Get therapy, take classes, attend AA, change where you work, pursue self-development. Don’t just say “I’m sorry’.
Use this form as soon as possible.
Although married to Mary, Jim “playfully” touched the breast of a female friend at a festive party 4 months ago while intoxicated. Mary did not think this was amusing at all. Land squarely on admitting what you did instead of trying to wriggle out of it. Avoid becoming defensive. World-famous therapist Terry Real suggests a jutitso approach. If it is a character flaw, admit it and promise to correct it. Now is the time to let your partner see the vulnerable part of you.
Even if you think your partner is over-reacting, apologize for embarassing her or him.
The longer issues are unresolved, the more they get burned into long-term memory and thus turn into resentments which will affect the relationship going forward. The faster the issue is handled, the less likely it will burden the relationship. Remember that the emotional impact of many offenses do not go away by themselves. To say to your injured partner “Forget about it” is not a good strategy.
Apologize quickly in attempts to fix things. Stop doing the things that you know might kick in angry/hurtful feelings, on the basis of what you know about your partner. Don’t expect forgiveness immediately and be patient. Even if you turn yourself into a prince/princess from a thorny toad, it will take a while for your injured partner to accept that the changes are real. As a general guidline, it may take up to one year or more for an injured partner to fully forgive a betrayal- and he/she will probably never forget avout it- but just deal with it.