How to get your spouse to say, “I’m sorry”

Q: You keep telling us to Speak Our Voices, but whenever I tell my husband what’s on my mind, he justifies his actions. He seems genetically incapable of saying, “I’m sorry.” Is there a way to milk an apology out of this man? — Desperately Seeking a Sorry

Dear Desperately Seeking a Sorry:

I hear you. I used to have the same problem. Fights between me and my husband used to go something like this:

Me: I’m really frustrated that you sat indoors all day watching TV when the grass is so high that the poor dog keeps accidentally stepping on his own poop.

Him: I didn’t watch TV all day.

Me: Yes you did. I saw you do it.

Him: The grass isn’t that high.

Me: The neighbors are going to complain to the borough any minute now. I just lost our daughter out there. The police are currently searching for her, and they are using machetes to cut through the grass.

Him: I can cut it tomorrow.

Me: You are in Las Vegas tomorrow, and why do you have to be so difficult?

Him: You know, the strangest thing happened the other day….

Me: Don’t change the subject.

Him: Look over there…

All I wanted was an, “I’m sorry. I screwed up. You’re right. I’m a lazy slacker.” Instead I got one justification after another for why he wasn’t at fault, and when the justifications failed and the tension rose, he tried to change the subject.

My husband and I still occasionally have such arguments but, truth be told, the situation has somehow reversed itself. Now he’s the one who is after an “I’m sorry” and I’m the greedy person who won’t cough up the words. I believe everything in life happens for a reason. The reasons I’m not sorry are:

1.    It gives me something to blog about.

2.    It helps me understand my husband that much more.

Neither justifies not saying the words, though. I just felt the need to tell you, so you would continue to find me endearing and lovable.

Anyway, the point is that I now understand that my husband wasn’t necessarily trying to annoy me. He wasn’t even doing it because he didn’t think he was at fault. He was doing it because he’s a competitive person, and so am I. One of his life mantras is, “Second is the first loser.” Seriously. He truly believes this.

So it makes sense that he’d have a hard time admitting defeat, especially when he has a wife who is willing to fight until the very bitter end because she can’t admit defeat, either. (Not to mention the fact that his wife is almost always right, but I digress, yet again).

Still, he has learned to apologize. To get your spouse to do the same, you first need to understand why he hates to say those words. Chances are, he avoids saying, “I’m sorry” for one of the following reasons:

  • He thinks he can truly convince you that he is right and you are wrong, and he doesn’t realize that this thinking is completely delusional.
  • He thinks that, by changing the subject, you will experience a momnesia moment and forget what you were talking about in the first place. Again, he doesn’t realize that his tactics will instead cause you to have a momnesia moment when you are trying to remember why you married him in the first place.
  • Saying “I’m sorry” makes him feel weak. He doesn’t realize that true human strength lies in the ability to admit ones shortcomings.

I recommend having a conversation about his inability to apologize. Bring it up when you are both calm. In other words, the time to have this conversation is NOT when you are fighting about something else and you realize you want him to say, “I’m sorry.” You need to have the conversation at a time when you are not after an apology.

When you talk, you might say, “Honey, have you ever noticed that you rarely tell me that you are sorry?”

He’ll probably say something like, “I tell you that I’m sorry.” You’ll say, “No you don’t.” And then you will be off on your cycle. Wait for the right moment, the one that will cause you both to laugh at your folly. At the right moment, after you’ve both done your “No you don’t” and “Yes I do” thing for a while, say, “Well, I’d like you to tell me that you are sorry for not telling me you are sorry. Can you do that? Right now?” See what happens.

This, by the way, is just an icebreaker. It’s a way to ease yourself into a sticky discussion with a bit of humor. At some point state exactly how you feel about his refusal to apologize. You might say any or all of the following:

* When you change the topic when I’m trying to discuss something, it makes me feel as if you think I’m stupid or that you think my feelings are not important.

* When you justify your actions instead of apologizing, I get even more frustrated. Then our arguments last even longer.

Then, end with a question, “Why do you think you have such a hard time apologizing?” If he’s a strong and silent type like my guy, he’ll probably say something philosophical like, “Dunno.”

