When you’ve hurt your partner’s feelings, how do you react? Whether you agree or not that your behaviors were hurtful, the actions you take next make a big difference in your relationship. Do you take responsibility for your behaviors? If not, this can damage the relationship.
The first step in taking responsibility for your behaviors is recognizing when you have hurt your partner’s feelings. Do you pay attention to how your partner reacts? Are you in tune with your partner’s feelings?
When you notice that your partner’s demeanor or behaviors have changed, do you address it? Do you try to ignore it? Maybe you leave the situation and try to give your partner “time to get over it.” Or maybe you act in an angry way so that your partner won’t want to talk about feelings.
Do you ever blame your partner? Perhaps you say that she’s “too sensitive.” Or maybe if she gets upset you tell her she “isn’t rational.” These sorts of comments place blame on your partner and takes away from your responsibility.
It is important to validate your partner’s feelings. But first, you must allow your partner to share what she wants to talk about. This means you’ll have to show that you are willing to listen, even if you don’t like what you hear.
Then acknowledge your partner’s feelings. Acknowledgement doesn’t mean you have to say you feel the same way. Or it doesn’t mean you have to agree with everything she’s saying. Instead, it just shows you hear what she is saying about how she feels.
Acknowledge your behaviors that were offensive. It can be humbling to admit you have made a mistake. However, your partner already knows you aren’t perfect. Acknowledging that you said something or behaved in a way that was out of line shows you can take a look at your own behaviors.
Apologize and discuss how you can do things differently in the future. Remember that behaviors speak louder than words. Repeatedly doing the same thing over and over and apologizing does not show a genuine interest in changing. Instead, if you are not willing to change, talk to your partner about this. If you are trying to make changes but don’t know how or are struggling to do so, consider therapy. Counseling can help you learn how to make changes effectively.