An apology can go a long way in helping a couple make up after a fight – but only if it’s a genuine apology. But if you’re in a relationship with someone who isn’t willing, ready or able to apologize, it can be very difficult to reconnect following the argument – and this can lead to resentment, upset and anger. But the important thing to keep in mind is that some men can’t or won’t apologize and in some cases, you’ll just have to deal with that. You can’t force someone to apologize if they don’t want to, and dragging an apology out of someone who isn’t willing to give one will just cause more resentment. To deal with the lack of apologies from your man, you first need to understand why he can’t or won’t apologize.
Self-Esteem and Pride
To be able to apologize, you need to have fairly high self-esteem. If you’re insecure in yourself and your own abilities, you’ll find it much harder to admit when you’ve done something wrong. Equally, if you apologize, you’re basically admitting that you’ve done something wrong. Men especially do not like to be seen as “losers” or that they are “in the wrong” – they see it as a dent to their pride. Publicly admitting that they are wrong by apologizing to you for something that might seem small or inconsequential to them but monumental to you will knock their self-esteem and their pride, and this may well mean that they won’t apologize – regardless of how much you want them to.
We all know that men and women are socialized very differently – and this means that they communicate completely differently in different situations. Men are socialized to be winners. Throughout their lives, they are expected to win. They are expected to be on top of the situation, and they are absolutely not expected to be a loser. This means that men tend to take being in a “losing” position very hard – and if they’re being forced to apologize, in most cases, they’ll back off simply because they don’t want to prove that they are in a “losing” situation. They want to prove that they are the winner, even if they’re in the wrong.
In contrast, women are socialized completely differently. Women apologize for everything – they’ll even say “I’m sorry” if someone steps on their foot. They’ll apologize when someone is going through a difficult time, even if the current situation has nothing to do with them. Because women spend such a huge portion of their lives apologizing, they find it very difficult to understand why their man has such difficulty in doing the same.
Women may also inadvertently make it easier for their man to get away with not apologising. Women have a tendency to not want to rock the boat – they don’t want to cause arguments and they don’t want to get in a fight unless they really, really have to. Because of this, women might make excuses for their man – they might say “Don’t worry about it” or “It’s not a big deal” – thus allowing their man to get away with whatever it is that they’ve done wrong. Unfortunately, this might actually mean that he’ll be less likely to apologize in the future.
Often, if a man grows up in an environment where he’s constantly nagged at to apologize, it will make it very difficult for him to apologize in later life. For example, throughout childhood, we’re all often told that we must apologize to our siblings or peers for doing something wrong. Occasionally, our parents might have pulled us up short and said “That’s not a proper apology. Do it properly”. Being forced to apologize properly in front of your siblings and peers could be fairly humiliating, and this humiliation could mean that you are very, very wary of making apologies in the future for fear of being humiliated again. People don’t want to feel like they’re being forced into doing anything and in this situation, they might only apologize because they want to get someone off their back – not because they actually want to give a heartfelt apology.
Almost everyone, male and female alike, will have a tough time in apologizing if they feel like they are constantly being accused of something. For example, if a woman constantly berates her husband for forgetting to buy milk on the way home, he might be reluctant to apologize because that would be like admitting he is the whole problem, not just part of it. He might think to himself, “Well, she could have bought milk if it was that urgent” and will be reluctant to apologize so that his wife might realize that she might have contributed to the problem too. Many people don’t like to apologize as they believe that it proves that they are culpable or that they are inadequate – and no-one likes to admit to those feelings.
What Can I Do If My Man Won’t Apologize?
If you really, genuinely think that an apology is due, you should ask for one. If your partner has done something that you absolutely do not agree with and you think that it is important enough for you to elicit an apology out of them, then you should ask for one. However, sometimes, it’s not really reasonable for you to ask for an apology – especially if you’re asking your partner. Men can find it a little patronizing if someone says to them “Say sorry” – so instead of asking for an apology, explain to your man that you are hurt or upset by their actions or words. Then leave it – they might not apologize explicitly – but they might do something to show you how sorry they are instead. Sometimes you should look to your partner’s actions, rather than their words – you might just discover that they actually apologize far more than you might think – just not directly.