After one of my relationship talks I was approached by a beautiful young woman. She wanted to share her story and seek out some advice about a dating situation she found herself in.
She had met this great guy through their church’s young adult group. He was handsome, funny, and had lots of charisma. He was one of those guys that was just so easy to like. They started spending more and more time together and began forming what seemed to be a dating relationship. They would call each other, text each other, and even get together outside of church for coffee or dinner. Fast forward two months later…
Out of nowhere and all of a sudden he seemed to back off — cold turkey. No warning signs, no explanation, no heart to heart discussion. She continued to try to call and text him, but it seemed that he wasn’t reciprocating. She continues to try, to pursue, and to try to reconnect. She wonders maybe if he is just too busy? Forgetful? Scared? But either way, her heart is stuck on him, and she needs direction.
What should she do?
When I hear stories like this I have two simultaneous reactions that go off inside of me. First, I feel empathy. I look at this beautiful girl, with so much to give, and I look into her sad eyes and feel her pain, her hurt, and her rejection. She wants to love and be loved so badly. She wants to make it happen in her life. She is just waiting to find that one to call her own. I get that. I’ve been there. It’s hard when you’re in the mess of dating to see beyond the pain of the moment.
So first and foremost, I feel empathy, because we’ve all (myself included) at some point in our lives been in a relationship where we wonder if we’re “liked” as much as we “like” — and sometimes, wondering if we’re even liked AT ALL.
Because secondly, I cringe! I just want to grab her shoulders and shake some sense into her like I wish someone had done for me back in the day! I want her to see how she is making herself look from the outside looking in.
I want her to realize that she is trying so hard to keep something alive that would otherwise die if it was left alone.
I want her to come to the conclusion that simply put, he loves her NOT. Because real love looks so, so different than that.
I meet young men and women all the time that are making excuse after excuse, holding on to a relationship that should just be let go. Trying so hard to find love. Trying to hard to make it happen. Finding excuse after excuse to keep going back to a relationship that does not reflect love in any way shape or form. One-sided, non -reciprocated, hard-to-get relationships. Let me just say it clearly- these kind of relationships are SO NOT WORTH THE INVESTMENT! Because you find yourself always chasing — and never catching.
All over the scriptures God talks about reciprocal relationships. Healthy relationships with two individuals that edify and build each other up. There are always TWO people involved in the process. Two people that are interacting, engaging, giving. Two people that are encouraging, investing, and supporting one another. This is how the body of Christ is supposed to look, and even more specifically speaking- this is how a marriage is supposed to look. “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up…”
Dating relationships, should also be reciprocal. Two people involved. Two people invested. Two people pursuing and being pursed. Two people committing, caring, and communicating. Two people who are putting in the same amount, and receiving even more.
Why do we allow ourselves to settle for less? Why do we find ourselves in relationships in which we are doing all the work to keep it alive? It’s time to put in the hard work, but then to trust that we are also worth being worked hard for. We deserve to be loved just as we are giving love, and in romantic relationships, this is how God intended it to be. Two people, building, edifying, encouraging, and investing in one another.
Today, maybe you find yourself in a situation where you are wondering – am I loved, or not? Am I receiving as much as I am giving? Am I being prioritized and pursued in the way that I had hoped? If the answer is no, than it’s time to really consider what it is you’re doing in this relationship, because maybe, just maybe, it’s time to let go and move on.
Healthy relationships are always marked by give-and-take.
Wait for that, because anything less is not worthy of the wait. Nor will it ever be.
Debra Fileta is a Professional Counselor, national speaker, and author of the book True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life, 21 Days to Jump Start Your Love Life, and 21 Days to Pray for Your Love Life, where she writes candidly about dating, relationships, and how to find true love. You may also recognize her voice from her 150+ articles at Relevant Magazine or Crosswalk.com! She’s also the creator of this True Love Dates Blog! Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter!