Asking for space in a relationship

How To Ask For Space In A Relationship Without Hurting Your Partner's Feelings


by Laken Howard

Ashley Batz/Bustle

When a relationship is brand new and you're still getting to know your partner, it can be hard to imagine wanting to spend time away from them, doing your own thing. But the longer you're together, the more you'll realize that not only is it OK to need time apart, learning when and how to ask for space in a relationship is crucial for it to remain healthy. If you're used to spending tons of time with your partner, it might be scary to hear them say that they need space, but the truth is that asking for alone time doesn't always have negative, ominous implications for your relationship.

"Your partner asking for space is about their desire to get their social, emotional and intellectual needs met by others outside of their primary relationship," Rhonda Milrad, LCSW, relationship therapist and founder of online relationship community, Relationup, tells Bustle. "One person cannot satisfy all the needs of another and your partner’s desire to take space is their effort to take care of themselves and to return to the relationship nourished, enriched and replenished."

You might love your partner's company (and vice versa), but it's unrealistic to expect that your partner can fulfill all your needs: as individuals, we all occasionally need alone time to relax, as well as some one-on-one time with friends and family. If you want to start a conversation with your partner about creating some space in your relationship for both of you to have some time to yourselves, here are five expert tips that will help make (what can be) a tricky conversation go a little more smoothly.


Spell Out What Space Looks Like To You

Ashley Batz/Bustle

First thing's first: there isn't just one kind of space in a relationship. Whether you need a weekend away or just an hour-long run to clear your head, make sure you're clear with your partner about what "space" means to you in the context of your relationship.

"Indicate as much as you can what that space will look like," Effy Blue, a relationship coach specializing in ethical non-monogamy, tells Bustle. "'I need a walk around the block. I want to spend the weekend at my parents' home. I want to rent an apartment for six months on the other coast.'"


Use "I" Statements

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

Whenever you need to communicate about something difficult in your relationship, one easy trick is to always use "I" statements when explaining your feelings. It's a simple way of reiterating to your partner that your need for space isn't a reflection of your feelings about them/the relationship, but rather a personal decision that you made for you — and you alone.

"Use I-sentences and explain your why/intention: 'I need space because I need to figure out.../rest/collect my thoughts/write/work on this project,'" Blue says.


Listen To Your Partner's Concerns

Naturally, your partner might have some questions or concerns about your request for space. Instead of dismissing their feelings or giving them a vague, blanket-like reassurance ("don't worry, it'll be fine"), listen to their specific concerns and offer to come up with a plan or compromise together.

"Listen to your partners' fears and anxieties with a generous ear when your partner tells you how they feel about your request," Blue says. "Don't be dismissive. If it makes sense, make a plan to reconnect afterward."


Remember That You Are Individuals First & Partners Second

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

Whether you're the one asking for space or the one being asked for space, it's important to keep in mind that — as much as you might love each other — you and your partner are both individuals with individual needs... not extensions of one another.

"Recognizing our partner as an individual [and] not an extension of ourselves and/or a product of our relationships is vital to the longevity of our relationships," Blue says. "If a partner is asking for space they are taking care of themselves and we need to honor their individual needs. When I see clients struggling with partners asking [for] space — be it feeling hurt, offended, anxious — my response is more often than not, 'It's not always about you.'"


Agree On What Balance Of Independence/Togetherness You Want

Ashley Batz/Bustle

When it comes to asking for space, it can be difficult to know how much is too much (or too little). But according to Milrad, it's not about finding a magic "ideal" amount of space — it's about whether you and your partner are on the same page about the balance of "we" and "I" in your relationship.

"If you both define the balance in the same way, then together, you will determine how much alone time is right for the relationship," she says. "If you don’t, then there will be a disagreement in terms of whether it is too much or too little."

Ultimately, keeping a relationship happy and healthy doesn't boil down to having the "correct" amount of space or alone time — because that simply doesn't exist. What's really important is that you and your partner are able to communicate: about what kind of space you each want/need, how much you feel comfortable with, and what it means when you ask for more or less alone time. As long as you're both on the same page, you'll be able to enjoy your time together, as well as feel fulfilled and secure in your relationship when you're apart.

