When your boyfriend says stupid things, you may experience anger, resentment or disappointment, but forgiveness can benefit a relationship in the long-term, and it has positive implications for individuals. Bear in mind the potential positive motivations for your boyfriend's lack of thoughtfulness to help you to move on from the situation. Rebuilding trust is possible if you believe that his intentions were not malicious and that you are both committed to the relationship.
Keep it in Perspective
It is easier to forgive someone if you understand their behavior in context and decide that your relationship is more important than one mistake. People who have been wronged sometimes over exaggerate the memory of the insult and ruminate on it, leading to stress and bitterness. If you blow the issue out of proportion, not only will be you feel less able to forgive your boyfriend, but your partner might start a further argument if you have over reacted.
Take it as a Compliment
Heterosexual males lose their ability to think straight after talking to an attractive female, which may account for your boyfriend saying the wrong thing. A study conducted at Radboud University and published in the "Journal of Experimental Social Psychology" showed that after spending only 7 minutes in the company of a pretty girl, male students performed worse on tests that measured cognitive abilities. The student's responses were slower and even less accurate if they found the female particularly attractive. Researchers concluded that males are so focused on making an impression, that cognitive function suffers.
Forgiveness Brings Many Benefits
Holding a grudge is bad for our physical and mental health. In contrast, people who adopt a forgiving attitude toward offenses made in interpersonal relationships benefit both emotionally and physically. People who insist on holding onto anger show higher physiological stress responses in tests and report feeling bad. Forgiveness is linked with longer and happier relationships. Understanding that your boyfriend is human and will make mistakes can help you move toward forgiveness.
Rebuild the Trust
Re-establishing a sense of unity in your relationship can help to bring you closer and strengthen trust. Spend more time getting to know one another, so that you can better understand each other’s motivations and you can interpret your boyfriend's behavior more accurately. Setting shared goals and identifying the things you have in common will bring a sense of solidarity. Remember the reasons why you initially found your boyfriend attractive and why the relationship is worth making an effort for.
- Victim and Perpetrator Accounts of Interpersonal Transgressions: Self-Serving or Relationship-Serving Biases?; Jill Kearns and Frank Fincham
- Journal of Experimental Social Psychology; Interacting With Women Can Impair Men’s Cognitive Functioning; Johan C. Karremans, Thijs Verwijmeren et al
- Beyond Intractability: Trust and Trust Building
- Psychological Science; Granting Forgiveness Or Harboring Grudges: Implications for Emotion, Physiology, and Health; Charlotte vanOyen Witvliet, Thomas E. Ludwig et al
- Til Lack of Forgiveness. Doth Us Part”: Forgiveness and Marriage; Frank D. Fincham, Julie H. Hall et al
- Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images