What to Do When You Mess Up in a Relationship: 5 Simple Tips

What to Do When You Mess Up in a Relationship?

What to Do When You Mess Up in a Relationship

Maybe you cheated or lied. Your partner found out about it and walked out. You messed up big time. 

No matter what you did to break up your relationship, getting your partner to pardon you is a tall order. The path ahead isn’t an easy one. But don’t give up yet. If you realize your mistake and are willing to do what it takes to get your ex back, you may still have a chance. After all, nothing is impossible.

Before you go ahead with this plan, you need to remember that there is no guarantee for its success. Even if you manage to get your ex to come back, they may never forgive you completely. Your betrayal may crop up later on in your life. With that warning, let’s see what you can do about this messy situation you find yourself in.

This article offers suggestions on how to untangle the mess you created in a relationship. Let’s go forward with the hope that this will help you earn forgiveness from your ex and a second chance at the relationship.

How to make up for a mistake in a relationship?

When you mess up in a relationship and your partner finds out about it, you have two options before you. You can fess up and hope your ex forgives you or consider how to get over a relationship you messed up and move on. Both are hard on you, but if you value your relationship, you should always give it a shot before thinking about moving on.

Either way, you need to learn something from this episode. You need to stop messing up in a relationship. Before you consider what to say to your girlfriend when you messed up, you need to get your priorities straight.

Let’s see what steps you can consider when you mess up in a relationship.

1. Decide what is important 

You can get an idea of what you want by answering these questions.

  • Did you mess up because you didn’t consider your ex important?
  • Do you really want your ex back in your life?
  • Do you miss your ex or being in a relationship?

If you think your ex and you are incompatible, there is no point in working on winning back your ex. Even if you manage your ex to return, this is going to repeat and you may end up breaking up again. All this effort would be a waste of time and energy for both of you. And this can add to your emotional trauma. 

If it’s a relationship that you want, you can always start afresh. But before doing that make sure you know what you want. On the other hand, if you indeed miss your ex and this was a genuine mistake, go ahead and plead your case. 

2. Own up to your mistakes without ifs and buts

“If you are offended by what I did/said …”

“I made a mistake but you could have …”

“What I did was for us. But you know that I love you.”

There are so many ways you can mess up your apology. When you apologize, do it with sincerity. Or else, you are making matters worse for all concerned. If you feel that you made a mistake, take responsibility for it completely. Apologize without conditions. 

“I’m sorry I made a mistake. I‘m genuinely sorry for causing you so much pain.”

Stop at that. Don’t add that your ex contributed to it or pushed your buttons. If you want your ex back after you screwed up your relationship, acknowledge and accept your guilt unconditionally. 

3. Be ready for the punishment

You say sorry and your ex will accept it readily and jump into your arms. In an instant, they forget about all the hurt you caused them. This happens only in movies and TV shows and not in real life. In the real world, when you make a mistake, you have to endure the repercussions.

Depending on the severity of your mistake, you can expect retribution in some form or the other. Even after accepting your apology and coming back to you, your ex may still be angry with you. They may have a hard time going back to the old ways and treating you the same way as before though you sincerely hope they would.

Now, you are on tricky ground here. You did something wrong and you are experiencing the repercussions for it. But how much punishment is right or enough depends on you. If this turns into any form of abuse, you are justified in walking away from the relationship. 

Even if you are willing to endure the punishment, you cannot expect things to go back to normal immediately. Your ex will need some time to work through their pain and anger even after accepting your apology.

5. Offer your ex the time and space to adjust to the new normal

Though they may accept your apology and come back to you, it will take longer for them to accept it in the real sense. They would be still upset and in pain, which in turn is bound to make you feel guilty. You want things to go back to normal and be happy at the flip of a switch, but it doesn’t happen this way in real life. When you mess up in a relationship, you need to be patient. 

Wounds need time to heal, especially mental and emotional ones. You need to show patience and give your ex time and space for this healing to happen. It may take a few days or weeks or even months for this. If you show your impatience, you are setting the clock back and destroying all the progress made. 

5. Try not to defend your mistake

You said your piece and your ex accepted it and came back to you. Let it remain at that. Don’t linger on the topic for more than necessary. Don’t revisit the issue and come up with more apologies and explanations. That is only going to worsen the situation for you. 

Just control yourself and stay calm. You need to realize that your ex is still smarting from your betrayal of trust. They are emotional and vulnerable. Be ready to listen to whatever they have to say without reacting. 

“I understand why you are upset and angry” should work well. Besides this, add nothing to the conversation. Be a good listener. Let them get it out of their chest. The progress will be slow, but if you are patient, they will come out of it eventually. 

This phase is hard for you. You may be tempted to defend your action and explain. This would be like adding fuel to the fire. If you want normalcy to return in your relationship, you need to be restrained in your response and show immense patience.

Bottom line

The ideal approach when you mess up in a relationship is to keep calm and bring down the tension in the atmosphere. You may feel too wound up for having fun right now, but it’s up to you to guide the relationship toward this path. 

Reminding yourself and your ex of the good times you shared may help. Don’t ever dig up the past mistakes of your ex to justify yours. 

When you mess up, fess up!

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