It may be difficult to persuade your girlfriend to forgive you, especially if you have seriously hurt her and betrayed her trust. If you want to get back on her good side, you must express your genuine regret and assure her that it will not happen again. After that, you must be patient with her and allow her time to accept your apology. If she is ready to move forward, you can take your time and work on rebuilding your relationship.
Having a Talk
1. Please accept my heartfelt apologies. If you want your girlfriend to forgive you, the first thing you must do is offer her the most heartfelt apology you are capable of offering. This means you’ll have to swallow your pride and go see her in person rather than sending her a meaningless text. Choose a location where you will have some privacy and a time when she will be ready to hear you out; if she is too angry to talk to you, respect her and give her some space until she is ready to talk.
Make eye contact, put your phone away, and don’t look around when you talk to her. Allow her to see that you’ve eliminated all distractions and that her happiness is a top priority for you.
Keep it brief and to the point. You don’t have to go into great detail about why you did what you did unless you feel it’s absolutely necessary. What is most important is that you express your regret.
“I’m so sorry for what I did to you,” you could say. I can’t tell you how sorry I am and how much I wish I hadn’t hurt you. You mean so much to me, and I feel like such a fool for jeopardising everything.”
2. Make it abundantly clear that you accept full responsibility for your actions. Don’t say things like, “I’m sorry you think I did something wrong…” or “I’m sorry you were so upset when I…” This type of talk shifts the blame to your girlfriend rather than you, making it appear as if the entire situation is her fault, even though you were the one who made a mistake. If you truly want her forgiveness, you should avoid this type of conversation at all costs.
Make it clear that you were the one who messed up and that her reaction was completely normal and understandable. You won’t win your girlfriend over quickly if you mess up and make it appear as if she did something wrong.
3. Be truthful with her. If you want your girlfriend to truly forgive you, you must be truthful with her about what happened. You don’t want to tell her half the truth and have her find out the rest later, unless you want her to be even angrier with you. If you cheated on her, you don’t have to tell her every detail, but you also shouldn’t try to minimise what you did. If you ever want to regain your girlfriend’s trust, honesty is the best policy.
She will not forgive you if you continue to hold back or clearly lie to her. She’ll become even more enraged, and she’ll be even more hurt and upset with you.
If you’re concerned that your honesty won’t come across correctly, practise what you’re going to say ahead of time so you don’t end up hurting her even more.
4. Make a promise to her that it will not happen again—and keep it. If you truly want to show her that you’re sorry and that you mean it, make it clear that whatever happened will not happen again. Whether you were cheating, went missing for a while, or called her names, you can show her that you’ve thought about not doing it again and even give her a plan of attack. This will demonstrate to her that you are serious about improving your behaviour and retaining her.
If you cheated on her, you can apologise by saying something like, “I am so sorry that I cheated on you.” I’m not going to flirt with or even look at the other girls. I understand how important you are to me, and I will never do anything stupid like that again. I’m not going to disappear, and you can always call or text me to find out what I’m up to so you don’t have to worry.”
Keep in mind that actions speak louder than words. Giving her your plan for not hurting her again will go a long way, but keeping your word is even more important.
5. Demonstrate to her that you will change. If you need to take specific steps to avoid doing what you did again, tell her exactly what you’re planning so she knows you’re serious about not being a repeat offender. Look her in the eyes and tell her what you intend to do to become a better boyfriend and person. She will be touched that you tried so hard if you show her that you truly want to improve and will not revert to your old ways.
You could say, “I’m so sorry I called you names.” I’m going to step outside and take a breather the next time I get worked up, or give myself a few minutes to speak. I’ll make sure to think before I speak the next time so I don’t say something I don’t mean. If I can’t solve this on my own, I’m considering taking anger management classes.”
If you tell her about your plan, make sure you’re willing to follow through on it so she can trust you.
6. Pay attention to what she says. It’s likely that your girlfriend will have something to say to you about what you’ve done, and it’s critical that you listen to her. Make eye contact, don’t interrupt or contradict her, and wait until she’s finished speaking. Make it clear to her that you value her opinion and that she is important to you; when she’s finished, let her know that you’ve heard everything she’s said by carefully reflecting on her words as you speak.
You can work on your reflective listening skills. You can show her that you’ve thought about it by saying something like, “What I’m hearing is that…” or “I see that you feel like…” after she’s finished speaking.