In the future, when you confront your husband, you’ll get to Sorry more quickly if you:

  • Confront him while you are doing something else. People feel less threatened when they are not making eye contact. Talk while in the car or while walking. If he doesn’t realize you are confronting him, he’ll be a lot more likely to have a conversation with you rather than shut down and battle you.
  • Maintain your happy voice. If you state how you feel in the same tone of voice you use to talk about your day, his “danger” mechanism might not engage.
  • Answer his attempts to battle you or change the subject with simple questions: Why are you trying to justify your actions? Why are you changing the subject? Why can’t you just apologize?

Note: All of the advice here applies to women, too. If your wife refuses to say she’s sorry, try it and see.

Do you have advice for Desperately Seeking a Sorry? Leave a comment.

Email your questions to The Marriage Expert. This feature runs every Friday.

54 comments… add one

  • Andrea April 10, 2009, 1:55 pm

    Love it! Going to try it!

  • Sarah Liz April 10, 2009, 4:32 pm

    I think there’s a difference between a genuine ‘I’m sorry’ and saying it just to please someone else. Personally, I’d rather have a SINCERE apology rather than one I dragged out of my husband, and vise-versa! I think Alissa’s advice is great, and I think, at the end of the day, our husbands really do NOT want to hurt us or piss us off. I think, in most cases, most days, they’re hearts are in the right place–their brains and communication skills; however, are off somewhere totally lost! Am I right? Anyway, I think if you HONESTLY tell your husband (or anyone who truly cares about anyone but themsleves) that you’re truly and sincerely hurt by something they did/said or didn’t say/didn’t do; they WILL apologize; AND/OR, try to correct the problem. I don’t demand apologies anymore, but I do TELL HIM FLAT OUT–’what you just said really hurt my feelings and this is why:’ the other night, he apologized right off the bat! Literally! In truth though, it is NOT our husband’s job, nor is it OUR job, to tell someone that they’re right or wrong, or HAVE to apologize. Each person is their own person, and differences of opinion and views are bound to happen; especially in a marriage. Being married to a stubborn man myself, and being an incredible stubborn woman too, doesn’t always help me in the apology department. I don’t like saying ‘I’m sorry’ either most of the time, it’s admitting defeat and WHO really wants to do that? I sure don’t. But then you realize that you can either be happy and honest, knowing your said your peace, and move on; or you can be right. Usually, you can’t be both (well, in your head you can always be both, but to your spouse, not so much!) Anyway, I think Alisa’s advice is perfect and I would try it! Your husband may surprise you. And by the way, if he DOES want to hurt your feelings and TRULY never sees the error of his ways (about anything at all), than you’ve got a whole other problem that goes way beyond the, two words ‘I’m sorry.’ Not saying that’s your situation, it doesn’t sound like it; but sometimes I get so caught up in the “I’m hurt, you messed up so foo-foo on you.” stage that THAT becomes my battle, instead of the REAL issue at hand, and/or what I was really upset with to begin with! Goodluck!
    -Sarah Liz :)

    • Shelly December 8, 2014, 7:02 pm

      I’d be more than happy if my husband didn’t apologise if he had actually listened to my problems and understood them. I think my problem is that I can tell him flat out, and he won’t listen because he’s in ‘defense mode’. He doesn’t even hear what’s wrong because he’s so busy defending himself against ‘blame’.

  • LeAnn April 10, 2009, 7:43 pm

    I think that if my husband ever admitted that he was wrong, or said he was sorry, the world would come to an end. ;)

  • Gaiusf April 11, 2009, 8:57 am

    I love this article. and the rest your blogs. Its pretty amazing tools for couple whom are into struggling moments including me that have just started my marriage life for a year.

    Keep it up!.

  • Jennifer Fink April 13, 2009, 11:05 am

    Boy, is this appropriate! This is the link I should have sent to my husband instead, seeing as how, oh, we were up til midnight last night going ’round and ’round on this very subject!


  • Ben August 9, 2009, 1:37 am

    If I could say something as a man….

    Don’t demand apologies. Demanding for apology in and of itself is to demonstrate power and to control… If the number one complaint men have about their wives is “receiving unsolicited advices”, this (demanding for apology) ranks high up there and surely harms the relationship.

    What’s more effective is to focus on the future. Ask your spouse how he likes to contribute and participate.

    This is not to deny the power that sincere apologies can have as part of a wider process of rebuilding trust and mutual confidence. However, to be effective in this way, apologies must be freely given, not demanded or extorted.

