Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Fire
Deciding to end a relationship is such a difficult thing, the fallout from your choices can be devastating to more people than you ever thought possible, including yourself!
If you have been in love and in a loving relationship, you absolutely must take the time to clear your head and heart of all the details from the relationship that have kept you in love with that person, before you even think about latching onto someone new. If you have been hurt, disillusioned or simply UNSURE about your decision to end the relationship, then clearly you are not ready to jump into something new! While you are unsure, you are vulnerable. People do foolish things when they feel vulnerable. It’s UNcomfortable and they want to feel settled.
Ask yourself this: “Are we both in agreement that our relationship needs to end, or am I making a giant leap to leave it because of hurt or some unsettled issues?” The longer your relationship has lasted, the longer you need to give yourself time to put things into perspective. How did you come together in the first place?
The best way to resolve the “wonderings” and “what Ifs” about the love relationship is to open your mind and heart to that other person, the one who loves you. Devastation is often caused, not only to that person but to yourself when you rush into making a rash decision simply because you’ve “decided” you want a change. Wrong decisions can be nearly impossible to undo.
Positive change IS possible and definitely advisable when the love is still there between you both. By change, I am not suggesting being fake or insincere with your loving partner. Not at all! This is the time for total honesty and acceptance of your partner’s thoughts, opinions, hopes and suggestions. Difficult situations and past failures can build up in your minds to a fever pitch, if you allow it to go that far. While working through your feelings, do not shut the other person out. Rather, include them in the thought process. You may be seeing things through your perspective that are very different from theirs. Too often harsh feelings are dwelt on, causing pressure to build. This pressure translates in your mind as something that is unfixable. When in reality, you can “FIX” issues and change BEHAVIOURS.
You cannot change who that other person is. But you can and should change your own behaviour towards that individual. For real improvement to happen, please realize that you can be your own worst enemy by stubbornly holding onto anger and resentment. Let’s face it – in marriage both spouses are constantly needing to adjust their perceptions of each other in order for the marriage to grow and continue in love. Jumping to conclusions or judging a spouse unfairly is devastating to you both, and can permanently scar the relationship.
If you have questions about your loving partner’s feelings, ask them about it! Don’t be afraid to explain ways that you have felt mistreated, ignored or hurt. Remember, love grows where it is nurtured. Sometimes, all that is needed is an honest conversation where you each get to speak and know that you are “heard” by your partner. Women especially have a need to be heard. Men tend to keep their feelings locked up inside until they are ready to burst. It seems if they can’t fix the issues in their own mind, they mistakenly believe there is no hope for their relationship and decide to take matters into their own hands. Meanwhile, the loving woman pleads with her man (through every means possible) to find out what’s been bothering him. Oftentimes, he has already shut down and ignores her attempts to reach him.
Communication Takes Two
I know what you’re thinking. If you are now in a weakened relationship where you’re ready to throw in the towel, you might be thinking, “Blah, blah, blah. I don’t want to hear about communication!” You just want this thing to stop HURTING. Right? You want the love back in full force. Yet, inside yourself, you are holding onto disappointment and you’ve basically given up all hope of things being really great. Maybe it seems too hard, and you’re sick of thinking so much about it all.
In your heart, if you still melt when you think about your sweet girlfriend or your amazing man, several things are going on at once.
- You love her/him
- Your two hearts and souls are not only connected, they are attached and intertwined!
- Your history together is deep and meaningful
- You don’t want that other person to be hurt
- You don’t want to feel hurt, yourself
- You cannot imagine your life without your loving partner in it, and in your heart you never want to be without them!
If any of these points describe you right now… stop in your tracks and reconsider your actions.
How Much Do They Care?
A deep love does not happen in a few months. It takes going through every kind of situation with your loving person to really appreciate exactly what you have together! Were they always in your corner? Did they run to your side if you were ill, anxious, worried or just plain needed you? Do you know them so well you can predict their responses, and they can predict yours? Have you experienced so many special or meaningful occasions that your lives have become intertwined and you have loved each other through everything? Do you know that you can trust them with your very LIFE?
