In the archives of movies from the 1960’s, “Love Story” was a popular movie starring Ryan O’Neil (yes, that’s Tatum’s daddy) and Ali McGraw. This movie was about two young Harvard students who grew up in two very different socio-economic worlds, fall in love and get married.  Yes, versions of this plot have been written and re-written hundreds of times since the original version of forbidden love was written by Shakespeare in the classic story of Romeo and Juliet. Unlike Shakespeare’s romantic tragedy; however, the young lover’s in “Love Story” do not commit suicide. Both the movie and book “Love Story” began with the sentence: “What can you say about a 24 year old who dies of cancer?” The tragedy of this movie lies in the bride’s (Ali McGraw) diagnosis and death from cancer. You can see this movie was a real tear jerker and it represented many social themes which are as relevant today as they were during the time of Romeo and Juliet.

So by now you are probably wondering what in the world does this have to do with my promise of giving you 3 powerful words needed to keep romance alive in your relationship?  The movie “Love Story” had a very popular expression which resonated with many people – so popular that posters and bumper sticks were made up with the words: “love means never having to say you are sorry”. To think that people really believe this sentiment greatly concerns me.

Nothing, absolutely nothing could be further from the truth! As a matter of fact, the 3 most powerful words you must be able to say to keep romance and intimacy alive in your relationship are the 3 words: “I am sorry”.

The ability to say these 3 words: “I am sorry” are the most powerful words needed to sustain your love and intimacy through the good times and the bad. In fact, the ability to say “I am sorry” will be more effective in keeping your relationship strong and romance alive throughout the years than saying the words: “I love you”.


The words “I love you” are undeniably very powerful and meaningful words a couple say to each other when they are expressing their feelings of commitment, love and romance. However, the words “I love you” will not help you sustain your romance and steer you through the rough seas every couple encounters when their little love boat sails into the stormy seas of life. It is the ability to speak, with sincerity, the words: “I am sorry” that will get you through those turbulent storms intact and allow you to stay connected for the long haul.

Your life’s journey as a couple must begin with the words: “I love you”; but these words won’t mean diddly squat if you can’t express feelings of sorrow, remorse and true forgiveness when life gets in the way of your love. The ability to forgive, which I define as letting go of unintended and non-malicious pain and hurt your partner has caused you begins with a couple’s ability to say: “I am sorry” to each other. And believe me, once the honeymoon is over, it will only be a matter of time before you hurt each other, albeit unintentionally. Therefore, the ability to go the distance and keep romance alive in your relationship begins with these 3 powerful words: “I am sorry” – use them with sincerity.

Rekindle Romance and Happiness in Your Relationship,

Dr. Patty Ann

Categories : Sex and Intimacy


  1. Grace Heer says:

    Dr. Patty Ann, your use of “diddly squat” just tickles me!
    I can’t agree more – I am sorry is so powerful, and the sincere delivery makes such a difference. We can always tell if it’s sarcastic or snarky.
    Thank you!!
    Grace Heer

  2. Ooo-wee! You ROCK it, Patty Ann! I agree!! I think a well-placed “I’m sorry.” is SOOO powerful. Thanks for your passion and clarity. You are a true National Treasure!! XO, Katherine
    Life Blossoming Systems

  3. Dr. PattyAnn,
    I so agree with you! I never liked that phrase from the movie.
    Saying your sorry is powerful. Great advice, you’re right on as usual!

  4. I remember watching that scene in the movie and thinking “I don’t believe that”

    Being able to say “I am sorry” is very humbling and very empowering.

    • Hi LInda,

      Thanks so much for your comment. I can’t help but wonder how many other people agree with us! I am starting to think “group think” took over that horrible expression!

      Dr. Patty Ann

  5. I am in total agreement Dr. Patty Ann! We are human and we will unintentionally hurt others at one time or another and an apology goes a very long way.
    I was once taught an apology process that goes like this:
    Say “I apologize” rather than “I’m sorry”, because you can be sorry that someone’s loved one is very sick and it then becomes a ‘state of being’
    Next say, “I acknowledge that I ________”.
    Next say, “What can I do to make ammends?”
    And follow up by letting the person you hurt know that you recommitt to the relationship.
    I’ve used this many times myself and in my coaching practice. It is miraculous.
    .-= Get Clear Goals with Lynn Moore´s last blog ..Who is Your Secret Relationship? =-.

  6. Great wisdom from you as always good doc!
    Love it
    .-= Heidi Alexandra Pollard´s last blog ..Thought for the week =-.

  7. Anita G. Wheeler says:

    You are always right on target and so enjoy your ON TARGET

    Thanks so much!

  8. This is so right on target – and I think it applies to any relationship. Not just the romantic ones.

    Being able to say I am sorry, authentically and genuinely, is one of the most powerful contributions we can make to each other.


  9. Phil Dyer says:

    You mean the advice that I got about “Never apologize, it’s a sign of weakness” is wrong? That’s what my problem has been all these years…

    In all seriousness, great advice! Once I got out of my own way and was able to genuinely say “I am sorry” for things great and small that might adversely affect my relationships (romantic and otherwise), said relationships improved dramatically…

    Thanks for the powerful reminder!

    .-= Phil Dyer´s last blog ..Three Truths to Transforming Your Business and Your Life =-.

  10. HI Phil,

    Thanks so much for sharing your infomation with us – truly! And we are all guilty of not being able to get out of our own way at times. I know it is the cause of many of my “trip ups”.

    Dr. Patty Ann

  11. Thumbs up! Another eye-opening article. Sometimes we neglect the little things in our relationship. Saying I’m sorry could really mean a lot especially when one feels it to the bones.

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