Fixing a Mess-Up

How to Make Things Right when You've Screwed Up

Did you do something to make your partner upset? Did you do something stupid that you regret and wish you never did? Whether you cheated on her, forgot your anniversary or missed her birthday, there are some things you can try to do to heal your relationship. How can you make it better when you’ve messed up? You can’t undo what you did, but there are some things you can do to try to get her trust and forgiveness back. Here are some things to try.

  1. Own it. Admit you were wrong. Don’t try to pretend it didn’t happen or place the blame on someone else. Don’t try to tell her that if she acted differently then you would have too. Taking responsibility for your actions shows maturity and a willingness to really change.
  2. Expect her to be upset and accept that. There may be some consequences to your actions. Just because you feel bad about what you did and ask for forgiveness, doesn’t mean she’s not going to feel hurt and betrayed by you. Let her have her feelings. She deserves them. Give her space if she needs it, but don't run away.
  3. Write her an apology. Flowers are a nice touch too. Be sure to send or bring a hand written card, not simple a text message or email saying you’re sorry.
  4. Listen. Hear what she has to say and how your actions hurt her. Again, don’t make excuses. Just listen and acknowledge what you hear.
  5. Make it right if you can. Fix what you did wrong. You can’t go back and undo what you did, but if you can make it better, do so. Did you forget her birthday? Well, you can still buy her a wonderful present and whisk her away for a romantic getaway at the beach. Other things, like cheating, are going to be harder, or impossible, to fix. It might be better not to even try.
  6. Don’t forget what you did and don’t do it again. The biggest way to earn her trust back is not going to be by your words, but by your actions. And non-actions. If you promise never to do what you did again, don’t. Don’t make promises you can’t keep just to keep the peace.
  7. Ask for forgiveness. Be sincere. Simply say, "Will you forgive me?" Don’t expect her to forgive you right away. It might take time for her to let her hurt feelings go.
  8. Forgive yourself too. You can’t undo what you did. You can only learn from your mistakes. Take a look at yourself and ask yourself why you did what you did. If there are things about yourself that need improving, start working on them. Go to therapy, if that's what you need.

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