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Tags: respect | views | values

How to Recover From a Relational Mistake

How to Recover From a Relational Mistake
(Strangeparadise/Dreamstime.com)

Wendy L. Patrick By Monday, 18 April 2022 04:29 PM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

How Positive Feelings Can Repair Relationships

Anyone who has been in a romantic relationship has done or said something to jeopardize it. Some people have an undesirable habit of speaking their mind, even when they should recognize that when negative emotions are high, silence is golden.

Others behave passive-aggressively when feeling slighted, insecure, or angry.

Still others lash out occasionally when they feel unappreciated, undervalued, or ignored.

One thing most partners recognize instinctively, is that when it comes to proper relational behavior, from insensitivity to infidelity, ill-fated, impulsive, lapses in judgment happen.

Even the most loyal, laudable relational partners have done or said something they wish they could take back. So depending on what you said or did — can you?

While you can’t rewrite history, you can recover. And according to research, in large part, recovery depends on you.

Positive Relationship, Positive Recovery

Syeda Wasfeea Wazid and Md. Ghazi Shahnawaz ( in 2017) examined how relationship quality mediates forgiveness and psychological well-being when seeking to recover from romantic transgressions. They begin by noting that while romance often blossoms during young adulthood, relationships do not always remain a "bed of roses."

Although partners often behave badly, they sought to explore the link between relationship quality and recovery, studying the issue from the perspective of the transgressor.

They collected data from 119 college students in New Delhi, India, romantically involved for at least six months, who hurt their partner.

Their results demonstrated that positive relationship quality mediated forgiveness seeking and self-forgiveness, as well as psychological well-being. They noted that negative relationship quality played an insignificant role between this correlation.

Forgiveness as a Two Way Street

Other researchers have studied the benefits of self-forgiveness on relational recovery. Sara Pelucchi et al. (2013) evaluated whether offender self-forgiveness was related to relational satisfaction of both partners.

They found that for both men and women, offending partners experienced a higher degree of relational satisfaction within their romantic relationship when they felt more positively about themselves, and victimized partners felt more satisfaction when the offending partner experienced less negative sentiment and thoughts, although not more positive thoughts, toward themselves.

They note their findings are important to understand the significance of self-forgiveness, and its "pro-relationship effects" within romantic relationships.

How can we explain this as a practical matter?

Most of us are susceptible to positive emotional contagion.

In other words, being in the company of happy, hopeful, inspirational people lifts our mood as well.

Apparently, this is true even when the motivating role model is an imperfect partner.

Positive Thoughts, Bright Future

Within romantic relationships, for both parties, positivity, optimism, hope, and encouragement can stimulate happiness.

Relational fallibility is tempered by shared humanity, where both parties recognize common relational weaknesses such as personality quirks or imperfections, unrealistic expectations, and imperfect emotional control.

Even the most authentic attempt to put one’s best foot forward may result in a foot-in-the-mouth incident instead.

Recognizing we cannot undo insensitive words or actions (or erase our partner’s memory of them), relational flaws do not have to be fatal.

A healthy relationship is built upon shared views and values, as well as a deep respect for our partner, as well as ourselves.

A heartfelt apology, gracious forgiveness, and a fresh commitment to expressing love and respect can fuel healthy relational rebound and recovery.

This article was originally published in Psychology Today.

Wendy L. Patrick, JD, MDiv, Ph.D., is an award-winning career trial attorney and media commentator. She is host of "Live with Dr. Wendy" on KCBQ, and a daily guest on other media outlets, delivering a lively mix of flash, substance, and style. Read Dr. Wendy L. Patrick's Reports — More Here.

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WendyLPatrick
A healthy relationship is built upon shared views and values, as well as a deep respect for our partner, as well as ourselves. A heartfelt apology, gracious forgiveness, and a fresh commitment to expressing love and respect can fuel healthy relational rebound and recovery.
respect, views, values
608
2022-29-18
Monday, 18 April 2022 04:29 PM
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