When you hurt someone or someone hurts you, you probably often think that you know how things will go: you or they will apologize, you'll talk things out, one or the other of you or both will accept the apology, and you'll move forward. Whenever you apologize to someone else for treating them poorly, letting them down, or betraying their trust, you probably take for granted the fact that they'll accept your apology. But there are some times you don't need to accept an apology — and perhaps sometimes when you shouldn't automatically assume that someone else will accept yours. Many people see accepting an apology as a way of saying that what the person did is acceptable, but I don't take it to mean that.
Did I need to know? Suddenly, standing in the corner at the party, I found myself in the awkward position of comforting her for how badly she felt about what she had done to me. It was a weird situation, but also flattering to know she cared so much. I also felt for her, and wanted to let her off the hook. I know from personal experience that past transgressions have a way of haunting us.
Last Updated: January 4, References Approved. This article was co-authored by Lena Dicken, Psy. With over eight years of experience, Dr. Dicken specializes in therapy for anxiety, depression, life transitions, and relationship difficulties.