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with Sam Garanzini, LMFT & Alapaki Yee, LMFT

Forgiveness 101 – How Do You Know When to Give Your Partner a Second Chance?

Forgiveness 101 - How Do You Know When to Give Your Partner a Second Chance?

Many of us have been in relationships where we’ve had to forgive.

It’s not easy. How can you be sure your partner is sincerely sorry?

You don’t want to be too hard on them, but on the other hand, you can’t just let them take advantage of you, right?

Let’s face it, we all make mistakes. 

According to various studies, couples who forgive each other have better relationships.

Humans are pack animals. We thrive in numbers, so it’s natural to want to be with someone.

So, how do you forgive without your relationship becoming codependent?

The Yellow Flags ― Common Mistakes You Might Be Making
Couples often overlook little issues at the start of a new relationship.

However, those niggles often become more prominent as the relationship progresses.

As a general rule of thumb, the way your partner was in the beginning is how they’ll be in the middle ― and in the end.

People rarely change. That means things are only going to get more complicated.

So, what are the common mistakes many of us make at the beginning of a new relationship?

Forgiveness 101 - How Do You Know When to Give Your Partner a Second Chance?

“She’d be perfect if it weren’t for…”

No one’s perfect.

Fixating on who your partner could be takes your attention away from who they are.

So, what’s missing?

And whatever it is, can you live without it?

“He’d never treat me that way.”

The truth is, if they’re already behaving badly towards friends or family, you’re next.

So, should you forgive them?

Are They Worth a Second Chance?
How can you tell if your partner is worth forgiving?

Perform a cost-benefit analysis to determine the value of having them in your life.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean compromising your integrity. 

Understanding your partner’s value can help you figure out whether the relationship is worth it.

When you’ve been betrayed, learning to trust again can be hard. So, how do you protect yourself and your view of the world when your trust has been broken?

Protecting Your Mindset
How you think significantly impacts how you feel ― and ultimately, what you do or say.

It’s easy to get stuck in a loop of replaying the past and predicting the future.

What you see in your mind’s eye will influence whether you give your partner a second chance.

Can you trust yourself to make the right choice when you’ve lost faith in someone you love?

Forgiveness 101 - How Do You Know When to Give Your Partner a Second Chance?

Consider who’s in control.

Is it you, or are you letting your partner call all the shots?

We’ve posed this question to over 2,500 couples. Most are surprised to find they are often worrying about things they can’t control.

The yellow flags may be concerning, but what can you do about them? Nothing. Your energy is better spent concentrating on issues that are within your control.

You can dive deeper into the concept of concern versus control by taking our Communication Style Training Course.

Clearly identify the positive behaviors you want to see moving forward.

You have to be crystal clear on what you need from your partner.

Easier said than done, but not outlining the necessary changes can trap you in a vicious cycle.

When you’re in this kind of situation, it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly how you need your partner to change to help you trust them again.

That’s why, If a couple decides to move forward after a betrayal, they often need the support of an unbiased third party.

Forgive yourself for any remorse you might feel.

Do you feel like you’ve forgiven your partner one too many times?

Maybe being so quick to forgive enabled their behavior. If only you hadn’t let them get away with it the first time, you could have saved yourself months of heartache.

Cut yourself some slack. Remember, a relationship is a journey. No one starts out knowing how to solve every issue that comes up.

And it bears repeating ― nobody’s perfect.

Forgiving yourself allows you to absorb what you’ve learned from the relationship. It also enables you to manage relationship conflicts better going forward.

Forgiveness 101 - How Do You Know When to Give Your Partner a Second Chance?

If you can’t move forward together, you need to grieve for your loss.

Whether the conflict results in a positive or negative outcome, your partner is an integral part of your life, and rejection hurts.

Stay positive and try not to resent yourself or your partner. Accepting it’s over and grieving for your loss allows you to move on.

Are you worried your trust may be irreparably broken? Do people say you’re paranoid? Find out what’s holding you back by making a free call to one of our friendly professionals at the Gay Couples Institute.

Sam Garanzini and Alapaki Yee are Certified Gottman Method Couples Therapists and the co-founders of the Gay Couples Institute – the world’s only gay and lesbian couples counseling clinic. The Gay Couples Institute has locations in Northern California and Manhattan, as well as online counseling services available.

For more information about how the Gay Couples Institute can help you, please visit:


Forgiveness 101 – How Do You Know When to Give Your Partner a Second Chance?

Sam Garanzini, LMFT

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APA Reference
Garanzini, S. (2019). Forgiveness 101 – How Do You Know When to Give Your Partner a Second Chance?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 1, 2020, from


Last updated: 2 Oct 2019
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