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Last August I went through a break-up. It wasn’t a particularly bad break-up, in fact she broke up with me in a very respectful way, complimenting me as she ended it.
She said that I did nothing wrong, but she didn’t feel we should move forward. I should have seen it coming and probably should have ended it myself because she never even wanted to say we were dating. We had been going on dates for 5 months, but weren’t dating…somehow.
I could talk about what I’ve learned since those initial days; How I need someone to want to be with me and who isn’t afraid of who knows we are together, but that’s not what I’ve been learning as of late.
I’m a 35 year old man who thought he had found “the one” in his first real relationship, but I was wrong. The break-up rocked my world and changed the way I saw things. I am a logical person and when something illogical (according to me) happens, my emotional center shifts.
After the break-up I unknowingly viewed everything as math equations and it was wrecking my perspective, my perceived value, my relationship with God; with others and quite frankly it was wrecking my life.
Since my ex said, “You did nothing wrong,” that immediately made me think: Jacob < X wherein X equaled anyone else.
If I did nothing wrong, then my “right” wasn’t good enough. When she started dating another guy pretty quickly after ending it with me X became the new guy. I viewed myself as less than him, because according to logic, if she wanted to be with him and not me, I must not be as good/attractive/godly/nice as him. That is just logical, you don’t choose the lesser object and give up the greater object, ok maybe sometimes you do, but normally you don’t.
Let me ruminate on this equation a bit more. When my life is dominated by Jacob < X, even though it was originally about other guys in the opinion of one woman, it became X = everyone else for everything else. How quickly Satan jumps on the opportunities we give him to tell us we aren’t good enough, we aren’t worthy, we aren’t lovable. Because if we aren’t good enough for another human how the heck are we good enough for God. He couldn’t possibly love me or sent His son for me. Satan is no dummy, he grabs any chance he can to devalue us.
It’s taken me almost 8 months to finally come to a new equation. Jacob ≠ X (wherein X = anyone else). If you just read that and thought, “That’s no different,” let me explain. When you read “Jacob does not equal X” it can sound negative, but it isn’t because there is no inherit value in that statement, only the value you put in it yourself.
Here is another example, and a bit silly one at that. Chicago style pizza ≠ New York style pizza. If you know both styles then you understand they are completely different. Chicago style has a thick crust with lots of cheese and toppings and should probably be eaten with a fork. New York style has a thin crust that you practically have to pour into your mouth or fold it in order to eat it. In and of itself that equation says they are not the same and clearly they aren’t. It isn’t saying one style is better than the other style. I personally would eat Chicago style any day over New York style, but that is my opinion and not part of the equation.
That brings me back to the relationship. When I say Jacob ≠ X all I’m saying is I am not the same as that other guy or anyone else for that matter. My ex has her opinion about me vs X, but her opinion is not where my value comes from. Her opinion is exactly that; her opinion and all the better for X.
I am not devalued because of that opinion and eventually, maybe someday I will find a woman who sees the equation as Jacob > X.
Until that day I can rest knowing the equation Jacob ≠ X is true and that I am uniquely and wonderfully made.
Jacob Coon is an American living in Germany as an Instructional Designer missionary. For work he creates curricula for Christian organizations in Europe and for fun he lives exploring his new continent and playing board games (no, not Monopoly). Learn more about Jacob by checking out his site or following him on Twitter @JacobJCoon.