Though you may be tempted to argue with her or contradict her after she has finished speaking, keep in mind that you are supposed to be apologising here. You can certainly express your point of view to her, but you don’t want to come across as aggressive, or she’ll become even more enraged.
7. Allow her to see how much you value her. When you apologise to your girlfriend, you should let her know how much of an impact she has had on your life. Tell her how amazing she is and how you’re a fool for putting your relationship in jeopardy; remind her of some of the best things you love about her, and show her how upset you are that you hurt her. While you don’t want to come across as sucking up, you should make it clear that you genuinely care about her and don’t want to lose her.
Be as specific as possible. Don’t just tell her she’s the most amazing girl ever; mention specific characteristics that show you’re paying attention to her.
You are not required to put on a show. If you truly care about her, she should be able to tell as soon as you begin apologising.
Earning Her Trust Back
1. If she isn’t ready to accept your apology, give her some time. Even if you’ve said your piece and done a convincing job of demonstrating how much you wish you hadn’t messed up, that doesn’t mean she’ll jump back into your arms. She might not be willing to accept your apology or even spend another minute with you. If this is the case, you must be patient and refrain from putting pressure on her to accept your apology before she is ready. You’re the one who messed up, and the ball is now in her court.
Be gentle with her. If she doesn’t want to hang out or even talk for a while, you must respect her wishes. While you may want to check in on her from time to time to see how she is, you don’t want to overwhelm her or she will become even more upset.
Tell her you’ll be waiting for her and that you hope to see her again soon. Allow her to see how hurt you are and how badly you want to see her again and make amends.
2. Take it slowly at first. If she does not want to spend her entire day with you right now, you must respect her wishes. She may be gradually returning to spending time with you, and you must be understanding that she needs some time to ease back into the relationship. Spend time together doing things like watching TV or eating lunch, rather than whisking her away on a romantic dinner date or weekend vacation if she can barely look at you. Begin slowly, doing the simple things you used to enjoy doing together, and build from there.
This also applies to being affectionate and intimate. Don’t smother her with hugs, touches, kisses, or try to hold her hand or put your arm around her every chance you get before she’s ready, as this will only slow down the process.
Allow her to make the decisions. You can go to a party with her if she wants to, but you shouldn’t force her to go out in public with you if she isn’t ready.
3. Maintain dependability. If you want to rebuild your relationship, you must be as dependable as possible. You must be there for your girlfriend and demonstrate to her that you will assist her if she requires a ride or a favour, that you will arrive on time for a date, and that you will be there for her if she is upset and needs to talk things out. Dependability is one of the most important characteristics of a good boyfriend, and if you want her to trust you again and feel safe with you, you must demonstrate it.
Don’t be a jerk to her. If you can’t do something you said you’d do, you’d better have a really good reason.
Be available whenever she wants to talk or seeks advice. Allow her to see that you are willing to go out of your way to hear her out and make her happy.
Being dependable is important, but you must also ensure that she does not believe she has the right to walk all over you simply because you messed up. You want to keep your dignity.
4. Make yourself available. To regain her trust, you must be available when she attempts to contact you. This doesn’t mean you have to drop everything to do what she wants, but it does mean you should try to answer your phone as soon as she calls or texts you. Allow her to see that you have nothing to hide, and if you’re going to be without your phone for an extended period of time, such as while watching a long movie in the theatre or at a baseball game, give her a heads-up so she doesn’t wonder why you’ve gone off the grid.
If you’re going out with friends, let her know where you’ll be and what you’ll be doing.
Though she is not required to monitor your every move, you should try to be open about your plans so she is not concerned that you will hurt her again.
If you’re going to be apart for a few days, call her and check in with her to show her that she’s still on your mind.
5. Don’t overdo it. While it’s important to go out of your way to regain her trust, you don’t want to try so hard that it appears you’re putting on an act or not being yourself at all. If everything you say or do makes it clear that you’re just trying to get back into her good graces, she’ll suspect you’re not being honest with her. You can make a concerted effort to win her back, but don’t forget to be yourself; after all, that’s who she started dating, isn’t it?
You can be more helpful, kind, and loving than usual, but don’t lose sight of yourself in the process. Make time to pursue your own interests and don’t devote your entire life to making your girlfriend happy.
If things are going well, you can get her flowers or chocolate, but if you give her too many gifts when she’s just not feeling it, she’ll think you’re trying to buy her love back.