  • cyndi December 27, 2009, 9:02 am

    my husband instead of saying sorry he try to be nice by cleaning the house,cook do laundry to make you forget but never say sorry

  • TLC August 14, 2010, 5:49 pm

    To me an apology isn’t so much as an admittance to any wrong doing, but about an acknowldegent of how I have been hurt in the process. My husband is really good at justifying his words and actions and saying if I just listen and understand why none of it is his fault then I won’t need an apology. To me it just sounds more like he just wants to be right. Screw how I feel.

    This is from him:

    for me to apologise there must be something to apologise for, therefore for me to apologise for it I must be guilty of something, and if I am not, or don’t feel I am, to apologise anyway in my mind is taking the blame, and it is difficult to get past that in my head and to ask for an apology for how you feel WITHOUT taking the blame
    is equivalent to apologising for someone elses car hitting you in that it doesn’t really mean anything
    so for you to say it isn’t about blame, it’s hard for me to get to that, especially at the time something is going on

  • Weston September 14, 2010, 1:06 pm

    Got to add to list of reasons:

    When I don’t provide an apology to my wife it is generally because I believe either

    1. It will be used as a weapon against me either immediately or at a later date. This is sometimes in my imagination and at other times is actually rooted in fact and experience.

    2. I feel that my need for reciprocity has not been met. I (as a general rule) am much more willing to apologize than my wife and sometimes tire of being the one putting himself out there on this particular issue.

  • Marissa November 25, 2010, 8:20 am

    I find it hard to apologize as well. I think because of the admittance of guilt part, or genuinely I am NOT sorry for what ever has transpired.

    My husband adds qualifiers to his “I’m sorry”s like “I’m sorry YOU feel that way” with and inflection on YOU. I’m not even sure he knows he adds that inflection, but when he adds it – I hear blame being placed, like it is my fault for feeling hurt. When that happens, I often shut down. I often become so frustrated that the apology has been shifted that I just walk away, often times angrier than before.

    I wish I could train myself to just suck it up and admit defeat, but I also wish my husband could/would too….

  • Toni January 19, 2011, 1:12 am

    Men are pigs as a rule. They “hurt and flee” – therefore proving they know they’re wrong. If just once my husband would admit that he KNEW he had hurt me I’d probably fall over dead. Right now I’m considering why my last name needs to be the same a his . . . . JUST ONCE I wish he would acknowledge that he what he had said was so very hurtful and not necessary. No wonder he has had such fractured relationships with his children. BTW, did I mention I’m wife #3? But so far I’ve been married to him longer than the other 2 combined. I must be a SAINT! (Or stupid!)

    • Alisa January 19, 2011, 8:39 am

      Toni–Your situation sounds very frustrating. I’m sorry to hear you are going through so much and that you are your husband have so much to work through. This is a safe and nurturing place, and I hope you find much comfort here. Please keep in mind, however, that both men and women frequent this site, and both sexes are struggling with sadness and frustration in their marriages. You actually might find that the men here are quite supportive of you and could even help you better understand your husband. They really aren’t all pigs (the ones in this community definitely aren’t), but I certainly understand your anger and how you could feel that way.

    • sasha July 28, 2013, 9:24 pm

      I completely understand ur frustrations, its two words I’m sorry like there pride is too high just to give a simple apology I’ve been married for 6 years they say it gets easier, honestly I don’t believe that because its always been no apologising from him but I apologize when I’m at fault but don’t get the same respect honestly I’m w the lady that said I’m wondering y my name is the same as his lol all jokes aside tho marriage is ruff and frustrating specially when u get nothing back as a simple apology from ur husband can be frustrating!

    • jf August 6, 2013, 12:13 am


      You may very well be right about your husband. Certainly, we don’t know him like you do. That said, I can’t help think you’ll doom yourself… and any relationship… to failure with this kind of thinking. My wife also very rarely if ever apologizes, though she would say otherwise. And that makes me mad too. But I don’t believe that makes for an unconditional rule about women… or even about my wife. Why? Because if I did, there’s no way she could do right, under such a cloud of assumptions.

  • C-man April 12, 2011, 11:06 pm

    My wife says hurtful things, drives away for days, and comes home mad at me. It’s not a man thing. I HATE when women say that. I’ve been cheated on, lied to, had my ring thrown at me, and I’m still faithful and she doesn’t even have a job. No apologies from her still… Her mom has been married 3 times and divorced all 3 men (who have been happily married to other women all over 15 years together) It’s people! All the ladies who think it’s a “guy thing”, it’s you.

