"I'm sorry" is one of the best things we can say to our partner -- but only if we really mean it. When sorry isn't said with any feeling or followed by any change, then we can start to feel -- "I'm tired of hearing 'sorry'."
Sadly, sorry is either one of the most under-used, or over-used, words in relationships. Either way is a problem.
I hear "sorry" said almost every day in counseling men. But like a lot of the wives and girlfriends of these men, "I'm tired of hearing 'sorry'", when it's not really meant, isn't accompanied by any ownership, and isn't followed-up with any change.
Here's a short, but powerful post I wrote on Google+ about hearing sorry without change (be sure to click the Read More button after the first 2 lines to read the full post).
A guy I was counseling this week said to his wife, "sorry you're feeling that way." But he neglected to include his part in why she felt the way she did. It was clear he didn't really mean it. His wife later told me, "I'm so tired of hearing 'sorry'."
Here are 3 requirements that need to go along with saying "sorry":
- "Sorry" has to be said with feeling. It's best if it's personalized by saying, "I'm sorry;" instead just a generic "sorry." The bottom line is you have to really mean it when you say it.
- "Sorry" needs to be connected to our behavior. We need to take responsibility for our part in why saying sorry is necessary. Taking responsibility is best done by following the "I'm sorry" above with a description of what about ourselves we're regretful for.
- The most important part that makes a "sorry" genuine is that it's followed up with change. When we're really sorry we work at changing ourselves so we don't have to say sorry again.
Without all 3 of these pieces, your saying sorry can just elicit an, "I'm tired of hearing sorry," response from your partner.
Are you tired of hearing "sorry" too? Please share a little about why in a comment below.
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