Apologizing can be hard but the alternative is worse. In any relationship, arguments are normal, but what we do later determines if we will come out stronger.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on February 13, 2020. It has since been updated.
All relationships hit a bump from time to time and inevitably, couples argue about the big and the small things. That doesn't mean that the problems can't be sorted. An apology goes a long way and it strengthens your bond further. "A meaningful apology is one that communicates three R’s: regret, responsibility, and remedy," says psychologist Beverly Engel, according to PsychCentral. Whenever we apologize, it is important to mean it for anyone to be able to get past the hurt.
However, not all people apologize even after they realize that they have made a mistake. After all, everyone is different and will have different coping mechanisms. The way we behave after an argument can be revealing about the kind of people we are. This is what your behavior after an argument can say about you:
Whether you are the one who started the argument or he did, you might be more eager to put it past you. You hate the unpleasantness of the situation and whether you mean it or not, you say sorry just to diffuse the situation. This technique may work at times but more often than not you might find yourself having the same argument again. When you apologize first, while it may mean that you care about your partner, it could also show that you have been a little hasty.
Sometimes, going silent might be the best option during an argument but it's not always so. There may be times when giving someone the silent treatment only creates distance or is about exerting power. So, if this is your go-to behavior after an argument, it might be time for a hard look at why you are doing so. Do you find it hard to express yourself or are you trying to be more in control of the situation? If you use this as a punishment instead of a way of cooling off, this could be emotional abuse, according to Healthline.
If you like to ignore the fact that you argued and continue on, it may mean that you assume that your partner is also satisfied with the outcome, Lesli M. W. Doares, a marriage consultant and coach, told Reader's Digest. "But making a clear effort to reconnect is the key to a successful outcome. Sharing what you have learned after a fight can help repair the damage," she said. If you don't express your feelings, it can come up in other ways and that could be more damaging for the relationship. "Something triggered the fight that must be addressed," says Laurel House, a dating and empowerment coach.
After a heated argument, it may feel disconcerting if your partner wants space and you don't. And, if you feel the need to continue talking when they want to cool off, it could be because you feel insecure about the outcome of the argument. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, psychologist Dr. Hal Shorey said, "You don’t want to have a discussion while the other person is still hot. I can’t tell you how many people will think it’s better to say right away: 'I’m sorry. I was a jerk.' And the other person says, 'Yes, you were.' And then the argument escalates again."
If you're the one who seeks space after an argument, then you might be someone who likes to think before they speak. You don't want to say hurtful and damaging words that could have a lasting effect on your relationship. Instead, you want to process your feelings and say what you mean precisely. It could also mean that conflicts overwhelm you and it's hard for you to respond at the moment and you prefer having time to reflect on it.