your Behavior
The apology can be the most challenging part. It's hard to admit when you're wrong but remember we're human and we all make mistakes. You want to be sincere and specific when you apologize. Also, a good apology includes a plan for how you're going to change your future actions. The template is that you acknowledge what you did, validate their feelings and then explain how you'll change your behavior. You could say, "I am sorry I said you weren't a good partner when we were fighting, and I know I made you sad. I will be more aware of my words when we are fighting and find coping skills that will prevent me from hurting your feelings when I'm mad." Then check in with your partner and see how they feel. That might be enough, but more significant mistakes may take a little more time to move past, and that's okay. Give your partner time if they need it and when they're ready, you can move forward together.
Make It a Learning Experience
We make mistakes so we can learn from them. It would be best if you weren't hard on yourself because we've all made mistakes in relationships- intentionally or unintentionally. Our reactions to the errors will make or break the strength of your relationship. The best apology is changed behavior. Whether you set alerts on your phone to prevent missing future performances or learn a few breathing exercises to deescalate fights, show your partner that you care for them and avoid future mistakes. We are not our mistakes, but we are how we learn from them. The great thing about life is that we get to do better and be better with every lesson we learn.
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