It’s a fact that whenever we become disillusioned about a relationship, we seek relief. Sadly, we sometimes choose the wrong kind of relief, believing that anything is better than where you are right now. We start thinking that we need to jump ship and quickly find someone new who doesn’t know us or how we operate; how we conduct our lives. Someone new doesn’t know the good, the bad and the ugly. While bailing out of one set of problems, you take on another set of different problems thinking it will be better. IT WON’T!
For your own peace of mind and happiness, be VERY careful not to run off in another direction as an escape tactic. If you think your current situation is making you unhappy, jumping ship will be even more disastrous for you. In your own mind, you may have built a case that really, does not exist. You may be thinking that escaping is the best solution so that you don’t have to deal with important issues that are bothering you. May I just say this: WRONG! It will be like “Jumping from the Frying Pan Into the Fire”! Make time to talk, share, complain, even cry with your loving partner if that is what it will take to resolve the relationship’s problems. Don’t play games. Do NOT deceive her/him. There is too much at risk. You owe it to yourself and especially to your loving partner to work WITH her/him on solutions. (Keep reading. Further down I give you simple questions to ask yourself that help you decide.)
At times like this, we cannot trust our own decision-making alone. It is extremely important and wise to seek confirmation from those who know us best. Family members and long-time friends who know both of you will have already formed opinions and reasons for why they see you as a couple. They can remind you of what works (not that you need reminding). Recognize that at this point, you are not the best judge of your own heart. The Bible says “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Who can know it?” So if we can’t really KNOW our own hearts in stressful times, we need outside help. You may want to seek the counsel of a professional or pastor who is skilled in relationship counseling.
Consider ALL sides of the story: location (distance to your current life contacts and family), children and inter-family relationships on both sides, life values and what you have in common.
Pros and Cons
Before bailing on the relationship, sit down and make a list of the pros and cons of the relationship. Yes, it is THAT big of a deal. We are talking about happiness for the rest of your LIFE! Be totally honest and fair. Think about what attracted you to this person in the first place. Is that attraction still there? Is this loving person still able to turn you on in those particular areas? You’re smiling now, aren’t you?
In thinking of the cons, list only what could be called “deal breakers”.
A word about unfaithfulness. If there was unfaithfulness, then that one thing can cancel out an entire list of positive things you love about the person. That type of betrayal is SO hurtful it leaves deep emotional scars and destroys trust. If you are in that boat and at fault (a betrayer and trust breaker), a mere apology cannot undo the pain you have caused. It will take patience and your continual ASSURANCE that you are totally in love with your loving partner, and that you are willing to do whatever it takes to prove your love for her/him. This is not the time to back down. Anything else other than unfaithfulness can be viewed as fixable mistakes. ALL mistakes can be and should be forgiven. God calls us to forgive and to do so immediately.
Consider Their Side
Keep in mind that it takes TWO to make a relationship. Your girlfriend or boyfriend has likely expressed how they feel about the status of the relationship. Look for the deep meaning in what they say. Pay attention to the passion with which they tell you their story. Is it evident that they still want to work things out? Do they continue to express love for you? You must pay attention to their words, their passion, their desires for the relationship to continue. In everything you discuss with your partner, be totally honest. Even if you are afraid of the other person’s reactions, continue in honesty, speaking the truth with kindness. Trust me on this: you will come out smelling like a rose when your partner realizes that you are totally sincere and honest.
Suppose that you have lost hope and virtually given up on things ever resolving to your satisfaction. Oftentimes, couples become so despondent about their current story, they can’t see possibilities for a brighter future.
What is your current story? What have you continually told yourself about how you’re feeling? Are you hurt and having difficulty letting go of that feeling? Pray about that and ask God to clear your mind of everything negative and pour His love into your heart. Ask him to remove any bitterness and resentment that had built up. See, the enemy of our souls comes to kill, steal and destroy. In fact, if both you and your girlfriend/boyfriend are living for God, Satan makes it his special project to DESTROY your relationship because he knows how great your union could be.
