Past Relationships...

Question:

What if you've already had a relationship with someone then you've decided to break up and now you've realized that you still love him? What will I do?

Questions...

 

Dear Janine,

Thank you for your question regarding past relationships. Since I don't know your age and specific situation, I'm going to give you some general thoughts on dating and trusting in the Lord.

While our culture encourages dating from a very young age, I truly believe this is not God's plan for us. (I will address this issue first.) Dating when we are too young to consider marriage presents many problems.

It is often the source of a great deal of confusion, because certain emotions are brought up while dating that cannot be acted upon when one is not ready to consider marriage. Feelings of love and commitment that cannot be lived out lead to frustration. Often when a person begins dating at a young age there is also the experience of growing very attached to someone and then breaking up. This leads to a sense of feeling "broken hearted".

There are other problems. If you are dating before you are ready to consider marriage, you might be having a great time, enjoying the pleasures of someone else's time, attention and affection. But while all this is going on, you are missing out on valuable time and energy that could be put to better uses while you are young! Often when young people begin dating, the time and energy invested in that relationship cause them to slip in their school work or other duties. Often friends become neglected while much time is spent in isolation with the boyfriend or girlfriend. After there is a break up, sometimes a person feels very alone because, having alienated friends during the time spent dating, there is no one there to pick up the pieces after a break up.

Not only can time spent in isolation lead to emotional dependencies, but a young couple can easily find themselves involved in a physically intimate relationship. After a break up, they are left to feel hollow, perhaps used, often resentful and usually their sense of self-worth is damaged. This is because they have given something very special and precious to another person and it was ultimately rejected.

Every act of physical intimacy (from kissing to sexual intercourse) is a precious gift of self which should be stored up for the person you someday will marry. Every kiss given away to a boyfriend that you do not marry is a kiss given to someone else's future husband and stolen away from your future husband! And kissing has the power to unleash all kinds of desires which ultimately want to be consummated in the total gift of self -- the act of marriage, which rightfully belongs ONLY within the safe sanctuary of marriage.

Praise be to God, Jesus' mercy can wash over all our sins. If you have given yourself away to your boyfriend through sexual intimacy, allow God's mercy to set you free, by repenting and recommitting yourself to chastity. (If you are Catholic, be sure to get to Confession!) The treasure of your physical intimacy which you have for your future spouse will be restored as you practice the virtue of chastity and as you demonstrate your faithful obedience to God's laws from now until you marry.

Even dating when you are old enough to consider marriage has to be handled carefully, or it can lead to all these same problems of emotional heartache, physical intimacy and the dangers involved. This is why I recommend COURTSHIP.

Time is precious. While you are young enjoy the gift of your singleness, which is a beautiful gift from God. Enjoy the pleasures of many good friends — boys and girls alike. But I encourage you to leave dating behind until you are ready to consider marriage.

Trust God that when the time is right He will bring the right person into your life. Trust God that He has a perfect plan for you that ultimately will fulfill all your heart's desires. Trust that God wants the very best for you, including your joy and happiness in this life and the next. When you are able to trust God in this way, you will be at peace with not dating.

Youth is a special time to form our hearts for the Lord. Let Jesus be the center of your life. Let your heart and mind dwell on Jesus and ask Him to take away the pain, frustration and loneliness that broken relationships have left you with. Allow His forgiveness to set you and your old boyfriend free of any hurts, any mistakes you've made, any broken promises.

This is not an easy time, but one day you will wake up and finally feel FREE! When your heart is resting in the Lord, you will truly BE free! He will be your heart's desire and He will lead you to true joy.

If you are of an age when you are old enough and ready to consider marriage and you have experienced a break up with a boyfriend, the answer is still the same. Trust God!

Perhaps this is the right guy, but the wrong time! Be patient. Are you being called to just enjoy sincere friendship with this young man for the time being? Perhaps this is the right time in your life for considering marriage, but this was not the right guy. Pray! Discernment comes through prayer!

Even when it hurts, sometimes breaking up is the best thing that can happen. We can "feel" like we are "in love". But love is not just a feeling — it is a decision, a commitment to the other person. Once again, maybe it was not the right guy or the right time in your life for a permanent relationship!

You might be missing the feelings of "being in love", the security of a relationship, the emotional enjoyment of someone else's exclusive attention or even the physical closeness of a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship. The question is, just because you miss these things, does it make them right for you in your life right now with this man?

The more dependency you have for this young man, the more you need to turn your heart to Christ and allow Him to restore you to wholeness. No ONE other person can ever fulfill all our needs. Only Christ can! Perhaps this is the time in your life to learn how to love Christ and how to make Him YOUR number one!

If it turns out this young man is the one for you, your future relationship with him can only be blessed by you taking time to put Christ first in your life!

Seek out God's will by spending time in prayer. Talk to God and then sit quietly and listen. Wait for Him to answer. God has very unique ways in answering our prayers. Even when it is not what we were expecting, when we look back, we see His wisdom and how His way is the best way for us! Our joy will always be so much more when we are living according His will.

I hope, dear Janine, that you will find peace during this time of pain and confusion. I will be praying for you that you will come to know and trust God's will for you so that you can reclaim the joy in your life that He has planned for you!

In His Most Holy Name,
Carmen