“When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.” ~ Catherine Ponder
Lack of forgiveness is one of the things that can keep a relationship from moving forward. If a partner has done something that hurt us, we have some decisions to make.
First, we have to decide if the incident was a deal-breaker. Things like unfaithfulness, lying, physical abuse or addictions may be things we simply cannot live with. If that is the case we must do what we have to do to move one.
If the incident was hurtful, but we still want to keep the relationship, there are two things that can happen. The partner may express sincere regret for the hurt and express the intention to avoid similar recurrences. However, it may be that the individual refuses to apologize or acknowledge your feelings.
In the latter case it is very difficult to move forward as the issue feels unfinished or unresolved. It remains near the surface and the hurt may be triggered again and again. Often there is resentment as well. It is important for couples to try to come to some sort of peace around these issues, because if they do not there is a tendency for additional issues to occur and pile up. If you both seem stuck and there is no resolution, consider professional help.
In the case of a sincere apology, it is important to accept the apology and move forward. This means that the issue is not brought up again every time there is a conflict. If the same thing keeps happening, that is a different matter. Then it does need to be discussed, along with the sincerity of previous apologies.
In the case of a one-time incident that maybe happened long ago, the sincere apology should put an end to it. It is not fair to keep bringing up the past when it cannot be changed and the person is sincerely sorry. There is wisdom in forgiving and forgetting. Forgiving does not mean that what happened was okay. It just means we choose to let it go so we can build on the positive in the relationship.
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CDs You May be Interested In:
Trust and Fidelity
Conflict Resolution in Relationships
Codepenency and Projection
When Relationships Break Down