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The 14 Rules of Long-Lasting Relationships

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Be the First to Say Sorry


Grown-ups don't have fights. Sure they argue, they disagree, they debate. Indeed they express their feelings and say when they're hurt or angry or upset. But they don't have the kind of fights that require an apology to get over them.

Oh, alright then, we do. But that doesn't make it right. From time to time we forget to do the, "When you say…I feel…" thing we all know we should, and we behave childishly instead. Don't worry; we all do it. I expect they started it anyway.

The big question is, having had it out with the person we love, which isn't what we wanted to do of course, what are we going to do about it? The answer -- as you may have guessed from the title of this Rule --- is to say you are sorry and to say it before they do.

How do you feel about saying you're sorry? You can't understand why you should? Do you feel that you've lost face, been humiliated, or had to swallow your pride? Well don't. You're a Rules Player and you're big, strong, confident, and self-assured enough to do it. I'm not asking you to say you're sorry publicly in front of 500 people. This is just a private apology to your very nearest and dearest. A Rules Player can manage to do this.

What are you apologizing for? Isn't it hypocritical to say you are sorry when you truly feel you were in the right? No it isn't because that's not why you are saying you are sorry. You're apologizing for allowing a perfectly valid discussion about a difference of views to degenerate to this point. It takes two to argue, and you're apologizing for being childish and letting it happen -- and for all the mistakes you must have made to reach that point.

NexT: Don't Try to Be Their Parent

More on: Marriage and Divorce

From The Rules of Love Copyright © 2009, FT Press. Used by permission of FT Press, and Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

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