    • mindy July 15, 2011, 11:23 am

      Now I do believe if she drives away for days and is mad at u then I believe she’s mad at herself for cheering on u. And regrets it but she can’t stop cheating. I’ve witness my sister and couple of my friends do that…they make there husbands or boyfriend’s believe they r mad at them just so they can run off to b with another man and u thinking she’s mad and u messed up.

    • sasha July 28, 2013, 9:27 pm

      That’s not true at all!!! That’s what y’all men think that’s its all our fault so u don’t have to say I’m sorry suck up your pride, please

    • David January 26, 2016, 7:16 am

      I agree, There is an old adage that both people are the cause and effect. Both henders cannot mind read so an apology from both to each other are in order.

  • mindy July 15, 2011, 11:18 am

    I say….tell your husband why you are hurt by him or upset with him for. Then give him the silent treatment….do not cook clean up after him look at him just shut him out and he will think to himself “wow”, I messed up then he will realize he should apologize….and really mean it. If he truly loves you he won’t want to see you hurt. He will think I might lose her I gotta make this up to her let her know I care and truly love her…

  • Anonymous December 29, 2011, 11:54 am

    I totally relate to this. My husband and I get into arguments because he picks the smallest things and throws a fit. Everyone in my family calls him the girl in the relationship. Ex: He bought me a a gift, I didn’t like how the gift was running, so I complained about it. and he just got mad at me and said he won’t try to satisfy anyone but himself anymore…. and it makes me look bad. I told him I loved the gift but I just don’t like the touch screen of it. He ignores me for days and won’t talk to me. And when I try to say I’m sorry he ignores it… then I try to send funny pictures, once again it’s ignored. then I send him a message to stop acting like this and then he sends me one message “WHAT”

    When my husband gets mad, he won’t tell me what for, then he tells me to remember what I said or did… and when he gets mad he only texts me. He won’t say a word to me. And I told him if he wants us to work, we need to communicate, if he doesn’t like how I’m doing things then he needs to tell me right then and then not a few days later. So I can correct it right there. He holds grudges which i don’t like. And when he hurts me he don’t really do much instead I just drop it and leave it alone, but when it comes to him. He’s a drama Queen.

    I can never get him to say the words sorry to me. He told me once that he doesn’t like admitting he’s ever wrong. I guess it’s like a pride thing. Which is stupid cause your marriage is on the line. At times I wish we weren’t together because he’s always finding something to get mad at me for. He gets mad for my past at the same time and I can’t change that… I told him I accepted his past, etc.

    It feels like he’s not willing to try to make it work…. *sigh*

    but overall I think why guys don’t like saying sorry is because they have too much PRIDE!

    • silksoul January 20, 2014, 3:26 pm

      I know exactly how you feel.. Men holding grudges, drama queens, blaming you for your past while you forgot his…etc. Whereas when I hold a grudge he keeps on lecturing me on the virtue of forgiveness n then hurt me deeply by comparing me to his old ” forgiving” gf!! I can’t stand him getting upset from me n when he gives me the silent treatment I keep after him till he gets over it, whereas when I give him the same silent treatment he just ignores me for as long as it takes till I am the one who reconcile, AND I get allll the blame for my reaction n he forgets it was he who wronged me at the first place… Not to mention, REVENGE, OMG .. I guess its a Scorpio attitude.. Are all men like that?! I mean do I have to b a bitch; ignore him n give him the ” I don’t give a shit about you ” treatment to tame him into what I need as a treatment?! I’m not that kinda girls, I am just me, act n do n say as I feel, if I’m happy I’m happy, if I’m upset I say why n expect appreciation n understanding, afterall, why all these games!!!!!

    • Tennismom August 11, 2015, 9:50 pm

      Wow! I could have written those exact words myself! Every single one! My husband is SOOOO immature its unreal. Gets mad at tiny little things and then pouts forever with the silent treatment. I seem to be the only one that cares enough to want to speak again, but he seems to be content with ignoring me for days. On top of that he’s uber controlling, but of course he doesn’t see it that way.

