Why You Should Hold Out for an Apology from Your Guy

how to accept an apologyYou probably have at least one female friend who’s a bit too quick to forgive.

When her guy says something that hurts her feelings, she laughs it off. If he’s consistently late for dates, she just shrugs and says he’s got a busy schedule. She might even let big stuff go without a fuss. Stuff like flirting with other women right in front of her.

I suspect you have at least one friend like this because everyone does. We all know someone who holds in their feelings, rarely expressing anger even when it’s called for.

If you’re being nice, you’d say your friend is “long-suffering.” But really, she just lets the guy in her life get away with things he shouldn’t be getting away with.

It might be tempting to think she just has bad taste in men. But that’s not necessarily the case.

According to a recent study[i], people are more likely to repeat negative behaviors if forgiveness is offered immediately. The thinking goes like this: “If you’re not mad, it must not be a big deal, so I’ll keep doing it.”[ii]

In other words, we teach the people around us how we expect to be treated. And when you forgive others too quickly, you teach them it’s okay to treat you poorly.

If you don’t want to make the same mistake your long-suffering friend makes, it’s important to hold out for an apology when your guy screws up.

Here’s a three-step plan for doing that without looking like you’re just holding a grudge.

  1. When he messes up, clearly state your feelings without hiding emotion.

You’d be surprised how many people, both men and women, shy away from letting others know they’re upset.

If your partner has said or done something that hurt you, you should be able to tell him. Mature relationships can handle that kind of feedback. Besides, he’s never going to change his behavior if he doesn’t know it really bothers you.

So be positive about the relationship’s long-term future, but be open about negative feelings as they come and go.

Sometimes that just means saying you’re upset or disappointed. Sometimes it means showing him you’re upset. It’s okay to let him SEE you’re angry, but always treat him with respect, even when you’re feeling angry (just as he should do for you).

  1. Opt for some time out.

Of course, you don’t want to make a bad situation worse by showing too much anger. If you take things too far in step 1, you’ll end up owing him an apology!

After you’ve BRIEFLY and APPROPRIATELY shared how you feel, ask for some space.

That might mean doing something as simple as excusing yourself to the ladies room for a few minutes. If the offense is big, you may want more time.

Taking some time will help you come down off the emotional surge, but it will also give him an opportunity to process your reaction. It lets it sink in that this really bothered you. It will help him to not forget it.

This is his chance to side step defensiveness (the knee-jerk reaction we all have when criticized).  Hopefully, he will want to set things right.

  1. When he offers an apology, accept it… with an explanation for why you were upset.

After you regroup, he’ll be far more likely to offer an apology. When he does, that’s the time to accept it.

But before the two of you move on, take a moment to ensure he really understands the root cause of your negative emotions.

Say something like, “Thank you for your apology. It’s okay. I just want you to know that when you __________, it really hurt my feelings because it made me feel __________. I forgive you, but I just want to make sure you understand why this affected me the way it did.”

how to accept an apologyForgiveness is a good thing. It’s essential to a healthy relationship. But if you’re too quick to forgive, he may not take the issue seriously.

So, work toward solutions.  And consider that he may have experienced things differently.  But don’t let him off the hook just to smooth things over.  Talk it through so you can put it behind you.

When you do that, you turn minor mishaps into real growth opportunities, and you remind him it’s important to treat you like the amazing woman you are.

[i] Mcnulty, J. K., and V. M. Russell. “Forgive and Forget, or Forgive and Regret? Whether Forgiveness Leads to Less or More Offending Depends on Offender Agreeableness.” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 42.5 (2016): 616-31. Web.

[ii] Allan, Patrick. “Forgiveness Is Good, but Well-Timed Forgiveness May Be Even Better.” Lifehacker. Gizmodo Media Group, 06 Oct. 2016. Web. 14 Oct. 2016.

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9 thoughts on “Why You Should Hold Out for an Apology from Your Guy

  1. Mel said:

    I totally agree, I did this…but after about an hour, I accepted his apology explaining why this hurt my feelings. I heard from him the next day almost immediately, but of course..now it’s been another 2 days and nothing. I feel like he’s keeping me within arms reach, I understand work is crazy busy for him..but it’s always been and that didn’t stop him from picking up the phone. He used to be all in, I know I have 3 kids..he even adores…I feel like he’s scared or just doesn’t know exactly what he wants and as much as we were really good friends first…he’s got to know, this is not ok. He’s a grown man and I feel like he thinks it’s kind of a joke. :/

    • Lena said:


