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Have Problems Forgiving?

Have Problems Forgiving?

Four Must Do's To Forgive And Move On


    If you're in a relationship, there's always a chance for you to get your feelings hurt. But if your partner apologizes, you can hold onto the anger or forgive. Here are four steps to help you move forward.

1. Understand why you're hurt. 
If your partner angered you or hurt your feelings, blaming doesn’t make it clear exactly how you were hurt, or what exactly you need to forgive your partner for. Your partner or friend may not understand what he or she did wrong. Get clear on what upset you and why before you confront the problem. You should be able to explain what will fix the problem.

2. Ask for what you want. 

If someone who loves you has hurt you, he or she either doesn’t understand how you feel, isn’t thinking clearly, or isn’t in control of his or her own actions. Explain why you’re upset, and ask directly for what you want.

3. Let go of held anger and hurt.
If your partner apologizes, and is willing to do what you want, accept it.  Don’t hang on to your anger and desire to punish. Forgiveness is about accepting change and moving on. If you can’t do this, or the problem is too severe, get some help from a friend or counselor.

4. Have a forgiving ceremony.

This can be as simple as looking into your partner's eyes and saying “I forgive you;” or as complicated as renewing your vows after the problem is solved. What's important is that you communicate that the air is cleared, the hurt forgiven, and the problem is over. You won't be able to do that honestly if you haven't done the previous steps.

Tina Tessina, Ph.D., has been a licensed California psychotherapist for more than 30 years. She has authored more than 11 books, including "Money, Sex and Kids"; “The Commuter Marriage: Keeping your Relationship Close While you’re Far Apart”; "How to Be a Couple and Still Be Free"; "The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again"; and, “It Ends with You: Grow Up and Grow Out of Dysfunction.”  Tina can be reached at tina@tinatessina.com.

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