Should I Apologize To My Ex? 13 Useful Pointers To Help You Decide

Break up And Loss | | , Researcher & Content Writer
Updated On: May 8, 2024
Should I apologize to my ex
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“Should I apologize to my ex or should I let it go?” It’s an eternal battle between the heart and the mind. Sometimes when I open Snapchat I see pictures of me with my ex from five years ago, quickly followed by a sudden urge to unblock him and give him a call. And before I know it, I find myself down a rabbit hole of guilt and regret.

Maybe I was too hard on him or maybe I didn’t give him what he deserved. Maybe I was so caught up in my issues that I became blind to his needs. Ultimately, all these maybes start messing with my mind and all I want to do is call him up and make amends for everything. From what I can tell, I’m not the only one dealing with this conundrum — most people go through this at one point or another.

So, if you’re wondering, “Is it too late to apologize to an ex? Should I apologize to my ex for acting crazy?”, don’t worry, we’ve got your back. These useful pointers are a great first step in helping you decide if it’s worth reconnecting with your ex to apologize.

Is It Ever A Good Idea To Apologize To An Ex?

Making amends with an ex is a multifaceted choice that often hinges on the intricacies of the relationship and individual circumstances. While it may not always be necessary or beneficial, there are situations where offering an apology can be a positive step. This article delves into the nuances of apologizing after a breakup, examining when it might provide closure after a breakup, promote personal growth, or help heal old wounds. Let’s explore a few scenarios:

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Should I apologize to my ex who dumped me?

Deciding whether to apologize to an ex who ended the relationship depends on the reasons behind the breakup and your own intentions. Is it worth apologizing to an ex? If you genuinely believe you made mistakes, your apology is sincere, and it could provide closure for both parties, it may be worth considering. However, be mindful of your ex’s feelings and preferences, the timing, and the potential impact on your emotional well-being even if it is a genuine apology.

Should I apologize if I did nothing wrong?

Apologizing when you believe you did nothing wrong can be a tricky situation. In some cases, extending a conciliatory gesture, even without admitting fault, can help maintain amicable relations or promote closure. However, it’s essential to consider the potential misunderstandings and how your apology might be perceived by the other party if you did nothing wrong. If you choose to apologize without accepting wrongdoing, be clear about your intentions and maintain your integrity.

Related Reading: The Right Way To Use Power Of Silence After A Breakup

Should I apologize for cheating?

Apologizing for cheating in a relationship is generally advisable to acknowledge the pain and betrayal caused. Ensure you apologize sincerely for causing them hurt without making excuses. Be empathetic about the hurt you’ve caused, and offer assurance of your commitment to making amends. However, understand that forgiveness and reconciliation are not guaranteed, and the other person’s feelings and decisions should be respected.

Should I apologize for breaking their heart?

Apologizing for breaking someone’s heart can be a compassionate and empathetic gesture, especially if you genuinely regret your actions and understand the emotional pain you’ve caused. Your apology should express sincere remorse, empathy, and a recognition of their hurt. However, be prepared for the possibility that an apology might not immediately heal their pain or result in forgiveness. It’s important to respect their feelings and decisions and give them the space they may need to heal and move on.

Related Reading: How To Forgive Yourself For Cheating And Not Telling – 8 Helpful Tips

Should I Apologize To My Ex? 13 Useful Pointers To Help You Decide

Research points out that staying friends with exes out of suppressed feelings for them led to negative outcomes, whereas staying friends due to security and practical reasons led to more positive outcomes. So, the question of the hour is… Are you apologizing to your ex out of suppressed feelings for them or because you want to be civil and don’t want them to hold grudges against you? Consider the following questions to arrive at a wise decision:

1. Is the apology a dire need?

Apologizing to an ex years later only makes sense if you caused them a lot of pain and the guilt is still too hard to shake off.

  • Did you physically or mentally abuse them?
  • Or did you ghost them and weren’t mature enough to break up properly?
  • Did you gaslight them or emotionally neglect them?·  Or did you cheat on them?
am i over my ex quiz

Scenarios like this can be difficult to get over. In such cases, you should surely apologize to your ex because you may have caused deep emotional damage. You might be the reason they have trust issues. If your apology comes from a place of sincerity, will bring you peace, and help you heal, then go ahead and apologize to your ex.