      The blame always gets put on me for why he’s mad, and when I tell him how his actions hurt me he doesn’t care. He has anger management issues and gets so irate over minor things. I can ask a simple question about why he’s upset about something, and in the course of his rant he works himself up it makes him start yelling and cussing. Then I have to wait until HE feels like speaking to me again. Geez grow up. I really don’t know how much more of this immature behavior I can take!

  • Grecian woman January 15, 2012, 5:53 pm

    I called my husband yesterday asking him
    What he wanted to eat. He agreed to eating at home 3.30-4pm. So i put the food I’n the oven 3.20pm and he walks I’n 3.50 saying oh i ate at my mums I’m not hungry now. I was upset that he didn’t let me know and i didn’t have to waste me time. I informed him i would apologize if i were u cause if i did wat u did i would . He said no what for why should i and this minor thing turned into a bigger argument. Then he started to say i won’t eat with mu family ( his parents) next time. I said it’s not the point u can but i just want u to let me know. I was looking forward to eating with u. Next he started saying my family have health problems and his family is fine with their diet etc. I feel I’n this relationship my husband doesn’t want me to express myself and let him know I’m upset. All i want is to feel i am important to him and that he loves me. I cried for at least an hour I’n the room he said tears don’t work i said my heart hurts i can’t help it. He then left to shop at Woolworths. If that was me i would hug and comfort the one i love i would not be able to see them sad.

    • TooSmart October 24, 2014, 7:18 am

      Grecian woman, I am sorry to hear this. Why are you still married to this man? He does not respect you. You simply ask him to respect your time and your schedule and he does not want to do it, and on top of it he does not even want to apologise. Honestly, he comes across as mean.

      When I read these stories I remember why I am single. I was in a couple of relationships but in all of them there were these power games and I simply did not want to put up with this. I only want to have a relationship when we respect each other and are really supportive. Where you are not out to pester and hurt each other. And if you still would hurt the other by accident, where that hurt is acknowledged and an apology is given. Maybe I am too idealistic.

      I will in any case never accept that not being able to apologise is somehow part of a man’s DNA.

  • Chris January 28, 2012, 9:40 am

    This article shows one side of the coin. Many women are irrational, unreasonable and manipulative. This exaggeration of “The Argument” paints a picture that husband sits on his ass 24/7 watching football while poor MOM tends to the children. Furthermore, the machete and daughter thing (although tongue-in-cheek) is just a tactic to fuel the “My husband is lazy” propaganda machine. This gives validity to the women’s side of the argument.

    What does your husband accomplish the other 6 days of the week? Probably more than you give him credit for… The lack of loyalty that caused you to put him on blast on the web is not indicative of a strong marriage anyhow. The only thing you seem to have grown together is kids and resentment. Well Done! What validated the weak marriage thought for me is the fact that you manipulated him into saying “I’m sorry” because you had to ask him to. ( And that you put this blog up)

    The bottom line is that he needs to grow enough as a person to not want to upset you in the first place. I got news for you: none of his apologies mean jack… It’s just to shut you up. With all the work you put into this blog, you could have cut and edged the grass! getting outside and cutting the grass yourself instead of being a nag. Or, even better yet, ask him nicely to go outside and do it right after or before the game. For shame. Get a divorce.

    • Marlene January 10, 2014, 5:14 am

      Dear Chris, you seem to know a lot about marriage and the intricate details involved. So maybe you have an answer for me. just yesterday my husband and I had an argument about a mere question that I asked, he colossally lunged at me verbally, saying that I am accusing him of things and that he is sick and tired of it. I have never nagged at him for anything and I have taken care of us for 12 months when he lost his job, turning down opportunities that he felt weren’t for him. I caught him having emotional affairs, asked for a divorce and he refused saying he does not understand the need for it. He is also one of those that don’t like to say that they are sorry, so if I am understanding you correctly I need to give him room to grow, how much more room does he need to grow or am I being manipulative and unreasonable? 4 years and counting.

  • Sara August 7, 2012, 4:10 am

    I don’t know where to start, I have a very stubborn husband who will never say sorry to me even if he is wrong. Always when we fight he will tell me horrible things like he choose me to be his wife by mistake, and that when we were dating I always said im sorry to him. When I was dating him he was not part of my life and I always said Im sorry even when he is the one to say he is sorry, now that we are married I feel like telling him exactly what I feel and he will be angry for a week, he wont talk to me not answer my calls all these things are tearing me apart I even wonder if we are going to make it.