      I feel like I can understand your situation and would like to support you. From my own experiences with my man I can see that your guy might need more time to think through, what he did and what you said to him, and Why he apologized to you, and where all of it is going to. Give him this time, and wait till you hear from him. Find something to do for yourself and keep your mind occupied with things to do/read, watch/listen. Give him that space to digest the whole situation, be patient and not to jump into any conclusions until you hear from Him first. This is kind of showing respect to him and keeping your self-esteem up (respect yourself).
      If he is a good man (I am sure he is), he knows his faults, and were he was wrong, and he already apologized for that. You have to hold on and stay strong (and you did that already by saying to him). Do not change your attitude to the situation only because he is not contacting you now. Don’t be to easy for him! Be strong inside and stick to your believes. Men respect strong women. But be also soft on outside, when he calls or texts you show him respect and that you are happy to hear from him, be kind to him, and don’t be forgiving too soon! I know, it is hard to keep the balance, but it is necessary for your own goodness and for improving the relationship with your man.

      I am on your side, dear.

  2. Carolyne said:

    I definitely need to practice this more! I have done better but in so quick to forgive! I am in a long distance relationship where I go up there frequently and he has asked me to leave stuff up there so I do and he comes down here when he can we both work a lot but I have more time to drive back and forth but I had the feeling that he had a visitor and he admitted that he did but that she did not stay and I let him know I was not happy about it but I forgave fairly quickly even though I don’t believe the whole story so my question is should I confront him more on it because I haven’t heard from him in a couple of days even though I’ve called and left messages and we had that committed talk so I feel like I should ask him to call me and tell him maybe we need to take some space and think about what we want because I still am not real comfortable with the situation any opinion on this would be greatly appreciated cuz I’m learning how to not be the doormat because I was in both my marriages and both ex-husbands told me the same thing I was too forgiving and I made it too easy!

    • Anna said:

      I heard a wise saying once. If something he does, bothers you for more then 3 days, confront him about it kindly, because if you dont, it will wear you down and when you finally get the courage to say something years later, its gonna blow! And thats what we women do way too often! And ruin our relationship in the process. We let it go when we shouldnt. You sound like a very kind loving person! But i do believe if you dont stick up for yourself, that you’re not just harming yourself, but also harming the man you love. And what could be a beautiful relationship can turn very sour very quickly. James has many articles on how we’re supposed to handle situations. I am fairly new to this myself so i dont want to give the wrong advice. I think the article Authentic Self may be helpful for you:) and also the article Awakening Your Feminine Intuition. I found these really helpful to get the backbone to stand up for myself against someone who offends.

  3. Anna said:

    Exactly what i needed!! Thank you so much! For some reason, alot of us women have this thought that we should toughen up and get over it when a man offends us in a big way. I love how you show us that we have the right to be treated well. And how this actually effects men in a good way when women let them know that they cant get away with unacceptable behavior! I witnessed an amazing marriage, where the woman did not let the man get away with offending her, and at the time i thought her behaviour was kiddish, i figured she had issues, but the guy was so head over heels in love with her, and he was one of the most decent guys i’d ever met. His wife died , he remarried, and that woman let him get away with all bad behaviour, and the man became a different person. All the things i always admired about him , were pretty much gone. So yes, i’ve seen what a difference it can make. the man in my story, once again changed for the better when his second wife began applying what James outlines here. So ladies, dont be a doormat for your men! That doesnt produce love on their part! That only brings forth more bad behavior from him! And more anger from you! Love yourselves enough to be able to get love and respect from others

    • Imperfect man said:

      Well, complaining always has a cost.

      I think us men want to be responsive, and want to have a woman open up to us. And we want her to be happy, and emotionally supported. But at the same time…my ex took this to the extreme and always told me everything, even the things I had no idea what she was talking about. The result was I often tried to avoid interacting with her, because I never knew what she’d complain about. Everything that happened to her seemed to somehow be my fault, and evidence of a character flaw. Did I say she is an ex?

      • Anna said:

        That must have been hard for you. Sounds like your ex didnt understand men, and had major issues with herself.

      • Imperfect man said:

        Cluster B

      • danielle said:

        well your ex may have really took this to heart so maybe she just felt like she could really open up. Us women really dont want you guys to know, But we see everything. weather it be flirting with another female to totally just avoiding us. I had an ex partner who took total advantage of me and I let him because I didnt want to point it out and hurt his feelings and when i read this I did tell him how I felt and he left me. I guess some men take pride in hurting a womens feelings.

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