Contemporary Canadian philosopher, Justin Drew Bieber, once posited a question relevant to people in all types of relationships: "Is it too late now to say sorry?"
While the majority of his lyrics (and life actions) don't quite rise to the level of actionable relationship advice, this one actually nails it. You gotta say sorry, even if it might be too late.
The ebb and flow of dating (and marriage) can take its toll on people, leading even the strongest relationships to experience mishaps that warrant an apology, and THEN further mishaps that only make things worse in the course of attempting said apology. A doctor, author, and sociologist exploring sex and society, Chauntelle Tibbals helped us put into words exactly everything people do wrong while trying to apologize. So turn off the Bieber -- this will be far more helpful.
Giving a fake apology
"I think the biggest mistake anyone can make when apologizing is not actually meaning it -- apologizing automatically or out of feeling obligated," says Tibbals. "The issue at hand, which may be a part of a wider problem, is actually not being addressed."
The phony sorry-to-end-the-argument apology is the exact opposite of what you should be doing when you’re trying to mend a problem. By essentially sweeping the argument under the rug with a half-hearted and over-accentuated "sorry," the problem gets buried in the angriest part of your brain, allowing it to resurface in the most inconvenient of times.
Not taking a breather
"Taking a moment to engage and think through an issue, understand what happened, and determine if you are in fact actually sorry is important. One way to fix this is to fight the impulse. If you feel yourself starting out a heated conversation with something like, 'Look, I'm sorry, but...' maybe take a beat."
Try going outside, walking into another room in the house, or just closing your eyes and counting to 10.
"I'm sorry you feel that way"
Used by clever bastards everywhere, the "I'm sorry you feel that way" apology tricks the other party into thinking you're actually feeling remorse, while slyly attempting to let yourself off the hook. It's passive-aggressive, almost certain to lead to an argument, and insulting to the intelligence of the person you're "apologizing" to.
Telling someone you're sorry for how they've responded to your words is like saying, "I'm sorry you're bleeding that way" after you stab them.