Helpful Tips for Forgiving Your Partner (2023)

Knowing how to forgive your partner and let go of past hurts is a critical tool in any relationship. Forgiveness is also healthy for you, both emotionally and physically. In fact, forgiving and letting go may be one of the most important ways to keep your relationship going strong.

While some transgressions are so harmful that a relationship can't survive, forgiveness can still play a role in helping you move past the hurt. This article discusses how to forgive your partner who has hurt you and move forward with your life.

Benefits of Knowing How to Forgive Your Partner

Holding onto old hurts, disappointments, petty annoyances, betrayals, insensitivity, and anger wastes both your time and your energy. Nursing your hurt (whether real or perceived) for too long can eventually turn it into hate and bitterness.

Being unforgiving takes a physical and mental toll. Resentment gains momentum and chips away at the foundation of your well-being and relationship. Instead, share your feelings.

Health experts at Johns Hopkins report that the act of forgiveness can reduce the risk of heart attack, lower cholesterol levels, improve sleep, reduce pain,lower blood pressure, decrease levels of anxiety, depression, and stress, and provide other benefits.

The Many Benefits of Forgiveness

How to Forgive Your Partner

Various techniques can help you foster forgiveness when you have experienced betrayal. The kind of hurt you have suffered can make a difference in which works for you.

Certainly, it is more difficult to forgive someone for years of infidelity than for a minor mistake, such as forgetting to pay a bill. Be patient with yourself as you experiment with different strategies.

  • Be open and receptive to forgiveness.
  • Make a conscious decision to forgive.
  • Think of a calming place or do something else to distract yourself when flashbacks of the betrayal trigger negative thoughts.
  • Refrain from throwing a mistake back in a remorseful partner's face or using it as ammunition in an argument.
  • Accept that you might never know the reason for the hurtful behavior.
  • Refrain from seeking revenge or retribution. Trying to get even will only extend the pain and probably won't make you feel better anyway.
  • Remember that forgiveness does not mean that you condone the hurtful behavior.
  • Be patient with yourself. Forgiveness takes time. Don't hurry the process.
  • Seek professional counseling if you are still unable to forgive or stop dwelling on the hurt.

How to Forgive Someone

How to Ask for Forgiveness

If you are the partner who has caused hurt, begin your efforts to rebuild trust by asking for forgiveness. Give yourself and your partner time when working through the process.

  • Show true contrition and remorse for the pain you've caused.
  • Make a commitment to not hurt your partner again by repeating the hurtful behavior.
  • Accept the consequences of the action that created the hurt.
  • Be open to making amends.
  • Make a heartfelt and verbal apology. This should include a plan of action to make things right.
  • Be patient with your partner. Don't dismiss your partner's feelings of betrayal by telling them to "get over it."

How Forgiving Your Partner Affects Your Relationship

Close relationships need forgiveness to thrive. Everyone makes mistakes, and everyone needs to forgive and be forgiven.

This is especially true if the person who hurt you is attempting to make amends and gain forgiveness. It's more difficult if your partner is not remorseful, but you might still find value in offering forgiveness.

No healthy relationship, especially a marriage, can be sustained over a long period of time without forgiveness. But remember: Forgiveness isn't absolution.

Forgiveness is a conscious decision to release feelings of resentment. It's a crucial tool in processing hurt and moving on. Even though you may find forgiveness difficult, it's essential for the long haul.

(Video) How To Forgive Your Partner For Hurting You

Get Advice From the Verywell Mind Podcast

Hosted by Editor-in-Chief and therapist Amy Morin, LCSW, this episode of The Verywell Mind Podcast shares why it's OK to give second chances, featuring Purple Heart recipient Craig Rossi and Fred.

Helpful Tips for Forgiving Your Partner (1)

Follow Now: Apple Podcasts / Spotify / Google Podcasts

When Forgiveness Is Not Enough

If your partner abuses you, continues to betray or lie to you, or makes no real effort to change their behavior, it may be time to split. This kind of behavior calls for serious evaluation.

