Do not literally stab someone in the back...or you'll be trying to follow these guidelines from your jail cell …Gena Kaufman, Glamour magazine
Besides an ill-fitting pair of shapewear, is there anything more uncomfortable than when you've screwed up and you know it? Let me answer for you: No, there is not. That sick feeling of dread and remorse in the pit of your stomach will make you miserable, but the fact of the matter is people make mistakes that hurt the people they love all the time.
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I'm skipping most of the personal insight into this one, because I am perfect and extremely well-behaved.* But luckily, some experts over at Psychology Today put together a great list of steps in how to handle it, so I thought I would share with you.
If you've messed up with your partner, whether it's snooping through their stuff or really betraying them by cheating, and you need to make amends, here are seven steps recommended by psychotherapists and marriage counselors Linda and Charlie Bloom:
1. Come clean on your own without getting caught. This salvages a level of trust that would be destroyed if you wait until he finds out.
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2. Commit to total honesty in the future. You're going to have to prove that you're trustworthy again.
3. Answer every question he might ask. I think the is one of the most important things to take away from the article: Don't get defensive, even if you think the question is stupid or repetitive. Answering is how you rebuild and reassure.
4. Listen to feelings without disputing them. It doesn't mean you have to agree, but allow your partner to say how they feel without jumping in with why they shouldn't feel that way.
5. Be patient and then be patient some more. To me, this is the second most important part of the process. It's easy to think that after you've apologized, things are better. But it might take way longer than you think for the person you've betrayed to really feel better about it, and you have to understand that.
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6. Skip the excuses and accept responsibility. The experts say you can explain certain factors later, but at least in the initial stages, don't try to justify or explain it away.
7. Keep focused on the recovery. The time and effort you put into it will make your relationship stronger in the end.
I think this is such a valuable lesson to learn for any relationship, romantic or otherwise. As the saying goes, to err is human, but to make up for it without hiding or acting like an even bigger jerkface is divine. Or something like that.
*OK, this statement is entirely untrue. Ask anyone who knows me.
Have you ever been in a situation where you totally messed up with your guy? How did you handle it? How did he? Any tips to add?