Last updated on September 27, 2020
My girlfriend and I have been dating for the past year. I want to break up with her, but I have no idea how.
First of all, I am not allowed to date. I have been keeping our relationship a secret for the longest time and the guilt has literally been eating me alive.
Also, sometimes she and I do inappropriate things that are not expected of Christians that also cause me a lot of guilt and shame. She goes to church, but not regularly, and doesn’t really follow the commandments concerning sexual purity. I always tell myself that when I see her I won’t do anything, but I have no self-control and it never works.
I know I need to end the relationship because it is wrong and isn’t productive, but the problem is that I really do think I love her and don’t know what I’d do without her. We’ve been through a lot together and I simply can’t bring myself to break up with her. Also, she a great person and I don’t want to hurt her. I just really hate myself for letting it go this long and getting myself into this situation. This is my dilemma, what should I do?
“For all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father but is of the world” (I John 2:16).
Temptation comes through three avenues:
- Lusts of the flesh are those things that the body desires and needs. We get hungry, thirsty, desire sex, etc. all because we occupy a physical body.
- Lusts of the eyes are the things we find visually attractive. We like shiny, colorful things because they catch our attention.
- Pride of life results from our desire to be liked or respected by others.
Taken just by themselves, there isn’t anything morally right or wrong about these avenues, but if you understand the basic drives of people, then you can influence their decisions. You see this in marketing. You walk into a theater, you smell popcorn, and suddenly you want some, even if you just ate a short time earlier. This is an appeal to the lust of the flesh. Car dealers keep the cars on their lots spotlessly shiny because they know people will be attracted to them through the lust of the eyes. Colleges advertise the success of their students because they are appealing to the pride of life.
Now, realize that Satan sells sins. He uses the same three basic appeals to make sin look attractive and to influence your decisions.
The reason you are having a hard time ending a bad relationship is because of these same three drives. You like having a girlfriend. It makes you feel older. It is great to have someone who respects you and understands you a bit. But you have also allowed sexual misbehavior to creep into the relationship, and so your desire for sex is driving your decisions.
There is one other appeal that many people overlook that is a form of pride of life. “Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant” (Proverbs 9:17). Water is water and bread is bread, but add an element of excitement due to doing something you know is wrong and each becomes something more than just bread and water. You have been hiding your relationship from your parents and that element of defiance adds extra excitement to the relationship. You also know that your behavior with her is also wrong. On one hand, it fills you with guilt but on the other hand, it feels great. Thus, it is hard to stop.
You didn’t mention what you two have been doing. I have to assume it involves sexual touching (I Corinthians 7:1), inappropriate discussions (Ephesians 5:3-7), and lewd behavior (Romans 13:13-14). The biggest problem you have is that while you know you need to pull back, your girlfriend doesn’t have the same moral standards that you do (I Corinthians 15:33). In her view, she is more likely to keep your interest in her by fanning your sexual desires. Thus, each time you move back toward God, she increases her sexual behavior because she misinterprets what you are doing as a lack of interest in her. What you suspect and she is ignoring is that give and pull is advancing. Eventually, it is going to end up with you having sex with her. When it does happen, it is going to come suddenly as instinct takes over, and only after you ejaculate are you going to realize what you had done.
I don’t know how old you are, but questions I ask guys to consider are: Do you think this girl will make a good wife? Consider that she is lax regarding her moral standards in regard to sex. Will that lead you to always wonder whether she will remain faithful to you in the future? Is she the type of person you want to raise your children? Will she make you a better, stronger Christian?
My suspicion is that the answers to most of these questions are in the negative. If so, then you need to simply say, “I find you highly attractive, but this relationship is going in the wrong direction. It is pulling me away from God. I just can’t jeopardize my salvation over my desire for you when we are not married.” She won’t like it because she will realize she has lost control over you. She might even try to regain control by trying to get you to have sex with her; perhaps not right then, but in the days following. You will have to steel yourself to resist the temptation. You have to make it extremely inconvenient for her to tempt you to sin.
Thank you for responding minister. I will try to take heed to your advice. I know that I have to end the relationship, I’m just having trouble doing it because I really don’t want to hurt her, but I guess I have to. Thank you for the wise advice.
I understand the reluctance, but I would rather you be safe than been used for others pleasure.