All right, deep breaths. Call the number, and don’t back down. You know he is going to tell you how much he loves you, how much harder he is going to work, and how you are making the wrong decision. But you know in your heart this isn’t right….you have known for a while. Trust yourself. Trust God. You can do this.
Ring Ring Ring…
“Hey you! What’s up?”
“Ehrrmm. Hi. Can we talk?”
There you have a play-by-play of what happened before ending one of my previous relationships—one of the hardest things I had ever done. I think it is safe to say that every dating experience I have had has taught me something new about myself or what I am looking for in my future husband. But there are plenty dating experiences that I let go on way too long—whether that was a couple dates too long or a couple months too long. This got me thinking… Why do I do this? I think there are many reasons: my personal insecurity, desiring good company, or even the right reason of trying to find a future husband. But I realized that all of those things weren’t enough for either party to stay in a relationship that should have ended a while ago. Here are some signs that a relationship (or dates) has gone on too long.
1. I didn’t want to hang out with him a ton around my friends. I can specifically remember one relationship I was in that always ended up with us alone together. Alone time is important in any relationship and you should spend a lot of time with just the two of you. However, your friends are a great litmus test since they probably know you better than you think. They will be able to pick out the b.s. real quickly. Also, being around your friends makes you see qualities in him that may be harder to see in other contexts. How does he treat your best friend? Is he too friendly around other girls?
2. I was super sensitive about negative comments friends and family expressed about him. Obviously it is always hard to hear a character critique about someone you are dating. But I was overly sensitive about comments that looking back…weren’t a big deal. However, along the same lines, one relationship in particular had plenty of people who I cared about (parents, friends, etc.) telling me more serious flaws that I refused to listen to: for example, his habit of always being in control or his constant obsession with being right.
3. I was scared of getting into arguments with him. This was not necessarily because I was scared that he was going to hurt me physically. But he was super sensitive about anything negative I said. Looking back, I didn’t feel like I was emotionally safe because he would cut me down if I disagreed with him, regardless if it was about a baseball team or deeper issues. Not being able to communicate the way I felt in the relationship–particularly when we had differing opinions–gave me the first sign of a disconnect. I was not able to be myself in the relationship.
4. It got harder and harder to actually get excited about date night or talking to him. This didn’t mean that I never wanted to hang out with him. But I didn’t find myself thinking of him and getting excited. Maybe this is too dreamy of me, but I want the person I marry to be one of my favorite and best thoughts of the day. I want to get excited to talk to him, and excited about date night with him more often than not. I realized that the relationship I was in was just a way that both of us were filling individual loneliness without trying to make something good together.
5. I was always justifying to myself why this relationship was working. At the end of the day I thought there were just enough qualities that I liked about him. For example, even though he was controlling he really knew how to make my day with a phone call, joke, or even surprise me with flowers. I would tell myself, “well no one is perfect,” or “maybe he will change.” And although these things may or may not be true… we shouldn’t settle, either. I had to come to believe enough in my desires for a relationship, and for me personally, to believe in the love that God has for me.
This list may seem obvious. They may seem like things you’d look for in your friends’ relationships. But I think this is what they mean when they say love is blind. We all desire to be seen, known, and loved completely, but sometimes our desire for that sort of relationship masks our vision of the relationship we’re in. I know the love I want for life really will both love me unconditionally while also inspiring me to be a better version of myself. I don’t want to settle for anything less.
“Goodbye,” I said… After it was all over I hung up the phone, and felt a wave of peace come over me. The sadness was still there, but this weird sense of peace continued to live within my heart. I knew deep down that it was time, and that I did the right thing.