This really has nothing to do with food or sex, but it does have to do with relationships, and in relationships you have sex, so we can just pretend, like when you order a salad and then eat all of your boyfriend’s French fries and tell yourself you were healthy.

You know that epic Alexander Pope quote, “To err is human; to forgive, divine?” It may be a bit over-used, but I believe it to be true.

 It’s easy (but not healthy) to harbor resentment and bitter hatred. It’s hard to admit that yes you’ve been wronged, but still find the strength to get over it. And that whole “forgive but not forget” thing is utter bullshit. It is not forgiveness if every time you get a couple drinks in you you’re saying things like “Oh I did see that movie! That twist at the end totally surprised me. Her tits did look fake, SORT OF LIKE THAT GIRL YOU CHEATED ON ME WITH IN CABO 3 YEARS AGO. But I like, totally forgave you. Dick. ”

It’s never healthy to hold resentment, but forgiving everyone who mistreats you can be equally bad for your relationships and feelings of self-worth.  Sometimes you do need to ask yourself what “forgiveness” means. Let’s say someone you really care about messed up big time—your best friend betrayed you, or your boyfriend lied to you. Or both. You can forgive them, but it doesn’t mean you need to stay with them. You can forgive them and move on.

I have always had this weird inability to stay angry at anyone. I like to think my inability to remain cross is a strong point. Forgiveness is hard, after all. Plus, I hate bad energy floating around me. But sometimes I worry perhaps by forgiving people who have hurt me I am telling them their behavior is acceptable. In every situation I have been in where I forgave a partner who did me a big-scale disservice, and stayed with them, they proved my leniency to be a mistake and repeated their offense.

As a result, I straddle this weird line between pessimist and hopeless romantic. Like drunkenly standing on the line between two states and screaming “Look! I’m Mandy Moore from A Walk to Remember!” my hypocritical way of thinking often makes me look like an asshole.  I’ve got one foot on the Cut-And-Run side of things and the other on Love-Prevails! What I end up with is a half-baked mess of confusion, conflict and bitter sarcasm. I tell all of my friends in situations where they are contemplating forgiveness things like “A liar is a liar is a liar,” and “People don’t change,” and “Once a cheat always a cheat.”

And then I turn around and take people back, or dole out second chances. Do as I say, not as I do!

When it comes to relationships, I can be loyal as a golden retriever. You might be stealing my television, but I still want to sniff your crotch and slather you in sloppy kisses. Basically, it doesn’t matter if you’re a total jerk; if I love you, this means I have made the decision to stand by you. That sounds great, but in reality it means I often stay with people long after the relationship has curdled like dairy in a hot car. I don’t fall in love easy, but when I do, I’m in it for real. Even if they treat me badly, I feel guilty leaving them, because I think when you love someone you’re supposed to stick it out. Sometimes, sticking it out is not the way to go.

So here are some guidelines on forgiveness.

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