How Much Space Is Too Much Space in a Relationship?

There are some phrases that can send a chill down your spine when you hear them from your partner. If “We need to talk” is as bad as it gets, “I need some space” isn’t far behind. But the truth is, space isn’t a bad thing, even in a romantic relationship. It may make you feel a little panicky if your partner says that they need some breathing room, but space can be a positive force in a relationship. In fact, it can be a great thing.

What Is Personal Space in a Relationship?

Personal space in a relationship means you're taking time to put yourself first and do things that are just for you—choices that will make you feel great about yourself, putting you in a better mindset to take care of your relationship.

The trick is to get the balance right. If your partner says they need space in your relationship, something has gone a little wrong—either with the partnership or in their own life. So, whether you’ve been together for two months or 20 years, you need to take it seriously. The good news is that it’s an easy enough problem to fix—as long as you can balance giving them space with making sure that you don’t drift apart. If you do it right, you may find that having a little distance makes you feel more grateful for each other and, ultimately, brings you closer together.

So, how much space is too much? Here’s what you need to consider.

Why Do They Need Space?

The first thing you should do is talk to your partner about why they need space. Even if you feel defensive or strange about it, remember that it’s a totally normal, reasonable request for them to make—so make sure that you question it with genuine curiosity rather than getting defensive. It may be that they’re really stressed at work, or feel like they haven’t had enough time with their friends, or maybe they’re just feeling claustrophobic. When you understand what the root of the problem is, it will be easier to know how much space to give—and how to give it.

How Much Space Do They Want?

Once you talk to your partner about why they need space, try to get them to explain how you can give that to them. If they want more time to go to the gym or pursue a hobby, that’s an easy one to negotiate—you can find out how many times a week they want to do that. If they want something more nebulous, like “more alone time,” you may need to ask them to be a little more specific about how you can help them with that.

In general, you should do your best to make it happen—within reason. If they’re saying they want to go travel the world for six months and leave you with two kids at home, you obviously have the right to put your foot down. But, in most cases, you should be able to find a compromise. If it doesn’t feel like a huge shift in your lives or something that will draw a wedge between you, it’s probably OK.

How Can You Check in While Still Giving Them Space?

How do you make sure you give your partner enough space without feeling like you’re drifting away from each other? The key is to make sure that you check in regularly. Space between you doesn't have to feel like distance between you—if you do it right. So tell your partner that you're sorry that they’re struggling and you want to be able to give them the space they need but suggest that you check in every Sunday or every other week. It’s just a chance to touch base, see how things are progressing, and if your partner is feeling any better. It’s also an opportunity to air any concerns you have and talk about how it’s affecting the relationship—positively or negatively. Even if your partner needs space, you still have your own needs that should be considered, so explain that you’ll feel better if you two can stay connected that way. Communication is key.

Just make sure that you find a way to stay connected and touch base with each other as to not drift apart.

How Does It Fit Into Your Relationship as a Whole?

Although most requests for space will be totally reasonable, you do need to consider your relationship as a whole. If your partner has a history of cheating, lying, or refusing to be tied down or take your needs into account, then asking for space may actually just be a way of manipulating or gaslighting you. You know your partner. If they are normally good to you and you have a strong relationship, asking for space is probably a genuine request. But if your relationship is tumultuous or toxic, you may need to be a little more suspicious about what it means. Normally, though, it’s nothing to worry about.

If your partner says they need space, it’s easy to panic and think you’ve done something wrong—but the truth is, a little bit of space is healthy in a relationship. Sometimes we start spending too much time together or we miss our friends or we just aren’t feeling like ourselves—and space can help reset the balance. So if your partner says they need some time or some breathing room, trust their instincts and do your best to make it happen. But if you get it right, a little space and a little perspective can make your relationship stronger than ever.

44 Great Date Ideas to Keep Your Marriage Fresh

How to build relationships in a couple. Interview with a psychologist

Olga Primachenko's new book "I'm at home with you" has been published. It tells what practices in relationships help build trusting communication, find mutual understanding and maintain intimacy. We spoke with the author about what are usually the most pressing problems in a relationship and what can be done to solve them.

