Is there hope for reconciliation after a breakup?

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Is there hope for reconciliation after a breakup?

Mar 15, 2011 |John Thomas
Question

I have a problem related to a confusing and heart-wrenching breakup I had nearly a year ago. She was — is — one of the most wonderful Christian women I know, yet she broke up with me.

I thought we were happy together. I believe I “loved her truly with God’s love,” as my friends said. I was concerned she wasn’t giving me enough attention, but I figured it was because she was busy and this was her first dating relationship, so we could work things out.

The night before I went to visit her at college, she called me and told me to come prepared to talk. I had no idea it would be a breakup talk.

She has hardly talked to me since. I’ve tried to talk to her about what had happened, but she eventually told me she only wanted to “communicate as friends.” I asked when I could see her next, and she told me she didn’t think we should see each other for a while.

I stashed away everything I had that would remind me of her: gifts, mementos, photos. But things I had little or no control over would remind me of her. I prayed that God would make them stop if I was to move on, but they didn’t. I wanted desperately for my heart to change, but it wouldn’t.

I began to wonder if these reminders were from God, as if He wasn’t letting me run away from the issue. So I asked God to either bring her and me back together as better people or to lead us both to someone else who was better, whichever brought Him the most glory.

I sought the counsel of friends. Some thought I was still hung-up on her, that once I met someone else I would be overcome with love for her and be over it. Others admired my loyalty and love.

Several months had passed by this point. I began to wonder if I should say something to her about this, but I feared I might overstep my bounds and try to do God’s work for Him. I prayed and asked God what to do. I wrote down what I believed was His answer. It said I could email her but that the rest was up to Him.

Two-and-a-half weeks later, she wrote me back saying her mind was unchanged, that she didn’t think she could give me what I wanted. I was still confused, but I told her that I would accept her answer.

I then asked if it was a good time to rebuild our friendship. I waited for weeks for an answer, but got none. I sent her two reminders, but still nothing. It seemed I didn’t matter to her. Finally, I wrote her an email confronting her on this and saying all the things I wanted to say since it seemed our friendship was doomed.

She wrote me back a few days later and ended the letter by saying that she still believed in me and wanted to know what was going on in my life but that we should go our separate ways and “see what happens.”

None of this makes sense to me. I thought she was different from the other girls I’ve courted, but now I’ve lost her completely just like I did with every other girl I’ve liked. I blame myself for it. First, because it seems I’m not worth loving. Second, because it seems my conduct has driven her away.

I don’t know what to do. Should I pray for reconciliation and, at the least, a restored friendship? Or is it hopeless? Could God, even now, still change her heart? Or should I pray I can love another woman like I did her?

Answer

I’m sorry this hasn’t worked out the way you had hoped. I know she means a lot to you, and those of us who’ve experienced heartbreak at some point in our lives can empathize with you. It can be very painful and confusing, but it’s not the last chapter to be written. Maybe I can offer some thoughts on helping this experience inform some of your journey ahead.

For starters, you made a statement early in your note about her being one of the most wonderful Christian women you know, “yet” she broke up with you, as if the two are a contradiction. Maybe it just flowed off your keypad that way, but it’s worth reminding you that her ending a relationship with you does not at all bring into question her Christianity.

Many wonderful Christian singles end relationships with other wonderful Christians for any number of reasons. It hurts to be on the receiving end of it, but in our hurt, let's make no assumptions about the sincerity of another’s faith and her efforts to follow God’s leadership in her life.

As for your current efforts to keep the lines of communication open, you’ve shown plenty of initiative. I think she’s been responsible and reasonable in her communication with you. Now you need to respect her by respecting her decision.

I know it is difficult to understand why God would allow you to have such strong feelings for someone who does not reciprocate those feelings, but He does. But it is wrong to assume that your feelings are any validation of God’s plans for you or for her, and continuing to operate as if they are is only going to cause more pain for you and discomfort for her.

“Going back” to being “just friends” after such a relationship as if none of this ever happened is not possible. I’m not saying two people can’t be friends after ending a dating or courting relationship, but it won’t be — and can’t be — just the same as it was, because history doesn’t move in that way. You can’t undo what’s been shared. That is now part of both of your lives.

Some new kind of relationship has to come out of it, one that accepts the whole history. This new paradigm thanks God for the good and trusts Him to bring glory out of the bad. But there’s no going back to exactly what was.

Given the reality that life as the two of you knew it before is not possible, you have to consider what is best for you moving forward. From what I can tell, you are in no place to be around her much, simply because you’d be torturing yourself. It also places her in an awkward position, at least for now. Time and space apart is what I advise.

Meanwhile, don’t listen to the lies you’re hearing in your head about not being worth loving. Recognize the pit of hell from which that comes, and reject it immediately. God has given His life because of His love for you. A million failed relationships, much less a couple, will never speak one word about your worth in the love department.

What do you pray now? Here’s my suggestion, every time you feel that tinge of pain, “Father, let me see me as You see me. Let me see her as You see her. Give me strength to move forward in Your steps. Use this to draw me into deeper relationship with You, God. Not mine, but Thy will be done.”

Blessings,
JOHN THOMAS

Copyright 2011 John Thomas. All rights reserved.

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