Story on Criticism

City: Los Angeles

Industry: Health Research

I could never say, “I’m sorry, you’re right.”

“You never admit when you’re wrong! You NEVER say you’re sorry!” My ex said in the middle of a very tense, silent, long drive.

I replayed our fights in my head as if experiencing them for the first time. He respected my opinions and I knocked his down, one by one. When he was brave enough to tell me when I did something that hurt him, I couldn’t just accept what he said and apologize. I always had to tear him down and argue. Many of our fights started with an intellectual discussion about something one of us had read, and eventually devolved into me attacking his character in order to “win” the argument. Even when, deep down, I knew I was wrong and was being totally unfair, I could never just say, “I’m sorry, you’re right.”

Look, I know that women are conditioned to doubt themselves at every turn, and for some, this means apologizing for everything, even when they haven’t done anything wrong. But not for me – I would double down on any statement I made, even if I was wrong. I felt like I had to constantly prove my intelligence when in the presence of a man. I wanted a partner who could challenge me (or at least keep up with me!), but when it actually happened, I went into attack mode. I wrongly assumed my male partner wouldn’t be hurt by my aggression and antagonism.

Our relationship crashed and burned a few months later, and I never quite learned what it meant to say sorry and truly mean it with him. Still, his words stuck with me. When I met my current partner, I had a clean slate, and I wasn’t going to let my past flaws condemn our new relationship. You’d have to ask him if I’ve really mastered the art of apologizing gracefully. While I’m still known as someone who loves to be right, I am now much quicker to admit when I am wrong, especially when I have done something to hurt someone I love.