A sweet friend of mine just endured a terrible break up. She put all of her hopes and dreams into his empty words. It sucks. Been there.
Although I have only been in 2 serious relationships in my life, I've left behind a slew of disappointing "potential" ones. You know the kinds: He would have been great, if only...
We tend to roll our eyes at the thought or mere mention of past ex's or those "should-have-could have-been" guys, but I honestly think that those experiences are more beneficial for us to go through, because they teach us what to look for in a man, but also what to avoid. Break ups can also produce more wisdom about ourselves, about the type of woman that we are and the type of woman that we want to be.
Listen, consciously or subconsciously, we tend to gravitate towards people who reflect who we are.
If we find ourselves repeatedly in unhealthy and drama infested relationships, we might want to consider what it is about ourselves that keeps attracting us to those types of men and them to us. We each have much to learn about ourselves and even in marriage, there is still maturity to undergo. So in our time of singleness and dating, we must ask for God's guidance and His direction, so that we can encounter the man that is best for us, while we grow into the women that we need to be.
There are true growing experiences in every single break up we endure. I promise you. And these experiences are God ordained to teach us as well as prepare us.
"In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps" ~Proverbs 16:9
As God is establishing your steps towards love and healing and growth, I want you to consider the types of men you've been dealing with and why they may or may not be so healthy for your longterm happiness, spiritual growth and peace of mind. Below are 4 types of guys that might trigger your fight or flight instincts, and redirect you from drama and into destiny!
1. Casper, the (not so) Friendly Ghost
All the signs are there. You feel like there is a serious potential, but in spite of good conversation, mutual interests and a seemingly obvious love connection, it seems like he’s never willing to fully commit His mood towards you changes and his intentions are sort of invisible. He doesn't believe in titles and he feels as if an exclusive relationship might hurt your friendship. You go to dinner, talk late on the phone, maybe even hold hands and cuddle, but he avoids any decision on making things official. He's a master at dodging the topic and instead of showing interest in relationship conversations, he makes magical disappearing acts right before your eyes!
His explanations cause you great confusion and self-doubt. Maybe you are looking too much into it? Maybe an exclusive relationship with titles isn't as big a deal as you think it should be. So, because you like the guy so much, or because you want the relationship to work so badly, you continue to wait, hoping, in time, he will realize how special you are and learn how to appreciate you more and grow up.
Be ware of the guy who dodges commitment and accountability. If he's so some-timey with you, best believe he will be some-timey with your children, with paying the bills, with telling the truth, ect...
Listen, if a guy wants to be your boyfriend, he doesn't need to be persuaded. This is a privileged position, after all. I have heard so many stories of girls who, after years of "being friends", endured great heart ache because the person they were waiting for decided to enter a serious relationship, even a marriage, with someone else.
Don't waste your time on empty promises. You deserve a man who will see your value and desire to obtain it, exclusively for himself. He won't hide you or his feelings for you, under any circumstances, because he will cherish you, as God's highest creation. Pray for that kind of man.
2. Game Boys
Trix are for kids and games are for children. If someone is leading you on, messing with your emotions, or playing games with you, end it now. You truly deserve better.
I was in a situation once were I was crazy over a guy and he loved to drive me crazy. He'd call me seven days in a row and then I wouldn't hear from him for weeks. He'd come visit me on campus during college, hold my hand and watch movies with me in my dorm room, but then he'd post crazy pictures with other girls on Facebook from parties he "forgot" to invite me to. Between 11th grade and my sophomore year of college, I was in this weird thing with this guy. Even on our prom night, we took our pictures and then he went missing for the whole evening and approached me only for the last dance. But I was young and vulnerable and I thought we were actually in a relationship! (Ha!)
Listen, a good man is good. Remember that. A good man isn't going to lie to you, belittle you, disregard you or mistreat you. A good man will love you and will be serious about being good to you. What I loved most about dating my husband, Jarrett, was that he was very open with his intentions for me. He made it very clear that he intended our relationship to end in marriage. When I called, he picked up. When he said he would be at my house at 6pm, we has there at 5:59. He kept his word. He didn't play games. It took me a long time to realize the difference between being cherished and being someone's convenience.
