I Don’t Forgive & Forget — I Remember & Do Better

People tell you to forgive and forget after betrayal and heartbreak. They tell you it’s good for your soul. They tell you it’s the only way to achieve happiness. To all of that I say, BS. I haven’t forgiven my horrid exes and I also haven’t forgotten them. This might not work for everyone, but not forgiving or forgetting has made me happier overall. Here’s why:

  1. Not forgiving the people who have hurt me makes me love myself more. I remember the things my exes have said and done to me. I remember when they made me feel small to make themselves feel bigger and because those things are still in my mind, I’m reminded every day that I deserve better. I AM better, and it reminds me to always love myself first before anyone else.
  2. I want to remember this. If I forgive and forget, I might be susceptible to making this mistake again. I might date or befriend someone with the same personality or negative qualities as my exes. I don’t want to do that. I want to avoid those people and only go for people who are worthy of me.
  3. I will grow; my exes will not. Going through anything terrible in life, especially relationships, is bound to cause growth if you learn from it, but for the people who caused the awfulness in the first place, they likely lack the self-awareness to understand their actions and become better people. Even if I don’t forgive and forget those who have put me through hell in the past, I have the strength to become better because of it.
  4. Some of them don’t really deserve forgiveness. It actually requires effort on my part to forgive people for their epic mess. It’s easier to just allow the mild distaste I have for them in the back of my mind to stay there and chill. It doesn’t cause me any stress. Trying to forgive them will because I know they don’t deserve it.
  5. Some people don’t deserve a second chance. If I forgive and forget, there’s a chance that my exes or people like them will re-enter my life and I will be ill-equipped to tell you refuse them and go on my merry way. However, if I keep the reminder of how terrible many of my past relationships were and how they nearly destroyed me, I’ll continue to keep them locked out of my heart, and that’s a must.
  6. If they were worthy of me, they wouldn’t have screwed me over. Everyone makes mistakes, but only evil people make mistake after mistake and try to shift the guilt onto the person who gives them the benefit of the doubt. Not anymore. If someone is the type of person who deserves forgiveness, they wouldn’t hurt anyone that deeply in the first place.
  7. It hasn’t prevented me from moving on. Even though I’ve chosen not to forgive and forget, I’ve still been able to fall in love, have a successful career, and make wonderful friends. It hasn’t gotten in my way at all, it just keeps me aware of traits to avoid in others. If I thought it was negatively impacting my life to hold these small grudges, I’d make a move to change. It’s not, so I’m good.
  8. Life is too short to forget. Every scar – emotional and physical – has led me to the happy life I have now. Maybe I’d be happier if I did forget, but I wouldn’t have as much appreciation for my toughness. I earned this beautiful icy exterior, and I’m really proud of it.
  9. I don’t want my BFFs to make the same mistake. Dealing with so many jerks in the past has made me wiser, and I can use that wisdom to help other amazing women avoid the same missteps. I can warn them that the guy who doesn’t make time for them or who insults others to hide his own flaws isn’t even worth a casual fling.
  10. My love is way too good for people who don’t appreciate it. The kind of love I give out is rare, it’s hard, and it’s loyal AF. Forgiving the jerks in my past is attaching enough love to the memories of them that I stop thinking about the bad ones, and my love was something they never even deserved in the first place. When I remember that, I feel better.
is a freelance writer for Bustle and Petcha, and editor for Wise Bread. She suffers from separation anxiety, and can't bear to be away from her dog for more than 20 minutes. Her dog doesn't seem to care either way. Sweater season is her favorite season.