Forgiving and Moving On

When people hear the word forgiveness they often tend toward a religious meaning. Forgiving just means that you have let someone off the hook for something they have done to hurt you. Often people hold grudges in a relationship when their partner has wronged them. This creates tension and struggle and many times is the pre-cursor to the end of the partnership. Is it really worth it?

There is a difference between a partner who has been in an affair for quite some time vs. a one night stand (and also a difference if there are more than one, one night stands). There is also a difference between emotional affairs vs. sexual. There are partners who refuse to listen to you and this pattern is unchanging vs. an argument over something where they are listening but refusing to change their way of thinking. It is your choice whether you will forgive or not and I am not suggesting what your answer should be.

However, if you are not going to forgive someone, what is the point of staying in the relationship? By not forgiving you are unhappy, they are unhappy, and if there are children, they are unhappy too. An unforgiving household creates an energy that permeates everything within. No different than if you just smoked a cigarette. Sometimes not forgiving someone leads to more of the same behavior. The tension can get to the point where someone becomes violent.

How to forgive? It often helps to get some closure with the issue at hand. Is there something you need to hear from the opposite party that will resolve this feeling you have inside? If you are the other party, keep in mind that what your partner needs to hear is the truth spoken in an authentic voice. Saying “It will never happen again,” is bs because you are just saying it. Explaining to your partner that you have learned something from the experience and what led you to the action and what you need from your partner going forward should be enough to show an authentic apology. Don’t make it your partners fault for your misdeeds though you can say how you were feeling at the time. Also look at your own actions prior to the action at hand. Were you pulling away from the relationship yourself and maybe it wasn’t your partners behavior at all? Maybe you were bored or your life changed to the point that you began having less self-esteem (e.g., you gained weight and stopped hearing compliments from your partner or you lost your job and felt pity on yourself). Sometimes our own actions drive us into affairs. Take responsibility for this.

Trust is hard to replenish when a partner has gone astray. Making this a common conversation that takes place on a daily basis isn’t going to rebuild your relationship. Stalking, controlling, obsessing, isn’t going to get you any brownie points either. The hostility continues to build. What example are you setting for your children? If your partner is lying to you, this is more important than if they had cheated on you. Do you want to stay in a relationship with someone who lies? If they are lying about an affair, chances are they lie about other things too.

The important thing to decide on is the relationship. Is it worth fixing and if so this means you, the person who needs to forgive, has to determine this. Don’t make it contingent on whether or not they cheated on you and fess up. Affairs occur because a partnership is falling apart or it wasn’t there in the first place. If you choose to stay – you can’t do this unless you forgive and move on. Moving on does not mean you forget. It means you don’t obsess over it. It means you are able to make a choice to stay in the relationship and put the situation behind you. It means both of you are making a choice to rebuild your relationship and are taking steps to do so. It means you have gotten enough closure from your partner to determine this won’t happen again.

Mistakes happen in relationship. Your girlfriend/wife may have cheated on you but how long ago did you check out of the relationship? Who is really to blame? I have yet to see an affair where both parties were not at fault. Even if you got into a situation with a player or an abuser, you knew intuitively what you were getting into when you started the coupling. It is still in your best interests to take responsibility for what you knew and went into anyway.

If you both choose to stay and both admit there are mistakes that were made and both make a conscious effort to make changes going forward, you will grow into a much more mature relationship and transcend whatever you had before. If you choose to leave because you are unable to deal with this – that is okay too – but you still need to get closure over this or I guarantee you, you will face this again the next time around. Until we learn the lessons of life, they continue to repeat over and over again. Unfortunately we are not here on Earth for orgasms, we are here to grow as people. What do you need to grow as a person?

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