When there's a serious bump in the road of our relationships, it's common to think that the sooner we can forgive and move forward, the better off we'll be. While harder to forget, past misdeeds are swept under the rug as soon as possible if your end goal is staying with your partner and making it work. It turns out this seemingly healthy habit can actually prove more detrimental to your relationship down the line.
According to a new study published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin and highlighted by Science Daily, prematurely forgiven past misdeeds can have detrimental effects on a relationship, especially if the transgression still feels recent, which is often the case if the person forgiving wasn't ready to do so. These residual feelings of hurt and mistrust that were never appropriately addressed—for the sake of moving on at a pace incongruent with natural processing—wind up making their way into present-day arguments. Even if no one mentions the past misdeed, the partner who was hurt is more likely to overreact to something unrelated and seemingly innocuous, leaving the other partner frustrated and confused.
So in practice, what we assume is the healthiest behavior for our relationship—forgiving and moving forward—can actually prove destructive if the conflict isn't truly resolved for both parties. Timely conflict resolution and honest communication in its aftermath will make the problem less likely it will resurface in the future.
Surprised by these findings? Share your thoughts in the comments.