Forgiving others, forgiving ourselves, and letting the past go is a healing and freeing experience.
How do you know when it is time to move on from a relationship that seems to require more forgiveness?
How Many Times Should You Forgive and Forget in a Relationship?
Ask Yourself 5 Essential Questions:
- What is the nature of the relationship? Are you relatives, friends, neighbors, co-workers, lovers, or spouses? We are more open to mending relationships with deeper ties. However, we sometimes must decide to end our more serious relationships. Our expectations in a relationship depend on the seriousness of the relationship. Consider how serious a relationship is and what your expectations are.
- How serious are the offenses? There is a difference between a neighbor’s dog digging up your flower garden versus being cheated on by your partner or spouse. Is the current irritation something you can just forgive and forget? Have you experienced a betrayal that may take a great deal of time and work to release? Each situation is different. It is important to evaluate if your reaction to the hurt matches the offense you have actually suffered.
- How much forgiving has already happened? Many of us are very forgiving people. We know no one is perfect. However, at some point, you might feel like your ability to forgive is the only thing that keeps the relationship alive. No one wants to feel like a push-over. If your constant forgiveness is the only thing that holds the relationship together, it may be time to gather some self-esteem and move on to better relationships.
- Is the forgiveness reciprocated? Are you granted forgiveness when you are the one that has hurt the other person? Sometimes we hurt those we care about. Think about your history with this person. Do they know how to forgive? Or, have you dealt with grudges, hurtful comments, and retaliation? The other person’s ability to forgive you tells you a lot about how they feel about you, what value your relationship has, and what the future of your relationship will be like.
- Is your forgiveness taken seriously? After you have forgiven, can you see an honest change in the person’s behavior? If you are a kind and compassionate person, there are people who will knowingly take advantage of your ability to forgive. Remember: Actions really do speak louder than words. Does the other person act like they feel remorse? Have they made amends, apologized, and changed their behavior? Not really? Maybe it is time to start making plans to move on as soon as possible.
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