Heeding Exit Signs in Dating Equals Less Heartbreak

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No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

—1 Corinthians 10:13

Do not set foot on the path of the wicked
    or walk in the way of evildoers.
 Avoid it, do not travel on it;
    turn from it and go on your way.

—Proverbs 4:14–15

The earlier you leave someone who is not right for you, the easier it is.

This doesn’t seem like rocket science, but man, it can be hard.

Especially when the guy in front of you is attractive or lives nearby or you are lonely or hurting or intoxicated by his personality or charm.

So you settle in past the due date—that moment you knew you should have walked away—knowing it’s not going to end well or that this person is not God’s best for you, but you just “don’t care.” Or your flesh is weak and tired of waiting. Of lonely Saturday nights. Of grieving a lost loved one and hurting all the time. Or you simply don’t know your worth or value enough to believe GOD HAS BETTER FOR YOU.

Yesterday, as I prayed about what to write on the blog this week, the Holy Spirit brought to mind moments in various relationships, early on, before my heart was entwined with these persons, when the exit sign was blinking bright red and blaring: THIS IS NOT THE ONE FOR YOU. LEAVE. NOW.

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Like the time a coworker offered me a ride home, which turned into, “Want to come over to my apartment?” This same coworker became my boyfriend, a boyfriend who got mad—super angry and frustrated—that I didn’t stay at his apartment but instead stayed with my family when I came home from school for visits, citing that I was “an adult” and needed to step out from under my family’s “control.”

Or the guy I was dating for a few weeks who forgot we made plans on my birthday. When he never picked me up at the planned-upon time, I got worried. I researched his street address, drove 45 minutes to his place, and knocked on his door for about 10 minutes. When he showed up to the door in a sleepy stupor, I ignored the slurred speech and my anger when he sleepily promised to make it up to me. I stuffed those signals and feelings under the rug because I was grieving, and this guy was cute and giving me attention. He fed me meals. But over the years, the signals got louder and louder and the hiding more and more until somehow he was the one to end it when he found another girl. I am still healing from this relationship.

Or the guy I met online who bantered with me like no one ever bantered with me before. It was utterly intoxicating! But I was the one always going to see him, and he had a habit of disappearing for weeks and sometimes months, coming back and citing depression or a sad experience or whatever. And somehow I kept falling for him over and over again, not realizing that no matter what, a person who wants to be with you will find a way to be with you. And they won’t disappear for months. Or only message you when they are stressed or hurting.

Or the sweet neighbor who invited me up to his apartment—in this case, with no ulterior motive—but whose apartment was peppered with psychedelic memorabilia. And who it was clear almost immediately did not share my faith. And yet I spent more and more time with him, trying to escape the stressful book I was writing, until we were dating and I was saying stuff like, “If you ever do LSD, I will immediately break up with you.”

Or the guy I had been spending time with, kinda early dating, who was showing me his Facebook photos, of which included pictures of scantily clad women he had photographed. When I questioned him about this, he cited the beauty of the human body and art, blah blah blah. And when he left that evening, I looked at the Facebook pages he liked, and sure enough, about a quarter were models’ pages, scantily clad.

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Hmm …

Discernment. This was called discernment. And with the picture guy, I actually listened and didn’t pursue a relationship with this person. I left early. And I was rewarded a few weeks later with my now-boyfriend Justin, a man who shares my love for Christ, whom I am madly attracted to, who is not in denial of his issues, and who honors and treasures me in a way a man never has before.

Did you know you can pray for discernment and wisdom in your dating relationships? That God will give you eyes to see the true character of a person or any red flags or concerns? And that if you pay them heed, you do not have to waste years of your life with a relationship that is either a dead-end or that will cause you years of grief or delay your destiny?

P.S. All the men I have dated or almost dated had very sweet sides and were not all one-sided caricatures—we had good moments and they taught me things (and I hurt them, too). HOWEVER, the point is, God gave me clear signals to not proceed with each one, to make an exit, and most of the time, I ignored such signals. (See last sentence of previous paragraph for results of doing this.)

Here’s a biggie: Is this person drawing you closer to Christ or further from Christ? 

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We all know the difference between those prayers for God to bless something we know is wrong or that He doesn’t want for us versus the prayer where we are truly submitted to His will. And most of the time, the latter prayer—the one in which we just want God to confirm our choice—comes after our heart is already entwined with the person He was warning us about.

Just like in the after-school specials, there’s nothing wrong with cutting out of the “party” early.

And it’s so much easier on your heart that way.  

Trust in your worth and that there ARE quality men out there. None of us are perfect, but the right man will have a heart for Jesus or a growing desire to know Him; a heart to grow and improve and work on his hurts, habits, and hang-ups; and a heart to pursue you and treat you as the Daughter of the King that you are. He won’t be proud or okay with sin. You’ll be able to talk about your faith with him without feeling weird. You won’t have to chase him. And he’ll want to honor your heart and your body.

That’s just my two cents.

Love you all!!! And praying for you this week.

I’m so thankful for this promise:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

—Romans 8:28

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I made some tea before settling into writing this post. This was the message on my tea bag. 
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