The last thing I did before I started writing this today was literally send an apology text. True story. It wasn’t planned; just a (un)happy accident. Either the universe is telling me something or maybe I just spend a lot of time crafting apology messages — but we can save that existential crisis for another day. For now, let's just take this as a good indication I am pretty well-versed in knowing what to text your boyfriend or girlfriend after a fight.
First, remember that there are pros and cons to apologizing via text. “I think it’s fair to say that it is almost always more effective to apologize in person,” Meredith Prescott, LCSW, tells Elite Daily. In-person apologies typically take more effort than digital ones – which counts for a lot when it comes to showing sincerity and remorse. So if you have the ability to say sorry in person, that’s probably what you should do. Still, a texted apology is better than none at all, and there are good reasons to choose the texting method.
Besides the fact that an in-person apology is not always feasible, a written apology can sometimes be more tactful – especially if you have a lot to say. You can edit a text before you hit send, making sure that you get all of the wording exactly right. Verbal apologies are not as forgiving. (Pun intended.) “Some people find they have a hard time communicating in person, and writing out their thoughts is more effective if they do it on text,” Prescott adds. This can be especially helpful if the fight is still fresh and tension is still high. In those cases, when it’s not out of the realm of possibility that an in-person apology could turn into a sequel of the fight itself, a texted apology after an argument with your boyfriend, girlfriend, or partner can be a way to say sorry while still giving your SO space.
A text provides that same advantage to your partner, too. There’s no pressure for them to respond on the spot. Instead, they can take as much time as they need to process what you had to say and how they feel about it before answering. Sending an apology text means you're accepting the fact you may not get an immediate text back. You’re relinquishing control of the situation by digitally putting the ball in their court. And although it’s probably unavoidable that you’ll be checking your phone every five minutes until they answer, there’s one way to make the wait for a response (slightly) more bearable: Ensure your texted apology is as genuine and heartfelt as possible.
Easier said than done, right? Believe me, I’ve been there. You stare at the screen and get a sudden case of shame-induced writer’s block. Don't panic. If you’re struggling to figure out what to say after an argument with your boyfriend, girlfriend, or partner, below you’ll find lots of ideas of what to text and when it’s time to make amends. Feel free to use these as inspiration for your next text apology.
- “Hey babe, I should never have [fill in the blank]. I'm so sorry I hurt you, and I promise I will not be so thoughtless again. Please forgive me.”
- “You mean everything to me. Seeing you cry breaks my heart. I am so ashamed that I hurt you. Please forgive me and I swear to do better in the future.”
- “You are such an amazing person and I feel terrible for letting you down. If you are open to forgiving me, I will work to be a better person.”
- “Hey. I feel sick about what was said last night. I would do anything to take it back, but I know I can’t, so all I can do is ask for your forgiveness and make a pledge to never be so careless with your heart again.”
- “Hi hon, I've had some time to cool down and I realized that what I did was wrong. I acted so poorly and I am so sorry. I hear what you said and I am ready to make the changes you need. Forgive me?”
- “I woke up this morning feeling terrible. I lost my temper and that is not OK. I am so very sorry for my behavior last night. I am going to get some help to learn how to deal with my frustration in better, healthier ways.”
- “I am an idiot. A really, really, really sorry idiot. You were right. Please forgive me.”
- “Hey. That fight was awful. I am so sorry for what I did, and I am willing to do whatever it takes for us to repair the relationship.”
- “I feel sick about our fight. I know I really let you down. I promise to do better. I am so sorry.”
- “I messed up. When you’re ready, can we please talk face to face? I owe you about a hundred apologies.”
Whether you decide to copy these apologies verbatim or write your own, there are three things every apology needs:
- Humility: There's no room for pride in an apology. You did something (or said something) that hurt someone else, so own up to it. You won’t solve things if you aren’t ready to admit your role in what happened and how things leveled out.
- Validation: You hurt your partner, so let them know you see it and acknowledge their feelings. Think about how you’d feel if someone did or said something that made you feel upset and/or disrespected and use those feelings to help guide how you respond to your partner.
- Concrete promises of changed future behavior: Apologies are just empty words if there aren't actual behavioral changes to back them up.
Also, keep in mind that no matter how good the apology, you are never guaranteed their forgiveness. If your apology is just a formality so you can "move forward" rather than a real expression of regret and a desire to do better, then you’re not really apologizing. Does that sound harsh? Sorry, not sorry.
Meredith Prescott, LCSW
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated by Elite Daily’s staff.
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