Anyone who has ever dated has risked being deeply hurt or potentially hurting someone else. We’re human. We mess up—whether it’s intentional or not. But one thing we all have in common when experiencing betrayals is that we have to decide whether to forgive or hold onto the hurt.
When we forgive, we stop holding on to resentment or anger toward someone who has wronged us. Though letting go is important in every aspect of our lives, the subject comes up often while dating. Why? Because the central part of dating is getting to know someone. We spend time with them, learn about their moral beliefs, their quirks, and their hilarious Uncle Charlie. We delve into who they truly are and what they want out of life. We do a lot of sharing, and often that leaves us feeling especially vulnerable. The relationship is new and fragile while we’re learning about each other. Mistakes and misunderstandings are made, and without forgiveness, those relationships will turn into a lot of first dates instead of happily-ever-afters.
Forgiveness is one of the themes in my upcoming romantic comedy, IN IT to WIN IT. The story is fun and lighthearted. Yet, the challenges of forgiving someone comes through on the pages. Forgiveness is not always about pardoning the other person—releasing them from whatever hurt they caused, but at times, forgiveness can be about freeing ourselves.
IN IT to WIN IT follows Drake and Morgan, who were once college sweethearts until she ghosts him. She doesn’t just walk out of his life, she leaves the country without any explanation. Of course, Morgan has her reasons, but at the time, she’s not able to explain them to Drake. To say he’s devasted by her actions is an understatement, especially since she left him at one of the most difficult times in his life. But ten years later, fate brings them face to face. They have grown mentally, emotionally, and are working in their prospective careers. But one thing still holds true for both of them—they need to learn how to forgive… or determine if they even want to.
I included this emotionally charged topic in the story because forgiveness is something we’ve all asked for and granted at one time or another, but it doesn’t come easy. It’s hard to let go of hurt feelings and resentment when your heart has been crushed. It’s hard not to keep a mental scorecard and bring up the offense over and over again. It’s even harder not to seek revenge. If someone has wronged you, why should you be the bigger person and forgive them?
But have you ever considered how much stress and heartache goes into holding a grudge? How the pain festers in your life like an open wound, leaving you too emotionally drained to move on? It’s clear that if you don’t forgive, you’ll never be able to free yourself from emotional baggage. You’ll never be able to achieve inner peace.
But is it possible to forgive someone who has caused emotional or physical pain, especially someone you’re dating? In some cases, maybe not, but you can try.
What does it take to truly forgive? It’s a conscious decision. Forgiving doesn’t mean that you forget the offense or that you’re condoning what the person did. It means you have willingly decided to let go of the pain that someone has caused you. It might mean that you have to find out what was behind the betrayal. Having that knowledge can help you see the situation from the other person’s point of view. You might have to have a conversation with the offender. Or, in some cases, you might be able to sift through the facts that led up to the wrongdoing and determine why it might’ve happened. Either way, you’re the one who’ll need to dig deep to release the hurt and move on.
While you’re deciding on whether or not to forgive someone, it’s important to remember that we all fall short. We all make mistakes. But to truly forgive, we have to be willing to extend grace to those who offend us. The same grace that we might one day need someone to give to us.
In It to Win It
Two entrepreneurs compete for a property but secure the biggest win of all–each other–in this second chance romantic comedy by USA Today bestselling author Sharon C. Cooper.
Spoiled, fickle, and prissy are only a few of the adjectives that have been used to describe Morgan Redford. Though she’s never had to worry about money, she’s determined to make a name for herself on her own terms. Her new venture won’t be an epic fail like her former professional cuddling service or the short-lived pet hotel. This time, through the nonprofit she cofounded, Morgan is doing something meaningful–helping teens who are aging out of foster care—and she’s got her eye on a property that could house these kids. But the competition is steep, and one of the bidders is someone she never expected. . . .
When real estate developer Drake Faulkner learns that his ex—the one who ghosted him years ago–is a potential buyer for the property his eccentric mentor is selling, his competitive streak amps up. No way is he letting her win the property he wants. Bitter? Yes. Petty? Probably. But his mentor has a stipulation: potential buyers must participate in an Ironman competition of sorts for the property. Drake refuses to play along with this ridiculous demand, until he discovers Morgan has signed up.
If Little Miss Can’t Run a Block Without Gasping for Air is doing it, he will too. But as the gauntlet of games heats up and forces them to face the past, they are met with a pull that feels all too familiar.Now, if only they could keep their eyes on the prize instead of on each other–but who’s to say they can’t do both?
In It to Win It is available for pre-order now and releases on December 13.
(featured image: Berkley Books and edited by Alyssa Shotwell)
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Sharon C. Cooper