How do you forgive your partner after they hurt you?
No matter how much you love your partner, there may be times when they hurt you in ways you never thought possible. The emotional whirlwind this may put you through can be traumatic and exhausting.
Forgiving someone is a process that requires patience and building trust on both sides. It is possible to move on from hurtful words and actions if you understand the steps in this process and stay committed to it.
What forgiveness is
Forgiveness means different things to different people. Generally, it means making a conscious decision to let go of resentment and anger.
When you forgive, it allows you a peaceful state of mind that empowers you to move forward without the pain of the past holding you back.
Just as important as defining what forgiveness is, though, is understanding what forgiveness is not. Forgiving someone doesn't mean forgetting what they did wrong or letting them off the hook.
And even though you might feel like you're giving up power when you forgive, that's not the case. Forgiveness is an act of love that helps you take charge of your own life and lets you heal, which will make your relationship happier and last longer.
Holding a grudge is bad for your health
Did you know that holding a grudge is bad for your health? Not only does it require a significant amount of mental energy, but the mental strain has a physical effect from the prolonged stress levels being bad for your health. When you dwell on the situation, you give fuel to your negative emotions, and the cycle of despair continues.
Studies also show choosing to forgive can lead to better health and peace of mind. More specifically, forgiving can lead to:
- Healthier relationships
- Improved mental health
- Less anxiety, stress, and anger
- Lower blood pressure
- Fewer symptoms of depression
- A stronger immune system
- Improved heart health
- Improved self-esteem
What can I do to forgive?
Being able to forgive is a way to keep yourself healthy both emotionally and physically.
First, be willing to accept forgiveness.
Second, own your decision; make it a conscious and intentional one.
Third, if intrusive images of the betrayal or hurt come to mind, take steps to calm your mind, like meditation or taking a walk to distract yourself.
Fourth, try to accept that you might never know why the person did what they did.
Fifth, don’t try to get even. Revenge only makes your pain last longer and it will never solve how you feel.
Sixth, remember that you are not giving in and you are not giving up control.
Seventh, give yourself time. It's alright to say to your partner, "I want to forgive you, but I need some time to think about this and process everything."
Remember, when you forgive, it allows you a peaceful state of mind that empowers you to move forward without the pain of the past holding you back. You will experience emotional and mental relief, a sense of empowerment and pride for your actions, and you will contribute to the growth of your relationship. And although you are not obligated to forgive, if you choose not to forgive, your anger and resentment toward your partner will grow and your relationship will likely be damaged beyond rescue.
If you try all these tips but find yourself feeling trapped in pain and unable to forgive, consider getting professional counseling.
Want to learn more?
Do you want to learn more about forgiving? We invite you to join our 3-day journey, “Forgiving Your Partner and Letting Go Of Past Hurts,” a therapist-led, step-by-step video course.
For a preview of the journey, click here.