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Olga Primachenko, journalist, psychologist, author of the books “To Myself Gently” and “I’m Home With You”, a certified specialist in working with metaphorical associative cards

What are the most common problems couples face today?

First of all, this is an emotional dependence, when our emotional state is inadequately strongly dependent on the behavior, words and thoughts of a partner. We endlessly analyze whether everything is fine with us in a couple, and endlessly lie on the imaginary couch of a psychoanalyst instead of loving and living. In this case, one of the partners develops incredible sensitivity to the slightest signals of “ill-being” in a couple - not “that” intonation, not “that” look, not “that” looked - and begins to worry, worry and take out the brain of another.

There is also the problem of violence. When one says, "You're hurting me, stop it," and the other doesn't respond because they're blinded by anger or don't think their partner has a say at all. Violence can be not only physical, when beaten, but also sexual, when forced to have sex, economic, when financially controlled and exploited as servants, and psychological, when intimidated and insulted.

Among the frequent problems is also a fading libido. When you no longer want to touch your partner, hug him and kiss him. Sex happens less and less, and thoughts about someone else or a breakup appear more often.

Next to him - boredom or fatigue from each other. When everything is so smooth that nothing. Or vice versa - a lot of emotions, but all negative: the partner is annoying and seems to consist of some shortcomings and mad features. Or he “stopped in development”: he doesn’t need anything, he is ready to lie on the couch and watch TV shows, while the other one is still interested in life, he still wants to try new things, move somewhere.

What are the main causes of these problems?

That life is unpredictable, and there are no guarantees in love. The bitter truth: tomorrow everything can go awry, you can never foresee everything to the smallest detail and prepare for everything.

For the last couple of years we have been living in conditions of terrible stress, fears about the future and the inability to really rely on anything: we plan carefully - for a maximum of a month. Naturally, not everyone has enough mental strength to remain "in the resource, moment and adequate" - we are more often irritated, more often angry, more often afraid, and therefore - more often we break down on each other.

As the comedian Pavel Rodevich wittily noted, “due to the general self-isolation around the world, the number of divorces has increased: it turns out that when choosing a person for life, people did not think that they would have to live with him for a whole week.”

The myth of ideal love also does a lot of harm. In short: in a couple, everything should always be good, smooth and sweet, therefore, if ugly feelings, quarrels and misunderstandings suddenly arise, then “everything is gone”, this is definitely a sign that love is over.

And not the best contribution to the formation of a model of healthy relationships is made by media culture, which presents love as eternal suffering, wrapped in a wrapper with a drama effect. Unfortunately, the same teenagers, who often do not have a clear example of a warm and trusting relationship between their parents, learn exactly this: love is not about quiet joy, but about “passionately quarreling, leaving and returning”, and the brighter the emotions in the relationship, the stronger it is. "the present". And then we get what we get: the belief that "butterflies in the stomach" should flutter to a ripe old age and "if your party is not like this, don't even try to invite me."

Do modern couples have any particular problems? Which?

I am not a family psychologist and cannot rely on direct experience of counseling practice, but what I hear in personal conversations allows me to note the following: modern women who are used to working hard and earning good money find it very difficult to go on maternity leave when I have to ask for money "for myself" from my husband. There is also a stark contrast between the amount of recognition a woman has received at work and the amount she is receiving now: so, instead of admiring a great deal closed or the most difficult negotiations successfully carried out, it’s good if a husband appreciates how much she does around the house, and does not ask: “You I just sat at home with the baby all day. What could make you so tired? This depreciation is incredibly destructive for the union and detrimental to the woman's self-esteem.

If it's so complicated, why do people keep being together? If economic and social conditions allow to be alone?

Because like Tarkovsky in Solaris: “We don't know what to do with other worlds. We don't need other worlds. Human needs human".

Our biology is prosocial: in infancy, we calm down not because mom says: “Hush, hush, everything is fine” (we are simply not yet able to understand words), but because we synchronize with her even breathing, feel her soft touch, hear warmth in her voice, we see her look filled with tenderness. In moments of danger and stress, we are not looking for logical explanations (we are looking for them later, having calmed down), but for another person. A shoulder to lean on. A hug that restores our faith that the worst is over, to live safely again.

The world is stormy and shaking, and today the need for another person — one who, unlike the chatter outside the window, is reliable and predictable, grows many times over.