How to apologize to an ex, you ask? Just say, “I am really sorry for all the pain that I have caused you. I was so immature and you didn’t deserve to be treated that way. I know I should have known better. I have learned a lot and I’m trying to become a better person. I hope you forgive me someday.”

2. Is this a way to get them to apologize?

My friend Paul keeps asking me, “Should I apologize to my ex who dumped me? Maybe she feels sorry too, for what she did before the relationship ended.” This is a classic example of the apology being conditional. Paul wants to apologize not because he feels sorry but because he wants his ex to feel sorry for what she did and ask for his forgiveness. So, if your objective is to get an apology in return, you should not apologize to your ex. No apology is better than an apology tendered with selfish and ulterior motives.

Related Reading: 9 Probable Reasons You Still Think About Your Ex

3. Is this just an excuse to talk to them?

I apologized to my ex and he ignored me. I was pretty hurt and crushed when he did that. To make sure you don’t have to go through that, I urge you to be honest with yourself. Are you wondering how to apologize to an ex because you want to take accountability for your actions or just because you want to hear their voice again? Is this because you can’t stop thinking about your ex? Are you remembering only the good times and blocking out all the bad?

If the answer is in the affirmative, abort your mission right now. Go take a walk. Watch an interesting Netflix show. Complete that pending presentation from work. Sit with your parents and laugh on lame WhatsApp forwards. Go to a salon and change your hairstyle. Call up your best friend. Call up anyone EXCEPT your ex. Distract yourself.

4. You just got dumped

My colleague, Sarah, recently confided in me, “Should I apologize to my ex after no contact? The relationship I was in after breaking up with him just ended. I couldn’t talk to my ex while I was dating but now that I am single, I feel like saying sorry to my ex for being needy.”

The breakup has just triggered old trauma in her. She just needs to fill the void on an immediate basis. She also wants to jeopardize her ex’s current relationship. Can you relate to her? If you can, don’t go forward with the apology. Apologizing after a breakup will not accomplish anything for you.

making amends with an ex
Are you apologizing to an ex to get back together with them?

5. Can you stop at an apology?

Research has found that 71% of people don’t get back together with their exes, only 15% of those who do, stay together, and around 14% reconcile but break up again. Before you act on your desire to rekindle a romance with an apology, know that the odds are stacked against you. Apologizing to an ex years later only to go down the rabbit hole of confusion is just not worth it.

So, ask yourself, “Should I apologize to my ex who dumped me? Can I stop at an apology? Am I doing it because I low-key want to rekindle things with them?” If your “I am sorry” can easily turn into “Hey, let’s give it another shot”, then trust me you are better off without apologizing or breaking their heart all over again.

Related Reading: Does The No Contact Rule After Break Up Work? Expert Responds

6. Have you truly moved on?

Your relationship doesn’t need constant revisiting; only the song Summer of ‘69 does. So, ask yourself, have you truly moved on? If you are finding excuses to talk to them again and again, you have not moved on from them. If your intent is not right, this apology might just delay the whole process of moving instead of bringing you closer to healing. Especially if you did nothing wrong.

So, instead of sulking about not getting closure, you can,

  • Channel your energies into creating new memories
  • Get rid of your ex’s things
  • Stop asking your mutual friends how your ex is doing
  • Reconnect with yourself (write about places you want to explore and food you want to try)·  Focus on the positives of the breakup and celebrate this freedom of yours.

7. Forgive yourself

Is it too late to apologize to an ex? Maybe. Is it ever a good idea to apologize to an ex? Perhaps not, especially if they are happily dating someone else. Or, if reaching out to them after no contact may get in the way of their efforts to move on. In such circumstances, re-establishing contact, even if it’s just to apologize, may not be a good idea. But you can always work on forgiving yourself. You can take the lessons that you have learned and apply them to your next relationship. It is never too late for that.

