The Hardest Part About Forgiveness is Forgetting

A wound may heal, but you’ll always be left with a scar.

Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash

How you choose to deal with that scar is entirely up to you.

When someone I care about hurts me, it’s difficult to let it go. I struggle to see them the same way. I’m so deeply disappointed. I wonder if I was a fool for placing so much trust in them in the first place. Why would I allow myself to be so vulnerable to someone else’s actions?

If a loved one betrays you, the next step is to try to forgive them if you care about keeping the relationship. If you don’t care about the relationship, then you can walk away. Leave the hurt in the past. Leave them in the past.

If you want to stay, then you’re told to forgive and just move on. But can you ever go back to the way it was before the wrongdoing? Can you ever completely trust that person again? Would that make you foolish?

“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” Nobody wants to be a fool.

Trust is very hard to gain, but it can be lost in the blink of an eye.

I have a hard time with the “forgive but don’t forget” school of thought, because continuing to remember the hurt can only keep you from moving on. Whatever happened will always be in the back of your mind, no matter how quiet or small it becomes.

If I don’t forget, then I can’t let it go. If I can’t let it go, then why am I trying to salvage this relationship? It’s not fair to anyone.

When my boyfriend cheated on me, I decided to stay with him. I tried to convince myself that my love was enough. He made a mistake and I could forgive him.

I took him back, but I kept replaying the cheating in my head. I ruminated on the infidelity and became obsessed with dissecting his every action going forward expecting him to cheat again.

You could say thatI forgave him, because I didn’t leave him. We didn’t break up. I chose to stay with him and try to move past it, but my inability to forget the betrayal really hindered any chance of moving forward.

After months of denial, I finally realized that I could never trust him again and we broke up for good.

The hardest part about forgiving him was forgetting what he did. Every time I thought about him lying to me, I felt stupid for staying with him. No matter how many times I told myself that he deserved a second chance, deep down I didn’t believe it. I wasn’t over the hurt. I just tried to cover it up with a forgiveness band-aid.

It wasn’t fair for me to stay with him if I couldn’t put the past behind us. It wasn’t fair that I continued to bring it up, because it was always on my mind. That’s not forgiveness. That was just me covering up my feelings and wishing that they would just disappear.

I believe that true forgiveness means that you do forget, but that’s very hard to achieve. Once trust is broken, it never fully heals, no matter how much the scar fades.

Now, a scar will always be where there wasn’t a scar before. It’s hard to forget that.

True forgiveness can work if you don’t try to keep the relationship the way it was before the hurt. Things have changed. Maybe just time away can help. Sometimes keeping yourself in a situation makes healing a wound more difficult.

I was able to finally forgive my ex’s actions once we broke up and moved on with our lives separate from each other. I wasn’t constantly reminded of the betrayal anymore because I was no longer around him. Out of sight, out of mind. I was able to forget.

It was easier that time because I didn’t expect anything else from him. His actions no longer affected me so I didn’t have to worry about him ever hurting me again.

I knew our relationship was over, but in order to move on with my life in a positive way, I needed to forgive what he did. True forgiveness has allowed me to remember the good times. True forgiveness has allowed me to be in other relationships where I wasn’t insecure about being cheated on. True forgiveness allowed me to keep that baggage in the past.

Letting something go when you’ve been hurt is difficult. There is nothing easy about forgiving, but it is always for your benefit. Realize that it may be easier to remove yourself from a relationship in order to truly forgive and forget.

That doesn’t mean you can never go back, but time apart can help put the hurt in a place where you can get a better perspective and understand your feelings on how you want to move forward.

There’s nothing wrong with forgiving and leaving. Sometimes that’s the only way you can completely let go and move on. Sometimes that’s what best for you. Remember, forgiveness is all about healing you.

Storyteller | Poet | I write what feels right. Obsessed with love and how we live life.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store