If you don't deliver the punishment deserved, the next person will be adversely affected because the misbehaving party hasn't learned to behave.
Let's think of some things men do in a relationship, which deserve punishment but are often forgiven:
- Checking out or flirting with other women in your presence.
- Slobbery, including not putting away his toys, leaving dishes around, creating dirty laundry mountains, and expecting accolades for a loud belch or fart.
- Forgetting important dates.
- Communicating with an ex.
- Creating an orgasm tally imbalance.
You can't forgive these grievances, my sweet, or they will continue and grow more severe.
This applies to platonic relationships as well. On my twice-weekly commute into the city, often I am stuck next to a man who has some sort of problem with his nose. This, mind you, has been going on for months. He sits near me, takes out his iPhone, tilts his head down, and begins playing some pointless game. Since his head is tilted down and he has a leaky noggin, he performs a snot symphony for the entire forty-minute ride.
*Sniff, Snort, Sniff, Gulp, Sniff, Cough, Snort*
I'm not allowed to euthanize him, oh, but I fantasize about it--sliding that needle into a vein while he sniffs and whimpers. One final gurgle, then off to the glue factory for Mr. Boogers.
Since his parents, friends, and (horrors, if such things exist) ex-girlfriends have forgiven this behavior instead of stuffing cotton up his nose and swatting him with a rolled-up magazine, we, the disgusted commuters, must endure this nonsense.
Another example close to my black heart is the way some fellow authors behave. As authors, we consume a large share of written media to see what is selling and why. It guides our work. Do we enjoy everything we read? Hell no. When we dislike something we read, we need to make the following distinction:
- Does this suck because I don't enjoy this subject, whereas certainly others would?
- Does this suck because it is horribly written?
In scenario #1, it's best to stop reading and move on without providing feedback or negative reviews, because authors, of all people, should realize that authors need to eat, and it's plain wrong to hurt sales due to a mismatch in tastes or preferences.
In scenario #2, it's best to provide PRIVATE feedback and suggestions directly to the author. Again, a bad review won't help correct the problem; it will just create hatred and embarrassment.
A fellow author has left a nasty review on one of my books. (See Rachel's review here.) If I forgive her, she'll do this to others. Instead, I'm going to read one of her books (already started and it is god-awful, as expected) and trash the shit out of her in a public forum by posting a one-star review. I also have a social media army I can enlist to assist me in the defensive assault. I hope she learns that her bad behavior must cease.
So, the next time someone offends you, pause to see if the offense was accidental. If it was intentional, don't forgive--punish.