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I usually drive my girlfriend to work on Mondays because the nearest car park is just over a mile away (although when the weather is nice she does enjoy the walk). On this occasion I suggested she drive as the weather was nice, forgetting she had to carry quite a bit to work and it would make it difficult.

Instead of just reminding me about the stuff she has to carry, she overreacted saying things like "don't bother then if you don't want to take me to work" and "you think it's ok to make me walk that far with all this stuff". Immediately I said my bad and that of course I would take her in, as I do most Mondays. But she carried on and demanded I give her the car keys over and over because she wouldn't accept it was an honest mistake. I got frustrated and told her she was being a child and walked off.

Now, later we are not speaking. I said I am sorry I called her a child but I felt she was attacking me. She could have just reminded about the stuff and I would have taken her in no problem. Her reply is that you can't say "Sorry, but" because I have retracted the apology. This to me feels like saying sorry means I accept 100% of the blame, which I refute.

I have made it clear and apologized, but I would like to tell her that even though I expect an apology, my own apology still stands.

  • 1
    Hi Bruce! Unfortunately, we can't tell you whether something is wrong, as this is primarily opinion-based. As is, your question is likely to get closed as off-topic because of it, but you can edit it into something a bit different. For instance, what do you think of "how do I signify my girlfriend that apologizing to her does not prevent me from expecting apologies from her as well?" – avazula Oct 30 '18 at 10:54
  • Thanks avazula - yes you have got to the crux of my point. As you say, I have apologize, but I would have liked an apology too. I haven't received an apology, but rather I have been accused of retracting my apology, which I reiterated that is not the case and said again I was sorry. I will edit the original post. Thanks – brucezepplin Oct 30 '18 at 11:16
  • @brucezepplin Please help us out by letting us know what methods come to your mind immediately, or clearly outline what you intend to do. We assure you that after that we'll be of better help :) – AbhigyanC Oct 30 '18 at 12:01
  • "I suggested she drive" - you mean you suggested she walks? I still didn't get the mistake you made, when you simply forgot she can't walk this day and apparently you didn't say this in a mean way to her. If you apologize too hard you make this mistake stronger although it isn't. – puck Oct 30 '18 at 18:38
  • @puck yes that's why I feel I'm also owed an apology. I have apologized on my part, and an apology wasn't forthcoming, so I explained why I got annoyed in the hope she would understand and apologize. Has just made things worse though and I'll have to apologize again for wanting an apology. – brucezepplin Oct 30 '18 at 18:41
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Don't link the two apologies together.
Both did something wrong, and both need to apologize, but seperately.

When you apologize for something, either you mean it or you don't. And saying "I'm sorry for X, but you did Y!" is surely not coming across as though you are really sorry.

Take full responsibility and apologize for what you did wrong. Do not mention her wrongdoings at all, as if they had nothing to do with each other. You overreacted and it seems you truly are sorry for that.

Now that your misbehaving is apologized for, it is up to her to realize that she too has wronged you. Before that point, many people go into defensive, just as your girlfriend did.

And as for signalling to her that you expect an apology too:
You don't need to actively signal her anything. Such a signal would mean to her that your apology was insincere. It would be a similar situation as if you said "I'm sorry, but ..."

Just let it be, let your grumpy mood be indicator enough that something's up, and let her apologize in her own time. If she doesn't do so in a reasonable timeframe, sit down and have a serious discussion about it when both of you are free of stress.

  • Thanks Cashbee. If this is a regular occurrence though, and the pattern is that I am the only one that ever apologizes, am I enabling or introducing some bad dynamics into the relationship? – brucezepplin Oct 30 '18 at 15:47
  • If it's a regular thing, then you really need to have a talk about it! Speak with her about how it makes you feel when she doesn't apologize, why she felt she didn't need to apologize, and how you will proceed in this matter. If that doesn't help, I would recommend professional help (which is nothing to be ashamed of!) – Kaspar Scherrer Oct 30 '18 at 15:54
  • Thanks Cashbee - I think if she doesn't apologize I would like to bring it up later down the line rather then address it now. Good advice – brucezepplin Oct 31 '18 at 12:11
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You could just get straight to the point. "I overreacted, and will be happy to apologize for that, but only if you also apologize for...". It does make the apology less sincere if you do it conditionally, but I believe that is ok because the circumstances also make the offense less severe.

There may be more behind it though. Your girlfriends reaction was quite severe under the circumstances. Maybe she sees a pattern, and is reacting to that rather than just this incident. It may be useful to try to find out if that is the case.

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