When your major concerns are not going away despite your efforts to forgive, it may be time to think about separation or divorce.

According to psychiatrist Karen Swartz, MD, forgiveness does not always mean reconciliation. "Having a relationship with someone in the future is about whether they are reliable and dependable and trustworthy," she says. Sometimes, trust is broken in such a way that it's not in your best interest."

In situations involving an extended period of abuse or betrayal that's no longer occurring, forgiveness may take longer, and that's OK. You both must be open to talking about and continuing to process it. This might include seeking guidance from a licensed professional counselor or another mental health professional.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do you forgive someone who has hurt you so deeply?

    Deep hurts can be difficult to forgive. It is essential to acknowledge the harm that was done and recognize the impact it had on you. Allow yourself to feel upset and grieve. Remind yourself that forgiveness can be a way of releasing the hold that act has over you. It does not absolve the other person or suggest that the offense was acceptable; instead, it allows you to move one from the hurt and relinquish the pain that it has caused.

  • How do you heal from a partner who hurt you?

    After a hurt or betrayal, it is important to let yourself acknowledge the pain. Strategies like writing in a journal or talking to a friend can help you release your emotions without slipping into rumination. Focus on caring for yourself and treating yourself with compassion and kindness. In some cases, you may find it helpful to talk to a therapist, either individually or together with your partner.

    Remind yourself that there will be ups and downs on your path toward healing. Things might not be the same again, but you can move forward with strength and resolve.

    (Video) How to Forgive Your Spouse
  • Can you forgive someone who is still hurting you?

    You can forgive someone who continues to hurt you or let you down. An example might be a parent forgiving an adult child who keeps relapsing to addiction. In such cases, creating boundaries, letting go of the need for control, and viewing the other person with compassion can help.

    In cases where a person makes no effort to change despite knowing how badly they are hurting you, it is important to consider the future of the relationship. While you might be able to forgive, that doesn't mean that you need to stay. Ending the relationship can allow you to practice forgiveness, protect yourself from future hurt, and move on in a more positive way.

The 6 Best Online Marriage Counseling Programs

3 Sources

(Video) 3 Courageous Ways To Forgive A Cheating Wife Or Husband

Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Toussaint LL, Shields GS, Slavich GM. Forgiveness, Stress, and Health: a 5-Week Dynamic Parallel Process Study.Ann Behav Med. 2016;50(5):727–735. doi:10.1007/s12160-016-9796-6

  2. He Q, Zhong M, Tong W, et al. Forgiveness, Marital Quality, and Marital Stability in the Early Years of Chinese Marriage: An Actor-Partner Interdependence Mediation Model.Front Psychol. 2018;9:1520. Published 2018 Sep 4. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01520

  3. Sandler L. The Healing Power of Forgiveness. Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Additional Reading

By Sheri Stritof
Sheri Stritof has written about marriage and relationships for 20+ years. She's the co-author of The Everything Great Marriage Book.

See Our Editorial Process

Meet Our Review Board

Share Feedback

(Video) Forgiveness In Relationships: How To Forgive And Move Forward In A Relationship

Was this page helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!

What is your feedback?

Speak to a Therapist for Relationships


The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.

(Video) How Do I Forgive My Spouse? | Dave and Ashley Willis


What are the 7 steps of forgiveness? ›

7 Steps to True Forgiveness
  • Step 1: Acknowledge. Acknowledge the hurt. ...
  • Step 2: Consider. Consider how the hurt and pain has affected you. ...
  • Step 3: Accept. Accept that you cannot change the past. ...
  • Step 4: Determine. Determine whether or not you will forgive. ...
  • Step 5: Repair. ...
  • Step 6: Learn. ...
  • Step 7: Forgive.
Dec 10, 2013

How do you forgive your partner after he hurt you? ›

Once you feel ready to forgive, you can take a few additional steps to make sure you're really ready.
  1. Talk through your feelings. Before you can forgive someone, you'll want to make sure you can put your feelings about what happened into words. ...
  2. Find the bright side. ...
  3. Forgive smaller things first. ...
  4. Forgive yourself.
Apr 27, 2020

How do you forgive someone who hurt you deeply? ›

Acknowledge your emotions about the harm done to you, recognize how those emotions affect your behavior, and work to release them. Choose to forgive the person who's offended you. Release the control and power that the offending person and situation have had in your life.

