Let’s face it, sometimes we’re more hurt over the thought of another failed attempt than the thought of not having him in our lives. Have you ever feared, “Oh great, now I have to start over again?” Be honest! I know I have, and many friends have gone through the same mental process during the dating game.
The truth is, even the smartest of women fall for the potential of a man (been there, done that), and often, the most well-intentioned hearts, find themselves dating to fulfill a goal, (guilty again!) rather than using wisdom to observe his character, choices, convictions and compassion to see if he could be a man worth loving wholeheartedly.
There were many times I lacked patience in dating, and thus, my heart suffered many unnecessary wounds. The breakup process is always so taxing, especially if it’s the guy calling it off, and understandably so, it’s hurtful to know someone isn’t choosing you. I mean, how could they not see how irreplaceable you are? It’s hard not to feel hurt when you see something good passing you by. This doesn’t just apply to dating, look at the parallel between dating and interviewing, for example. It’s more than likely you will go on a multitude of interviews in your lifetime, before landing your dream job. There will be opportunities you won’t get, and doors that will remain shut, but just like an interview that ends in a “no, thank you,” these obstacles are a part of a journey that will refine you. Learn not to scorn this process and instead realize that resistance is what makes you stronger. Your goal is to be your most brilliant you, so when that dream job – or dream relationship – finally manifests, you’ll be ready to embrace it with everything you have.
In the meantime, do not let your emotions dictate your dating life. If you haven’t figured it out already, your emotions have a way of deceiving you, often confusing you with thoughts like, “But what if he’s ‘the One’?!” in the aftermath of a breakup. Let me tell you, thinking you’ve found the love of your life, and the peace and confidence that come from knowing you’ve found someone you can bare your soul to, are two entirely different tales. Dating takes intellect and discernment – ‘butterflies’ are not enough.
Here’s an important question to ask yourself: “Do I love who I am when I’m with him?” I’m not asking if you have fun together or have lots in common, (’cause I’m sure you do), but how is spending time with your man affecting you as a woman? Are you able to feel like the best version of yourself on a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual level? Do you feel respected and cherished? This may sound like a lot of pressure to place on someone, but I’ll tell you from experience, the man that is devoted to pursuing your heart will make you feel like the most valuable, most beautiful woman on the planet. A man of integrity has the ability to create a safe atmosphere for a woman, which causes her to thrive. I’ve heard it put this way, “True masculinity encourages true femininity.” Which suggests to me, that you can understand the quality of a man by the way he makes you feel. If you feel you’re not enough, then perhaps it’s his behavior magnifying those insecurities.
I briefly dated a guy who, I would later come to find out, always had a wandering eye, and a behavior like that can make the most confident woman question her worth. That relationship didn’t last long. There was another guy, a very handsome gentleman who was so wonderful to me… but he made me feel more and more restricted as time went on. I did my best to communicate how I was feeling (trapped), but no amount of talking helped. I realized he was afraid of losing me because of his deep-rooted wounds, and that isn’t a job for a girlfriend to fix. While it’s certainly possible for a woman to inspire a man, she can never change him. That’s why allowing time to observe his character before you get intimate is vital.
There is one more story I have to tell… I won’t get into how we met just yet, but I do want to share how he makes me feel. For the first time in my 34 years of life, I know what it feels like to have a man intentionally and courageously seek my heart. For the first time, I know what a sensational romance feels like, even better, a sensational love. I admire the man my boyfriend chooses to be – a man of integrity, devotion and humility. A man who loves Jesus, loves others and myself so fearlessly. A man who is wild at heart and chooses to live out his purpose fully. Plus, I love who I am with him. I feel alive and totally free, yet safe and secure. I know he loves me, I don’t have to guess. I know he has my back, I don’t have to wonder. I am able to be Jessica at all times, nothing more, nothing less. My family will attest that he brings out my best. This is so new for me, but believe me when I say, this is completely worth all the struggle, all the times I’ve been dumped, all the times God told me to let go, and all the waiting and wondering. I don’t tell you this to boast, and it’s certainly not to make you feel bad, but I pray this ignites something in you that may have been buried long ago.
I’ll leave you with words that have had a tremendous impact on me over the years. Bishop T.D. Jakes says, “When people can walk away from you let them walk. Your destiny is never tied to anybody that left.” So that guy who walked away from you, and left you guessing, or the one who’s keeping you hanging on, but won’t fully commit, or perhaps the ex-boyfriend you’re secretly hoping will come back for you.. you know which one. If you’re brave and honest with yourself, and revisit how he made you feel, and look at what you truly desire from love, you’ll see when it comes down to it… you’re just not that into him, either. And that’s okay. Not every relationship leads to forever, but that doesn’t mean it was a failure. Not every guy you fall for will love you back, but that doesn’t make him a bad person, it does, however, mean his part in your story is now over. As much as you might not want to, let him walk. Turn the page. Release yourself from what’s not meant to be. Your story continues… in fact, you’re just about to get to the best chapter of all!
By Jessica Hoffman