“I’m sorry, I was really anxious when you answered my call.”
Alina had called several times, and the man she was seeing had not answered his phone all day long. She had the worst thoughts imaginable…that he might have died, or something terrible might’ve happened to him. He wasn’t pleased with her overreacting on the phone though.
The point of this very short example is that each one of us has their baggage, their traumas, and their fears. As long as those fears do not harm our partner or “suffocate” them (whatever that might mean to each person), we should never apologize for having them.
Let me explain further.
Alina had lost many loved ones in her life. The fact that someone she cared about wouldn’t answer the phone for a whole day (without previous warning that he might be busy) will create fears that might seem irrational to someone who didn’t go through what she did.
Did she have the right to be scared? Yes.
Did she have the right to blame him for not calling her? No, but this could lead to an agreement on how to deal with such issues in the future.
With what I’ve experienced in my life and what I’ve witnessed my friends experience, I noticed that we often apologize for things when we shouldn’t.
Here are five things we should never apologize for in a relationship:
1. Our baggage.
We all have a past, something we can’t get rid of. We don’t have to apologize for having an ex who still has feelings for us if we haven’t been enabling them. We don’t have to apologize for having fears over things that might seem silly to our partner, but to us, they were triggered by a past trauma.
We don’t have to apologize for our baggage as long as we know how to deal with it. And if our partner loves us, they need to accept our baggage as well.
2. Our passions and hobbies.
Sometimes, in my free time, I like to put on some classical music and write or paint. My fiancé loves and respects that about me and respects my space. When he wants to play video games with his friends, I don’t call his phone nonstop because I want his attention solely on me. We don’t belittle each other’s passion for certain things and give each other space.
3. Our personal opinions.
Our partners don’t have to be an identical version of us. We may have different opinions concerning the same issue, and we don’t have to agree all the time. During or after our discussions, we don’t have to apologize for having an opinion that differs from our partner’s. On the contrary, we must respect each other and encourage each other to express ourselves more if we want to be authentic in the relationship.
4. Something that isn’t our fault.
Even apologizing in relationships can sometimes be used to either end arguments or out of fear that we might hurt our partner. If we didn’t do anything wrong, we don’t have to apologize just to please the other. A healthy relationship is built on love and trust. If trust is there, then our partner must know that we didn’t do whatever they think we did.
5. Saying no.
Last but not least, we may tend to be scared to say no to our partner out of fear of hurting their feelings, and this leads a lot of couples to doom because the partner who said “yes” to everything might end up buying a house they hate, having kids when they clearly weren’t ready for it, or taking a sh*tty job out of feeling pressured to provide financially.
Decisions should be made with both partners’ approval and satisfaction with the decision that is made.
Not out of guilt. Not out of pressure. But because they genuinely are okay with this decision.
Being in a relationship isn’t akin to participating in a play where we wear the clothes of a character different than ourselves and start pretending for the rest of our lives.
Being in a relationship is about being genuine, happy, and authentic with the one we love.
And that’s why we should never apologize for being us.