Unlikely Apologies...Doesn’t it make you feel better when someone gives a heartfelt apology? (As always all personal details in this article have been completely changed)
So much meaning’s contained in the simple words, "I'm sorry", that are like verbal honey. You know they’re sorry they hurt or upset you. They've given it thought. They want you to feel better. All of these are important things to smoothing over the bumps in relationships.
So why is sorry such a tough word for many men to say? A friend, Tanya, 41, had a typical experience after a row caused by her husband. Often late, the last straw was him being late for her best friend’s 40th birthday do. Tanya was left hanging about the hotel foyer where the party was being held. She positively simmered with anger worrying hotel guests would think she was some sort of call girl!
Robert dashed in saying he'd explain later. He gave Tanya a hug and seeing her face like thunder murmured something about drawing a line under it. Then he whisked her into the private party room without uttering those two words.
I can tell you that WW3 broke out when they got home. Tanya was incensed that he just couldn't say sorry. Robert explained his delay. He assured her that no one would take her for a call girl. He said that no one noticed them arrive late. Everything in fact but accepting an apology was called for.
To make matters worse when Tanya challenged him about not actually apologising he gave her a throwaway one. They may as well have been in separate beds that night with the wall of anger that separated them.
The thing is men may know they’re wrong about something but often loathe saying they’re sorry. Years of such anecdotes lead me to believe that it is a pride thing. Men think it's enough to explain what happened, or why they did something, whatever the circumstances. But saying sorry makes them feel a bit pathetic. They see it as a weakness, not a strength.
So try if you want, once you've heard his explanation, to get a real apology but it may lead to a second fight. You’ll end up sorry you tried to squeeze that apology out of him!
An edited version of this was published in The Times