Tagged: “Couples”

Does forgiving another also include the belief that this person can change for the better?

No, to forgive another person does not mean that you, as the forgiver, believe that this other person can or will change.  To forgive is to offer compassion and the acknowledgement of the person’s humanity, regardless of the outcome of this belief.  This is one important reason why we have to distinguish forgiving and reconciling.  You can offer this compassion and recognition of the other’s humanity without reconciling if the other remains a danger to you.

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I am back with my boyfriend after several months of being apart.  I am apprehensive, not trusting much, because of his past hurts.  Have I reconciled, I mean truly reconciled, if I cannot trust yet?

Being together does not necessarily mean that you are reconciled.  Reconciliation includes trust, but trust is earned back inch-by-inch. Does your boyfriend show you signs that he has remorse (sadness for what he did)?  Does he show repentance (saying he is sorry)?  Does he engage in recompense (behaviorally trying to make up for what he did and behaviorally showing he is trustworthy)?  Keep these three issues in mind (remorse, repentance, and recompense) as a way to build your trust so that you can achieve a true reconciliation.

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I am angry at my partner, but the anger is not deep.  I am more annoyed than really bothered.  If I had to put a number on my anger from 1 to 10, I would give it a 3.  Do you think I need to forgive, given that my anger is not intense?

There are different reasons to forgive.  You could forgive for your own emotional well-being.  You could forgive, on a higher moral level, for the good of the other and the good of the relationship.  It does not appear that you need to forgive for your own emotional well-being, given how low your anger is.  Therefore, you still can forgive so that the other feels better, so that you communicate better together, and so that your relationship becomes stronger.

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Which is better:  to say to myself, “I forgive you,” or to say this directly to the one who hurt me?

The answer depends on how the other will respond.  If that person is not ready to hear those words or to seek forgiveness, then rejection of your overture can happen.  If the other sees no wrong in the actions, then rejection of your overture again can happen.  In other words, it depends on the circumstances between the two of you.  You certainly can say within yourself about the other, “I forgive you,” and this is reasonable if proclaiming those words to the other will create more tension between the two of you.

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The Missing Piece to the Peace Puzzle

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