My Partner Can’t Forgive Me (5 key Tips)

In this article we will look at the reasons why your partner can’t forgive you and how you can go about earning their trust back again. 

Why can’t your partner forgive you?

There could be many reasons why your partner may find it difficult to forgive you. Let’s look at some of them. 

  • They have attached the hurt to something from their past
  • They are not being honest with themselves about what’s hurting them
  • They have mistaken forgiving you with accepting what you’ve done 
  • They are afraid to be vulnerable with you again
  • They can hold a grudge 
  • They are really hurt and not ready to forgive
  • They are scared about confronting their own feelings
  • They don’t want to take responsibility for their part in it 
  • They fear this might happen again

How do you ask someone that you hurt deeply to forgive you? 

Here are some ways you can ask for forgiveness.

  • Acknowledge that you hurt them and how they are feeling is justified 
  • Take responsibility and don’t try to shift blame
  • Make it clear that you regret your actions and apologise sincerely

What are the four stages of forgiveness? 

The following are the four stages of forgiveness one usually goes through when hurt.

  • Uncovering the anger 
  • Deciding to forgive
  • Working on the forgiveness
  • Release from the emotional turmoil 

How do you deal with an unforgiving partner?

While your partner learns how to forgive you, here are some things that may help you deal with the situation.

  • Forgive yourself first 
  • Give them time to process 
  • Think about how much might have apologised 

Truth be told, forgiveness is easier said than done. When it comes to a romantic relationship, it asks for a change in feelings, thoughts, desires and actions towards your partner and can be incredibly challenging for the parties involved. 

One has to let go of the negativity they feel within, move away from holding grudges, abandon feelings of negativity and bitterness, and not give into thoughts of revenge and retaliation. 

What is important to accept is that while it can be hard, forgiveness does not mean one has to forget what has happened. It’s all about giving the relationship a chance to move past it. 

We all make mistakes and if there is scope for change, the act of forgiveness can sustain the relationship through hard times. 

Why can’t your partner forgive you?

They have attached the hurt to something from their past

Some people have a hard time moving on from their past and the trauma it brought them. 

If your partner can’t forgive you, it could quite possibly be because they are still reeling with these issues. 

Whatever you did not only hurt them, but may have opened up old wounds for them as well. 

Separating past hurts from present ones can be overwhelming and difficult, and requires patience. 

Think of this as an armour your partner is using to shield themselves from getting hurt even more and give them some time to process things.

They are not being honest with themselves about what’s hurting them

Forgiveness often requires both individuals to assess what has happened and their role in it. 

This opens the possibility of accountability on your partner’s part as well, which they may not be able to see in the moment as they hurt. 

Confronting the actual reason for their pain might be too much and hence, it could be why your partner can’t forgive you. 

This, however, does not mean that they are in the wrong. It only means that they cannot look at the situation objectively right now. 

In retrospect, time should heal all wounds, so give them all the space they need.

They find it hard to accept what you’ve done 

Many people are afraid to forgive someone because they feel that they would be condoning what has happened to them. 

If your partner can’t forgive you, it could very well be the reason why. 

Forgiveness requires being able to let go of the hurt, of the blame. It also means that they have to allow themself to heal from the pain caused to them. 

This may look like accepting whatever has happened, which is not really what forgiveness is about. 

Once they understand that they can forgive you and at the same time need not act as if it never happened, your partner should be able to move on. 

They are afraid to be vulnerable with you again

Let’s be honest, you are seeking forgiveness because you made a mistake and this person means something to you. 

While that is commendable, you must understand that you may have caused your partner more hurt than you realise or are willing to accept. 

It makes sense that they are afraid of being hurt if they let you in again. 

This fear of being vulnerable could be holding them back and be why your partner can’t forgive you. 

They can hold a grudge 

Deep seated anger is nothing but a cover for hurt. It’s much easier to hold a grudge than make room for forgiveness because of the emotional shield it provides. 

Maybe they are sorry for themselves and not ready to let go of that feeling. It’s a coping mechanism to deal with the pain by making themselves feel better and wanted.

If your partner is someone who can hold a grudge, it’s probably why they can’t forgive you. 

They are really hurt and not ready to forgive

In an ideal world it would be lovely if we could all forgive, forget and move on in an instant whether or not someone apologises and especially when they do. 

That is not how it works for everyone though. Some people need more time than others to process their hurt. 

No one can force someone to forgive another and if your partner can’t forgive you right now, you may just have to wait if and when they do. 

Let the clarity and moment of forgiveness come to them when it has to without your influence. 

You do not want them to repress their healing because their true feelings will come out at some point and may be more damaging to the relationship. 

They are scared about confronting their own feelings

Forgiving someone else can mean that the individual needs to forgive themselves first. This means they will have to confront the events that have led to this stage in the relationship. 

Understand that while your partner can’t forgive you, they may be having a hard time with self-blame. 

Whether brought upon by their own doubts or your actions, these realisations are difficult to face.  

They don’t want to take responsibility for their part in it 

Your partner can’t forgive you because it might force them to look at their part in what went down between you two. 

Forgiveness does require an amount of objectivity and with flared feelings of hurt, it takes even more from the person to power through their emotional suffering. 

While it is not their sole responsibility to figure this out, it is upon them to decide whether they can keep aside self-pity and see the truth for what it is. 

This is hard, especially when there is so much pain to process, so they may hold back from forgiving you instead. 

They fear this might happen again

Once bitten, twice shy. This is a legitimate fear because the truth is that you have hurt them. 

Even if they want to forgive you, the possibility of them having to go through this pain again may keep them from doing so.

Trust plays a big role in forgiveness and they need to be able to emotionally lean on you again. 

Remember, actions do speak louder than words and can be more impactful than a mere ‘sorry’. 

If your partner can’t forgive you, try to do things to show them that they can be vulnerable around you without having to worry about being let down again. 

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Make your sincere apology and ask for forgiveness, but know that sometimes this is not enough. Once the trust has been breached, it can be difficult for people, including you, to forgive someone. 

The best way to go about this is to let the other person heal in their own time, and to give them the space they need. 

Try to build their trust again and ensure you do not repeat the same things that caused them to hurt in the first place. With a little bit of love and compassion, they will come around. 

FAQs: My partner can’t forgive me 

Can someone never forgive you?

Well, let’s never say never. While time does heal all wounds and it may get easier to forgive someone over a period, rarely do people completely forget what has happened. That is not necessarily a bad thing because it means that they have chosen to move past it. 

It’s also possible for someone to never be able to get over the thing or person that has caused them hurt, but that is something that you have control over. This will need you to forgive yourself. 

What to do when someone won’t forgive you?

You let them be. You cannot force someone to forgive you. If anything, you will only make matters worse. Instead, focus on doing your best to apologise and make sure whatever you did to hurt them never happens again.

If they still choose not to forgive you, you need to start working on forgiving yourself and learn from this experience. 

How do you heal when someone won’t forgive you?

The truth is that you can’t make someone forgive you, but you can most certainly make yourself a better person. Beating yourself up will only make you feel better for a while. 

Learn what this unfortunate experience has taught you and move onward and upward. 

How can you tell if someone has truly forgiven you?

When they can trust you again without the constant reminder of the hurt they felt, it’s usually a good sign. They do not look for signs or opportunities for you to fail and seem happy to be around you. 


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What If The Other Person Won’t Forgive You?

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