If there’s one thing I’ve learned in all of my years of being a professional relationship and love expert, it’s that nothing is constant in the world of love. Relationships ebb and flow. People we love hurt us and we hurt them. It’s just what love is… a rollercoaster of emotion. It’s a crappy position to be in when you’re the one who did the hurting and are hoping for forgiveness. It’s a tough and vulnerable situation to be in. (Of course I’m not saying it’s worse than being the hurt party, but they both have their own very demanding emotional trajectories.) And when the forgiveness isn’t as forthcoming as you hoped it would be, it gets really tricky and icky feeling. Here’s what to do.
First things first… look at yourself in the mirror and forgive yourself. Literally do that. It can be a very moving and emotional thing to do, even by yourself. If you’re asking for forgiveness, you really need to forgive yourself before you can expect anyone else to forgive you. If you’re having issues with it, spend some time working on it. That might mean going on a trip by yourself or talking to a professional. Really, though, this is step one and you can’t expect to move forward until you’ve checked it off.
Do your best
All you can control is what you’re doing. You can’t control anything the other person does, including forgiving you. So, do your best to ask for forgiveness. Explain how you know that what you did is wrong, your plan for never doing it again and why you think your relationship is strong enough to overcome this issue. Then, do your best to be the best partner you can be. You just talked the talk, so now you have to walk the walk. Really, this is all you can do while your partner is figuring out if he or she can forgive you. So, do it!
Figure out what’s next
Like I said, being forgiven by your partner isn’t in your control. It could go the way you want, but it also could not. If after you’ve done your best to apologize and present the best version of yourself for your relationship and you’re still not being forgiven, then you need to start thinking of next steps. You can’t stay in a relationship where you’re not being forgiven for something major. That’s not healthy for anyone involved. So, what’s the best next plan for you? I’m not saying that this is going to feel like a good thing at the time, but you need to figure out what the most good thing for you is. Again, a therapist or a lot of soul searching could be helpful here. Give yourself time to grieve and then move on.
I hope that helps you during a tough situation. Forgiving someone can do just as much good for you as it does for them. So, remember that when you’re on the other side of this equation.
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