“Should I ask him out?”
“I can’t get him out of my head.”
“I feel like I’m falling in love with her.”
“God told me I was going to marry him”
“I just have this feeling that she’s the one.”
I’ve receive a lot of emails voicing these type of concerns. All from men and women wondering the same thing: should I take initiative and let him/her know how I feel?
If you know anything about my perspective, you’ll know that in the proper context, I’m a huge advocate of men and women taking responsibility for their lives and ownership of their relationships by taking next steps. Because frankly, I think getting “led-on” has just as much to do with the follower as it does the leader.
But when it comes to initiating a relationship, here are 5 times you should not make the move:
1. Your relationship is not reciprocal:
This year I asked my readers to tell me what their biggest relationship mistakes were in 2014. One of the top answers was this: getting involved in one sided relationships. So often, we’ll do anything for love, including taking a risk on a relationship where we end up doing all the work. Giving, loving, initiating, planning, forgiving- without getting anything in return. Have you been showing all the interest and doing all the work? If yes, say no to one-way relationships this year by getting involved in relationships with people who are giving just as much as they are taking. Men, walk away from that kind of woman. And ladies, if you’re not getting that kind of give-and-take in your interactions with him, you shouldn’t ask him out.
2. You don’t know enough about him/her (or you don’t know enough about yourself!):
In every relationship, there are two people you have to get to know. The first of those is yourself. Do you know who you are? Have you taken enough time to look in and deal with your hurts, habits, and hang-ups? If yes, then ask yourself this, do you know enough about him/her? I truly believe that a huge portion of relationship problems stem from the fact that we enter relationships without knowing enough about the person we’re entrusting with our hearts. Build a friendship, observe the person you’re interested in, and be sure you have a good idea of what you’re getting into. And if nothing else, give it time! Time will always begin to reveal a person’s true colors. So learn to wait…and watch. (And in the meantime, check out our free quiz: Are You Ready for Love?).
3. You’re seeing red flags:
Yesterday a woman commented on one of my posts that “strong relationships can change people”. I had to wholeheartedly disagree. One of the biggest relationship problems comes right down to this: we give relationships too much power. Relationships can’t heal us, change us, or fix us- because they were never meant to. Before you get into a relationship you have to realize that it is what it is.
Those bad habits aren’t just going to disappear for “love”, or just because you ask him out. Those character flaws and personality issues won’t magically go away. If you see red flags now during dating, you’re likely going to see them forever more because there is nothing you can do to change your partner– they have to seek change for themselves. If you see red flags it’s a sign to step back- not to move forward. Be on the lookout, you’ll save yourself some major heartache in the end.
4. You don’t have the approval of friends and family:
We live in a culture in which we tend to do relationships in isolation. The moment a couple gets together, all of a sudden everything they do is “exclusive”. I find that rather dangerous, because this kind of exclusivity can keep some KEY people out of your life. People who you trust can often provide invaluable perspective and insight into your relationship as they’re observing it from the inside out. I’ll never forget the time in college when my dad pulled me aside and told me some concerns he had with the guy I was dating at the time.
Thankfully, I allowed my parents and friends to freely speak into my life- because you know what? They were SO RIGHT! I was blinded by infatuation, but my dad’s words stuck in my mind until I started realizing that he was right. I eventually had the courage to let go, and move my life into a better place, and as a result, a better relationship. Don’t make choices in isolation. Check in with the friends and family you trust the most, and allow them to speak into your life as you consider moving forward in relationships.
5. You haven’t prayed about it:
Why we wouldn’t take the advice of the Almighty God who knit us together in our mother’s wombs and knows everything about who we are and what we need is absolutely beyond me!! (Sorry for the run-on sentence, but I had so much to get out!). Prayer is so powerful when we’re looking ahead at our love-life! Sometimes the answer is clear. But sometimes it isn’t so clear. But there’s always an answer- even if it’s simply “Wait”.
The beauty is that sometimes God answers us in unexpected ways. In fact, I’ve realized that sometimes God uses THEIR lack of interest to guide us in the right direction. At one point in my life I was SO discouraged by how much I was praying, and how little interest I was receiving from the guys I was interested in. Looking back, their lack of interest was an answered prayer in disguise. God spared me from relationships that I would have quickly moved into had the opportunity come. Now that I’m happily married to the love of my life, I’m so thankful God kept my heart from going places it wasn’t intended to go. So before you ask him out (or her) – pray, listen, and obey. If you do, I guarantee, you won’t go wrong. Check out 21 Days to Pray For Your Love Life to dig deeper.
Sometimes we’re called to take risks and move into healthy dating relationships, but other times, we’re challenged to take a step back and wait. If you feel like you’re in a place of waiting right now, don’t be discouraged! God is using this precious time in your life to continue preparing you into the partner he wants you to become. Embrace it, and hold on to the truth that there are greater things to come.
Healthy singles = Healthy dating = Healthy Marriage. Learn more in my book, True Love Dates!
Debra Fileta is a Professional Counselor, national speaker, relationship expert, and author of True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life, and Choosing Marriage: Why It Has To Start With We > Me where she writes candidly about love, sex, dating, relationships, and marriage. You may also recognize her voice from her 200+ articles at Relevant Magazine, Crosswalk.com, and all over the web! She’s the creator of this True Love Dates Blog, reaching millions of people with the message that healthy people make healthy relationships! Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter or book a session with her today!