If your relationship was traumatic, there is a very real chance that your ex may respond negatively to your apology. They can say something like, “I don’t think I can ever forgive you for the pain that you caused. You are not worthy of my forgiveness. I hate you and I regret dating you.”

This is the worst-case scenario but if you are not prepared for such harsh reactions, you should avoid apologizing to your ex. Working on forgiving yourself is hence better than begging for their forgiveness although this is one thing that is easier said than done.

Related Reading: 12 Sincere Ways To Apologize To Someone You Hurt

8. Ask yourself, “Do I need to apologize to my ex, or am I just beating myself up?”

Maybe you expected more out of yourself and can’t process the things that you did. And that’s why you go around asking your friends, “Should I apologize to my ex for being clingy?” Listen, it’s okay to feel bad. You messed up and now it is all in the past. At that time, you were wounded and didn’t know that you were repeating old patterns or breaking their heart. The subconscious mind loves to bring in old memories. Don’t fall into the traps of “Oh, if only…” or “I wish…”. It all happened for a reason.

Maybe you should ask yourself, “Is it worth apologizing to an ex?” Perhaps, it’d be better to work through these messy feelings on your own. Here are a few things you can try:

  • Write down all your suppressed feelings or let them out of your system by dancing, painting, or working out
  • Instead of punishing yourself, start taking proactive steps toward evolving your speech, behavior, thoughts, and actions
  • Take the road of acceptance and introspection
  • Practice mindfulness and meditation to discover self-love and compassion·  Maintain a gratitude journal and write in it every day.

Related Reading: 7 Stages Of Grief After A Breakup: Tips To Move On

9. Is your ex mature enough?

Still wondering, “Should I apologize to my ex?” Even if you do apologize, imagine the hypothetical reaction of your ex.

  • Would they lash out and make you feel worse?
  • Would they take it as a sign that you are not over them?·  Or would they accept this apology, forgive, and move on?
  • Or would they accept this apology, forgive, and move on?

If you were dating an immature person and broke up with them for being toxic, the latter is unlikely. Don’t forget about their red flags. So, you should be ready for all kinds of reactions. Stop if you know their reaction is going to hurt you. They might not forgive you right away and you should be okay with that. Only go forward with that apology if you are doing it with zero expectations. Your intention should be closure and letting go of residual guilt so that you can move on peacefully.

10. Maybe you are just going through a hard time

Maybe your parents got divorced. Or your job is just killing you from the inside. Or you just lost someone close to you. Such situations can trigger old trauma. Also, in such vulnerable times, you might feel like bonding with the person who was once very close to you will make you feel better. So, this need to apologize could be stemming from loneliness and wanting a shoulder to cry on. It will not be a genuine apology. In this situation, the answer to “Should I apologize to my ex?” is no. Spending time on yourself may be what you need.

11. Recollect how your relationship made you feel

Remind yourself of all that mess and pain before asking the question, “Should I apologize to my ex for acting crazy?”

  • Was it a toxic and codependent relationship?
  • Did it destroy you both from the inside?
  • Did you become another version of yourself in that relationship?·  Did you spend most of your days crying?
  • Did you spend most of your days crying?

Maybe, the crazy thing is wanting to revisit that painful experience even though you might have broken up with them for being toxic. If your ex cheated on you and you were not the one at fault, there is no point justifying their wrongdoings. Don’t blame yourself and definitely don’t say something like, “I am sorry I didn’t give you enough time. Maybe that is what made you cheat.” Their betrayal is not justified and you don’t owe them an apology.

Related Reading: 7 Steps To Find Peace After A Toxic Relationship

12. Has no contact been good for you?

Is the no-contact rule working out just fine for you? Have you been a healthier version of yourself ever since you stopped talking to your ex? If the answer is yes, that’s a good thing — don’t let one weak moment take you down. Don’t apologize. Some self-control is all you need. Look for healthy distractions until the temptation passes.

