Disagreements in relationships are inevitable. You may like coffee your partner may like tea and neither of you see fit to change your stance for all the tea in China or coffee in Columbia. Because we are different people (individuals, if you will) it’s not uncommon to not see eye to eye at times in life. This isn’t just limited too relationships of a romantic nature. Friendships are oftentimes comprised of “opposites” as well. Some disagreements are simple in nature and manifest in harmless quibbles that are easily laughed away and forgotten a quickly as they start (the argument/debate point, not the information gathered from them). But sometimes, most often in romantic relationships, disagreement can take a more hurtful and potentially damaging turn, whether started by one or both parties. Those infractions may not be able to be wiped away from the relationship’s slate with a talk, a hug, and a streaming hot beverage of your choice. Depending on the words spoken or actions carried out during the fray, time and individual reflection, as well as dedication to change on behalf of both parties, may be the elixir best called for.
A lot can be said about forgiveness in such matters. On one hand it’s much needed in order for both parties to move beyond the rift, whether together or separately. In order to do that one must sincerely forgive the person who has hurt them and forgive themselves for any wrong they may have done. Even if the results are a breakup, forgiveness is necessary for closure and personal wellbeing. On the other hand, and all too often it seems, there are those of us who take the act of forgiveness way too lightly, seeing it as a bandage that covers a wound thereby negating it. Out of sight out of mind… At least until the next time passions are stirred, tempers flare, and ego gets the best of you (or them, or both of you). Then the bandage gets ripped off, the wound aggravated, and further damage done. This happens when forgiveness is mistaken for acceptance of hurtful actions, or either party hasn’t dedicated the right amount of time to reflect, grieve, heal, and modify their behaviour to ensure they don’t repeat the process willingly.
Offering apologies and accepting forgiveness does not automatically erase hurt done to another person, in word or deed, especially if the offense continues to be an element in your dealings with them. Expecting for things to go back to “normal” immediately after a forgiveness has been extended, especially if this has been a longstanding cycle of behaviour between the two of you, is not realistic or in the least bit fair to the feelings of your friend or partner.
Bouncing back isn’t always easy, depending on how deeply you or your partner have been “cut” by an offense, no matter how much love may be there. Considering how many times trust has been affected in the process without a serious commitment to make amends, bouncing back may not even be a possibility. Respect, understanding, change, and most important, time will be the determining factors in whether the offense truly “goes away”.