Why, then, is the idea that being alone is not at all scary?

It's really scary to be alone! Even if we can take great care of ourselves (young, healthy) and buy ourselves half the world, we still have a deeply normal need to be with someone. To be "seen", reflected, recognized by this someone. It’s not for nothing that “loneliness together” is so frightening - when it’s like being married, but they look at you like an empty place.

Let's look at self-sufficiency. What does her healthy form look like? How to distinguish it from violation of attachment, fear of rejection and other things?

A healthy form of self-sufficiency is when "I love you and myself." That is, I understand who I am and what is important to me, and I realize in which of my relationship needs I can “move” and in which I can’t, because without their satisfaction I will slowly and painfully die. For example, someone likes to read a lot, and it is very important for him to discuss what he read and share his impressions of the book. It's okay if your partner doesn't like to read. It is not necessary to forcefully draw him into “literary” conversations or consider him somehow wrong because of this feature. You can take your soul away in a reading club or with friends who love to read. To show self-sufficiency in such a situation is not to give up one's need, but to find how to satisfy it in another way, that is, to make oneself feel good without harming the partner and not considering one's marriage a failure.

When attachment is broken under “self-sufficiency”, a person hides the refusal of intimacy and the fear of it: “I don’t need anyone, I feel good alone.” Such people can even perceive a caring request “Call me, please, when you get there” with hostility and interpret it as a violation of their boundaries (“What else, I won’t report to anyone!”). Having no experience of secure attachment, they carry their self-sufficiency like a flag: proudly and defiantly. “I can manage without you”, “I can handle it myself”, “See you when we see each other, that’s all for now.” And there's nothing you can do about it: until the person himself realizes that he has problems establishing normal relationships (that is, it's about himself, and not about retrograde Mercury and "tantrums around"), trying to "cure and save" him is a waste forces.

As I write in my book, you can endure a lot "in the name" and then one day leave - for yourself. No need to play rescuers and believe that you can overcome the weaknesses of your partner with the power of your love. Healthy relationships are not about that.

Personal therapy in marriage: how does it work?

First of all, personal therapy helps each partner to notice himself. To understand how it is possible and how it is impossible. What is unacceptable for him and where he has already “moved” so much in something to please his partner that he completely pushed himself.

In therapy, we begin to understand that it is necessary to speak with a partner “through the mouth”, and not with hints, glances and loud silence. We can't read minds. Why, we often even put different things into the same concept. Therefore, a person also learns to clarify: “You know, it was insulting just now. Like my opinion means nothing to you. Is that really true?"

And the therapy also allows us to realize how ready the partner is to hear what we are saying (especially the phrase “It hurts me, don’t do this again, please”). Hear - and listen, and not devalue, brush aside and discount.

Is it true that therapy often leads to divorce? This is something that many are afraid of and because of which they put off working with a psychologist.

Not a single adequate psychologist, having learned about your problems in the family, will tell you: "Oh, guys, there is nothing to catch here - Lord, burn!" But through therapeutic contact with him, when you understand from your own experience what it means to speak and be heard, to express yourself and not be afraid to be yourself, you understand a lot about the quality of your relationship. And you leave them not because of a psychologist, but because it becomes clear: this is not what you need.

For example, it turns out that in your relationship one is right, and the other is always, always a fool. Or the needs of one are important, but the other is not. Or suddenly it turns out that you are not a loser and not an idiot - you have something to be proud of and something to appreciate in yourself, just next to you is a person who is more comfortable and safer for you to believe the opposite. And your life is not expendable material for acting out the psychological problems of another.

Therefore, I answer the question: it is not therapy that leads to divorce, but a changing attitude of a person towards himself.

How do you decide to end a relationship? How do you know when it's time to do it?

First of all, you need to understand that the decision to part is always only your decision, which cannot be entrusted to a psychologist, church, parents or friends. Because it’s not for them to deal with the consequences, but for you. Others will shake their heads, regret it, and go about their business. And you get out - and live.

Understanding that you no longer love a person, everyone discovers in himself in different ways. Someone realizes this in an instant, and someone loses the power of feelings for a partner drop by drop, as if diluting the juice with water day after day, until he has neither taste nor color.

