What do you do when saying I'm Sorry doesn't cut it anymore? She just doesn't believe you, and needs to see you're sorry. Is there a way to show you're sorry without it taking weeks to prove you're sorry. Should I have to prove I'm sorry? What if I don't know what I'm suppose to be sorry for, but she expects you to think about it till you know. I hope I'm not alone on this and this is something that happens. 

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There is no shortcut, trust me on this one.  Do the time, make sure it doesn't happen again, and buy lots of flowers and bright-shiney-things.

My office manager sometimes chews me out before I've actually done anything, or she'll go on and on about a mistake I'm trying to admit to before I can apologize and accept responsibility. The only thing I find works is to say, "You're right. I take full responsibility. It won't happen again." And then not let it happen again.

At work and at home, I also strategize procedures to avoid a repeat. Say it's over-spending. At work, I print out multiple quotes for my travel expenses before I book, and submit the quotes with my reimbursement paperwork. At home, there might be an agreement that neither spouse will spend above a certain amount without discussing it.

But being upset and not explaining why and just withdrawing can be abuse. But it's a hard pattern to avoid. There's another thread today about getting upset and not really knowing why and not necessarily for good reasons. Avoiding it takes lots of self-reflection. Moreover, for better or worse, there are a million narratives in which the man is just supposed to figure out what the woman wants/needs (and not just in stupid rom-coms, in "traditional" fairy tales and even older literature, too). What to do with a woman who can't break the pattern? I don't know.

You always have to prove you're sorry, assuming we're talking about an intentional act (as opposed to a genuine accident, not just oblivious stupidity).  Saying you're sorry was never enough.

 

Women always want "sorry" accompanied with "I won't do it again" (because, if you do it again, were you really ever sorry?).  They may accept the first "sorry" as an implied "I won't do it again" ... but if they get burned a time or two more, they won't believe you're sorry until you prove that you won't do it again.  If the crime is bad enough, they may not even accept the first 'sorry' without proof.


Dare I ask ... what'd you do?

 

If she won't tell you what she's mad at, you've got to be honest with her.  "I don't know what you're mad at, and I'm not going to sit in my room and think about it like a 5-year-old.  Tell me what the problem is, and maybe we'll come up with a solution".

 

That is, unless you actually do know, and you're just playing dumb ... in which case, stop it.


JB

Agreed.

Thanks everyone for your advice. I've done a little self reflection and there are certain situations I get in that my wife doesn't trust me in. Even when I don't do what she's worried about she doesn't trust me and for good reason. I think the best thing to do is to just avoid putting my self in situations that I'm not trusted in. It isn't a place I need to be and all it ever does is hurt our relationship. So I think I should put it behind me and keep in mind my number one value is my wife and is what I'm doing or where I'm going something she is ok with. Thanks again everyone. 

"What do you do when saying I'm Sorry doesn't cut it anymore?"

My short answer when I read this? Stop lying.

I think you are asking one question but are seeking an answer to another problem. Saying sorry isn't your issue it seems, its how do you get your wife to trust you?

There is no easy answer for that (which I'm sure you've already figured out).

My advice is to be honest. And if you are like me and can occasionally lack tack, this might mean you are sometimes brutally honest. My opinion is that it is better to accidently cause a small cry in a loved one by being honest than by causing one by lying.

Also there is no answer to how to prove you are sorry other than actually being sorry. If you either don't know what you are saying sorry for and/or trying to find a way to prove you are sorry then most likely you are not actually sorry for anything (other than being in that awkward situation in which your wife is mad at you) and therefore shouldn't lie about being sorry. Like a thief who apologises to the court. Is he sorry for stealing or is he sorry for getting caught?

What I think you are looking for is how to gain your wife's trust. There is no easy answer for this. It will depend on how easy she gives it to others to begin with and whether or not you've already done something to damage it. If she already has trust issues and/or you've tarnished it then you are potentially in for a long road and one that may never come to an end.

Also, I can only comment on what I read. If the issue is that your wife is expecting acts of penance to be paid for no other reason than her need for seeing it. In other words, if you have nothing to be sorry for but are being told by her you do then don't apologise. Stand your ground.

I stopped doing what she doesn't trust me for years ago. It's when I'm around people that still do what she doesn't want me to do that she has disbelief. So rather than put her in a situation where she has a hard time trusting me I think it's best to just avoid those people so that she can trust me. I am on a long road, but I can see the end. Thank you for your opinions and although you don't fully understand what's going on, your advice is helpful and on point with what I'm thinking. I don't have anything to be sorry for, but I can understand why she would think I did something wrong. 

