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Sunday, 09 November 2008

Wanting to Forget The Past

Written by  Arlette Simon

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QDear WholeFamily,

Please give me some advice. I really need it.

My girlfriend of two and a half years broke up with me three months ago. We got back together two weeks later. A month later she confessed that she had two one-night stands while we were broken up, that they were stupid, that she was scared and she is sorry. I was hurt but we worked through it and are now engaged. (Both of us really want this and want to be together forever.)Here is my question -- She has forgiven my mistakes. How do I forget what happened while we were broken up? At times it feels like I am obsessing about it. I do not want it to keep bothering me and to ruin the relationship.

Thanks so much

ADear Wanting To Forget The Past,

I sense throughout your letter how much you love your girlfriend and still feel hurt by her two one-night stands. I suppose it feels like a betrayal, especially if your separation was so short, only two weeks.

First of all, I want to give you a great deal of credit for your honesty towards each other and having the courage to work through such a delicate, difficult and painful issue. The situation can arouse feelings of pain, jealousy, anger, humiliation etc. One needs sensitivity, maturity, strength and love to solve this problem, to forgive, forget, and move on with the relationship. And that is what you are trying to do, though perhaps not very successfully at the moment. I can assure you it is very understandable.

What is important about your situation is that both of you are taking responsibility; your girlfriend by telling you the truth, and you by recognizing how difficult this truth is for you and your willingness to prevent the destruction of your relationship.

Why did your girlfriend break up with you? How was your relationship before this event? It seems to me that you didn't really part from each other -- two weeks of separation in two and a half years of being together is an extremely short separation. Is separation so scary? You are a couple that wants a lasting relationship and you love each other. It seems also that you both feel some kind of insecurity, a fear of losing each other and being alone. All this contributes to the continuity of the crisis, which remains unfinished. You write that she has forgiven your mistakes while you are unable to forget what happened.

I suggest that both of you:

  1. Recognize that what happened can teach you an important lesson about your relationship and about yourselves. It is essential to understand the roots of the problem that brought you to such a crisis.

  2. Since you are engaged and want to be "together forever", it would be wise to go for counseling. It may only be for a short period of time. Counseling can help to cleanse the bad emotions that have accumulated, in order to heal the wound. Counseling may also help both of you to understand and eventually solve the main issues that are bothering you.

It has been said "time is the best healer" and I find this a necessary condition, although not the only one. I believe that this will also work for you. The more secure and close to your girlfriend you feel, the less you will be obsessed by the past.

Even if some scars may remain, we forgive and forget and move on, carrying inside those scars from the past -- scars which are the expression of our very essence, reminding us who we are and which battles have been fought and overcome.

I wish you the best of luck,

Arlette Simon, MSW

Last modified on Saturday, 21 January 2012 07:43
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Arlette Simon

Arlette Simon

Arlette Simon is a clinical social worker (MSW) and a licensed psychotherapist. She has more than 35 years experience in various fields of mental health, including work in welfare agencies, adoption services, general hospitals, and psychiatric hospitals. She has a private practice and is chief supervisor of a team of professionals in a rehabilitation community for the mentally ill. Her professional training also includes Jungian psychotherapy, transpersonal psychology, reincarnation therapy, guided imagery therapy, energy work as a Reiki practitioner and reflexology.

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