How do I forgive my partner and trust again? ›

Rebuilding trust when you've hurt someone
  1. Consider why you did it. Before you embark on the process of rebuilding trust, you'll first want to check in with yourself to understand why you did it. ...
  2. Apologize sincerely. ...
  3. Give your partner time. ...
  4. Let their needs guide you. ...
  5. Commit to clear communication.
Aug 9, 2019

What are the 3 types of forgiveness? ›

Forgiveness actually embodies three different things, each of which applies to different situations and provides different results. The three types of forgiveness are: exoneration, forbearance and release.

What are the 4 R's of forgiveness? ›

Responsibility: Accept what has happened and show yourself compassion. Remorse: Use guilt and remorse as a gateway to positive behaviour change. Restoration: Make amends with whomever you're forgiving, even if it's yourself. Renewal: Learn from the experience and grow as a person.

What are the 4 promises of forgiveness? ›

“I will not dwell on this incident.” “I will not bring up this incident again and use it against you.” “I will not talk to others about this incident.” “I will not let this incident stand between us or hinder our personal relationship.” **

What is the golden rule about forgiveness? ›

As with many other religions, Christianity has numerous principles of teachings. Some focus on forgiveness, others require repentance of sins for any mistakes made. When speaking of the Golden Rule Christianity states you should treat others how you want to be treated in return.

What is the 3 day rule after an argument? ›

The 3 day rule after argument is a common practice in relationships where individuals agree to take a 3 day relationship break from each other after a heated disagreement. During this time, both parties cool off, reflect on their feelings/thoughts, and avoid communication with each other.

How do I let go of my partner's past mistakes? ›

Dealing with Jealousy About Your Partner's Past
  1. Accept it.
  2. Swap places.
  3. Don't snoop.
  4. Talk it out.
  5. Accept their answers.
  6. Pinpoint the issue.
  7. Know your worth.
  8. Reframe things.
Dec 13, 2019

How do you let go of someone you love emotionally? ›

These tips can help you start the process of moving forward.
  1. Acknowledge the truth of the situation. ...
  2. Identify relationship needs — and deal breakers. ...
  3. Accept what the love meant to you. ...
  4. Look to the future. ...
  5. Prioritize other relationships. ...
  6. Spend time on yourself. ...
  7. Give yourself space. ...
  8. Understand it may take some time.
Jan 14, 2020

How do I stop feeling hurt? ›

How to Let Go of Past Hurts: 8 Ways to Move On
  1. Question your comfort zone.
  2. Let it out.
  3. Take accountability.
  4. Make space for the new.
  5. Prioritize yourself.
  6. Focus on the lessons.
  7. Accept what you can't change.
  8. Seek help.
Aug 29, 2022

What God says about forgiving someone who hurt you? ›

Matthew 6:14

“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”

What are the 7 steps to rebuild trust? ›

Rebuilding Trust
  • Listen to the other person's anger and hurt feelings.
  • Empathize with them.
  • Ask what is needed to prevent a recurrence.
  • Be conscientious to do all the things listed that show trustworthiness.
  • Take full responsibility for your actions. ...
  • Make a heartfelt apology expressing your regret.
Sep 2, 2021

How do you get the spark back in a broken relationship? ›

How do you bring the spark back into a relationship? 7 tips
  1. Reminiscing. Revisiting your relationship roots can help rekindle the romance. ...
  2. Focusing on communication. ...
  3. Bringing back the romantic gestures. ...
  4. Practicing gratitude. ...
  5. Scheduling date nights. ...
  6. Try new things together. ...
  7. Kissing more often.
Aug 19, 2022

How do I get my relationship back on track? ›

How to rekindle a broken relationship
  1. Use your relationship polarity to your advantage. ...
  2. Be physical to help intimacy grow. ...
  3. Be curious about your partner. ...
  4. Innovate and give the relationship your best effort. ...
  5. Use your voice as a powerful tool for building intimacy. ...
  6. Learn how to control your emotions. ...
  7. Defuse conflict with fun.

