She’s cool…he’s fine–he just has this Hyde side. He’s never hit me. She goes off, but I’m used to it, just like it was at home when I was young. I probably deserve it…I deserve him. It’s just the way relationships are. This is the way my life was meant to be, I guess. At least she’s better than my previous girlfriend. The last guy used to grab me and bruise my arms. This girl lets me go out whenever I want, so it’s not too bad…
NO! Stop with this mediocre, less than baseline talk and living! Drop this person, and roll out! You are far more valuable than this, and you deserve to have the opportunity to be in a completely healthy situation to fully love and be loved. You have been through enough.
Sure, we have made mistakes. We have made wrong decisions. We have connected with the wrong people, went against our better judgment, openly rebelled, covertly receded. We have masqueraded our pacified consciences and paraded our façades. But God’s grace tells us there are second chances, which is not only a chance to be loved, but to love well.
So, let this be a wake-up call to the person you know you have wanted to be. You can find that grace to put yourself back in you through Christ. And you can walk in that place you have dreamed of, that place of balance and grace. It will require a few things of you going forward, with respect to relationships.
First, you will have to be more discretionary upfront when approaching someone who catches your interest. Consider them before becoming emotionally attached or enamored. Then develop and focus on friendship, and friendship alone, staying slow with the emotional attachment, and confirm your core needs, values and compatibilities are in place with them. You are okay to allow other areas to exist, but cultivate and actively work through your friendship. It is the garden from which everything else grows, the foundation on which everything else resides. The balance, strength and resilience of your relationship depends directly upon this.
Here are a bit of an array of questions and thoughts to consider. See if any of them help give perspective and insight as you navigate your journey…
• Do you want someone to be able to trust their heart with you?
• How would you feel if someone entrusted their heart to you?
• Are you trustworthy? Would you handle someone’s heart right if they gave it to you?
• How would you feel of someone created a safe enough atmosphere for you to open your heart to them?
• Do you want to trust someone with your heart again?
• Think about how it feels to be open and vulnerable in a safe place, and allow yourself to engage in that peacefully.
Let your goal be a healthy, balanced relationship based on selfless friendship. Endeavor in becoming friends and best friends with your partner first. Know that you are investing in more, and more may be present, but have the presence of mind to let that be and develop naturally instead of forcing the issue. Work at the friendship part. Put the effort in that. Even when dating.
It’s okay to have friends that don’t turn out to be more. It just means you have friends, and you aren’t behaving co-dependently upon having a special relationship.
How do you treat members of the opposite sex? Are you naturally open or disclosing? Do you reserve enough for the one you are or will one day be connected with? Do you make everyone feel as equally special as your significant?
Are you superficial? Are you genuine? Are you coming across in a way that matches your intentions and interest? Are you a little warmed by the extra attention or delight of the opposite sex? Are you looking for attention, or just the one for you?
Men, take the lead only as the woman gives permission to. Earn her permission and trust. Don’t put her on the spot to come to places you haven’t earned and that she isn’t ready for. Value her as a friend. Let her set the pace beyond that. Again, this removes stress, guesswork, and minimizes hurt and disillusionment for both.
It also helps ensure being intentional with one another. This is a very important relational maturity with your emotions, and the feelings of your partner. It is easy to say what you feel when you first feel it, especially in certain moments. Some moments may make you feel that certain things are supposed to be said or done, whether the feelings are truly there for it or not. But early on, you have to know yourself and resist the temptation to get top-heavy in your relationship.
It’s also easy to assume a romantic response when emotion is present or strong. But allow that emotion to exude through non-romantic avenues first, and take extra time to consider this person in that way before giving a little bit of that at a time to them.
And by all means, if you know or discover you don’t feel that way about the other, do not go through the motions of romantic talk and behavior. Be considerate. It protects the other person’s feelings. And similarly, this keeps sacred the special interactions of touch, embrace and kiss. Those things are reserved for the one you are intending to give your romance to.
So…be selective. And if you find yourself with the wrong type of person, not compatible in core areas, or just otherwise abusive, neglecting, or a little Hyde-ish, just STOP yourself. DROP the person. And ROLL out of his or her life. Not to be insensitive, and it’s too bad it’s usually not that easy. Get help if you need safe-keeping or protection. But be good to yourself, and do better to others next time.