Learning Forgiveness When you Start to Date

17 Jul

One key positive psychological construct which is often overlooked when considering dating again is forgiveness. Have you truly let go of any previous disappointments?

Woman praying and free bird enjoying nature on sunset background, hope concept for forgiveness

If you are considering stepping back into the world of dating, it is likely that you have been through some sort of break up.

This may come with a whole abundant range of emotions from fear to excitement, anticipation to expectation, that you have made the decision to truly move on from your ex-partner.

One key positive psychological construct which is often overlooked when considering dating again is forgiveness.

Have you truly let go of any previous disappointments?

These can range from being lied to in the relationship, being let down over finances, family interferences, or even infidelity.

It can be difficult not to harbour some sort of resentment which you do not want to transfer over to your new, blossoming relationship.

Forgiving is primarily one person’s response to the other. Forgiveness is crucial for our own happiness and growth.

In studies, Worthington & Scherer (2004) defined two types of forgiveness – decisional and emotional. It is emotional forgiveness which is linked to relationships and is defined as a crucial coping strategy to help people deal with transgressions, perceived injustices and the emotion of unforgiveness.

Further, not only can harbouring a grudge damage your future relationship, it can also affect your health. By not letting go, you can put yourself under more stress and constant rumination, which can lead to higher incidences of both physical and psychological ill health. It has also been suggested that learning forgiveness can even boost your immune system. However, the studies are limited.

Learning to forgive frees us from the pain, hurt, anger and disappointment that we have experienced from past relationship transgressions. It is rare a person has never experienced these, so you are completely normal to feel what you are feeling.

Forgiveness empowers us to move on and regain our personal power.

Most forgiveness intervention strategies, however, include three primary steps; (a) discussing the hurt and exploring emotions associated with the event, (b) increasing understanding and empathy for the perpetrator, and (c) making a personal commitment to the forgiveness process.

If you feel you were responsible for some of these transgressions, learning to forgive yourself is also paramount, and will likely take a lot longer to achieve. If you feel that your behaviours were particularly destructive, you may want to consider a period of personal therapy to help heal yourself.

So how do we forgive?  Most forgiveness intervention strategies include 3 primary steps;

  1. Have a conversation – discuss the hurt and explore the emotions associated with the transgression from the previous relationship
  2. Identify how you feel about yourself and the other person – can you identify factors where you both made mistakes? By increasing your empathy and understanding for them, ultimately helps alleviate your pain
  3. Commit to let it go – once achieved, this puts you in the right place to start dating again

If you are open to forgive and starting a fresh, most of our matchmaking team are psychologists, and a number are also coaches. They bring with them a wealth of experience, which can help support you in your dating journey, and guide you to let go of what once was. Get in touch with us today, to let us help you start you on your journey to true love.

by Sarah Helen King

Matchmaker & Coach

Sarah Helen graduated from the University of Derby with a First-Class Honours in Psychology, after which she attained a Master’s in Health Psychology from the University of Surrey. She has extensive experience coaching people to better understand themselves and teaching them how to own their psychological health. Using a cognitive behavioural approach she has helped guide and support our Vida clients with the psychological tools to date successfully. Based in Vida’s London office, Sarah Helen’s positive outlook, friendly approach and deep knowledge of psychology, means she is well positioned to give our clients the best possible guidance as they search for their ultimate partners.More by this author