In theory, forgiveness is simple. A sin is committed, after which the wronged party will generally cry while the perpetrator declares their regrets and apologies repeatedly. Ideally, the victim will then emerge, baggy eyed and sniffling, and bestow their holy forgiveness, and all will be well. Some people claim there is redemption to be found in forgiveness. Rumor has it that it lifts your burdens and cleanses your soul.
In execution, forgiveness is murky. Within my relationship, I don't tolerate any bullshit. I stand up for myself, loudly and often, and I demand a certain level of respect. I've always imagined that if my partner crossed The Line, I'd throw on my leather jacket, kick down the door, and speed off, preferably in a '56 Chevy Bel Air. Imagine my surprise when push actually came to shove and my leather jacket stayed hung on his door.
This is the last place I wanted to be on a Friday night: face down in the mattress, dripping mucus, and pleading with my boyfriend to hold me. The person I trusted with my heart had been careless with it, and I wasn't telling him to leave. I wasn't telling him to sleep on the floor, I wasn't pushing him away in any shape or form, and most of all, I desperately wanted him to touch me. There was a large part of me that stepped back and watched this scene, scoffing at my neediness, my perceived weakness. I couldn't understand why this wasn't going as planned, why I wasn't flipping my hair over my shoulder and taking my ass home.
I had to accept that I'd gone soft. I thought that I could exist in this relationship, untouched and unaltered. I didn't realize that he would find his way into my blind spots, and that his flaws would become my flaws. The places that were previously comfortably empty were now full of him and despite his transgressions I wanted to be nowhere else. Why would I willfully punish myself when it wasn't my mistake? Why would I wrench myself apart just to remove the pieces that he put there? Just because he hurt me doesn't mean he stopped feeling like home.
In the end, the choice to forgive was more selfish than it was virtuous. Honestly, I might've been more relieved than he was. But while he's free to walk, I have figure out whether or not I should forgive myself for not living up to my own expectations.