  • sam November 2, 2012, 6:36 pm

    Hi, me, my husband and our 2 young children had a catastrophic expensive holiday, and the result of it is another disaster. the holiday idea was my husband’s, I tried to convince him otherwise but he didn’t listen. Towards the end of the holiday, he made a vey selfish move that really upset me. we didn’t speak properly to each other since. This happened 3 months ago! he still didn’t even attempt to apologise neither for the selfishness nor for the disaster holiday. He doesn’t sleep in our bed and sometimes shows that he is angry towards me. I think he is not talking to me because he doesn’t want to face up to the responsibility of the catastrophic holiday. but worse I feel he doesn’t care enough to solve the issue. Help!

  • patience February 24, 2013, 7:09 pm

    My husband is selfish he won’t say I’m sorry he always put a blame on me by saying hurtful things. He won’t listen to me no matter how I try to show him his wrong behavior.He word goes because he’s a provider in the house so my opinion to him doesn’t matter so now I begin not to love him like I used to

  • plus d'infos March 22, 2013, 5:12 pm


    mine…. oh god, mine drives me crazy, when i confront him with many many many evidences that he is wrong, he turn the subject into a funny way and start saying sorry like if he is talking to a child.
    I hate this and i dont know what to do anymore

  • Antonia April 23, 2013, 5:34 am

    My husband is the most selfish and spoiled man i’ve ever met.He only wants things done his way.He won’t cook or clean even when i’m really sick and really need help.
    He quit his job and likes to drive around getting drunk with friends coming home in the early hours of the morning after leaving before midday the previous day.
    Everytime he does something wrong he appologises only to repeat the same thing again.It drives me nuts.Lately i’ve been questioning myself why i’ve put up with his shortcomings for the last five years.He doesn’t hesitate to shout hurtful and demeaning words at me in public and he acts caring one day then the next day he’s the complete opposite.He recently embarrassed me in front of housemates.I’ve really fallen out of love with him but what will i tell our two small kids?

  • Fasuyi damilola April 23, 2013, 6:44 pm

    Just keep praying that everything is going to be well and they will realize their mistakes

  • Robyn Edwards July 15, 2013, 10:13 am

    I am so glad to know I am not alone. Sometimes it feels like my husband doesn’t love me enough to talk to me or EVER admit if he did something wrong. I am not perfect at it, but I can definitely humble myself and say “I screwed up. I’m sorry”. It has really been getting to me lately.

  • MONARE August 7, 2013, 5:15 am

    Every day I talk to my wife either we r in good or bad mood. I forever complain that she can’t tel me she miss love me? she can’t express her love or feelings to me> When I tried to talk to her how I feeling she ‘l keep quiet and be angry @me for days without talking to me. Honestly i started to doubt her love towards me. If I ‘M WRONG i DO APOLOGIZE with a smile on my face and try to give her a hug kiss. When I want to make love kiss to her I have to beg. Is this a health marriage? She hardly can communicate with me even if she can spend the holy day without talking to me theres no problem. Please blogs help me on this one. What should I do? I love her too much..

  • confused January 25, 2014, 12:23 pm

    hi, I’ve been married for 8 months…I am really really confused…my husband blamed me and shouted at me for things I have no control over, and then he left me behind to go home on my own. When he got home he called me selfish, and after a while he did try to make up with me, I was willing to talk, but his ways are physical and not apologetic at all…he just started touching me and to me that’s like “let’s just get this over with by…” like it is all a game to him…in the past I have never told him no, and I usually can’t stay mad at him for a long time, I try not to let things remain unresolved before bed time…doesn’t work all the time though, but now I don’t even want to see him…
    When we argue, most of the time he starts it, I say something and then he “attacks” my personality, my background, my appearance or points out things about me that are not related to the issue we are dealing with…and makes me feel bad and I end up crying…then he turns things around and it ends up that it is my fault and I have to say sorry first..or at least say sorry too (like now he denies that he shouted at me…but I was the only person in the car with him when he yeah…and he says that I left him when I got out of the car when he parked…we both got out, he went inside to get something and I took a walk and when I got back he was gone!) in the past I would just say sorry to stop fighting cos it’s really just a waste of time…but now I think I do deserve a sorry for being blamed, shouted at and left behind to go home by myself…now he’s the one mad at me!he told me that “yeah it”s all my fault and you’re blameless right?”, I told him no I also have a part, cos it takes 2 people to start an argument and I told him that I need an apology…I want him to understand that he really hurt me with his actions…he usually does say “sorry” (just sorry, after I say sorry or make the first move towards making up) but he doesn’t ever say “I won’t do it again”, and he doesn’t change, he doesn’t act better after an argument…and we end up arguing again after a few days…I end up crying at least once a week…and I am sick of it…an apology can be empty, it is easy to say sorry but it is different to really mean it…
    I think that sometimes we do need to demand for an apology…a sincere apology…to me it’s not about being right, or winning (I’ve told him nobody wins when we are both fighting…) because saying sorry means that you accept that you’ve hurt someone, you’re taking responsibility for what happened, and you want to make things right again…

