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The Ineffective Apology: Why Saying Sorry Isn’t Enough

May 30, 2024
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I’m guessing you’ve been apologizing to your wife for everything you’ve done wrong. But the question I have for you is, is it working? Is it really helping her? I remember apologizing to my wife and her saying something like, “Stop saying sorry, you don’t even mean it. If you did, you’d stop doing what you do.” I’ve heard other women say things like, “Stop saying sorry, I’m sick of it.” So, is it working? Why are you even saying sorry in the first place?

Most of us apologize because we’re hoping that by doing so, it will help our partners feel better. But oftentimes, instead of getting better, our partners seem to get worse. And when our partners get worse, so do we. We get so angry. We want our partners to heal so badly, and so we do everything we possibly can to try and help. But it’s not enough.

I remember working so hard to help my wife heal, believing the work I was doing would heal her. It wasn’t until several years ago that I finally realized that I could not heal my wife. Not even saying sorry worked. And I tried doing other things, like washing the dishes, putting the kids to bed, etc. But that didn’t work either. That was a hard realization for me because it left me completely powerless over my situation.

Most people in such situations become hopeless, and that was me for a really long time. I considered divorce many times because we just seemed not to be progressing in our relationship. But later, I became empowered. I realized that I could only fix me and I could no longer worry about her. That doesn’t mean I didn’t care about her. Of course, I cared about her. I just cared about her in a much more effective way.

I got better at not getting angry at her anymore. I got better at dropping my expectations of her. I wouldn’t apologize anymore and expect her to feel better afterward. I started to allow her to deal with her own problems on her own and in her own way. I stopped putting in my two cents, and I think she started doing the same in return. Now, although we still have a lot of work to do, our relationship has gotten so much better, and I’m grateful for that.

I still say sorry from time to time because I make mistakes, but it’s not so she can feel better. It’s so I can feel better and stay clean. And I know that when I feel better and stay clean, I think she ultimately feels better.