Sometimes relationships hurt. Your partner will do something to offend you, make you angry or simply fail to comply with the relationship guidelines you created together. There will be disagreements, arguments, differences in perspective and you will get frustrated with each other.
We all respond differently to being wronged. Oh, the stories I have heard! How people respond in these situations is quite fascinating to me.
“If she insults me, I will insult her. Then she will know what it feels like.”
“I can’t let that go – if I do, he will keep treating me that way.”
When you are in a close long term relationship, it is inevitable that something is going to happen. You may be the one creating the problem or it may be your partner.
To be able to forgive yourself for something you aren’t happy with, that contributed negatively to your relationship, is one issue. Sometimes you become unhappy with yourself and take it out on your partner and you don’t even realize you are doing it.
Our partner has hurt us and we respond with anger, or withhold love or affection, and continue by holding a grudge and never let it go. We constantly remind them of how they wronged us.
We also may treat our partner in such a way that they feel they have to be on their best behaviour to get back in our good books. They become like a dog with its tail between its legs and feel like a reduced version of his/herself because they did something that hurt you.
The funny thing is, most partners do not intentionally try to hurt each other. If you are the one who has been wronged and you don’t let it go – you are the one carrying the weight while your partner has likely long forgotten the incident and has moved on.
When I researched the topic of forgiveness, it is defined as releasing the desire to retaliate and being able to let go of negative emotions. The longer we keep the anger inside, the more resentment we will build up, which can lead to disconnection from our partner, anxiety and way too much negativity.
My partner Hub and I don’t often have arguments. When we do, I’m always impressed with his ability to bounce back. It is almost immediate. Whether he initiated the hurt or I did, we deal with it and it is done.
Here are five factors to consider when learning to forgive:
- Remember that you do love your partner and you do want to be in this relationship. This also includes loving yourself and not being too hard on yourself for what you did wrong.
- Be aware of the impact on your health when you hold a grudge, carry anger for long periods of time and how resentment builds up. It may lead to anxiety, negative emotions, feelings of depression and simply not being happy.
- We all have our own way of processing hurt. It is often a reflection of how we feel about ourselves. It’s important to recognize how each of you interpreted the situation and discover what compelled the other person to do what they did or why your responded or behaved the way you did.
- Share how you felt in that moment and be open to hearing the same from your partner. Openly assess the situation, identify where it broke down and learn from it.
- Even when it hurts, allow a reasonable amount of time to feel better. Then, let it go and don’t bring it up again. Willingness to move on is in the best interest of your relationship.
You don’t want to harbour resentment for the rest of your life; even when your partner has done something that seriously compromised your relationship, they crossed the boundaries or values that are the very core of your foundation, and you end it. If it became a toxic relationship, you did what you had to do. You got out. You don’t want to be a victim to someone else’s personal circumstances.
For the sake of your love and long-term enjoyment of your relationship with your partner or
for the sake of your health and emotional well-being, release yourself from carrying the negative weight and energy. Forgive and move on. You will be happier and your relationship will thrive.