You are beloved. So don't accept anything less from anyone. Make room in your life for a man who won't play games, because, in the end, you'll most likely be the one who looses.
3. Guys with Big Buts
Infatuation is responsible for butterflies. It's a feeling, not a commitment. When we "feel like we're in love", we are crazy. I mean statistically crazy. We don't make sense to others and even to ourselves. According to Gary Thomas, author of The Sacred Search, infatuation causes us to make poor decisions by ignoring the truth. Infatuation makes us accept and excuse unhealthy behaviors and warning signs in our significant-other because we are too mesmerized with our butterflies.
"He doesn't have a job and I'm always paying for dinner, but that's ok. One day, when he gets a job, he will start to wine and dine me".
"He has a little temper and sometimes his words make me cry, but I know deep down he really loves me. I just need to stop being so sensitive".
"He's always so busy and just doesn't have time to spend with me, but I know he's working hard to accomplish his goals and I have to respect that.
"Sometimes I feel like he flirts with other girls, but I know once we get married, he'll be more focused on me".
We can get too consumed with the next mile stone in our relationship: the next date, the next deep conversation, the next anniversary, the engagement, the wedding...we’re too busy looking forward to take notice of what's occurring now. Don't be that girl. Don't live in your guy's but! Take inventory of how many excuses you are making for him. Too many is too many and it's quite unhealthy. Yes, people can change, but people can't make people change. That has to be a decision made on their own and your efforts to change, fix or wait around for his "buts" to change aren't going to make a lasting difference if he isn't in a place where he is willing to grow. Remember, everything you see in dating will multiply in marriage. I'm serious.
4. The ER Guy
Scroll through your phone. Who is that one guy you call when you are bored, lonely or sad. We all have him saved in our contact list during our dating years. He's the one we've deleted over a dozen times- so many times that we accidentally have his number memorized.
Rebound relationships are a great distraction from a broken or a lonely heart, but they hold no promise and thus no real purpose. To be honest, we are only using our rebound guy, just as much as they are using us, and this is not a healthy thing. God created us for connection, commitment and covenant, neither of which are temporary. His intensions for our hearts are not to be manipulated or to manipulate others. This is selfish and is not pleasing to the Lord.
We all know that eventually, we've got to let this guy go. I remember the last time I deleted "Venny's" number (you can read about him in chapter 5 of my book, Beyond Being Good). It was so final, but it was necessary because it was only lust and not love. That relationship prevented my healing. If anything, an ER guy only perpetuates the emptiness we feel, because we know it's not lasting. Just like a band-aid over our scratched knee, it only covers up the hurt, it doesn’t heal it.
Having a lonely heart is brutal, and feeling the need to have connection is crucial, but neither of those problems are solved by the ER guy. He can't heal you. If anything, this type of relationship will only distract you from being in position to encountering a truly full and meaningful one with someone who wants all of you, not just pieces.
My loving suggestion to you all is to let God's love heal you, instead of using a man to mask the pain. Broken hearts only produce further brokenness and if we have any desire to be in a healthy and loving relationship, we must first be healthy and loving, ourselves. It begins with God. He is the ultimate healer of broken hearts and He desires to make you whole, not just for a man, but also for yourself and ultimately, for His glory!
As my sisters and friends, I'm telling you all who are still in the dating world, don't settle! If you’re dating one of these guys, take some time, in prayer, and ask the Lord what to do. No one is perfect... not even my Jarrett. We all have those areas that aren't tidy or mature. We all need to grow and we all need grace to do so. But there is a difference between someone who needs to grow and someone who is willing to grow. Pray and ask the Lord to show you if your relationship is healthy and purposeful for His plans for you. Don't be afraid to end something that isn't edifying. Know that sometimes, walking away is a blessing in disguise.
My suggestion is to take your mom, your sister and your best friend out for coffee at the same time. Start the conversation with, "What do ya'll think about "James"". They will tell you the absolute truth, I promise. And be sure to listen and pray.
*P.S. Do you know someone who you think would be encouraged by this message? Send her this link! We have to be sure we are encouraging our sisters!!! #betheshe who looks out for her friends!
Want more encouragement and insight on relationship issues? Check out my new book, Beyond Being Good! Available now on Amazon!
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