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Q&A With Kirk: “I want to give them a second chance, but I don’t want to get hurt again. What should I do?”

March 28, 2023

Q&A With Kirk: “I want to give them a second chance, but I don’t want to get hurt again. What should I do?”


Q&A With Kirk: “I want to give them a second chance, but I don’t want to get hurt again. What should I do?”

Featuring Kirk Chisholm LMSW, CASAC, RevCore’s Clinical Director

Q: You work with people who have experienced fallout in a lot of different areas of their lives — and oftentimes, this includes their relationships. When a relationship is strained and someone feels betrayed by another, it can be hard to start over again. What advice would you share with someone who is ready to give a loved one a second chance?

A: I understand how difficult it can be to navigate relationships that have been strained by betrayal or hurt. While giving a second chance can be challenging, it’s not impossible. Here are some steps you can take to start the process of repairing a relationship:

1. Communication is key: When a relationship has been damaged, it’s common for both parties to feel guarded and defensive—and therefore avoid hard conversations. But open communication is key to moving forward and letting go of pent-up emotions. Keep an open mind and listen to the other person’s perspective. And avoid using accusatory or judgmental language, which can escalate the situation.

2. Extend forgiveness: When you hold onto anger, hurt, or resentment towards someone, it can be challenging to repair the relationship. Forgiveness does not mean that you’re excusing the other person’s behavior, nor does it mean that you’re forgetting what happened. Instead, it’s a conscious decision to let go of negative feelings and move on from the past.

3. Outline clear expectations: Even if the other person has apologized, you may still need reassurance that they won’t repeat their behavior. Be specific about the tangible actions or behaviors you need from the other person to heal and move forward. Clarity around expectations, including timelines for change or progress, can help ensure that both parties are committed to working towards a common goal.

3. Determine willingness to change: Is the person willing to take responsibility for their actions and work towards positive change? When discussing expectations together, you’ll want to get a feel for the other person’s receptivity to your concerns and requests, commitment to growth, and willingness to follow through and take positive action.

4. Patiently observe their actions: Actions speak louder than words. However, real, enduring change can take time — it doesn’t happen in a heartbeat. Consider working together to come up with a realistic yet negotiable timeframe to start to see change.

6. Be flexible: Repairing a relationship takes time, effort, and a willingness to be flexible. It’s important to understand that the process may not always be straightforward and setbacks may occur along the way. Humility is key in being able to take a step back, reassess expectations, and adjust as needed to make the relationship work.

Repairing a relationship with a loved one who has caused you pain can be difficult, but it becomes much more doable when you have the right tools. It requires open communication, forgiveness, clear expectations, a willingness to change, and a flexible mindset. It’s important to give the other person time to prove themselves with their actions and to adjust your expectations as needed.

Remember, everyone makes mistakes, and it’s okay to give someone a chance to make things right. However, it’s also okay to move on if the relationship cannot be repaired. The most important thing is to take care of yourself and make decisions that align with your values and well-being.

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