I have forgiven my partner, but I find that I am constantly being careful around him.  Am I not forgiving?  Should I practice re-forgiving him or is there some other process going on?

Your question focuses on the classic distinction between forgiving and reconciling.  When you forgive, you are practicing a moral virtue in which you try to reduce resentment and show goodness of some kind to your partner.  You try to do these unconditionally while, at the same time, striving for fairness (exercising the moral virtue of justice alongside forgiveness).  In contrast, when you reconcile, you are not exercising a moral virtue, but instead are engaging in a negotiation strategy of working your way back to mutual trust.  When you say you are “being careful,” you are showing that your trust is not yet strong.  Do not expect the trust to be re-established immediately.  Try to see instances of when your partner now is being trustworthy.  Let these instances grow in you until you see that your partner has changed and can be trusted.  Of course, given that we are all imperfect, no one will behave in such a way as to earn perfect trust in all areas of life.  Use your wisdom here: Is he sorry for the past hurt?  Is he trying to change?  Is he making progress?  Your forgiving may help you to be patient as he changes.

One thought on “I have forgiven my partner, but I find that I am constantly being careful around him.  Am I not forgiving?  Should I practice re-forgiving him or is there some other process going on?

  1. Lynn Hare July 4, 2018 / 1:46 pm

    Outstanding! I pray that each step of reconciliation with those who have hurt me will build more trust. I know I’ve hurt other people and have to be patient while they decide if I can be trusted. I take one day at a time.

    Like

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