    • Leela October 26, 2015, 12:55 pm

      Hi. I am wondering if you guys are still together?

  • Susan February 23, 2014, 4:27 pm

    If two people love each other then pride and ego should be left at the door. Period.
    I’ve been happily married for 17yrs but one thing is true. Men have difficulty saying sorry. But they are experts at turning the tables. This fight never gets old. Out fights become more about the fact that he turns tables and refuses to apologize when it is clearly his fault. I’m also always the one who caves after days of the silent treatment. We fight twice a year and it’s about the same thing. Not a reason to divorce, but enough to make you realize he’ll never change. For better or worse.

  • Susan February 23, 2014, 4:29 pm

    Oh and btw, now is one of those ‘twice a year’ times.

  • Ethan March 13, 2014, 6:09 am

    In the story, the wife comes out of nowhere attacking and accusing the husband of something. And I’m sure the husband does the same to the wife. No one reacts positively in this situations. When wanting an apology you often first have to admit your own fault and be understanding if why the person did what they did before being accusation. Ya gotta give a little before you get a little. .

  • jon May 30, 2014, 3:53 am

    If you’re arguing over grass then its not really “living”. Best way of getting him off his ass is to start working in the garden. He will soon get off his ass. Do things together. its awful having the “silent treatment” and often the reason for it is forgotten after a few days but you’re both left angry. My wife and I do most things together but as a man it is easy to get distracted by F1 or something on TV. On weekends we don’t turn on the TV until the evenings. The Radio is much better. You can do things while listening and the music can help be a motivator unless you have the classical channel on lol..

  • Erin December 20, 2014, 5:09 am

    Mine has left me because he could not say sorry. He knows he is the guilty party, so he told me I was abusive. We never had any violence in our home but he even said he was afraid of me.

    Problem, like so many women, is that I have actual affection for the times he is normal, which is most of the time. Suddenly there’d be something so hurtful that it would leave me breathless and we would argue. Waiting doesn’t work because we moved on and it should be finished. Telling him gently immediately doesn’t work because he will not admit he was wrong. That is when we argue and that got him to say I was the bad person in this and he left me. At times, when I talk normally with him, he would tell me to calm down. Facts, logic, and reason don’t seem to matter with him! When I tell him I am completely calm, he would repeat it until I finally get frustrated and yell at him. Again, this happens maybe two-three times a year. Mostly, we enjoy each other’s company.

    When we talk, if I talk about how disappointing some hotel was, he would tell me I am negative, I would never be satisfied because I always complain. I tried to tell him that while I was discussing a factual event, he was attacking me at a personal level. He then just repeats what he is saying. Until a point where, frustrated at being unable to get through to him, I yell at him. I feel bad afterwards and apologize but he holds it against me.

    How do I reach an emotional and proud guy?

  • Angela December 22, 2014, 11:05 am

    i have been with my partner for 7 years. I feel that he has many issues which I have been supportive of over the years. I have 2 adult sons , the youngest can sometimes be challenging (aged 23) he lives at home but fluctuates between home and his partner. My other half and I are currently seperated due to his inhability to understand that I will support my children unconditionally. Sometimes in the past my son has been disrespectful which my partner can’t tolerate . However my partner fails to see that his own life choices have been disrespectful also. He just can’t allow me to be a parent as I feel I need to be. It’s like he has never done anything wrong ever. Why can’t he put his anger aside ???? It’s so frustrating

  • Bob December 30, 2014, 9:55 pm

    I found myself googling why does my wife never say she is sorry and it brought me here. After reading some of these posts, comments, and questions i believe the answer is quite simple. She doesnt say she is sorry because in fact, she is not. Neither men nor women are right 100% of the time. Humans are naturally flawed by design and everyone makes mistakes. It is up to that individual person to care enough about the situation and the person they are with to acknowledge what they did or said is wrong, and it has hurt the other and show remorse for it. I have came to the conclusion that my wife who i love and adore simply just doesnt care enough to think about my feelings so the apology never happens. Its sad but true.