What is the hardest part of forgiveness? ›

Often the hardest person to forgive is yourself. You are so hurt, yet you realize that you are the one to blame. You are the one who did it to yourself. And so you want to make yourself hurt.

What are the 12 steps of forgiveness? ›

Here are some steps to freeing yourself from negative emotions.
  • Acknowledge your pain.
  • Express your emotions on paper.
  • Understand what you want.
  • Let go of hurt feelings and guilty thoughts.
  • Stop replaying what happened.
  • Tell yourself that you're sorry.
  • Start making changes to show your growth.
Feb 10, 2016

What are the 5 levels of forgiveness? ›

Worthington has distilled the REACH plan: Recall the hurt; Empathize with the one who hurt you; Altruistically decide to forgive; Commit publicly to forgiveness; and Hold on to that forgiveness.

What is the first step to forgiveness? ›

Dr. Hallowell says the first step to forgiveness is acknowledging what happened. Talk to someone you trust and open up about how hurt, sad or angry you may feel. Let your emotions out, and don't apologize for them.

What are 2 teachings about forgiveness? ›

If someone asks for forgiveness over and over, then it is the duty of an individual to forgive them. In Matthew's Gospel, the teaching on forgiveness is continued, with Christ making it clear that in order to be forgiven, humans must forgive others.

What are the six styles of forgiveness? ›

Six Approaches to Forgive: for self, for others, for a renewed relationship, for pain reduction in the world, for its own sake, and/or for the sake of love for God.

What is the key to forgiveness? ›

Forgiveness is a process that takes time, patience, and determination. Try not to be harsh on yourself, but be gentle and foster a sense of quiet within, an inner acceptance of yourself. Try to respond to yourself as you would to someone whom you love deeply.

What are 3 big ways forgiveness is good for your health? ›

The good news: Studies have found that the act of forgiveness can reap huge rewards for your health, lowering the risk of heart attack; improving cholesterol levels and sleep; and reducing pain, blood pressure, and levels of anxiety, depression and stress.

What are the three essential elements of forgiveness? ›

Finally, Enright and Fitzgibbons (2015) believe that all three aspects of forgiveness need to change, namely cognitive, affective, and behavioral, if a person is to fully forgive. They argue that a person must have a form of emotional readiness to forgive before they are likely to be receptive to forgiving.

What is true forgiveness? ›

Psychologists generally define forgiveness as a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness.

What is stonewalling in a relationship? ›

Stonewalling, one of the Four Horsemen, is Dr. John Gottman's term for one or both partners shutting down when feeling overwhelmed during conflict. Rather than confronting the issue, someone who is stonewalling will be unresponsive, making evasive maneuvers such as tuning out, turning away, or acting busy.

How long should couples go without talking after a fight? ›

How long should you go without talking? It really depends on why you fought. In general, it's normal to go quiet for 3 days to work through your hurt feelings. If you haven't talked for a week, it might be a sign you're rethinking the relationship.

What is the 3 day texting rule? ›

Popularized by the romcom, the three-day dating rule insists that a person wait three full days before contacting a potential suitor. A first-day text or call is too eager, a second-day contact seems planned, but three days is, somehow, the perfect amount of time.

What triggers retroactive jealousy? ›

Retroactive jealousy can be triggered if you have an anxious attachment style, bad experiences with past partners, or even childhood trauma. Common signs of retroactive jealousy include difficulty trusting, snooping through personal possessions or electronics, and comparing oneself to a partner's exes.