Are They RIGHT for You?
Examine your own God-given gifts. Think about your loving partner’s special gifts. Are they compatible with yours? Does that other person ADD to your life or diminish your life (possibly by just being neutral)? Does he or she make you look good, make you a better person? Do they support your life’s work? Has your loving partner expressed interest in furthering YOUR own interests, even helping you to reach your goals? Do they offer helpful ideas that show how much they want you to succeed? All of these things are SO important to your well-being and happiness. Now, imagine the tremendous LOSS of not having that support if you decide to end the relationship.
We know that God is all FOR marriage. It was His idea in the first place! He wants to bless your marriage with joy and happiness. We need to take our hurting heart to Jesus and ask him to take over. Like the song says, “Jesus, Take the Wheel”! When we get to the end of ourselves and all that we can figure out, there is nothing else we can do. We absolutely need help at this point. And who better to help and heal our broken hearts than God himself?
Decide to Not Decide
In considering all sides of your love relationship, you may be floundering and uncertain of what to do next. While you allow God to do a work in your own heart and your loving partner’s, take a break from the urge to run. Stop. Rest. Pray. Think. Recall joyful times with your loved one. Reminisce on the happiest times spent together. DECIDE TO NOT DECIDE (to quit) just now. There is SO much more for you and for your love relationship!
Before jumping into unknown waters, be sure you have taken every step possible to strengthen your love relationship. Take baby steps that will get you back to where you want to be. Carefully peel back the layers of hurt to reveal what’s underneath. Beneath your anger, what do you see? Love? Appreciation? Endurance? Loyalty? Attentiveness? Desire? Allow yourself to dream wonderful dreams that come from a loving heart. Imagine the possibilities of a healed love relationship!
Let go of all bitterness. Ephesians 4:31 says, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger…”
Give yourself a break. Take the pressure off and drop the idea to be immediately gratified by whatever you can find right away. Flattery may come your way. Seek the Lord for clarity about what that means. The flatterer may have reasons of their own for wanting to jump into a relationship with you. Be aware, be very careful and guard your heart. You have your own love life to deal with — the precious relationship with your current or longstanding loving partner. Flattery from someone new might stroke your ego (men) or make you feel like a princess (women). Recognize it for what it is; superficial and at its best, only infatuation. It is not the stuff that deep relationships are made of. Keep yourself steady and your mind clear. Allow the salve of the Holy Spirit to comfort you and provide reassurance. Know that you are safe in His care.
Remember the three pillars of a great relationship:
Faith, hope and love. Have faith in the love you have already experienced with your loving partner. Have faith in the fact that you are not on your own in planning your next steps. Have faith in God who brought you into this relationship with your loving partner. God is still keeping you very close to himself. If you feel distant from God — guess who moved. Draw on hope that comes from God on how to resolve every issue. And let love take first place in your thoughts. Do everything through love.
As you open your heart to the possibilities of renewed love, each step of the way give thanks to God for His gentle leading. I recommend you both join together in prayer for your relationship. Nothing is quite so healing as holding the hands of your loved one and together, seeking God’s help. Commit the relationship to Him. God is in the business of restoration and healing. And he ALWAYS has your best interest at heart.
Pray without ceasing. Matters of the heart are confusing and deep. You have only one life to live and only one heart to give away. It is impossible to give it away to someone new while someone else (your true love) still holds it. Be fair. And be willing to let God work in both your hearts to heal what is hurting and mend the broken parts. May God give you the strength you need to remain faithful to the love He has already brought into your life.
If you have questions or comments about this or any other article on this site, feel free to contact me.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)
My prayer for you is that you will thoughtfully consider and REconsider the value and blessings you’ve enjoyed in your current and long-standing love connection. God bless you as you prayerfully work towards the healing renewal of your most important human relationship. ~Grace Baxter