You know you f#@%ed up. You said something horrible to your mate or betrayed your mate in some way. You get it. You have acknowledged your wrongdoing and have apologized. You believe forgiveness is warranted and are ready to move on.
Your mate, however, is not ready to move on. She is still angry, hurt, and wounded. Trust has been broken and she is not ready to forgive. She is still hurting and still needs to make you understand just how hurtful your actions were. She’s still trying to understand why you would say or do what you did. She is still bleeding, emotionally that is…
You feel you’ve been punished enough. You don’t want this mistake to haunt you for the next two months or years for that matter. You’ve had enough and are ready to move on. You resent this continuous admonishment and want her to stop. You shut her down, saying “no more—I’ve apologized and that’s all I can do.” Or is it?
Every couple will experience a situation like this from time to time. So what lessons can we learn from the scenario above. How can you move through a crisis in a way that promotes healing? How can you move through your crisis without causing more upset and delaying the healing process?
Here are 8 things you can do to to help you and your partner move past crisis toward healing and intimacy. (Please note that while I’m using the female pronoun in this article, the same applies to both genders)
- Understand that some hurts require more time and attention before healing can take place. Remember, the bigger the wound, the longer the healing process.
- Listen to your partner’s feelings without becoming defensive. Validate her feelings—remember, even if you disagree with your partner’s level of reactivity, your partner has her own “legitimate” reasons for feeling and thinking the way she does. Listen again and again. If you approach your listening from the perspective of helping your partner heal, it should be less painful. You don’t need to listen from the perspective of “I’m bad.” Listen from the perspective of understanding your partner—when someone feels heard and understood, they will not need to repeat themselves again and again.
- Be willing to take responsibility for your actions. Everyone makes mistakes from time to time. Everyone uses poor judgment or makes poor choices. Acknowledging your mistake, whether it was intentional or not, will help your partner heal.
- Be willing to suffer the consequences. If you’ve hurt someone badly, you may need to tolerate your partner’s anger, distance, withdrawal, mistrust, etc. for some time. Just because you’ve apologized and are ready to move on, your significant other may not. Give your partner the space and time she needs to process the hurt and find a way to forgive and make her way back to you.
- Be willing to make restitution. For example, if you forgot your anniversary, you may want to take your wife on her dream vacation; if you’ve been unfaithful, you may need to allow your partner full access to your emails and texts; if you said something hurtful, you may want to make a point to say really nice and complimentary things to your partner every day. Remember, if you made the mess, it is your responsibility to clean it up as best you can.
- Do what you can to make it safe for your partner to reconnect. Once trust has been broken, it is normal for the injured person to feel emotionally unsafe—this will cause a person to use withdrawal or anger as a barrier. This is the time to break through your significant other’s wall, demonstrating loving and caring behaviors no matter what. This is the time to prove to your partner that you are genuinely sorry and create a safe space from which she can reconnect. Be tenacious in your willingness to take a stand for the relationship. Don’t let her anger or distance prevent you from reaching out with love and kindness.
- Discover what you need to learn about yourself, your partner, and your relationship. When you take the time to self-reflect, you have a better chance to avoid making the same mistake again. A wise person will always learn from their mistakes. Understand what went wrong and how you can do things differently next time. Communicate this learning with your partner. Together, come up with a plan on how you both can approach your relationship in a more powerful way.
- Honor the healing process. Just as a deep cut takes more care and time to heal, so does a deep emotional wound. Be patient. Take care of yourself and seek support as needed from others.
If you have caused someone you love emotional pain, there is a way to move through the healing process that results in deeper love and intimacy. Follow the guidelines above and I promise you the healing process will take less time. No one likes to hurt the person they love. But in reality, this will happen from time to time. So when it does, it behooves you to learn how to transform the crisis into more understanding, acceptance, and love.
If you or someone you know is struggling with creating a strong and intimate relationship, please reach out and contact me. I am here to provide personalized guidance and coaching. And if you want to start right now, go and purchase The Pathway to Love at-home program. You don’t need to wait. You can begin the process today. Take advantage of the opportunity receive the support and guidance you deserve.
As always, I’m here to support you in creating a transformational life and strong and powerful relationships.
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