13. Is staying in touch with your exes a recurrent pattern?

When I apologized to my ex and he ignored me, I realized for a fact that this was a deeper behavioral pattern. It involved more exes and more apologies. I realized that I was blocking my happiness by keeping old memories so close to my broken heart. Turning a new leaf is only possible if old, dry leaves are crushed and forgotten. It’s time to make sure the past is behind you.

Related Reading: Moving On From A Toxic Relationship – 8 Expert Tips To Help

How To Say Sorry To Your Ex

Apologizing to your ex can be a challenging and emotionally charged endeavor. Whether the apology stems from regrets over past actions, the desire to ensure closure, or the wish to mend a fractured relationship, it demands careful consideration and a sincere approach if you don’t want to say something wrong.

The decision to apologize should be driven by genuine remorse and empathy, rather than ulterior motives, such as rekindling the romance. This step-by-step guide offers valuable insights on navigating the process of offering a genuine apology, ensuring that your apology is thoughtful, respectful, and focused on promoting understanding, healing, and personal growth, whether or not it leads to reconciliation. Here are some tips on how to say sorry to your ex:

  • Reflect on your motives: Be clear about why you want to apologize. Ensure your apology is sincere, and you’re not seeking to rekindle the relationship or manipulate their emotions
  • Choose the right time: Timing is crucial. Avoid reaching out immediately after the breakup. Allow some time for emotions to settle
  • Decide on the method: Depending on your ex’s preferences and your past communication, choose an appropriate method to convey your apologies, such as a message, a letter, or an in-person meeting
  • Craft a sincere apology: Your apology should be heartfelt and you must take responsibility for your actions. Avoid making excuses or blaming them
  • Express remorse: Clearly express your remorse for any pain or hurt you may have caused during the relationship or breakup
  • Acknowledge their feelings: Recognize their emotional state and the impact of your actions on them. Show empathy and understanding even if they express bad feelings
  • Avoid defensiveness: Be open to listening if they choose to respond. Avoid getting defensive if they express their feelings or grievances
  • Respect their response: Understand that your apology might not lead to immediate forgiveness or reconciliation. Respect their decisions and boundaries
  • Give space: After conveying your apology, give your ex space to process their emotions and decide how they want to proceed
  • Continue personal growth: Regardless of the outcome, use this experience as an opportunity for personal growth and self-improvement

Related Reading: 5 Apology Languages: Guide For Choosing The Best One

Remember that the success of your apology may vary based on the specific circumstances of your relationship and your ex’s feelings about the breakup. Be patient and understanding, and focus on your healing and closure. Before taking this leap, really introspect, “Should I apologize to my ex, or should I work on myself instead?”

If you are someone who keeps going back to people who are not good for you, there are definitely deeper patterns at work. Seeking professional help from a therapist or relationship coach can help you recognize where this pattern stems from. Learning about your attachment style can also help you find the answers that have eluded you for so long and understand why you feel you need to keep making amends with an ex. If you’re looking for help, counselors from Bonobology’s panel are here to help you start the healing process.

Key Pointers

  • Before apologizing to your ex, you need to introspect on whether it truly is an apology or just an excuse to talk to them again
  • You can go ahead with an apology if you think you can stick to getting closure and nothing more
  • If your apology is conditional and you are expecting something in return, it is better to not talk at all
  • Apologizing can backfire if your ex is not mature enough, old resentment gets triggered, or a never-ending cycle of blame games begins
  • The only reasonable way to move on is to forgive yourself, learn the required lessons, and not repeat the same mistakes in your next relationship

Finally, let’s end with a quote by Helena Bonham Carter, “[If a relationship] isn’t forever, that doesn’t mean it’s a failure. The important thing is that you have to allow the other person to grow. And if they’re not going in the same direction, however heart-breaking, you have to do what is right for that growth. It’s hard to do something forever because life is very short.”


1. Should I apologize to my ex or let it go?

Depends on how toxic your relationship was, how mature your ex is, the intentions behind that apology, and your ability to stick to an apology and respect boundaries.

2. Is apologizing to an ex selfish?

No, it’s not selfish. After becoming self-aware, we look back and realize how we caused pain to people unintentionally. Apologizing could have more to do with guilt, shame, and regret instead of selfish behavior.

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