Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice shame on me. That is usually the motto behind why a lot of us choose not to forgive. I, however, believe in second chances. We all have the capacity to hurt each other, and whether or not it’s intentional, it makes us human.
There is a way to come back from being hurt. Here’s how I did it.
I Stopped Judging Him
It would be really hypocritical of me to paint him as this evil jerk with no feelings who had no intention but to hurt me.
The truth is we’re all human and we make mistakes. The difference to me was how he learned from it and what he decided to do about it.
I Believed In Second Chances
I believed enough in the foundation that we had built and the love we had for one another to give it one more chance.
One more chance, but not more. A repeated mistake is then a pattern and I don’t advise you to get stuck in a toxic cycle as those never usually break.
I Recognized My Part In It
While I knew I should never take the blame for his mistake, I considered the context.
Our relationship wasn’t perfect, and that’s no excuse, but there were factors on my side as well that could be worked on moving forward.
I Embraced Vulnerability
We all put our walls up because we’re afraid to get hurt. These walls get higher and higher the more bad experiences we have, and the more afraid we are to ever get hurt like that again.
Instead, I decided to take down the walls and dive fully in. That way if I did get hurt again, I at least would know I gave it my all.
I Took Control
The way I see it, it’s impossible to regain trust without first regaining control of my emotional well-being. This means that I need to make peace with the situation.
I needed to be able to forgive him, not to let him off the hook for his behavior, but so I could move on from it.
I Asked The Hard Questions
All I could wonder when he first hurt me was “why?” I had a million and ten questions, so I asked them.
I got the clarity I needed to make as much sense of the situation as I could rather than drive myself crazy making guesses.
I Thought About My Motivation
It was important for me to differentiate between whether I was forgiving my partner out of comfort and the desire for things to go back to normal, or if I was doing it out of genuine love.
I needed to actually believe and have hope that the relationship would get better, otherwise, I knew I’d be right back in the same spot again.
I Opened The Line Of Communication
Rather than hold back how his actions made me feel, I made sure he knew. I said everything I needed him to hear, even if that meant the risk of him taking back his apology.
I knew that anything left unsaid would just come back to haunt us eventually.
I Listened To What He Had To Say
It can be frustrating to listen to someone defend their wrongful actions. If you let them know that they can let go of their defenses and that you’re ready to listen to them, they’ll open up and let you know how they really feel.
It might just not be what you wanted to hear.
I Was Consistent With My Behavior
I knew that my friends and family would not necessarily approve of my decision to give him another chance. However, I also knew if that’s what I was doing, I would have to be consistent with the decision.
There’s no point in acting differently at home and in front of friends. Either I was upset at both locations, or I was turning a new leaf.
I Stopped Dwelling On The Past
Of course, I wished that I could go back in time to worry-free times when we were loved up and just wanted to make each other happy, but where would that get me?
Rather than dwell and continue to be sad, I asked myself what would make me happier now? Either I was ready to adapt to the new circumstance and the new version of my partner, or I was ready to find something else.
I Worked On My Self-Esteem
My first instinct when I was feeling hurt was to pity myself and wonder why I wasn’t good enough or deserving of better. The thing is, I absolutely deserved better.
It’s only when I know what I deserve that I can demand it, expect it, and not settle for any less.
I Took Time Away
There is no rush to fix a broken relationship. In fact, rushing into it just brushes off the issues, which only invites them to come back.
Instead, I took time away to make sure that I was okay and that going back was truly what I wanted. This time also reassured me that I would be fine with or without him.
I Gave The Relationship A Deadline
It’s easy to stay hopeful and keep making excuses forever.
Instead, I told myself that if six months from now we hadn’t made enough progress then I would leave. I had to draw the line somewhere.
I Pictured Myself In Five Years
It’s so easy to get caught up in the moment. I made sure I took the time to picture where I wanted to be five years from now.
Every decision I made now would affect me then. I could either thank myself in five years or regret my choices.
I Kept My Expectations High
It’s not because he messed up that I was now going to lower my standards to expect any less than I did before.
I didn’t expect him to mess up again, rather, I held him to the same standards as before as a way to start fresh.