I’ve never been one to say sorry in relationships. I don’t say sorry when we break up, I just say goodbye. I am a rocket full of emotions. I love the chase, and sometimes I’ve been known to like the drama. But when the other person (or I) walk away, I don’t say sorry. I say sorry more often to people I almost bump into on the street.
That was the case until now. With the last person I was with (unofficially/officially, fellow 20-something’s know how it goes), I was pretty passive aggressive, yet adamant that I had then wanted to stay together but wasn’t going to fight for it. And as we were breaking up, I said a lot of things, but I didn’t say sorry. He was the one who initiated it, and I didn’t have anything I wanted to forgive. He wanted out, and I wasn’t going to ask him to stay.
After we broke up, we didn’t talk for six months. No texting, no calls, no late-night FaceTime talks, always ending with a cute, drawn-out goodnight. I deleted him off of Facebook, Snapchat, you name it. My girlfriends took me out, I went back onto Tinder, and I won’t elaborate on the rest.
But quarantine had me thinking, reflecting, and deciding what I wanted the next time I was to spend a lot of emotional effort and investment on somebody. I decided I wanted someone mature; someone who was able to talk about their feelings and not shut down when they tried to express them. But I was not that person myself.
So, out of the blue, I decided to say I was sorry. I decided that would be the first step in getting to know my emotions and getting them in check.
I decided to text him, acknowledging that it had been months since we talked and telling him that I hoped there was no bad blood. An hour later, I got a text back, saying he felt the same, and he didn’t hate me. And a couple of text exchanges later, I had even said “I’m sorry.”
And I felt so much better.
I felt like a weight I didn’t know I had shackled to my legs was suddenly lifted—I didn’t know that I carried the weight of an apology I didn’t even know I had in me. But I did, and it felt a lot better when I let that apology go, much like that person.
After saying those two little words, I felt like I had a lot more space to dedicate to the next person I wanted to have sleepovers and coffee dates with.
Saying sorry doesn’t mean losing, which was something I had feared for the eternity of my dating life. Saying sorry just means you’re taking responsibility for the way you acted, because no one is really at their best during breakups (or maybe that part is just me).
It means you’re finally giving yourself permission to grow the heck up and tell someone you weren’t giving them what they deserved. Because relationships are truly give and take, and even after you’ve broken up, sometimes it’s still worth it to be the person that has the balls to apologize and recognize that there were faults on both ends. Like Hannah Montana said, nobody’s perfect.
And from now on, I’m going to apologize to the people I’m dating/talking to when I know I’m not being the best version of myself. Because those bad feelings or unexpressed emotions can leave breadcrumbs of bad karma/juju/energy/vibes/etc. left for the next person. And I always want the next person I date to be a better fit. How could I find a better fit for me if I wasn’t even to be better myself?
Maybe it was quarantine, or maybe it was inner growth, but all in all, I’m happy I said sorry to my ex.