Every relationship has its share of misunderstandings from time to time. Whether you’ve known your partner for 10 months or 10 years, it’s natural to have minor conflicts and misunderstandings in your relationship. However, when a misunderstanding blows out of proportion, your relationship can take a turn for the worse.
Here’s what you should do to repair the damage caused by a misunderstanding between you and your partner.
Apologize for Your Actions
One of the most effective ways of clearing a misunderstanding and getting past the damage caused by it is apologizing if you were the one at fault. Don’t be offhand about it and throw out an “I’m sorry” once you realize you were in the wrong. Be genuine in your apology and explain what you thought has happened so that you both can move past the conflict.
When apologizing, express regret and mention what you’d have done differently had you not misunderstood the situation. Don’t let your pride get in the way and hold you back from being sincere in your apology. Even if you think it was a minor misunderstanding, your partner may view things differently. Be upfront and genuine, and truly apologize for misinterpreting things.
Your partner should do the same if they were the one who misunderstood.
Ask Them What They’re Thinking
Saying your truth alone won’t do. You also need to understand what’s going on in your partner’s mind and how they’re feeling about what happened.
It’s highly likely that they’re feeling hurt or angry because of your behavior. Even though you’ve apologized and expressed regret, it doesn’t mean that they can’t or shouldn’t feel upset anymore. They have the right to be upset and process things at their own pace. You can’t ask them not to do that.
What you can do is ask them what they’re feeling or thinking. Be direct. Ask them what caused them to be upset and how you can avoid inducing those feelings in the future. It’s important that you ask them to share what’s bothering them instead of assuming that things are A-okay now that you’ve apologized. This can lead to pent up anger or resentment, which isn’t going to do either of you any good. Even if they shrugged it off earlier, make sure you follow up.
Consult a therapist
Sometimes, the damage caused by a misunderstanding can be so deep that the individuals involved may not be able to resolve it on their own. If you feel like you’ve hit a wall and can’t get over it, seeking couples therapy is a good idea.
Couples counseling can help you both deconstruct your patterns of communication and learn new conflict resolution skills. This allows you to get past misunderstandings and avoid being in similar situations in the future.
Silicon Valley Marriage Counseling offers relationship counseling and marriage guidance services in Palo Alto. Call us at (650) 206-9973 for more details!