I think I should start off by saying that these are my opinions. I don’t know everything. I haven’t gotten everything figured out. As of this moment, this is what makes the most sense to me.
I’ve been through several drafts of this post and each time I wrote out what I wanted to say, I considered a new viewpoint and had to backtrack.
This isn’t an easy post for me. I need to take a few deep breaths.
I don’t want to get into the messy details of my breakup, so for the purposes of establishing a brief context, I will provide details but only in limited quantities.
The problem was me. I overwhelmed him. My emotional issues were too much for him and he felt like he was constantly walking around eggshells around me. The stress of trying to get through to me became too much for him. What broke me is that this had happened before, and both times he hadn’t told me until it was too late.
This post started off as a study in how I felt like I was constantly giving all of myself in a relationship and not taking care of myself in the process, thus overwhelming the other person when I finally broke down. I looked at it from the point of view of the girl who gave everything of herself and is always giving. I saw it from the eyes of someone who felt rejected, hurt and angry and needed to start putting herself before others. I thought that he wasn’t the right person for me because he couldn’t deal with me. But to only look at it from that perspective was limiting.
I’m sure there were times that he put aside his own stresses and problems to make sure I was feeling okay. I can’t assume that I was the only one giving of myself in the relationship. He must have felt very overwhelmed at the end, and I can’t be upset at him for that. Not everyone can handle the same amount of stress, especially not when they’ve been pushed to their breaking point.
I listened to a really good sermon by Craig Groeschel while attending church this past Sunday. In it, he mentions that in a relationship (specifically a marriage, but this can apply to unmarried couples as well, in the sense that you can practice this before you get married), you don’t really get to say that you don’t want to deal with feelings.
For a relationship to work, it can’t be measured in feelings; it needs to be measured by your level of commitment. Relationships aren’t about people going in at an equal amount and only to a certain point; they’re about being all in. Even if one person isn’t in at the level you want them to be, you can still make things work if you put God first, die to yourself and all your feelings and desires, and continually choose and pursue each other, even when you don’t feel like it. It won’t ever be easy. But he makes the point that giving up on a relationship because you feel like you’re out of love is like giving up on a car because it ran out of gas; you get what you put into it.
I understand that dating is different. I understand that while you’re dating, you still have the option of getting out without it having to be as big of a deal as a divorce. Obviously, it still hurts. But maybe it’s better to realize that things won’t work out at this stage than later.
Looking back, I don’t think he was going to be a partner for me. Hear me out; I’m not saying there wasn’t any potential for him to be that for me. I don’t say it maliciously, and I’m not implying that he didn’t or wouldn’t put in the effort. I loved him, and I’m sure he loved me. But I know for a fact that we weren’t putting God first in our relationship. I know that we were in different stages of life. I also know that near the end, we weren’t really talking about the important things anymore. We barely had time alone. I was starting to think that he didn’t feel like being in this relationship anymore.
He decided to end it. I would have worked at it more, but where would that have led if God wasn’t at the forefront of our relationship? We needed to be partners in this and we just weren’t at the end.
I did state earlier that even if only one person is in, things could still work; but I followed that off with a list of certain conditions. Those were not being met. I could give all of myself if I wanted to and I probably would have, but if I am not in the right place, we will be untied instead of united. I don’t think either of us were in the right place at the end.
I gave all I could, from the bottom of my tired, broken heart. He just wasn’t committed anymore. And maybe that was my fault for wearing him down. Or maybe things would have been different if we had communicated better, actively pursued each other, or had relied on God more in our relationship. But that’s all wishful thinking, now.
It’s easy to say that the takeaway from all of this is that I need to take better care of myself so that I can adequately care for others but the truth of the matter is that none of this is about me. It’s not all about my needs being met and it’s not about self care and managing my stress levels better (though the last two points are important). Relationships are partnerships, and they will only work if both partners rely on God.
I don’t know how to end something like this because I’m not sure I even said everything I wanted to say. In lieu of a proper conclusion, I’m going to leave the link to the sermon here and hope that, if there are readers who are struggling in their marriages or relationships, this will help them.
Link here: Craig Groeschel: The Vow of Partnership