An open letter to the girl who keeps settling for less

I get the most comments, and emails on one question:

How do I talk to a friend who is in a bad relationship?

OR

How do I talk to my boyfriend if I know whe are in an unhealthy relationsip?

Let me paint the picture of what 99% of these girls are asking:

Two people become attracted to each other, they have chemistry, sparks fly, clothes fly off, and they have sex….too soon.  As they grow to know each other better they realize they are not very compatible. But things are complicated. They don’t fully understand this because culture tells us sex is just fun and games but psychologists, scientist, and our creator all agree sex is the cement or bond that glues people together. In marriage this is beautiful, in casual relationships, this is destructive (more on this blog post).

The couple in our example has “cemented” themselves together. They start to ignore all the red flags that they are not right for each other. All their friends see it and sometimes they even see it in themselves but who wants to deal with cleaning up all the debris of the bound cement? They pretend they are happy and before they know it they are years into an unhealthy relationship that neither of them wants to be in. It happens ALL THE TIME.

The trick is, an unhealthy relationship is infinitely easier to see in others than it is to ourselves.

Confirmation bias

It’s human nature to look for what we want to see and hear what we want to hear. We search out information to support and brush off information in opposition to our beliefs. Psychologist call this confirmation bias. We are constantly looking for information to support what we hope to be true. This is why it is so hard to win a political argument and also why it is so hard for you to tell a friend she is in a bad relationship. She is desperately grasping for any thread of evidence that her guy is a prince ESPECIALLY if cement is involved.

What’s a girl to do?

I see you there sweet friend.  You are not sure how you got here.

The guy that holds your heart is hurting you and he has no idea. You pretend it doesn’t bother you when he (always) chooses his friends over you.  You pretend it doesn’t hurt when he only wants to hang out past midnight.  You find yourself constantly making excuses for the way he treats you to your friends and your mama. You pretend everything is fine but deep down, you know better.

If you are traveling down the highway and the sign says “Danger road block” you don’t drive past the sign and keep going.  God gives us little warning signs in all areas of life, it is up to us to take warning or to keep going despite the warnings.

Suppose you decide you “know better” and decide to keep driving past that danger sign in the road. Everything is good for a few miles and you wonder what that big orange sign was all about in the first place, and then you see it, a bridge being repaired that offers no connection between your car, the road 1,000 feet ahead of you and the river underneath you.  A little embarrassed by the annoyed looks construction workers all around you do the only logical thing, turn your car around and listen to the warning!

Sensible people foresee trouble and hide. Simple people go ahead [and] suffer. Proverbs 27:12

If you have a good friend who you trust, and I hope you do.  Hear her out. If you trusted her with your life before the guy came into your life, your friend hinted that he was bad news, and now you are distant from your friend. THAT IS A HUGE RED FLAG!

If you find yourself with red flags you simply don’t want to see I encourage you to be brave and do something you don’t want to do. TURN THE CAR AROUND. Ending an unhealthy relationship now is better than waiting for more time, more cement, and more scars to take place.

It will require sacrifice, it may even involve embarrassment, but when it’s said and done I GUARANTEE you will have so much relief.

Maybe a guys perspective will say it better than me:

From the Good Man Project (a hugely popular online magazine for guys)  puts it like this:

Ladies, if you really want men to step up and become the real men you talk about, you must demand it. I’m not saying ask for it, I’m not saying hope for it, I’m saying demand it.  What does that mean? It means you don’t settle for anything less. It means if you aren’t satisfied, you walk away. Men will rise up and meet your challenge, I promise, it’s what we do best. We love challenges. We love it when women make us step up and work.
If you do this right, you will have men lining up at your door. It seems counter-intuitive, but you have to understand how much men enjoy challenge. There is nothing sexier than a woman who has the confidence to call us out and challenge us to rise up. The part that you don’t like is the hardest thing about all this. You must be willing you walk away if you aren’t getting what you want. I will say this five more times because it’s that important.
You must be willing to walk away
You must be willing to walk away
You must be willing to walk away.
You must be willing to walk away.
You must be willing to walk away.

Wisdom for next time:

The more physical intimacy you share with someone, the more cemented together you become. DO NOT RUSH THIS. Intimacy is reserved for marriage for a reason. Protect yourself and your heart, it will make decisions to stay or leave a future relationship infinitely less complicated. 

Father help us to see danger before it is too late, wisdom to know what to do and the courage to do it.

Inspired by Andy Stanley’s sermon on Pack your bags.

 

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