1. Understand why she’s upset.
Knowing how to apologize to your girlfriend starts with knowing why you’re apologizing. Crafting an apology for snapping at her over dinner or embarrassing her in front of her friends is much different than, say, crafting an apology for cheating on her. But in any case, the key to a good apology is making it clear that you understand why she’s upset, and that she has every right to be upset.
2. Do it in person.
When it’s time to have the apology talk, if you can, apologize in person. Unless you’re apologizing for something small and non-relationship threatening, don’t apologize over text; it will mean more if you do it in person. (If you’re in a long distance relationship or not in the same place at the time, then apologize over FaceTime, Skype, or at least on the phone.)
That way, you can also bring a peace offering, if it feels right. It can be flowers if she likes flowers, but it doesn’t have to be. A cute greeting card, a coffee, or her favorite dessert will help ease the tension and break the ice.
3. Make sure to actually say sorry.
Now, on to the actual apology itself. Start by actually saying the words “I’m sorry.” It’s not an apology without them. Then, acknowledge what you did wrong. It sounds simple—you both already know what you did wrong—but simply stating what you did wrong back to your girlfriend will go a long way. It will make her feel heard and understood. Try saying, “I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings, but I did, and I’m sorry. I was wrong for doing what I did.” It’s simple, honest, and direct. Most of all, it’s effective.
4. Acknowledge her feelings.
Also, acknowledge that you respect how she feels right now. All your girlfriend wants to hear you say is, “I know you’re upset, and you have every right to be.” So say it. Knowing how to apologize to your girlfriend begins with validating her feelings.
5. Have answers to her questions.
Next, state that you regret hurting her. Anyone can say they’re sorry, but you want her to know that you actually mean it. So do a little digging. Why do you think you did to upset her? How do you plan on moving forward so it doesn’t happen again? Have answers to these questions and tell her. Don’t make excuses. Don’t be sarcastic. Don’t crack jokes. Own your behavior and be genuine.
6. Ask her to forgive you.
Finally, end by asking for forgiveness. Depending on what you’re apologizing for, her forgiveness may not be a given, so don’t assume that it is. Asking, “Do you think you can forgive me and trust me when I say that this won’t happen again?” will show her that you don’t take her or your relationship for granted. If she accepts your apology, say thank you. If she needs time to think, give it to her.
And don’t forget about the little things. Understanding how to apologize to your girlfriend requires empathy and compassion, so make eye contact with her, and don’t mumble through your apology. If she wants to talk, let her talk without interruption. If you can show that you’re making an effort in every way, she’ll be more likely to take you and your apology seriously.
Most of all, mean what you say. If you’re apologizing to your girlfriend just because you don’t want her to be mad at you, and you don’t actually think you did anything wrong or have any intention of taking her hurt feelings to heart, then it might be time to