Hi Darcy. My girlfriend of almost a year has never apologized to me for anything she’s done wrong. It doesn’t matter if she breaks something or makes a mistake or shows up late: Nothing is ever her fault.
How can I teach her that apologizing actually brings me closer to her and makes her more lovable?
There are few things that annoy me more than someone who won’t apologize. And the thing is, you can’t make them do it. Here’s why:
A person who avoids apologizing the way I avoided COVID has a fragile ego and usually has trouble understanding that they can be sorry for how they made someone feel, without self-identifying as an asshole. They tend to see things in black and white: If I need to apologize, it must mean I’ve harmed someone which means I’m bad.
But to an apology-phobe, the idea of saying sorry churns up shame, which they respond to by becoming defensive or by externalizing blame. They’ll dispute basic facts to avoid offering up an apology because their self-esteem feels threatened.
When they double down, attack, or blame circumstances, they feel empowered instead of shame. They often present as being strong, logical individuals when in fact they’re quite emotionally fragile.
To be in a relationship with this kind of person means you’re the one who’s wrong, because it’s impossible for no one to ever be wrong, so the burden falls on the emotionally healthier partner.
I like to see how someone handles apologies very early on in any relationship because where there is an apology-phobe, there is a martyr if there is to be peace. And I’m not down for that role. So if you can’t apologize when you unintentionally fuck up — which we all do — I don’t want you in my life.
I know that sounds harsh. But the path to healing an ego that’s incapable of acknowledging wrongdoing is very, very long. And while every partner comes with baggage, it doesn’t all weigh the same. I could not be in a relationship with someone who thinks she’s never wrong.
Sexual Orientation: Lesbian