    • desperatelydesperate November 1, 2015, 12:50 pm

      so true

    • Kristine November 22, 2015, 9:35 am

      I agree with you Bob. Your reasoning makes a lot of sense to me. And just to elaborate, I think they may care but they do not care enough. And how can you make someone care? You can’t. So then the question is how to proceed from that point. Are you supposed to go on and just pretend it didn’t happen? My husband does not understand why I don’t feel like being intimate with him after a heck of a fight earlier this week. He know he was wrong but apologizing is not something he cares enough to do. I guess I get tired of trying to babysit a person who is emotionally immature which is what I consider people who can’t apologize. I already have 2 kids. It’s not very difficult to understand that in the world you have choices to act or say anything you want but there are always ramifications of that. To me that is another hallmark of a very immature person- they do not think there are any repercussions of their words or actions. Anyways, how have you proceeded with your wife?

  • kristie April 7, 2015, 4:36 pm

    I noticed a comment that made me think…many husbands will try to do nice things in lieu of an apology…maybe apologies (giving and receiving) need to be understood in the same manner as love languages.. we all have different ways of showing and ways we want to receive love.. apologies to me are the same way.

  • Leela October 26, 2015, 12:47 pm

    My problem with my husband was this weekend. He is a lazy man! In this moment I am not working and he is. So, I am alone mostly with myself. When the weekend comes, I want to do things with him, but he has “always” some projects going on trying to look like a “smartass”.
    During the week I make finner, keep the house clean. This weekend he wanted to make us breakfast å for to the store. But, forgot flour. So, while his hands were all covered up with the dough he asked me if I could run to the store and get some flour. Me, still in bed, said, give me å moment. So, he just through away the dough into the garbage and made himself team. Stå down and began to have breakfast by himself, like I dont exist. It broke my heart, because it seems like I am not even there. So, I just looked at hum and got teary eyes and when to swimming all day.
    If he wants to have a relationship like that. Ignoring me, OK!

  • Francoise October 30, 2015, 12:05 pm

    I found this blog post because I was trying to understand why my husband of 17 years simply cannot ever acknowledge wrong-doing and will cling to any and every justification possible, to the point of absurdity to avoid doing so. He hasn’t always been this way. It progressed over time. Because of this, I began thinking that maybe I was, at least in part, the cause this development in his character. That his apologies were impossible to give because, frankly, he doesn’t believe I deserve it. That he no longer respects me and may even feel contempt toward me. I started to feel powerless and sorry for myself.

    But then I reminded myself that the only person’s actions we are able to change or control is our own. It dawned on me that it’s quite possible that I don’t offer apologies as often as I could and should. That I may have even “taught” him to become this way. I suspect that if I make an effort to say I’m sorry more often that he will do the same. Perhaps without even being fully aware of it.

    Pipe dream? Perhaps. But, at the very least, I will have ended up being a better person. So what do I have to lose?

  • linda November 5, 2015, 11:48 am

    He never thinks he is wrong. Its us that are making to much out of the situation for him to say i’m sorry. He tells me to get over it. and doesnt want to talk about it anymore. he is a real prize

  • Jenny December 25, 2015, 11:24 am

    Great article. What about a partner that always apologise but dont mean it, but just say it to “escape the topic” entirely. Like if we were about to start a fight, he will just say “Ok ok I’m sorry I wont do it again/I will do it later” and changes topic entirely, but keep doing the same thing over and over again/does not do it.

    Sometimes I feel like he doesnt treat my feelings seriously..

  • Brooke May 29, 2016, 10:20 pm

    Unfortunately, I highly suspect that my husband does not say sorry, ever, not because of pride or fear but because he simply thinks that he can do no wrong. If I get upset, it’s because I’m being over-sensitive or that I’m in one of my funny moods. Probably genetics or upbringing. Definitely has something to do with his family dynamics. Brought up to think they are perfect and allowed to get away with excuses, half truths, smoke and mirrors. How do I work with that?.


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