Things Not to Apologize for in Your Relationship
Whoever said “Love means never having to say you’re sorry” clearly hadn’t spent an hour in a house with two married people. For most couples, sorry serves as a convenient catch all that can stand for anything from "You knew it was your turn to do carpool duty" to "Yup, honey, don’t bother looking for that pint of Haagen Daz from last night." But even though it may smooth the waters in the moment, sorry isn’t doing your bond any favors in the long term.
“Women, especially, have a habit of saying ‘I’m sorry’in order to smooth the waters,” says Julia Colwell, Ph.D., a psychologist in Boulder, CO, and author of The Relationship Skills Workbook. “But it creates an odd power dynamic, especially when you’re apologizing to mask how you really feel.” Instead, Colwell urges you to go deeper and explain what’s really going on. For example, you arrive home an hour late. Yes, you’re sorry that your husband was suddenly solely responsible for dinner prep, but you’re likely also stressed-out, overwhelmed, and feel like you need some pampering. “By letting someone see the complete picture, including the fact that being on time sometimes just isn’t feasible, you’re forming the basis for a real conversation,” says Colwell.
And then there are other times when you’re actually not sorry at all. Instead of pretending, cop to the fact that you enjoy and are entitled to the harmless guilty pleasures you enjoy—and allow your husband the same self-indulgent freedom in his quirks, habits, and preferences. ”Every time we don’t tell the truth, which includes insincere apologies, we’re throwing dirt on the fire that sparks the connections between ourselves and others,” says Colwell. With that said, here are 15 things you should never apologize for in your relationship.
1. The fact that you really, really want another baby. Does saying it mean it’s going to become a reality? No. But whether or not expanding your family is feasible, it’s a desire that deserves attention and consideration. Otherwise, you risk becoming resentful and forever playing the if-only game.
2. That you can be a bitch without your coffee. We aren’t going to change certain things about ourselves. You may be cranky before 8 a.m., even if you love everything else associated with your newborn’s face. Being honest about it is part of living in a multidimensional, emotion-filled world. Offer your husband the same grace to be totally who he is. You’ll both be happier, if a little more disgruntled—and that’s okay.
3. That sometimes you think that if Handy Manny weren’t a cartoon and if you were single, there really might be something between the two of you. Just think of all the home-improvement projects that would get done. But seriously, a little what-if-ing is normal and nothing to be sorry about, especially if it’s limited to the realm of animated children’s characters.
4. That the barista at the coffee place is the only person in your life allowed to call you honey. Your husband can call you babe, hot stuff, whatever… but honey is between you and the man who makes your PSLs.
5. That you love his mom—but you know your lasagna recipe is better. What he doesn’t know can’t hurt him.
6. That you loved the purse he picked out for you. And by "loved," you mean you loved the fact that he included a gift receipt. It’s the thought that counts.
7. That you will never tell him what an inside joke between you and your BFF really means. Because, really, it’s not funny at all if you weren’t there.
8. That his sweat-stained, holey Madison High School Lions ’99 T-shirt is missing. And yes, you may have had something to do with it.
9. That you were right about when you should have left to get to the airport on time. There are some moments when it’s good to gloat. This is one of them. Give yourself five minutes of full on I-was-right-ing, then get those tickets rebooked.
10. That your toddler is mid-meltdown… and you’re late for book club. But remember, this means not waiting for him to say “I’m sorry" the next time he’s heading to band practice right as your toddler breaks down.
11. That you think his butt is "adorbs." And yes, that is the word you use when you describe it to your friends.
12. That you used his razor. It just works better.
13. That dinner tonight is cereal. Unless he has a better option.
14. That you distracted him at work with a suggestive text. Who said sexting is for teenagers?
15. That there’s no one you’d rather be driven nuts by than him, and that you hope the feeling is mutual. Because, really, isn’t that what love is?