Signs You Really Aren't Ready For a Long Term Relationship

Last Marriages has been live for two months. So crazy to believe. I am thankful for every one of you who share my work, conversations, and take the time to write and comment. Speaking of comments...there have been multiple questions filling my inbox in regards to dating. 

These questions have ranged from, "Why does every relationship I enter end badly?" to "Do you think the Bible applies to 21st century dating?"

You may wonder what business I have writing about dating since most of my 20's have been spent married. However, those who know me personally know that I believe dating lasts a lifetime. I don't think it ends when we get married nor do I believe that it is a term reserved for romantic love interests. 

I believe you should date (aka: make time for) your spouse and for yourself.

I believe in dating so much that it is in this blog's core valuesI think dating is essential to life because as humans we are constantly changing. We learn new things. We live through experiences that make us view the world differently. We lose and gain loved ones that mark our hearts forever. We change. Dating gives us time to connect through these changes.

As I prepared for this particular series I reread through the "dating" folder in my inbox attempting to figure out any common themes. Some of these emails were written by people I know personally. I thought of them and my admiration for them. I felt sadness as they described "train wreck" relationships that I also have experienced. Some of them were hurt by relationships that lasted years. Others weren't sure why most of their relationships lasted only a few weeks, yet some of their friends had been proposed to multiple times.

As I read through these emails I began to wonder...are these readers really so unlucky that they are finding the bad or "just not right" apples of the bunch over and over? Or, is it a possibility are they not as ready for a long term commitment (designed God's way, not their way) as they think? 

You may think that question isn't fair, but it truly isn't mean to place blame. It is meant to spark self-reflection. 

If you haven't noticed, this blog is one that focuses a lot on self-reflection. Even at the end of Conversation posts I try to have a "LM ACTION" to encourage us to reflect on how we would have handled that specific situation. Self-growth is POWERFUL! But, I believe we live in a time of the world where we feel forced to only experience happy feelings...a time where self-growth isn't as appreciated as clever marketing.

Unfortunately, self-growth requires some pain. It requires unhappy feelings. But, it can ultimately lead you to a place where you are actually ready for the type of relationship that a follower of Christ is worthy of. 

Many of us have been (or currently are) in a cycle of repeatedly falling into deep, instant love. As things take off we find ourselves compromising our goals and values (or expecting the other person to compromise theirs) for the sake of happiness. We then experience deep sorrow when the other person leaves us (or we think we have to leave them) because they no longer are a source of joy. When the relationship ends we wonder if we should have compromised ourselves even further for their happiness or if we should have been "less picky". Depression sets in as we were just so sure they were our "one and only"...our love story that gave us the same feelings as the ending of Sleepless in Seattle. But, whatever. That was three weeks ago and you need some fun this weekend. That guy you met a few months ago just changed his relationship status to "single" so you decide to DM him. After all, how will never find your soulmate if you don't keep trying?

If that sounds normal to you, you may be ready for long term bouts of infatuation...not a long term relationship.

I know some of you are reading this and screaming, "WHAT ABOUT ME?! I'm the OPPOSITE! I understand what commitment takes and I am looking forward to it..but every relationship I enter fizzles out in less than three months!!" Don't worry, I haven't forgotten about you :) 

Signs You Really AREN'T Ready For a Long Term Relationship

1. You ignore red flags.

 If those closest to you seem to always hate on those you date..well, may not have the best judgement. This might explain why you find yourself in a circle of dating person after person that it just "mysteriously" doesn't work out with. You can read more about this here

2. You are comparing your relationship to someone's you admire, a Hollywood love story, or social media. 

This goes back to society wiring us to enjoy happy feelings and marketing. You aren't going to find an exact copy of someone else's life so do yourself a favor and stop trying. Take a break from glamorizing other people's lives and learn to appreciate your own. 

3. After each relationship ends you find yourself wondering, "Was it really worth it?"

This one really hit home for me. It is a question I never thought of in regards to a romantic relationship, but it has crossed my mind when a friendship ended. I spent a lot of time wondering why I let that person into my life to begin with. It wasn't long before I realized that I had allowed myself to drift from who I really am in order to try to make that friend happy. That isn't the way God designed relationships. John 15:12 says, "Love one another as I have loved you." If you think about it...God never strayed away from the core of who He was and neither did Christ in order to please us. There are boundaries and respect.

Having this remorse at the end of any relationship could be a sign that the relationship itself was doing the opposite of helping you seek God and His truth. Believe it or not, there are amicable break-ups that occur where both adults leave the relationship appreciating what they learned and experienced with the other person. 

If you think this question after each breakup you experience, it could be a sign that you were distracted from God during that time and weren't as focused as you should have been at living out your own purpose.

4. You think the main function of marriage is to make you happy. 

This may be a tough pill to swallow...but no. Marriage at it's core was designed by God to bring us closer to Him. God has sacrificed so much for us and marriage will challenge you to make sacrifice after sacrifice. How often have you hurt God? How often have you had to ask for forgiveness? Just as much hurt and just as many apologies and seasons of grace take place in marriage. When we forgive our spouses it allows us to be more Christlike. It allows us to be humble and show grace. But, times like those usually aren't the definition of happiness.

This is why it's so important to marry someone you have a genuine friendship with. The bond and commitment of friendship will ultimately be what gets you through the times where you are sad, frustrated, bored, and uncomfortable.  

If you think the function of any long term relationship is to serve you, your needs, and your happiness...then you aren't ready for one.

5. You have sex with every person you date or you don't think relationships can be considered serious until sex takes place. 

Let's be real: 

sex can complicate and even manipulate emotions. 

If you are measuring relationship statuses on when sex takes place then you might be avoiding the intimacy of friendship mentioned in #4. In this day and age it's pretty easy to find someone who will be sexually intimate with you. But, a true partnership that has the base of an intimate friendship? That's rare...and that's exactly what lasting relationships are based on. Friendship takes more than dinner and a movie. It takes more than a sex. Don't confuse the intimacy of friendship with the intimacy of sex.

6. You aren't accurately projecting what you want out of dating.

This right here is messy stuff. In life we tend to attract what we project. If you continue to project what you are not...then you will never attract what you are. I don't think there is anything wrong with casual dating. However, if you are truly looking for something long term then you need to be secure in that. Own it! Don't play the part of someone who just wants to "have fun" if that really isn't how you feel. That's not fair to you or the other person! 

This may mean setting boundaries so you stop feeling like a doormat. It may mean not answering the "What's up?" texts that somehow find their way to your inbox after 9 PM. It may mean taking a break from someone who you know is just looking for something you aren't. It may mean that you get real about physical boundaries.

If you can not own what you want for your future and accurately communicate may not be 100% ready for a long term relationship. 

Do any of these ring a bell for you or do you feel like you can't relate? If there are another signs you can think of to help our readers, join us over in the LAST MARRIAGES [CONNECTED] Facebook group to discuss :) 


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