Please note: The following article addresses general conflicts of boundaries, feelings and attitudes in relationships. If you are in an abusive relationship, please seek help from local law enforcement, as well as a counselor, safe place and/or support group.
Each and every one of us will hurt other people, even the people we love the most. We all get it wrong sometimes, and that will often cause hurt. Partners in good relationship realize this, and as a result, they develop the following attitudes and practices that preserve the connection, even when one has hurt the other.
Accept the fact that your significant other will sometimes do things that hurt you. When you accept this fact, you’ll be able to deal with the hurts when they come, and those hurts won’t destroy the connection and the love you share.
Hang on to the things that you love about your significant other, even when he/she disappoints you. Do not label your significant other as “all bad.” They get it wrong at times, of course, but he is still a wonderful creation with extraordinary qualities. Don’t let the hurts blind you to his good qualities.
When hurt happens, face it with honesty and directness. Good relationships do not deny problems; they face them. When you are hurt, tell each other. Speak the truth, but do so in love, not anger.
When you are the one who has hurt the other, apologize. Confess your wrongdoing – do not excuse it! – and empathize with the hurt you have caused. The worst thing you can do is rationalize it or explain it away. Just realize that this was one of your moments to blow it. Confess your offense, and ask for forgiveness.
When you are hurt, grieve it and forgive. Forgiveness is as vital as your digestive tract. It is the way that we metabolize and remove waste from the system of a relationship.
If the hurt is severe, get support and healing, and process the pain. Grieving the hurt and letting it go may be impossible without outside help if a major hurt has been inflicted.
Get straight about what is worth being hurt over. Some things simply are not worth bringing up or making into an issue. One of the most annoying things in life is to be around someone who is annoyed by everything. If you find yourself hurt continually by much of what your mate does, you may need outside help to correct your perspective.
Work together on how you process pain and hurt. Talk to each other about how to let each other know when you are hurt. Discuss what you need from each other at those moments. Grow in your communication, listening, and conflict resolution skills. See a counselor, take a class or go to a workshop. See resolving hurt and conflict as one of the most important skills you can develop.
If you follow these suggestions, you can be in a relationship with a person who hurts you and yet have a wonderful relationship. The trials in your relationship and in life will only make you stronger and more mature in the end. They will build your character and make your relationship stronger than if you had never gone through them. But that can happen only if you see hurt as part of the package. Then you won’t be surprised, but equipped.
Need a safe place to relate to others about this topic? Join one of Dr. Henry Cloud's Boundaries Peer Groups.
Boundaries in Marriage
Boundaries in Church
Boundaries with Codependency
Boundaries in Dating
Boundaries with Parents
Boundaries with Adult Children
Boundaries After Divorce
Boundaries with Narcissists
Boundaries with Kids and Teens
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