If I single out something special (besides the most critical - the presence of violence in the family), then I will note the following points:

  • The desire to take care disappears. Completely. When, instead of picking up a “dog” for your partner for work, you simply say where everything is and add: “Not small (small) - you can handle it”;
  • Compliments and words of support are also disappearing - they are literally dying out as a species;
  • Loss of desire to speak. You are so used to the lack of at least any interest on the part of your partner that you understand: “What is the point of telling what is new with me if he doesn’t know anything about the old either? ..”;
  • Compatibility is lost. Everyone is more comfortable on their phone, in their corner, with “their” friends and interests;
  • Loss of sexual interest (sometimes to the point of aversion to being touched) and the words "I love you" get stuck in the throat because the tongue doesn't turn around to say them.

And what appears? Indifference and detachment (even a kind of ruthlessness towards a partner and his problems), nostalgia for a past life, a lot of irritation (when insults arise out of thin air and scandals are arranged over trifles), a lot of criticism, devaluation, malicious ridicule and comparisons are not in your favor .

What indicates the need to maintain the union?

Again, this is not a question for a psychologist.

A person decides for himself how much strength he has now to leave the union, and how much strength to continue it. When you understand who and what you are, what you can rely on, what resources you have (including financial ones), when self-respect and self-confidence are not words from books about unicorns, but concepts that have a concrete meaning in your life. expression in specific actions towards yourself, you learn to appreciate not only yourself, but also the other. In the sense that you realize the value of the free choice to stay with someone, to choose to love this person, despite disagreements and “ugly feelings”.

Living with another person is inherently difficult, and it doesn't matter if you've been together for a year or fifteen years. It is important that in the most violent quarrel you still clearly understand in the depths of your soul: “I don’t need anyone else, nothing else - and I want to live, and love, and quarrel, I want only with him alone.

That's when you have this understanding - it's definitely a sign that you still need to fight, that not everything is lost, that this is definitely not the case when "started for health - finished for peace."

"Happiness is reality minus expectations." Family Psychology Interview

In your book, you offer ten psychological exercises. Can you recommend one of them now?

There are ten exercises in the book, divided into three blocks: in the first - those that will help you better understand what you need from a relationship if you are single or just started dating someone, in the second - exercises that allow you to strengthen your already an existing connection, and in the third - exercises designed to make it easier to live a separation or divorce.

If I were to give an exercise from a book that could be helpful to everyone, no matter what relationship status they are currently in, I would choose the Relationship Problem Solving Matrix. It contains 33 questions through which, like a sieve, you can pass problem situations in a couple in order to benefit from them and direct the conflict in a constructive direction.

So formulate for yourself the problem that you and your partner are arguing about, for example: “It pisses me off that my husband’s relatives interfere in our affairs” and run it through the following questions. An important nuance: you ask questions to yourself, not to your partner (unless otherwise agreed).

  • How (when) did it all start?
  • What do I see as the cause of the conflict?
  • What does the partner see as the cause of the conflict? (ask him)
  • What need of mine is being violated in this situation?
  • Can I meet this need in another way?
  • With the help of whom or what?
  • What is the context of the situation? What else is happening around the important / global / resource-intensive?
  • What does the solution to the problem look like that will suit me?
  • What does the solution to the problem look like that will suit the partner? (ask him)
  • What will it all come to if the problem is not solved and everything is left as it is?
  • Is it possible to solve the problem with money?
  • Who can I involve in solving the problem? With whom can I discuss, consult?
  • Will this issue be important in a month? And in a year?
  • What can't be changed about this problem? What is impossible to control in principle?
  • What can I realistically change? What can I influence?
  • With whom have I had similar problems in the past? How did I solve them then?
  • How do I feel in this situation? (name the feelings experienced, highlight the key emotion)
  • How will I feel when the problem is solved? (try to visualize this state clearly)
  • How does my body respond to this problem? What is happening to him?
  • What am I really afraid of in this situation? What is my true fear?
  • Worst case scenario. Plan B in this case?
  • What upsets me the most in this situation?
  • What is being overemphasized in this conflict, and by whom? Where does the lion's share of energy go?
  • How does this problem affect me, what changes in me?
  • What can no longer be delayed?
  • Between what and what does each of us in this situation have to choose?
  • What will the partner lose if he does what I want?
  • What metaphor can you come up with for this problem? What does it all look like?
  • What can be chosen instead of struggle and confrontation?
  • How can I take care of myself in this situation? And right now?
  • From what role do I decide this question? Can I change it, choose another one?
  • What do I expect from a partner now? Are these expectations adequate to the circumstances in which we now find ourselves?
  • How much time can I give myself to solve this problem?
  • By what signs will I understand that the problem has been resolved and the conflict has been resolved?