I think you've come up with a good solution.  I hope you don't take this the wrong way and I could be WAY OFF BASE but I'm thinking that what you're referring to is alcohol or drug related 'issues' you've had in the past.  The best way for you to overcome that and continue up the road (down has a negative connotation so I didn't use that word) without backsliding is to not be around others who using.  She is correct in worrying about you if this is the issue as it is so easy to fall off the wagon when your surrounded by people who are imbibing in those substances you are trying to stop using.  I used to smoke cigarettes and tried quitting quite a few times but each time I'd go out drinking and end up smoking, or I would go to a friends house (who smoked) and end up smoking again.

Sorry is a pretty dull knife. It just doesn't cut it.

It was drug related, I use to hang out with mary jane pretty frequently, and I stopped years ago and don't have any interest in it today. A friend of mine has problems with celiac disease and asked if I still knew anyone who could "help." I knew a few people at work who could "help" and reached out to them. I told my wife about it and she didn't seem to mind since it was a mutual friend I was trying to help, but it obviously still bothered her. All I wanted to do was help a friend, but they'll just have to go elsewhere because my relationship with my wife is much more important and it's not worth loosing her trust over. I even took a home drug test to prove I wasn't lying. It seemed to put her at ease, but she is still upset that I transported illegal drugs and put myself in a risky situation. Its the things she doesn't tell me bother her that I get in trouble for once they happen and it's too late.

Her work requires her to be on the road most of the time, but I looked at her work schedule and noticed she'll be in the office all day on Wednesday. There's an edible arrangement being delivered to her desk tomorrow morning. I'm aware it's not a band aid fix, but it sure doesn't hurt. As long as I avoid putting myself in situations I'm not trusted in and think how my actions could affect my relationship before I act on them (whether she says she is fine with it or not) I think we'll be alright. 

This has become a little more personal than I expected, but it's nice to have a place to write out my thoughts and get opinions from other men. I have friends I go to for advice, but a lot of time they tell you want to hear and since we're all strangers we don't have to worry about that. Thanks again everybody!

It helps when you know we can't point you out on the street.

I kind of figured what type of issue it was.  I have a, soon to be ex, brother-in-law who is mixed up with illegal substances.  Took me totally by surprise as he is quite smart, was doing exceptionally well, had a beautiful family, nice house, etc.  But you never know do you?

I'm glad you're out of it all and hope you stay that way, it's a hard place to crawl out of when you're addicted.

I don't know the context of the situation, but this raises alarms:

What if I don't know what I'm suppose to be sorry for, but she expects you to think about it till you know.

First of all, do not get drawn into games. You can offer to talk about it. If she declines, she can stay mad. Second, never apologize unless you actually violated her rights in some way. Her not being happy about something you did or said does not in and of itself constitute a reason to apologize.

Him: Hi, honey, I'm home!

Her: Don't you 'hi honey' me you good for nothing SOB!

The correct response would be something like:

"I see that you're angry. Would you like to talk about it?"

not

"Uh...I don't know what I said or did that made you angry, but I'm sorry whatever it is!"

Women often say "you make me so angry!", but the truth of the matter is that no one can reach into their brains, push a button, and make them angry. They make themselves angry, but believe the matter to be outside of their own control.

Nip that in the bud. For one thing, you're convincing her that you're guilty.

What do you do when saying I'm Sorry doesn't cut it anymore?

Do you ever violate her rights in some way, then apologize, and then continue the behavior? In other words, are your apologies insincere? If so, there's your problem.

Or is it something new each time? In that case, is she too critical or you too annoying? Can she find less confrontational ways of telling you what she wants from you?

Or is she nailing you for her own hurt feelings that you didn't particularly provoke? In that case, you need to STOP apologizing.

Post script:

Its the things she doesn't tell me bother her that I get in trouble for once they happen and it's too late.

...

she is still upset that I transported illegal drugs and put myself in a risky situation

Do you agree that you put yourself in a risky situation? That this was a bad idea? Then tell her you agree, and don't do it anymore.

But don't necessarily apologize because she was "upset". You don't control her feelings. Plus, your apologies and your need to "prove you're not lying" might be making the situation worse, by feeding her doubts. The more desperate you seem to convince someone of something, the less credibility you have.

Let it go, move on, and behave responsibly. If she's "upset", talk to her about it, but do not apologize or grovel to be believed.

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