Everyone talks about forgiving and forgetting as if that were the only way out. But that was not my way. I haven’t had to forgive him—and those are my standards, my allowances, my vulnerabilities. As for forgetting, it is unreasonable to expect that I would.
What I have done is, I believe, much deeper, much braver and effective. It’s freed me to move on and move closer to him, should I wish to.
So no, I don’t imagine forgiving and forgetting are our yellow brick roads to the good life. I think acceptance is.
Acceptance doesn’t ask me to minimize the gravity of his actions nor does it insist that I exonerate him from the magnitude of his selfishness. He hurt me, that is fact. But I love him for it. His recklessness put me in the position to grow up, to stand up, to live honorably and give love, once and for all, to me first.
The pain I’ve endured is part of our story. Why would I forget that? Why would I need to forgive it either?
I can’t and I will not because in many ways the pain he created for me is why our love is now so meaningful, so tested. It’s how my heart is this compassionate and unbreakable. This would not have happened if I had forgiven him or forgotten what I’ve been put through.
But it can happen, in fact, it is happening because out of heartache I grew to accept him. I grew to accept what he did, though I do not expect myself to accept why he did it. His why, after all, is how we differ. And my acceptance is how I’ve become so strong.
I believe love is only as strong as the reality we have of it.
By not forgetting, by not forgiving, we are put in the position to fall for the reality of our love or not at all. If I were you, I would search for more stories like this. Stories of acceptance. Stories of women accepting men at their lowest and most brutal. Stories of men falling forever into love with the women who have seen the unforgivable and have not looked away, who have stood up and let a man be human without forfeiting her own worth.