Magazine article Psychology Today

Clean Slate

Magazine article Psychology Today

Clean Slate

Article excerpt

ANYONE WHO spends time in a close relationship will, at some point, have to decide whether to forgive. The process of getting past a lie or a letdown can benefit both the wrongdoer and the wronged, but research illustrates that forgiving is easier-and more fruitful-in some relationships than in others. -ABIGAIL FAGAN

PRACTICE MAKES MERCIFUL

Over the first four years of marriage, spouses report a gradual increase in their willingness to forgive each other, researchers have found, suggesting that the tendencies that lead to forgiveness can develop over time in a committed relationship. "Being exposed to situations in which forgiveness is required-and noticing the benefits of it-helps you improve that skill," says the study's lead author, Tila Pronk, a psychologist at Tilburg University in the Netherlands.

CONSIDER THE OTHER SIDE

We may overestimate how intentional an offensive act was and underestimate the guilt a partner feels about it, recent studies suggest. …

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