Second chances: when to draw the line

We’re all familiar with second chances. When someone in our lives hurts us, we may hear from others to give them a second chance as opposed to writing them off for something they have done. And, for the most part, I agree.

Second chances can be a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate to someone a change in behaviour, attitude, or actions. In a positive scenario, perhaps the person you’ve granted a second opportunity to has truly committed themselves to improving, and you’re able to observe significant progress in the process.

Second chances can also, on the other hand, backfire. Depending on the situation, second chances can be taken for granted, allowing someone to take advantage and manipulate the situation to their benefit. And, unfortunately, many of us have fallen victim to this manipulation, ruining our perception of second chances and the benefits they can offer.

It is important to recognize when a second chance is warranted, and when it isn’t. Take a relationship between two partners, for example. Maybe your partner bailed on date night for the first time, for an understandable reason. It wouldn’t be totally fair to break things off because something came up that they had to deal with, especially if it hasn’t happened before.

If your partner bails on date night and continues to do so repetitively long after, perhaps a second chance is no longer a feasible option. This is where acknowledging manipulation comes into play. If the person who is hurting you recognizes that you continue to forgive them, it is possible that they will continue with their behaviour because they have been able to do so with zero repercussions.

Second chances are absolutely acceptable in some situation, and in others, they’re not. It’s up to us to draw the line, and hopefully, it isn’t drawn before it’s too late.

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