How do you forgive the past and move on? ›

Tips for letting go
  1. Create a positive mantra to counter the painful thoughts. ...
  2. Create physical distance. ...
  3. Do your own work. ...
  4. Practice mindfulness. ...
  5. Be gentle with yourself. ...
  6. Allow the negative emotions to flow. ...
  7. Accept that the other person may not apologize. ...
  8. Engage in self-care.
Sep 1, 2018

What is something you could never forgive in a relationship? ›

Constant Lying

This can tie into cheating, but also just lying in general. If your partner keeps lying to you, he or she can't be trusted, and it's a level of disrespect and shadiness that might not be forgiven in a relationship, says Ziegler.

How do you fix a relationship after trust is broken? ›

How to Rebuild Trust in 8 Steps
  1. Take responsibility for the role you played. ...
  2. Practice forgiveness. ...
  3. Leave the past in the past. ...
  4. Allow time and space for grief. ...
  5. Follow through on the small things. ...
  6. Choose to practice vulnerability. ...
  7. Attend to the deeper issues. ...
  8. Co-create a new future.
Dec 30, 2022

How do you save a relationship when trust is broken? ›

Top 10 Ways to rebuild trust in a relationship
  1. Apologize wholeheartedly and do not minimize the issue.
  2. Make a strong commitment to your partner and to making the changes needed to rebuild trust.
  3. Ensure there is transparency, openness, predictability in thoughts, feelings, actions – words must match actions.

How do you detach from someone you love deeply? ›

How to let go of someone you love
  1. Identify the reason. Ask yourself why you're now deciding to detach from the relationship. ...
  2. Release your emotions. ...
  3. Don't react, respond. ...
  4. Start small. ...
  5. Keep a journal. ...
  6. Meditate. ...
  7. Be patient with yourself. ...
  8. Look forward.
Aug 20, 2021

How do you accept a relationship is over? ›

How to accept your relationship is ending: 11 effective tips
  1. Allow yourself to grieve. So, how to get over someone you can't be with? ...
  2. Share your feelings. ...
  3. Stay productive. ...
  4. Write about it. ...
  5. Amp up the self-care. ...
  6. Make new routines. ...
  7. A closure ritual.
Apr 29, 2022

How do you mentally let go of someone? ›

5 Tips to Help You Let Go of Someone (and Move Forward)
  1. Be clear about why you're letting them go.
  2. Distance yourself.
  3. Let yourself feel your feelings.
  4. Dig deeper into your healthy relationships.
  5. Focus on self-care.
Jan 29, 2023

How do you make someone realize they hurt you? ›

Briefly describe what happened that felt hurtful or disrespectful. Say, “When I was talking, you (said or did this).” Don't go into a long story about what occurred or try to soften the blow by saying you know they didn't mean to be offensive. One sentence that describes your experience of their behavior is enough.

How do you let go when you don't want to? ›

How to let go of someone
  1. Recognize when it's time. Learning when it's time to let go is often the most difficult part of this process. ...
  2. Identify limiting beliefs. ...
  3. Change your story. ...
  4. Stop the blame game. ...
  5. Embrace the “F” word. ...
  6. Master your emotions. ...
  7. Practice empathy. ...
  8. Adopt an attitude of gratitude.

How do you heal emotionally? ›

Tips for healing from emotional wounds
  1. Take baby steps. ...
  2. Remember that you dont have to heal 100% to improve the quality of your life. ...
  3. Be patient and persistent. ...
  4. Set realistic expectations. ...
  5. View setbacks as part of the process and learning opportunities. ...
  6. Prioritize self-care and self-compassion.
Mar 22, 2019

What does God say about loving those who hurt you? ›

Jesus said, "But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you." (Luke 6:27-28 NIV) In the following verses Jesus gives several specific examples of how to treat those who have hurt you, and He concludes with, "Be merciful, just as ...

