REFLECT: Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand: Ephesians 6:13
APPLY: Once you have come to see that a relationship is toxic, and you have come to accept that you must end it, then end it you must.
It must be said: this is not always easy.
It is not unusual – when you have been the one to end it – for the spurned person to try to revive the relationship. The intention may be sincere – promises to turn over a new leaf and to take your objections to heart may be meant when made, but promises without the heart work to bring about real change are only that – words.
If you give in, you will soon find yourself in the same – or an even worse – position, and you will wonder why you did not heed the boundary that required an end to the relationship.
Christiane had decided that she was going to end her relationship. Her boyfriend said he loved her, but his actions were hurtful.
He was very good looking while she was ‘only’ averagely attractive: by means of hurtful ‘jokes’ he had let her know that because of the disparity in their looks, she should be grateful for his attentions. To make things worse, one of his friends had commented – when both of them were present – that he was sorry for Christiane, because her boyfriend was so much better looking than her and would always have prettier women trying to entice him away!
As it turned out, her boyfriend was not a faithful friend: Christiane had caught him being unfaithful to her more than once. The first time, she found a pair of female panties in his room – for which he could give no good explanation. Six months later, she found a bright red bra in his laundry basket.
Unable to explain the garment away, he confessed and begged her not to break up with him. It was a aberration that would never happen again, he said, yet, it DID happen again. Caught again, he made the same promises, begging her – this time with tears in his eyes, not to break up with him.
Christiane could see that he was sorry that he had been caught rather than being sincerely repentant. For the first time she could see how toxic a relationship it was – not only was her her self esteem being eroded by his narcissistic attitude, he had lost her trust, and she doubted he loved her.
Though very sad for months afterwards. she ended the relationship, hoping she had made the right decision.
Many years later, she bumped into him on a busy street. They were, by then, both married, with children. Well and truly over him, she only felt platonic affection for an old friend. They exchanged telephone numbers promising to introduce their families.
To her dismay, he started calling her furtively, without the knowledge of his wife. Not only that, he let Christiane know that he still had feelings for her, and that he was open to an adulterous affair.
Disgusted, Christiane gave him a stern talking to, and told him not to call her again. Though sorry for his wife, she was gratified she made the right decision, all those years ago. Far from working on his character to become a better person, he didn’t change – he simply found a more tolerant partner with whom he could continue his unfaithful ways.
PRAY: Father, thank you for the light of your Word. It is such a relief to me that I can examine my experiences by Your standards, and be confident in my decisions. Help me grow in insight and discernment, so that I will know when to forgive with a second chance, and when to terminate relations firmly (Acts 15:37-41). Enable me, once I have made up my mind, to stand firm, and not be blown about by the persuasions or preferences of others. In Your Loving Name, Amen.