10 things you should never apologize for in a relationship (according to psychology)

In relationships, it’s important to be yourself and express how you feel. 

However, sometimes we might feel pressured to say sorry for things that really don’t require an apology. 

In this article, I’ll cover 10 key areas where you should never feel the need to apologize to your partner, highlighting the importance of respect, understanding, and individuality in a healthy relationship.

Let’s dive in:

1) Having personal boundaries

More and more, we’re learning about the importance of setting and sticking to personal boundaries. 

At work, at home, and with friends, these boundaries are our limitations, the lines that protect our mental and emotional well-being. 

But that line can get blurred pretty quickly when it comes to relationships. 

Let’s say your partner constantly messages you while you’re at work. You ask them to stop, as it’s distracting and you’d rather wait til you get home to talk properly in person. 

This is a valid boundary to set. But in many cases, a partner may react defensively, or even with suspicion. They may feel like the boundary is unfair or a personal attack on them. 

It’s not, and you should never feel like you need to apologize for protecting yourself and your health. As psychotherapist Sharon Martin writes for PsychologyToday:

“When we don’t set boundaries, we often become resentful and angry, which isn’t good for us or our relationships. Communicating your needs and expectations is kind, not selfish.”

2) Your aspirations and goals

I think one of the biggest mistakes people make when they enter a relationship is assuming that there’s no room for individuality. 

Of course, you’re a unit. You’re partners in love. But that shouldn’t mean one or both have to give up all their aspirations and goals

Worse, you should never feel like you have to apologize for them. 

Even if it requires spending less time with your partner and focusing more on yourself to reach your goals, it’s worth it. 

Because when you feel fulfilled as an individual, you show up better in your relationships. You’re more present, content, and emotionally available for your partner. 

3) Your past

When I was in my early 20s, my partner at the time found out about a few past relationships and blew up over it. He called me some pretty nasty names and made me feel terrible about myself. 

I apologized. And in doing that, I validated everything he said – even though none of it was true or fair. 

I often think back to why I said sorry for something I did way before meeting him. 

Now, I know it came down to a lack of confidence and self-esteem. Perhaps a lack of self-respect, too. 

But I’ve learned from that experience. 

I’ve learned that everyone has a history, and you are not required to apologize for yours, especially if you’ve learned from it and grown as a person.

 Your partner should accept you for who you are now, not who you were. Even better, they should recognize that it’s your past experiences that have made you into the person you are today. 

4) Your emotional needs

I was guilty of apologizing for my emotional needs when I first met my husband (and in the past, with ex-partners). 

If I craved a bit more intimacy or communication, I’d feel bad for “burdening” my husband with it. 

But I quickly realized that having needs is a part of our basic human makeup. 

Babies and kids have plenty of them, and they don’t stop once we reach adulthood. 

But by neglecting my needs or apologizing for them, I was doing myself a disservice. If I didn’t take them seriously, then why would anyone else? 

As Dr. Michael Messina explains on the subject of emotional intimacy:

“Emotional intimacy can help us to feel more connected and supported by our partners. When we know that they are there for us emotionally, it can make us feel more secure in the relationship overall. This can lead to a greater sense of satisfaction and well-being in the relationship.”

So the next time you feel bad for being upfront about a need, don’t. You’re actually creating a healthier relationship every time you share your feelings with your partner. 

5) Needing alone time

signs youre spending too much time alone 10 things you should never apologize for in a relationship (according to psychology)

Let’s say you get home after a heavy day at work. You’re tired, you’re overstimulated, and you’d just love to spend an hour or so decompressing by yourself. 

Your partner has other plans. They want to talk as soon as you’ve got in through the front door. 

In this situation, it’s absolutely normal and necessary to ask for some alone time without apologizing or feeling bad about it. 

If your partner feels hurt, they need to think about how much respect they have for your boundaries and your basic needs as a human being. 

And the truth is, a bit of alone time can actually do wonders for a relationship. 

Jumping straight into a conversation while you’re still hyped up and on edge would have likely ended in an argument, or at the very least, you’d end up feeling more drained and tired. 

But with just an hour or so of silence and alone time, you can recharge your batteries and actually give your partner the attention they crave, meaning a win-win for both of you.

6) Your feelings

I’m going to be straight up with this one – expecting an apology for your feelings indicates a serious lack of empathy on the part of your partner.

Mature adults recognize that others may experience emotions differently from themselves.

Not to mention, part of respecting someone is accepting and understanding that their feelings may differ from yours. 

So whether your partner expects it or you do it out of habit, it’s time to change. 

Never feel bad for the feelings you experience, and never feel like you need to justify why you feel the way you feel. 

7) Saying no

It’s probably quite obvious by now, but a lot of the things on this list come down to one thing: 


If you say “no” to doing something you don’t fancy, that should be the end of it. A partner who loves and cares about you shouldn’t need an apology.  They should respect your decisions. 

Because you’re entitled to reject things that don’t serve you, that make you stressed or unhappy. 

As explained on PsychologyToday: 

“Saying no can create more mental health stability by helping with self-care and build your self-esteem and confidence by setting boundaries.”

And this applies to every area of life; declining social plans, sexual advances, or anything else that doesn’t feel comfortable or right for you, your ability to say no should be respected and accepted. 

8) Your physical appearance

You can’t change the way you look, and you know what? You shouldn’t have to. 

If your partner has a problem with it, apologizing isn’t the answer – kicking them to the curb is. 

After all, isn’t unconditional love about sticking together, regardless of aging, weight gain, hair loss, and everything else society labels as “unpleasant”?

Embrace your looks, learn to love yourself, and never, ever, feel like you need to apologize for the way nature made you. 

If your current partner can’t see your beauty, someone else will, trust me. 

9) Your financial status

Another thing you should never apologize for in a relationship is how much money you have. 

Maybe your partner earns more than you do, and you feel bad for “holding them back” from doing things. Maybe you can’t contribute to the household as much as you wish you could. 

Or maybe you can’t go out and have as much fun because you’re saving towards your goals. 

None of the above are reasons to ever apologize. 

Your money, even if you’re married, is yours. So are your financial decisions. And an understanding, mature partner would respect that. 

10) Your friendships and family relationships

And finally, don’t ever feel like you should apologize for your choice of friends or the family members you choose to spend time with. 

It’s so incredibly important to have close connections outside of your relationship. If you want to spend time with friends or go on holiday with family, you’re well within your rights to do that. 

And no partner should ever make you feel bad about it. Even if they don’t particularly get along together, it’s your right to keep relationships with other people in your life. 

If a partner does kick up a fuss, that’s a red flag of insecurity (or potentially control) on their part.

So, hopefully, this article has given you some food for thought on things you should never apologize for in a relationship. 

I know it’s easier said than done, but with practice and investment into your self-worth and self-esteem, it gets easy to recognize what deserves an apology and what doesn’t.

Picture of Mia Zhang

Mia Zhang

Mia Zhang blends Eastern and Western perspectives in her approach to self-improvement. Her writing explores the intersection of cultural identity and personal growth. Mia encourages readers to embrace their unique backgrounds as a source of strength and inspiration in their life journeys.

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