What should I do if the girl I like is dating someone else?

advice header image

What should I do if the girl I like is dating someone else?

Sep 26, 2011 |John Thomas
Question

I'm a guy in college, going on my senior year. Ever since high school there's been this one girl I met at my church to whom I've always been attracted. At first it was based on looks and personality. However, as we became closer friends and I got to know her more, I realized there was something more about her that was attractive: her genuine love and thirst for God.

Back then, I wasn't sure what it meant to be a godly man and be intentional, so I never made a move. I figured I wasn't ready spiritually to lead her and reasoned I needed to be stronger in my walk with Christ before I even thought about dating her.

After high school ended, I decided to go out of state for school, and gradually, this girl and I began to talk even less. Whenever we talked, though, I was overjoyed with her faithfulness in God, and it spurred me on to pursue God even harder.

Recently, after returning from school, I found out that she's dating another guy from our church. At first this really broke my heart, and I questioned God as to why this would happen. Was I not quick enough to take initiative?

The guy she's dating, from what I can see, is a godly man and much in love with Jesus; therefore, I don't know what I should do since I'm still attracted to her. Throughout the past four years there hasn't been a girl whom I was attracted to on such a deep level other than this girl. Sure, there were some moments when I thought that some other girl was pretty, but I never found one that I really connected to on a spiritual level or was so in love with God.

Right now I want to pray for an opportunity to be with her, but at the same time I don't want to interfere with her current relationship. I want to get my feelings off my chest, but I'm not sure what the best way of doing so would be. I truly do want the best for her, and if this man can lead her to pursue God in a way that I wouldn't be able to, then so be it.

What is your take on this? What should I do?

Answer

My opinion on a guy sharing with a girl how he feels about her is this: If it’s done in a honorable and honest way, without any sort of manipulation or unbiblical motive, and she’s not on the verge of marriage (or married, obviously) then why not do it?

There's absolutely nothing wrong or shameful about respectfully and honorably telling someone the truth about who you are and what is going on in your heart. As I’ve written before, women (and men) are entirely capable of taking in all the information there is about their relationship options and making their own decisions about them. While I appreciate the fact that we all want to respect someone pursuing the same person, that doesn’t mean we should feel as if we need to “protect” her from information that might alter the course she’s on. She’s a big girl, and she can determine that on her own. She simply needs pertinent and accurate information.

So how do you handle such a sensitive and possibly boat-rocking conversation? Here’s some practical advice.

First, start praying now and ask God to guide this process and to lead you in a way that pleases His heart and brings Him glory. Pray about every detail of the conversation and pray it often. I’d give it a week of prayer before you make the first contact about it.

Next, as much as it is possible, do this face-to-face. There's simply no better way to make sure the message you have in your head and heart gets communicated as clearly as possible. In other words, no electronic media. This is something that requires the whole person — facial expressions, body language, voice inflections — you get the point.

Then contact her and ask if you can meet her for a short conversation somewhere (in a public place) for a very casual but time-sensitive visit.

When you get together, remember that as difficult and maybe counter-intuitive as it seems, you should do your best to dial down your emotions when sharing your thoughts. Obviously, your emotions are involved in the whole thing, otherwise you wouldn’t have written to us, but they can sometimes cloud the issue and distract from what you want to accomplish.

Please don’t think I’m asking you to speak like a robot; be real and human and simply tell her your story, just as you did so well in your correspondence with us. That’s the simple truth, and that’s what she needs to know.

At the very least she should be encouraged that her relationship with God stirred your own heart for Him. That would be worth telling her even if you weren’t interested in a relationship. That’s great news, and she should be affirmed in that.

Finally, prayerfully leave it in her hands. She might respond right away, or she might need time to process. Either way, you’ve done all you know to do, and you can be at peace with that. The rest will unfold in short order, and you can put all your trust in a good God who loves you (and her) deeply and will do you both good.

Meanwhile I’d give her lots of space to reduce whatever awkwardness there might be when all three of you are in the same location. After a few weeks or a month, I’d check back in with her to see where she is (if she hasn’t already gotten back to you) and move ahead accordingly.

If she stays exclusive with her other friend and is moving toward marriage, then bless them and move on. If she’s open to the idea of exploring what God might have for the two of you, then start spending some time together and see where God leads you.

Relationships are science and art. I’ve given you some practical advice, but be prepared to make all kinds of adjustments along the way. If you’ll anchor yourself in honoring God in all your actions throughout this season, He’ll keep you on the right path.

Blessings,
JOHN THOMAS

Copyright 2011 John Thomas. All rights reserved.

If you have a question you'd like us to consider for this column, please send it to editor@boundless.org. Please note that all questions we select for this column may be edited for clarity and privacy and become the property of Focus on the Family.

Donate

Like what you see?

If you’ve enjoyed this article, will you consider giving a tax-deductible gift to Boundless right now? We’re a donor-funded ministry, and we rely on friends like you to help keep us going! DONATE NOW »

References
  • .

THE BOUNDLESS BUZZ

Sign up for our weekly e-newsletter and see all our latest content every Thursday.