[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;”] H [/dropcap]ow many times have you met someone and started a continual stream of great conversations only to have the communication come to a screeching halt? Then pick back up again… Then stop. Again.
It happens more than we care to admit, and it happens with men and women who identify themselves as Christ-followers.
And it’s WRONG! Any action that causes one to feel deserted or abandoned is one that is displeasing to God.
I remember sitting with my old pastor and telling him about this man he sent to date me. Everything was going along fine until we had a disagreement about something, and the brother disappeared for 3 days. What really made me angry was that this guy and I had shared things that were deal-breakers, and disappearing acts are numero uno for me. So having known this, he made a conscious decision to break a date, not call, and completely disappear. He had a good reason of course. There’s always– and by always, I mean never– a good reason to abandon someone that you’ve made a part of your life. I’m not quite sure why he was upset about my ending the relationship, but I digress.
My pastor looked at me puzzled and asked for clarification. The more I explained what took place (which was a very simple story) the more confused he became. He offered me no solace except to say he was sorry, and that really was good enough. Two years later I can confidently say that in THAT particular situation I was NOT at fault for the brother’s choice to abandon, but something I did made him think he could get away with it. (Even though the pastor sent him, I didn’t have to date him.)
Fast-forward a year and some change, and I’m enjoying a long-distance friendship with a very kind fella. Things start to get busy at work, and I find myself overwhelmed with everything! So our conversations were limited in time and frequency, but they didn’t stop altogether. I started to lose interest, and so made myself even more unavailable. His reaction was… ummm… which made me like him even less. I shared my feelings with him, and though I didn’t expect him to receive it well, I didn’t expect him to throw a hissy fit and delete me from Facebook. (Pardon me while I snicker…) This person was the assistant pastor of a church and behaved like a big baby. He was so used to women abandoning him that he thought he’d jump the gun and abandon me. Even though I would’ve liked to just up and disappear on him, I knew that God would not be pleased which is why I openly shared that he wasn’t right for me.
I was wrong in both situations. I began to write two lists, one for the role of the abandonee and one for the abandon-er, but I find that the core issues are essentially the same. So let’s see what we can glean from these matters:
- Abandonment stems from and creates emotional instability. Many of us grew up in single-parent homes or homes where one parent was present but only in the physical sense. We’ve come to think that abandonment is a normal and acceptable part of life, and we become predatory daters, self-seeking and totally un-Christlike. Rest assured that if you are up and disappearing on folk you are hurting them because YOU are hurt. Take a seat and allow God to deal with your heart before you rack up too many more broken hearts.
- You are your brother’s and sister’s keeper. Whatsoever a man sows that shall he also reap. It is our duty to guard and protect one another’s souls, not to bring harm. God is love, but He’s also a judge. Be ye careful…
- You will leave every romantic relationship but one, so learn to do it the right way. It’s not easy to tell someone that you’re no longer interested, but you owe them and yourself the respect to do so. Check out How to Break Up and Stay That Way for some helpful guidelines.
- One who makes promises early on is more than likely unable to keep them. Don’t bother believing or accepting the well-meaning lies. “You’re the one for me… I just know it.” Oop. We don’t know these things until a measure of time has passed and we’ve seen the character of the person. People will sell you a lie thinking they’re telling the truth. Protect your heart and be spirit led.
- Don’t tell everything on your heart. In the first scenario I alluded to the fact that I did something to make this brother think he could play games with my emotions. I told him entirely too much about my feelings towards him. He used my feelings as leverage to attempt to manipulate me. When I broke things off, he said to me “But I thought you said I was everything you asked God for.” If that ain’t a big ol’ slap in the face…
- Slow your roll! We move entirely too fast. It’s ok to change to subject or make yourself busy so you can slow things down. Talking everyday all day is a guaranteed way to tell too much too soon.
- Sometimes a “gentle” rebuke is needed. In the second scenario I was irate about the way the buddy boy carried himself. I called him up and laid him out. I’m not inclined to telling people off, but his actions warranted it. As brothers and sisters in Christ, we can’t be so easily hurt and defensive. He apologized for his actions, and we were able to restore our friendship… minimally.
- When they walk, let them. They’ve made their choice. All that “let’s make it work” talk is reserved for marriage. You don’t “make” things work with someone you’re just dating. Why is that so hard for people to understand?
- Sometimes you’ll have to give a gentle push. Some people don’t know how to take a break-up. After saying the words, you’ll have to prove to them you mean business. Egos are big in these cases. Worry not about bruising them.
- If you’re going to be by yourself, then BE BY YOURSELF! A few weeks ago a young lady sent a tweet to someone asking for advice. Her boyfriend never answered the phone when she called. The person responded by saying “Sounds like you don’t really have a boyfriend. Let him go.” My last relationship was just like this. Being lonely in a relationship is far worse than being lonely outside of one. (But here’s a tip… loneliness eventually goes away if you learn to enjoy your own company.)
Do you have a “precautionary dating tale” to share? I’d love to hear about it… anonymously of course! Tell me your story, and join CTheLily Newsletter so you’re updating to its posting. And of course, only share your identity if you wish! Here’s the link!