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Sex & Relationships Myth: “Love Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry”

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When you’re in love, in a committed relationship or not, you may sometimes not be the best partner. It’s human to not be perfect all the time, and it’s to be expected. But if you hurt someone, especially someone close to you such as a partner, you need to sincerely apologize.

As explained in a Psychology Today online article, “The most famous line from the wildly popular 1970 book Love Story by Erich Segal is, ‘Love means never having to say you're sorry.’ As a New York Times #1 bestseller, the book became the top selling work of fiction for 1970 and was translated into more than 20 languages worldwide. The motion picture of the same name was the number one box office attraction of 1971.”

Saying your sorry means you recognize that you didn’t consider your partner's feelings when you did what you did, and you should have. You are validating their feelings, which can be a powerful thing if you plan to remain close with that person. Apologizing opens the door for forgiveness and reconciliation. It can make it easier to put the fault, the temporary slip-up, in the past and move on in a positive direction regardless if you remain together or not. So if you said or did something wrong, say so. It's also good for your health.

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Love IS Having To Say You’re Sorry
EmpowHER: Sex & Relationship Articles

Christine Jeffries is a writer/editor for work and at heart, and lives in a home of testosterone with her husband and two sons. Christine is interested in women’s health and promoting strong women.

Add a Comment4 Comments

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February 28, 2011 - 8:00pm

Hi Ayodeji,
Great point! It is all-too-often we hear half-hearted apologizing, or patronizing displays. Sincerity is the key, in my opinion regardless if you focus on it "not happening again." We are all human, and I believe that recognizing you hurt someone, validating their feelings in that way, regardless of right or wrong, it is a starting point. Kids are a whole different thing. It can be hard for a child to understand what they are apologizing for. Just this morning, one of my sons dropped a toy car off the railing in our house, and it hit our other son on his ear. The child who was hit cried from pain of being hit from above, and the child who was scolded for dropping the car started crying (I imagine) because he got into trouble. I had him apologize to his brother, because he hurt him. I know it was an accident. The one son was wrong in dropping the car. He didn't mean to hurt his brother, but his brother needed validation that he was wronged. Will his brother drop a car from the railing again? I don't know, and at his age, it's highly likely he will drop something again either trying to be cheeky, or just because he doesn't want to carry it down the stairs. I always make them say sorry regardless, and hope that after repeated reminders, it will become second nature for them when they know they were at fault. Hope that makes sense. You may disagree...
Take care, and thanks for your thoughtful comments.

February 21, 2011 - 9:07am
EmpowHER Guest

Hello again

Just thinking maybe one of the facets of the concept of love DOES me an never having to say you are sorry but instead saying 'It will not happen again and sticking to it or at least making humoungous effort to stick to it....?

February 18, 2011 - 10:32pm
EmpowHER Guest

Hello Christine,
thank you for the well written article. Ever since I was a child I was told by my parents and other elders to apologise and to say I am sorry for any thing done that offended or harmed anybody else in any way.

After a while I realised like so many children realised that saying sorry was a nice easy way to forgiveness without meaning it. I see many children and adult do this these days and get away with just an apology.
Point I am making is that much of that apology in my cynical eyes is rather fake. In the last 10 years that I have realise this when people apologise to me now I tell them not to be sorry as it is not in the least helpful to me. I tell them that instead they should tell me 'IT WILL NOT HAPPEN AGAIN' and then stick to it.
What I have found is that many people are very reluctant to say this as they no that if they say that, they have to stick with it as they have given there word. I teach my child this now and he is only 9 months old but hopefully by the time he is five he may have learnt the value of keeping your word and being truly sorry which in my opinion is not really just saying it.
It is a very difficult thing to do, to say it will not happen again as you go direct to the behaviour that needs changing.
This is my opinion and what I practice now and it seems to work and people's reluctance to say I will not happen again makes me realise that they realise that it is not about simply paying lip service to the problem but about changing the behaviour so that the problem does not occur again. To the people that have tried it, it seems to have a lasting effect. Thoughts........?


February 18, 2011 - 10:12pm
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