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How to Apologize to Your Boyfriend – 10 Healthy Ways

Some people are good at apologizing and some people are me. See, I consider myself to be a fair and friendly person. So if I’ve done something to hurt or upset someone, it was never done on purpose. This makes it hard to say “I’m sorry” because what I really want to say is “it was an accident.”

Unfortunately, humans just don’t work that way and learning how to apologize to your boyfriend or partner is one of the BEST relationship skills you can have. Because, yes – there is a way to do it wrong and cause more harm than good. Here are my 10 healthy ways for how to apologize to your boyfriend.

How to apologize to your boyfriend – 10 healthy ways

#1 – Let Go Of Your Pride

This does not sound fun, and it’s not. This is the reason why so many of us have a hard time apologizing. We just don’t like feeling bad about ourselves. We don’t like feeling like we were wrong.

To make this clear, let’s use an example that happened to a friend of mine.

A group of us were hanging out and chatting when the topic of Ariana Grande came up. You know, the pop star with a very real voice and a very fake face.

So someone mentions Ariana Grande and my friend (let’s call her Sally) blurts out that her boyfriend (let’s call him John) LOVES Ariana Grande.

Clearly embarrassed, John says something along the lines of “what? No I don’t.”

At this point, Sally would be wise to drop the subject but she didn’t. She keeps pushing.

“What? Yes you do, you listen to her all the time and you told me how much you like her!”

John, trying to save face, continues to deny his love for Ariana Grande.

Sally continues pushing, saying things like “Wow, I can’t believe you’re lying in front of everyone. No one cares that you like her.”

I’ll spare you the details but he never did admit to liking her and eventually the subject was dropped.

Sally owes John an apology.

Later that evening (I know because people tell me these things) John mentions that it was totally not cool of her to embarrass him in front of all their friends. He says it was obvious that he didn’t want everyone to know and that she should have dropped it.

But Sally doesn’t want to eat shit.

She doesn’t think she needs to.

After all, she didn’t mean to hurt his feelings or embarrass him. She just didn’t think it was a big deal.

It doesn’t matter that she didn’t think it was a big deal – he did, and that’s all that matters. Instead of saying “no one cared” or “lots of people like Ariana Grande”, Sally should eat shit, accept defeat and apologize.

#2 – Admit your faults

One way Sally can start apologizing is by admitting her faults in the situation. She can say something like “I am not the best at taking hints, I should have noticed that you were feeling uncomfortable.” Or “I got too caught up in the conversation and should have dropped it.”

Explaining to the other person what you did wrong and why it was wrong is a great way to let them know that you understand why they’re feeling upset.

An apology isn’t about saying “yeah I did that on purpose to hurt you, sorry.” It’s about saying “I now understand how my actions hurt you.”

When you can admit your faults, it’s also a lot easier to swallow your pride because it’s more like saying “Oh now I understand why you were hurt.”

I love admitting that I understand something!


#3 – Don’t explain yourself

Letting the person know what you did and why it was wrong is different than explaining yourself. Explaining yourself tells the person why you thought it was a good idea to act that way and although it can help, it’s a very risky move.

My suggestion is to avoid it completely.

In the example above, Sally could explain herself by telling John the following things:

  • I didn’t think it was a big deal
  • Nobody cared or was judging you for liking a famous singer
  • I was just trying to be funny and make other people laugh

Although all of these statements are true, and Sally could use them to say “these are the reasons why I wasn’t trying to hurt you on purpose”, it can easily backfire.

John can see these as excuses or reasons why Sally thinks she wasn’t in the wrong.

This can escalate the situation because then John might feel the need to prove to Sally why none of that matters and she should still apologize.

nobody cares why you did it!

The reasons why you did something are irrelevant at the end of the day. All John wants to know is that Sally understands that it wasn’t cool, she’s sorry and she won’t do it again.

#4 – Say the actual words

Sometimes I find myself in a situation where I am fully accepting blame and I totally get why he’s hurt. He’s making some good points so I acknowledge that. I tell him that I shouldn’t have acted that way. I admit my faults and don’t make excuses.

But then when it comes to saying the two little words from hell, I can’t get them to slip out of my mouth!

“I’m sorry…”

Ugh the defeat.

I find that these words are the hardest to say when they are actually true and when I’ve done something really wrong.

