How to Mend a Relationship You Stuffed Up

Relationships are complicated, whether they’re with family, friends or a romantic or sexual partner. It takes a lot of effort to maintain them and to balance the other person’s feelings with your own. All relationships hit bumps now and then, and no one is a perfect person who never makes mistakes. Sometimes, even when you have a good thing going, you can mess up and sabotage a relationship. When you realize that you made a mistake, it can be tough to decide what to do next. Should you move on and accept a lesson learned or try to repair the relationship? If you want to apologize and mend the relationship, follow this guide.

Image credit: Sam Caplat @ flickr
Image credit: Sam Caplat @ flickr

Reflect on Your Mistakes

Before you think about trying to approach the person you hurt, you need to think about what went wrong. It’s possible that you both made mistakes. But you need to understand what you did wrong, not just how they messed up. Thinking about the things you could have done differently is an important part of beginning to mend a relationship. You know that ending the relationship was the final mistake. But what happened before then to get to that point? Consider how you were thinking, feeling and acting as relations between you disintegrated.

Work on Yourself

It’s important that you think about yourself before you attempt to reach out and reconnect with someone. When you get in touch, is anything going to be different? There’s no point in contacting them if both you and they are going to make the same mistakes all over again. Perhaps you need to change the way that you view yourself and others. For example, perhaps negative thinking and low self-esteem led to you destroying the relationship. If so, you need to work on that before trying again. You should take care of yourself before trying for healthy relationships with others.

Give Them Space

When a relationship has fallen apart, not matter who it was with, both of you are left feeling hurt and angry. You might realize that you have made a mistake soon after falling out. But it can be a bad idea to contact the other person straight away. Giving both of you a chance to cool down is sometimes best for everyone involved. In Charice’s Text Your Ex Back review, she discusses the suggestion that you should wait a month before getting in contact with an ex. 30 days gives you plenty of time to work on yourself and allow the anger and resentment to dissipate.

Deliver a Sincere Apology

Saying sorry is never easy, and sounding like you mean it can be even harder. Even if you are genuinely sorry, it doesn’t mean people will believe you. There are right ways and wrong ways to make an apology. Some people think they’re being sincere but often end up using the wrong words. For example, using the passive voice can make a difference. “I’m sorry I hurt your feelings” and “I’m sorry your feelings were hurt” are different. The second one suggests that any hurt feelings don’t have anything to do with you. It’s important to acknowledge and focus on the other person. You need to be willing to recognize your mistakes.

Image credit: Ashleigh W @ flickr
Image credit: Ashleigh W @ flickr

Leave Forgiveness in Their Hands

When you apologize, it’s essential never to expect forgiveness. You can’t demand it or put a time limit on it. It’s up to the other person to decide when or if they’re ready to forgive you. Even when they’re prepared to start reconnecting and rebuilding the relationship, it doesn’t mean they will forgive you. In fact, they may never be ready to offer forgiveness entirely, even if you have both moved on. You should remember that their forgiveness isn’t something you can control.

Don’t Expect to Put the Past Behind You

A lot of people talking about leaving the past in the past when they want to reconnect with someone. They suggest forgetting about all the bad things that happened and moving forward. While this might sound like a good idea at first, the other person may not want or even be able to do it. To leave everything in the past means forgetting about your mistakes. That could put you at risk of making them again. You need to remember that those things happened. Let them shape your relationship in the future.

Recognize When You Deserve an Apology

Sometimes, the other person isn’t the only one who deserves an apology. When you’ve made a mistake, you can be desperate to correct it. But it’s easy to overlook that you were wronged too. You need to be able to see when it’s inappropriate to put everything on your shoulders. When a relationship falls apart, it’s not always just one person’s fault. If you want to repair things, you should think about whether the other person needs to put some effort in too.

Rebuild the Relationship Slowly

When you start to open the channels of communication again, remember to go slowly. Don’t immediately try to communicate like you used to. Things are very delicate, and you don’t want to widen the rift between you. If they need more space and time, you should give it to them. If they don’t wish to talk to you at all, you should honor that too. Set a slow pace for reconnecting and don’t expect to be best buddies again as soon as you’ve said sorry.

Do Things Differently

When you’ve got the ball rolling, remember when you were reflecting on your mistakes. Of course, you’re going to make errors in the future, but you can stop yourself from making the same ones. Think about how you need to do things differently this time to keep your relationship on a good path. If you carry on as before, you could end up back in the same position.

Repairing a broken relationship is not an easy thing to do. It takes a lot of effort and willingness for both of the parties involved. If you want to do it, be prepared for a long journey.

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Prime Aque is the back-end guy of Self-Help. He is a blogger and WordPress front-end designer. Importantly, he is a husband and a father of three wonderful kids. His firstborn are twin girls. He loves writing and sharing.