I hate being upset with John. Even now, living in the same apartment, I absolutely hate arguing with him. We don’t often…but when we do, it’s usually my fault. No, I’m not being gallant or anything like that– it’s just the truth.
John has a longer fuse and is much more gracious than I am. I have knee-jerk reactions and tend to get upset quickly.
Apologies can be tough no matter WHAT the circumstance, but they can often be excruciating when you’re dealing with deployment or are in a long distance relationship. Trust me– I agonized over them while we were both dealing with deployment and in a long distance relationship.
Because I have a runaway imagination, during deployment, I was paralyzed with fear that the last thing John would hear from me would be the very last part of our argument.
I wanted to hug him and I couldn’t. Or, I wanted to at least be able to see his face rather than the scrambled mud-monster I usually talked to over a screwed up Skype connection.
These suggestions are what I’ve found that work well for arguments where you’re the one who definitely, honestly, no-excuses needs to apologize and you can’t have a face-to-face discussion and kiss and make up.
We’ve all been there. Don’t pretend like you don’t know what I’m talking about 😉
1. View the situation with love.
Take a breath, a hot shower, grab a glass of wine, eat some chocolate chip cookies (or just the dough) – WHATEVER you need to calm down after the argument.
Once you’re calm, view the situation with love. Yep, it’s totally hippie-dippy, and totally the first thing you need to do. Viewing the situation through the lens of love puts everything into perspective instantly.
And makes it so much easier to apologize.
2. Swallow your pride.
This is the WORST for me. As a perfectionist, I love being right…and hate being wrong.
Learning to be humble and admit when I’m wrong is an on-going struggle for me. But with practice (and I sure have a lot of practice being married,) it’s getting easier.
3. Be timely.
It sucks being angry when your heart is on the other side of the world. And it’s even worse when you’re not sure when you can talk again or when you can’t hug them to reassure yourself that everything is okay.
When you feel like you don’t have the ability to do that, it can make you feel like you have no agency at all.
Don’t wait until the situation is perfect to apologize.
Apologize the minute you’re ready to.
A timely apology is way better than letting your relationship smolder and smoke under the hulking wreckage of the last argument. If that means sending it via email, post, Facebook message, or Gchat (or if you’re so lucky to be able to call) then so be it.
The medium isn’t as important as the apology you’re making.
4. Be heartfelt.
An apology doesn’t mean anything if you don’t actually mean it. (It will often come out sounding like the continuation of your argument.)
Don’t apologize before you TRULY feel sorry and are ready to extend an olive branch.
Read the last 3 ways to apologize on JoMyGosh.com