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What is a conscious apology?

Do you apologize after a fight if you hurt your partner? If so, do you feel that your apology is not always accepted or helped?

John Gutman explains what an apology is but also what is not considered an apology.

❌ It's not my fault.

❌ I'm sorry but...

❌ You are too sensitive.

❌ I love you. Let's just leave it at that and move on.

❌ I only said that because... you know I didn't mean it.

✅I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make you feel that way, I apologize.

✅I'm sorry, how can I improve it?

I didn't understand, I'm sorry.

✅I was supposed to... Instead of….. I'm sorry.

✅ I did.... and I'm sorry I will try differently next time.


The next time you apologize, focus on a sincere, unconditional apology. Take responsibility for your part in the fight and make sure that the couple feels heard and understood. Gutman also recommends not to do this on WhatsApp, nor in recorded messages. Only face to face!

couple counseling, john gottman


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