Your girlfriend did something that upset you, made you angry or made you feel betrayed. You'd like to move forward in your relationship, but can't, until you forgive her. Forgiveness can be very difficult, since emotions are involved. However, learning to forgive your girlfriend is healthy for you and your relationship.
Accept Her Apology
An apology lets a person know that she is sorry for causing pain, even if it was unintentional, says the website, Teen Health, in the article "Apologizing." If your girlfriend is aware she did something wrong, she most likely will apologize for her behavior. Her apology should be sincere and she should avoid making the same mistake in the future. An apology shows that she cares about your feelings. While an apology is nice to hear, it doesn't always immediately resolve everything. You may still have hurt feelings that you will need to work through. If you need space to work through your pain, tell your girlfriend.
Feel Your Emotions
You may feel like retaliating, lashing out in anger or withdrawing from your girlfriend. Resentment and anger can be hard to let go. Allow yourself to experience your feelings, but don't hold on to your anger too long. When your anger begins to consume you, you need to let it go, says Julie Exline, a professor of psychology at Case Western Reserve University and quoted on CNN's website in the article "Choosing to Forgive -- Or Not." If you continue to hold on to the anger, it will be hard to forgive your girlfriend.
Put Yourself in Her Shoes
When you're hurt and angry, it can be hard to see the situation from your girlfriend's point of view. Take a step back and try to see it from her eyes. When someone does us harm, we frequently stop seeing the good in her, says Alex Lickerman, assistant vice president for Student Health and Counseling Services at the University of Chicago, and author of "How to Forgive Others" on the Psychology Today website. If you can see the situation from your girlfriend's eyes, you may be able to see that she did not intentionally cause you harm. If she betrayed you, you may understand the underlying reason. Try to see that her mistake does not define her.
Don't worry if you can't forgive your girlfriend immediately. It can take time for your hurt and angry feelings to subside. "Remember, forgiveness doesn't have to happen in a day," says Exline.
Talk With Your Girlfriend
Your girlfriend may have done something unintentionally to upset you. For example, she might have told a friend something about you without realizing it would bother you. If your girlfriend doesn't know you feel slighted, let her know. Don't let your feelings simmer. Be honest and open with her. This can prevent her from repeating the same behavior. If she was aware that she did something wrong and already apologized, discuss why the behavior occurred. If she betrayed you, discuss the underlying issues that caused the betrayal.
Choose to Forgive
In order to move forward in your relationship, you have to choose to forgive her. If there's not forgiveness, there's not much reason to trust someone, says TwoOfUs.org in, "Why Forgiveness Matters." The ability to trust and forgive are key to a successful relationship.
Write in Your Journal
It can be helpful to write down how you feel about the situation and what happened. Writing your emotions on paper can help release the negative emotions from within yourself, says Ashley Turner, a mind-body psychotherapist and author of "4 Ways to Forgive and Let Go" on the Huffington Post website.
Realize that people make mistakes and pain is an unfortunate part of life, says TwoOfUs.org. Accepting this can make it easier to move forward. Carrying resentment can negatively impact you, by causing stress and negative feelings. Realize your girlfriend isn't perfect and makes mistakes. Moving forward may draw you closer together, since you were able to find resolution.
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