There comes a time in every relationship when words start flying. Those times when, in the heat of the argument, you don’t recognize yourself or your partner. Within a matter of seconds you go from zero to sixty and truly show your crazy side, saying and doing things you know you shouldn't and that you know you'll regret later. But no matter the situation, what’s done is done. After the argument, when you and your partner are both back in character, it's what you do next that can either make or break your relationship: either forgive, learn and laugh; or damage things to the point of no return. After an argument, it doesn’t matter whether you thought you meant what you said or if you admit it was said out of anger. The only thing that matters now is that you know you were wrong and you’re ready to fix the damage you caused.
1. Avoid an On-the-Spot Apology. Immediately after realizing you just showed your behind and you let your inner demon take over, the worst thing you can do is spew an apology. Instant apologies seem to lack the sincerity of thought out apologies. The point of an apology is not to conclude an argument and push it to the back burner. An apology should show that you are sorry and that you wholeheartedly and totally know why you need to be sorry. Take time to ponder over your behavior and include your reasons for apologizing in your apology. If you can, tell your partner what you could do better next time. Make every word count and avoid saying “but” and “you made.” These phrases make it appear that you do not take responsibility for your actions.
2. Give your Partner Space and Time. The crazier you acted out, the more time and space you both need to reflect and sort things out separately. Jumping back into things too quickly doesn’t allow your partner enough time to truly evaluate his or her feelings and that is necessary if you want to be forgiven. Not only does time and space help both people heal, but it sets the foundation for a clean slate.
3. Communicate Face-to-Face. When you’re trying to revive a relationship that’s just been delivered a huge blow by your hands, technological communication is out of the question. That means no emails, no text messages and no phone calls unless they are to set up a time and place to speak in person. One-on-one communication allows your partner to see your non-verbal cues and will make you seem more sincere. If it means going out of your way, that’s even better.
4. Never Do It Again. Whatever wrong you have done, you can’t take it back. What you can do is make sure it never happens again. Make preparations to prevent the wrongdoing from occurring again and make sure your partner is included. For example, if you’ve lost your partner’s trust, become an open book. Remove the password from your cell phone, answer your partner’s questions with honesty, not defensiveness, and give in to your partner’s reasonable requests for more information. It may seem like a hassle, but if your relationship means enough to you, it's worth it.