When you can't forgive someone for hurting you? ›

If you're having trouble forgiving a big hurt, practice self-compassion instead of giving yourself a hard time. It's normal to struggle, but you can get more accustomed to practicing forgiveness by making it a point to forgive regularly in your daily life. This isn't as tough as it sounds.

What does God say to do when someone hurts you? ›

The Lord says, “'It is mine to avenge; I will repay'” (Romans 12:19 NIV). He wants us to trust Him to set things right and even the score. When we surrender our anger, we may still feel hurt, but that hurt won't express itself in active or passive retaliation.

Is it okay to not forgive your partner? ›

Move On in the Way That's Right for You

According to Deborah Schurman-Kauflin, it is completely possible to move on and heal from trauma without forgiving the perpetrator. In fact, forcing yourself to forgive, or pretending to forgive when you really haven't, can actually be counterproductive to healing.

What is stonewalling after an argument? ›

"Stonewalling is when, during an argument or disagreement, someone begins to shut down, withdraw from the conversation, and build a wall between themselves and the other person," explains trauma-informed psychotherapist Ludine Pierre, LPCC.

Will retroactive jealousy go away? ›

There are many ways to work through and overcome retroactive jealousy in counseling. Therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy, hypnotherapy, Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) and other trauma informed psychotherapies can help you move beyond fixating on your partner's past.

What is an unforgivable act? ›

And yet, it is deeds which are said to be unforgivable."43 For example, rape, torture, and murder are often cited as unforgivable acts, because they are so repulsive and heinous.

What are the hidden words in forgive? ›

Synonyms of forgive
  • pardon.
  • ignore.
  • redeem.
  • acquit.
  • excuse.
  • release.
  • absolve.
  • exonerate.

What is hardest to forgive? ›

Often the hardest person to forgive is yourself. You are so hurt, yet you realize that you are the one to blame. You are the one who did it to yourself. And so you want to make yourself hurt.

Can you love someone you can't forgive? ›

If you cannot forgive, you cannot sustain love. Sooner or later a loved one will say or do something hurtful. Then a test of love will ensue. Without the aid of forgiveness, you will not be able to right and restore the relationship.

Why can't I forgive and move on? ›

Too many people withhold forgiveness because they don't believe the person who hurt them has changed or will change. This is a trust issue not a forgiveness issue. Forgiveness allows us to move forward after being hurt instead of staying stuck in the past because of unreleased resentment.

How do you forgive someone who disrespects you? ›

Here are eight ways to work on that.
  1. Get mad, feel hurt and grieve. ...
  2. Ask yourself whether your anger is constructive or destructive. ...
  3. Don't worry—you aren't saying the offense was OK. ...
  4. Practice stress-reduction techniques. ...
  5. Remind yourself why you want this person in your life. ...
  6. Set boundaries.
Dec 12, 2019


1. How To Forgive
(The School of Life)
2. How to Forgive and Let Go of Your Past - Joyce Meyer
3. How To Forgive When You Can’t (Or Shouldn’t) Forget
(Marie Forleo)
4. Sadhguru - How to Forgive Someone Who Hurt You [ An Insight on Forgiveness ]
(Scientific Spirituality with Sadhguru)
5. 5 Ways to Forgive Someone Who Wronged You
6. Struggling to Forgive and Trust Your Husband
(Pure Life Ministries)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Domingo Moore

Last Updated: 09/08/2023

Views: 5668

Rating: 4.2 / 5 (73 voted)

Reviews: 80% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Domingo Moore

Birthday: 1997-05-20

Address: 6485 Kohler Route, Antonioton, VT 77375-0299

Phone: +3213869077934

Job: Sales Analyst

Hobby: Kayaking, Roller skating, Cabaret, Rugby, Homebrewing, Creative writing, amateur radio

Introduction: My name is Domingo Moore, I am a attractive, gorgeous, funny, jolly, spotless, nice, fantastic person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.