6. Give her no reason to be envious. If your girlfriend needs to forgive you because you were unfaithful to her, you must ensure that she has no reason to fear that you will do it again. You can talk to other girls when they’re around, but don’t openly flirt with them or stare at them if you can help it. When you get a phone call or a text, don’t go to the other room or act suspicious when you answer it; instead, tell her it’s just your mom or a friend calling. Do everything you can to show her that you only have her in mind.
Okay, so it may be impossible to completely stop looking at other beautiful women, but you can try to limit it as much as possible around your girlfriend, keeping in mind how much it will irritate her.
If you were out with your friends and some girls you knew came out, you can tell her so she doesn’t find out from someone else.
7. Slowly resume doing the things you enjoy doing together. As you work to earn her forgiveness, you and your girlfriend can resume doing the things you used to enjoy doing together, such as hiking, cooking, watching all of the year’s Oscar-nominated films, or going to trivia night with your friends. You shouldn’t force it, but once you both feel ready to resume some of your old routines, show her how happy and grateful you are to be able to return to how things were.
Spend some time enjoying your girlfriend’s company and making her feel special. Concentrate less on making it up to her and more on enjoying your relationship again.
If she had any unrelated complaints when you irritated her, such as being always late for dates, make sure you acknowledge them as well.
Returning to a Healthy Relationship
1. Make her feel special. As your relationship becomes more stable, you can ensure that your girlfriend understands how much you care about her. If you already say “I love you,” don’t forget to say it at least once a day; if you don’t, make sure to compliment her and make her feel good about herself when you’re together. Tell her how happy you are to be with her and how much you enjoy dating her.
You don’t have to lavish her with love, but you should never take her for granted. Don’t assume she knows how much you care for her just because you’re hanging out with her; show her how much you care with your words and your affection.
Write her sweet love notes or even hand her a full letter expressing your feelings for her.
Be considerate. If she has mentioned a new book she wants to read, show her that you care by giving it to her.
2. Find a new activity to do together. Though returning to your old routine can help your relationship feel more stable, you can also work together to discover new things to keep your relationship fresh and to do things that don’t remind her of the time you hurt her. You can try a new sport, take a class together, or even go camping or to the beach for the weekend. Don’t just do whatever she wants to please her; instead, try to find something new and exciting that both of you will enjoy.
It doesn’t have to be overly complicated. You can simply learn how to make pasta together, join a bowling league together, or find a new director together. The most important thing is that you and your partner keep your relationship feeling new.
You don’t need to try too many new things all at once. Making an effort to do at least one new thing every week or two, while still doing some of the old things you enjoy doing together, will keep your relationship strong.
3. Open communication is essential. To keep a healthy relationship, you must commit to communicating openly and listening to her as much as possible. When you’re angry, don’t keep your feelings bottled up inside or become passive aggressive; instead, make time to talk to her about any issues in your relationship so that you both feel like you’re on the same page. Make an effort to truly listen to her and address her concerns, while also letting her know how you’re feeling. Strong communication is essential for any healthy relationship.
Learning to compromise is an important part of communication. When making a decision, make sure you can both find a way to make each other happy and that one person does not always get his or her way all of the time.
Improve your ability to read your girlfriend’s expressions and body language. She may be upset without telling you, and you will have to ask her what is wrong. She will appreciate the fact that you are paying attention to her.
4. Work on getting over the incident. After you’ve apologised and worked to rebuild a healthy relationship, you must be able to move on from what happened. While your girlfriend may not be able to completely forget what happened, even if she has forgiven you, you must both be able to accept what occurred and focus on the present and future rather than the past. You will never be able to fully move forward if you both keep bringing up what happened all the time.
Instead of focusing solely on making amends with your girlfriend, you should work on enjoying the relationship on its own terms.
Of course, if your girlfriend wants to discuss what happened, you should not avoid it, but you should also make an effort to have other topics to discuss.
5. Recognize when the damage has been done. Unfortunately, no matter how hard you try to change for her, there may be times when she will not forgive you. If you’ve done too much damage to the relationship to repair it, you should be aware of this so you both know when to cut your losses. If you’ve been trying to make things feel “normal” for months and just keep going back to what happened, fighting about the past, and still can’t open up to each other, you may both have to accept that you can’t fix the relationship any longer.
If you have the impression that your girlfriend will never be able to fully forgive you, you should have an open conversation with her about it. If this is the case, you should find out as soon as possible.
If you have to end the relationship as a result of what you did, the best thing you can do is to look at it as a learning experience and make sure you don’t make the same mistake again.
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