Tags: psychology , relations , books

How and when it is right to ask for forgiveness or apologize: advice from psychologists

Psychologists tell you how to apologize correctly in order to be heard. Learn how to ask for forgiveness from a loved one and really receive it.

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Has there been a situation in your life that requires an apology? Learn how to properly approach someone who is offended.

Contents of the article

It's not enough just to apologize - you need to know. how to ask for forgiveness from a girl or boyfriend, parents or colleagues.

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Just as important is choosing the right time and place to apologize. Let's figure out how to ask for forgiveness in order to really get it, and not quarrel even more.

Admit guilt in order to ask for forgiveness

For many people this is a really difficult step. It is believed that the person who first makes an attempt at reconciliation is weak. “An apology in itself is not shameful or humiliating,” says Irina Ryabova, system constellator. “We simply ask for forgiveness for a specific act and at the same time maintain respect for ourselves as a whole.” Throw away pride, admit your guilt and focus on how to ask for forgiveness correctly.

In order to find strength for a frank conversation and ask for forgiveness from a loved one, it is important to accept the fact that by our behavior we have greatly offended another person. Canadian psychologist Elizabeth Hyde, in her study The Power of Apology in Resolving Family Conflict, explains: Otherwise, the addressee may treat them with distrust.

How should one ask for forgiveness? The easiest step is to think about what specific words or actions offended a friend or colleague. “We will try to put ourselves in the place of the offended and realistically evaluate our contribution to what happened,” recommends educational psychologist Galina Chekmareva. “Perhaps, it will be possible to understand what specifically upset a person, what words and actions caused him pain.” The purpose of such actions is to feel for yourself what exactly you are going to ask for forgiveness for.

Preparing for an apology

The key to many successful negotiations is thorough preparation. It’s the same with expressing regret: if we want to be heard, it’s better to think in advance how to convey our regrets. Ideally, think about the person you plan to contact in order to find words that are clear to him. Maybe such a strategy is only suitable for apologizing to loved ones, but it is still worth behaving in a similar way with colleagues and acquaintances. There are no special recipes on how to correctly ask for forgiveness from men or women: in any case, you need to look for an individual approach to the addressee. “Expressing regret usually involves admitting that you were wrong about something you said or did,” says Elizabeth Hyde.

What is the right way to apologize? You can mention that we understand why the offended feels offended. And we are very sorry that we caused his worries. The very request for forgiveness must be formulated clearly - so that it is clear what the conversation is about. In order for the apology to be as effective as possible, it is important to focus on the feelings of the offended person, and not on your own. The addressee should feel that he is the center of attention, and we, for our part, are trying to make him feel better, and not just worry about our own comfort. Therefore, after a brief description of your own sorrows and regrets, you need to switch to sympathy and understanding of the offense of the one to whom we apologize.

How and when to ask for forgiveness: time and place

If we did not ask for forgiveness immediately after we offended someone, in the future it is worth choosing the right moment for this conversation. In his book The Psychology of Love Relationships, Andrey Zberovsky, a specialist in interpersonal relations, writes that after some time, apologies may lose their meaning. Most of the men and women he interviewed agreed that any reconciliation should come naturally and quickly. So don't think for weeks on how to ask for forgiveness from your husband, but act!

The ideal interval is a day from the moment of the quarrel. The maximum that the offended can endure is three days. After that, a psychological “exclusion zone” sets in: the level of trust in the offender drops, the number of hopes associated with him decreases, and it becomes almost all the same whether these relationships continue. And in this case, efforts will have to be made not only to apologize, but also to restore trust. This is an important point, since you can ask for forgiveness even after a year, but it will be much more difficult to restore relationships over time.

