My girlfriend and I have been together for a bit more than 2 years now. At this point, our relationship is stable and we feel good about each other's company. However, there's one thing that really upsets me: she hardly ever apologizes.

For example, last week we stayed in a hotel. She washed her clothes but had nowhere to hang them. So, she hung them on the back a chair that I was sitting on. She asked me to be careful not to drop the clothes. I said yes because I was not in contact with the clothes: it was a big chair and my back wasn't even touching the back of the chair.

After a while, I found the clothes on the floor. I immediately picked it up and told her. She became so mad at me and said that I'm responsible for it.

I tried to explain to her that we were both responsible: she put the clothes in a weird place and I made it drop somehow. But she insisted that it was ALL MY FAULT. Period. She was not willing to discuss about this conclusion anymore.

Such situations happen quite frequently in our lives (at least once per two weeks), and sometimes I can get an apology, but like weeks and months later, after she "calmed down".

How can I encourage her to apologize when these situations occur?

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    We can't answer what you should do, but we can help you interacting better with your girlfriend. You identify she is quick to blame you and doesn't apologies for it. In response to that you only seem to have tried partaking the blame with her. Have you tried something else? Also, in order of priority, is the bigger problem she get angry and blames you or is it that she never apologies for having hurt you?
    – Diane M
    Commented Sep 22, 2020 at 14:10
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    Thanks for the question. Can you elaborate a bit on what you mean by "have tried partaking the blame with her"? For the second question, I think never apologizing is a bigger problem. If she gets angry first but apologizes after listening to my explanation, I would be perfectly fine with it. Commented Sep 22, 2020 at 14:22
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    I was wondering what you did to react to her behavior, your post only mention one time where you said "it's both our fault". Do you often react like this time, and have you tried other approaches ?
    – Diane M
    Commented Sep 22, 2020 at 14:32
  • Hi Wiza, welcome to IPS! Since "what should I do" questions are off-topic here, I tried to edit to make it on topic. (Generally "how do I make someone else do something" are not a good fit for the site either, since you can't control other people's behavior - this meta post talks about that a little). If you are after something else, please feel free to edit again :)
    – Em C
    Commented Sep 22, 2020 at 15:32

2 Answers 2


I'm going to challenge this question a little bit.

You are in a relationship with someone who only apologizes after a long period if at all and apparently does not accept accountability for their actions. You are asking for a way to deal with the surface level of that behavior.

How do you think this will affect you over the long run? Do you think that this won't build resentment over time? (I may be reading too much into this, but I detect some resentment or unhappiness in your question already.) I've seen many friendships and relationships end because of this kind of behavior. My wife no longer speaks to a former friend for whom nothing was ever her fault. I've had to learn to accept my share of accountability to continue my marriage.

A personal relationship is about equality and balance. If both parties aren't roughly equal, the relationship is shaky at best. And right now, there's a large inequality in accepting accountability.

The solution is not easy but needs to happen for the relationship to continue. And that solution is to sit down and really discuss this with her. She needs to understand that she has a role in things that happen and to accept that role.

The first step is for you to lead by example. Accept your role/accountability when things happen. When things are calm, talk to her. Explain that you BOTH need to accept responsibility for what happens. You are willing to do so and have done so; now she needs to do so as well. Explain how that harms your relationship. The point here is not to win or convince but to explain where you see things.

If she won't listen, try again and again and again. Then look at how these discussions go. If you are dealing with that kind of a relationship where it's a power struggle and you're always to blame, I'd suggest giving this relationship some hard consideration. If she won't change her views on this, you will always be at fault - and it's not going to get better; it's going to get worse for you.

In the end, you cannot change someone. You can only change your response to someone's actions. If she's willing to change and work on this, then this relationship can be a wonderful thing. Otherwise.. well, you can read what I foresee happening.


Wiza, apart from the wonderful answer by baldPrussian, I want to add this:

If you think you could falter somewhere then let her know of this beforehand. For example, if she tries to hang clothes on the chair again then warn her that the clothes could fall down, and that if that happens, it would be her responsibility, not yours.

Do not say yes for fuzzy things. For example, next time, she asks you to be careful (around chair or something), tell her that you can't guarantee it. Or, that you would like to be more relaxed in that setting. If still she wants to go ahead with the chore, its failure should be her responsibility, not yours. State this beforehand.

Give active suggestions. If you think there is a better way to do something, suggest that. If your suggestion is not heeded and the task isn't that successful, then it's her responsibility, not yours. (You need noy make her feel guilty for this but you could use this as defence in case you are attacked.)

Maybe I have made it sound too formal, but you could always say this in a casual, friendly way.

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