If I accidentally elbow my boyfriend while we’re cuddling in bed, I can easily go “whoops, sorry”.

Yet if I have done something that I feel really bad about and I’m truly sorry, it’s a lot harder to say it.

This is a bad attitude to have. Although it can feel like hell to say those words, the truth is, they really mean “I love you.”

Try to remember that next time you’re struggling to apologize. It isn’t about you or your pride, it’s about telling him you love him.

#5 – Don’t push him

If you have done something really bad that has really hurt your partner, he may not be ready to accept your apology. Let’s say you got caught sending flirty texts to another guy.

That’s pretty serious stuff!

He might need some time to process and figure things out.

Learning how to apologize to your boyfriend in an effective way is a major part of the process but so is waiting until he’s ready to hear it.

Some people (mostly women) enjoy talking things out and getting things off their chest. Men often like to take time away and process things alone before having a conversation.

I was saying above that apologizing can feel awful but sometimes, if you’ve done something really bad, you just want to apologize and beg for forgiveness. You want the problem to just go away so you say sorry and apologize but that’s just giving you satisfaction, not him.

Be patient and wait until he’s ready to forgive. Don’t push him.

#6 – Physical Touch

One of the best tips for how to apologize to your boyfriend is introducing physical touch. Physical touch is one of the 5 love languages and is one of the primal ways that humans show love.

We are hardwired to respond positively to loving gestures of physical touch.

This is a great way to get his hormones on your side!

If you are feeling really sorry and bad about doing something to your partner, apologizing while also offering a hug or a kiss is a great way to show your partner that you really care.

#7 – Show the apology

Saying “I’m sorry” is important but there’s nothing in that statement that actually shows the person you are sorry. You need to prove that you’re sorry otherwise it means nothing.

The best way to apologize to your boyfriend is by showing him that you’re not going to do the thing again.

If he was mad at you for inviting your friends over to the apartment without warning him first, warning him the next time is essentially saying “I’m sorry for the mistake I made last time and I learned from it.”

#8 – Get him a cookie

Ok not necessarily a cookie but anything he might like! This is using the love languages of gift giving or acts of service in order to show that since you made a mistake and made him upset, he deserves some special treatment.

You can get him his favorite dessert, make him a special meal or get him that new game he’s been dying for.

#9 – Stay On Topic

Something that I have done in the past that is so damaging is to bring up his faults or things he’s done in the past in order to make yourself look better.

Let’s say he’s upset that you bailed on going to his mom’s family dinner last minute. You promised you’d go but then at the last minute you decided you rather stay home and get some work done.

If he’s telling you that this made him upset and hurt his feelings, you don’t want to be bringing up the other times he has done this to you.

I know it’s so hard not to fall into that trap!!

You SO BADLY just want to be like “Well you do it to me all the time.”

Or “Oh its a big deal when I do it but you’re allowed to do it whenever you want.”

There two primary things wrong with those statements:

  • If those situations were talked about and forgiven, they are in the past and shouldn’t be brought up again.
  • If those situations are open wounds that haven’t been resolved, you are building up resentment and this is unhealthy! You should have brought those things up when they happened or bring it up next time it happens.

Whatever the situation is, now is not the time to bring those up. Now is the time to talk about his feelings and apologize for you making a mistake.

#10 – Tone and Phrasing

Even the most perfectly worded and genuine apology can go haywire if the tone is not right. One snarky or sassy bit of tone and you come across as sarcastic or dismissive.

Even the kindest most genuine sounding apology can go sideways if you slip up and use accusatory or negative words.

For example, the old “I’m sorry I let everyone know you love Ariana Grande” is actually not as nice as saying “I am sorry I didn’t drop the topic when I noticed you were uncomfortable”.

Phrasing matters, tone matters.

If you need help with communicating in a healthier way, you might want to check out my article on “How to Fight Fair In Relationships”


I hope you guys learned how to apologize to your boyfriend or partner! Apologizing can be hard and it’s even harder if you have not spent time keeping up your mental health and taking care of yourself. If you need help with that, check out my FREE Self Care Challenge by clicking here.

Until next time friends!

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Lana Otoya

1 thought on “How to Apologize to Your Boyfriend – 10 Healthy Ways”

  1. As a man, all I need is that she admits her mistakes. Then no matter how ugly the quarrel was, our relationship will come back to the old times.

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