As for the place, it can be any, as long as the conversation takes place without witnesses. If for some reason it is difficult to do this, you can express your regrets in writing by preparing a message "by hand". “Such an admission of guilt may well replace a personal conversation,” says psychotherapist Frederika Kellerova. This option is especially convenient if the offended person does not allow to speak in person. The main thing in this case is to carefully read the text before sending it and try to eliminate any ambiguities so that we are definitely understood correctly. A thoughtful letter is a great answer to the question of how to ask for forgiveness from your mother or another loved one.

But asking for forgiveness by e-mail is better only if we do not know the person personally. Apologizing over the phone is possible if the interlocutor is far away. And psychologists unanimously recognize an SMS message as an absolutely unacceptable way to convey their feelings. Even if you are looking for an option on how to correctly ask for forgiveness on Forgiveness Sunday, it is better to give up the temptation to send standard messenger messages to everyone you have offended: they will not replace sincere personal apologies.

5 main aspects of an apology: how to ask for forgiveness from a guy

American psychologist Gary Chapman and counselor Jennifer Thomas in their book "Five Languages ​​for Asking Forgiveness" offer some simple but effective phrases:

  1. "I'm sorry "- a way to express regret.
  2. "I was wrong" - the willingness to answer for one's actions.
  3. "What can I do to fix the situation?" - the desire to compensate for the damage
  4. "I will do everything not to repeat this again" - sincere repentance.
  5. "Please forgive me" - an open desire to receive forgiveness from the offended.

Even the most thorough preparation can be useless if at the most crucial moment you are confused, forget all the words prepared in advance and do not know how to ask for forgiveness. In this case, the main thing is to try to be sincere. Irina Ryabova believes that it is enough to say “Sorry” or “Forgive me” and indicate what we apologize for. We also remember one more magic phrase that is easier for many people to pronounce: "I'm sorry." It frees us from accepting all the blame for the current situation, but it is quite suitable for asking for forgiveness.

What is the right way to ask for forgiveness? The conversation should be made as short as possible and without lengthy excuses. It is preferable to refrain from using words like "if" and "but". Such excuses can blur the impression, as they clearly indicate coercion. “The request for forgiveness should be restrained and look as natural as possible,” says Frederika Kellerova. Prayer, an unhappy expression on the face, an anguish in the voice and sobs are best left for the theatrical stage. In real life, it looks fake. Men ask for forgiveness: touching stories.

Watching body language

In order for the opponent to perceive our apologies as sincere, gestures during the conversation should not contradict the meaning of the spoken words. If a person averts his eyes to the side, turns his body away from the interlocutor, is tense and mutters words through his teeth, we can consider his words to be false. And let's be right, confirms Irina Ryabova. In fact, subconsciously, we all understand how to ask for forgiveness, so any discrepancy is evident and perceived as a pretense.

To make an apology genuine, you need to stand or sit next to the person you are asking for forgiveness from (preferably on the right), and try to raise your eyes to him when talking. At such a difficult moment, you can even shed a tear if it is difficult to restrain yourself. Sincerity is always better than the desire to appear self-reliant, independent and strong. Before asking for forgiveness from a guy, it would be right to imagine yourself in his place. Would you like it if the person apologizing to you showed his independence and disinterest in every possible way? That's it.

We accept the interlocutor's reaction

“After our apologies, the offended person may need time to sort out his feelings,” Andrey Zberovsky notes. Therefore, at the end of the conversation, we simply thank the interlocutor and mentally prepare for the fact that his reaction to our words can be anything - from positive to sharply negative. It was you who carefully figured out how to apologize correctly and prepared for the conversation, and your opponent was taken by surprise by the explanation. If the offended person took the opportunity and began to express his displeasure to you, there is a risk of aggravating the quarrel. In this case, it is better to calmly listen to the response speech, thank and end there. After all, the main thing, in fact, has already been done - we apologized in accordance with all the rules.

Why is it difficult for us to ask for forgiveness?

Admitting one's guilt is difficult not only because of the feeling of shame and embarrassment. Researchers from the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London have proven that it takes us a long time to realize that our actions have upset someone.

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