Love is a wonderful thing – except when it’s not.
We all begin relationships with a rosy outlook of how it will go and how amazing it will be. Sometimes, unfortunately, that’s just not the way things shake out. When feelings get involved it can be difficult to know when it’s time to lean in and when it’s time to call it quits. The following are a few signs that it’s time to move on from the person you are dating (or just think you’re dating, let’s be real):
A quick disclaimer: This refers to dating and engaged relationships, which is still technically dating. If you are not married, you are not married. You are not obligated to stay, friend. If you are staying because you fear disappointing people, being embarrassed or losing a deposit, you are staying for the wrong reasons. If any 1 of these signs are present, it’s time to let it go. If all of them are there, chiilleee it’s time to run. Make sure you have mentors involved who are there to support you and get to getting out. Let’s get into it:
1.You cannot talk openly with your S.O. about your desires without fear of judgement or anger.
You should be able to talk about what you want to do for God, your desire to be married, to have kids (or not), and the other ways you’d like to build your life without trepidation. If they make you feel bad for wanting the desires that have been placed in your heart or respond in anger or you have to walk on eggshells every time something important to you comes up – they are not the one for you.
2.They do not encourage your calling or support your walk with God.
If they make you feel bad about your desire to get closer to God or to do what He’s called you to do, they will hinder you living up to your fullest potential. It will be a constant battle. It won’t magically change one day. Your relationship should encourage you to run towards God more and more, not the opposite.
3. They do not have their own calling or walk with God.
This is super important. The person you are with needs to have their own foundation and be actively pursuing their faith. Especially if they are trying to be in the running to lead a household in which you would be a part of. They need to understand what direction they are heading – perhaps they don’t have all of the pieces – but they need an idea. Furthermore, they need to be in a place where they have a relationship with God that you join – not one that you have to jump start. If you are the catalyst for it, please believe that will likely be your job in the long run and, eventually, you’ll resent that position and things will fall apart. This doesn’t make them a bad person, it just means they need some time to solidify that for themselves. If you care about them, that time is a caring gift to give them.
4. They manipulate you, talk down to you or just generally make you feel unsafe physically, mentally or emotionally.
No amount of you loving them will change this behavior. Their healing in this area is between them and God. If you feel like it’s difficult to leave because you really love them, show them your love by getting yourself out of the way for your safety and also so God can work on them Himself. You are not doing either of you any favors by staying in an unhealthy environment. You cannot change or heal them, they have to make their own choice to be well just like you have to make yours. You don’t need to pray about it or ask God if it’s his will that you be safe, it is. Make the decision to disconnect and seek healing from God – show you trust Him by giving that person fully over to Him and letting go of them yourself.
5. You don’t feel like the version of yourself you’d like to be when you’re with them.
This may not actually have anything to do with them. It could be just because you are unsure of who you are or who you want to be or who you want to be with – being attached to another human is not the best environment to figure that out in, at the very least, because it’s a distraction. If you know being with this person tends to make you engage in behaviors or situations you are uncomfortable with or makes you do things you do not want to do, it is not the relationship for you. The people in your life should make you want to reach towards the best version of you and inspire you to be who you were created to be.
6. They will not give you a firm commitment or a straight answer.
If you are with someone who cannot use finite language, that’s a red flag. Keeping someone guessing about a relationship is not care, it’s selfishness. You should not have to guess where you stand with someone, that is information that should be offered honestly and freely. Whether it’s about the status of your relationship, their plans for the future, the people in their life, how they spend their time, etc. they should be able to answer simple questions without additional conflict. If the answers they do give you are ones you do not trust and constantly second guess – that’s also a sign. If you cannot trust them you do not need to be with them. It could be because they are, in fact, dishonest humans or it could be that you have trust issues and need to get help & healing. Either way, disconnecting is going to be the much healthier option.
7. You do not agree on important values.
If you have both talked about what you want out of life and significant things do not match up: he wants 13 kids and to live in an RV and travel the country as a singing group and you want 1 kid and to live in the city in a condo and have dinner together every night as a family, you want to have an involved church life and serve and he’d rather just go when ya’ll have time and not get involved – well, you don’t agree. You likely won’t. It’s not that either of you are bad people, but one of you cannot just hope that one day it will all work out. Your values are important. Believe the reality and adjust accordingly. If not, you are setting yourself up for long term frustration.
8. You are in a constant holding pattern.
They are always saying that when they finally get stable, they will finally be ready to commit. There is always something you are waiting for in order to be with them. That may be valid. But if they are letting you know they are not ready, then they are not ready. Do not hold out. Do not offer girlfriend (and certainly not wife) privileges when they are not in a position to receive them. If you are engaged and, despite your best efforts or desires, they will not set a date – that is a holding pattern as well. Leave them be and live your life or, if you feel like the relationship is worth working on, get some counseling from trusted mentors or counselors with them. If a time comes when they are actually ready, great – you may reconnect in the future if you choose and it’s healthy. But if not you haven’t wasted months or years waiting for something that was never going to happen anyway.
9. You are not public knowledge.
Look I’ve been there. In “relationships” where no one knew about it except us. I was convinced by him that this was better somehow. Now, for a time & done right – this can be good. I’ve mentioned before, my husband and I didn’t go public with our relationship for the first six months of dating, but the people who’s guidance we truly valued (pastors, parents, mentors) were in the know from day one. But if your significant other is not proud to have you in their life, on their arm, around family or friends, pastors, in photos, on IG or what-have-you, this is a huge red flag. You are too important and amazing to be somebody’s secret. Any relationship had in secret is not a relationship at all.
My mother always said something to me that I take with me always: when someone shows you who they are, believe them. Reality is reality. Denying it is simply putting a delay on inevitable heartbreak. Chances are, the Holy Spirit has already been speaking to you about your situation. Trust that God already has a plan for your life and for your heart. Do the work to find out who will be an asset to your life. You’ll be grateful that you did.
Any signs that you would add?