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Forgive and Forget--A Bad Idea
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Marriage counsellors are always advising their clients to forgive and forget out-of-control or thoughtless or abusive behavior.

Let me tell you what happens when you forgive and forget. For a few weeks--or just days--the offending party mends his ways. All seems well. Then he's right back to what he was doing before. It's called recidivism. [I've used "he" for simplicity's sake when I mean "he or she"].

What happens is that the person who forgives and forgets in a relationship becomes a doormat. Transgressions hurt; the pain is, with difficulty, forgiven and forgotten. Sooner, rather than later, it happens again. The one doing the bad stuff learns quickly that he can get away with it, again, if he just says he's sorry and mends his ways for a bit. Trust is abused; betrayal happens.

Those counsellors who advise forgiveness don't consider its downside. It's a major cop-out for them to tell the injured client to forgive and forget, pat them both on the back, and send them on their way.

What works best is to forgive, in the sense that holding a grudge injures the angry party, but NEVER forget. You have to hold the transgressor to his new promises, to his new behavior, and monitor him, maybe forever (especially if it's something addictive like dating underage girls, drinking, psychological abuse, compulsive spending, etc.)

What's doubly painful is having to be a controlling person when your basic nature is to be cooperative, collegial, partnership person. But if he's not in control of himself, you have to be. Or you have to terminate the relationship.

I speak from experience.

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