Q: I know I should break up with my boyfriend, but we’ve broken up before and gotten back together. I feel like our relationship isn’t the best for me, but I really care about him. What should I do?

A: I understand that you care for your boyfriend. Breaking up with someone does not mean that you think they are a horrible person (that may or may not be true). Rather, it means that he is not the right person for you. Remember that the purpose of dating is to see if this is the person God is calling you to marry. When you suspect or know that this is not the relationship God wants for you, it is appropriate to end it. That doesn’t necessarily mean your break up will be easy or free of pain, but knowing that there is a bigger plan and more to life than just this relationship can help you through this time. Here is my advice for ending a relationship that needs to be ended:

1. Pray.
Ask God for guidance in making this decision. You can pray anywhere. I find it especially helpful to pray in a church looking at the tabernacle that holds Jesus or in front of the Blessed Sacrament.

2. Rest in the peace of knowing that you are deeply loved by God.
God has wonderful plans for your future (Jeremiah 29:11). More than any loving father on earth, He wants you to date the right kind of guy. A man who will love you and respect you. A man who will try to imitate God as he treats you as you deserve to be treated. In your heart you know these things. God wants to fulfill the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4).

3. Know that God’s timing is perfect (Ecclesiastes 3:1).
Trust that He brought you to a place and a time that is right for this break up. Don’t continue to second guess your feelings or reasons for wanting to break up.

4. Make a list.
Make a list of the reasons and things that have happened to remind you why you know breaking up is the right thing to do. You can also make a list of the qualities you desire in a relationship. In the past, it helped me to think of the positive relationships around me and set them as my role models.

5. Confide in a trusted parent, friend, spiritual advisor, etc.
From my own experience, I remember how confusing it can be to have invested your time, heart, and life into a relationship. Someone outside your relationship will be able to offer you more objective advice. Let this person hold you accountable for acting on the decision that you know is best. He or she can also be a great support following your break up.

6. Don’t delay the inevitable.
There’s nothing more agonizing than knowing you should break off a relationship and then waiting to do it. There’s always going to be an excuse to wait a little longer – eg, it’s a week before his birthday/Valentines’ Day/your anniversary/a big test/the dance. There’s never really a perfect time for a break up. Rather than deliberately hiding the truth and stringing your significant other along, it’s better to let him know how you’re feeling as soon as possible.

7. Keep the break up conversation short and simple.
There is no reason to rehash everything that has happened, bad or good, in your relationship. A three-hour conversation about how this is really over is not going to make the break up less painful. In fact, a long discussion may make you feel more confused or begin to doubt yourself. Once you’ve come to the place where you’ve prayed about your decision, you’re aware of the reasons why you need to break up, and you’ve consulted someone else who agrees this is the right thing to do – then just do it. Let your boyfriend know that this relationship is not right for you and that you’re moving on.

8. Don’t try to be friends with your ex right away (if at all).
Again, remember God’s timing is perfect. Your ex was in your life for a season and that season needed to end. If this person is to be in your future then circumstances will change – that time is not now. Let him go. No texting, messaging, calling, talking about what went wrong, etc. for a good long time.

9. Give yourself time to heal.
Surround yourself with supportive, loving people. Continue to turn to God. Know that you are perfect without this other person. That doesn’t mean you won’t be sad and suffer from a broken heart. That is completely normal and to be expected. Give it time and look for a sense of peace that comes from knowing you’ve made the right decision. Use this time to read an encouraging book, such as “How to Find Your Soulmate Without Losing Your Soul,” by Jason and Crystalina Evert (especially the chapters “Break Up, Even if He Smells Good,” “Enjoy the Season of Singleness,” and “Believe Again”).

10. Be excited about the future!
Ending a relationship that needs to be ended is the first step to making way for the wonderful relationship your heart desires. Take delight and trust in the Lord. Allow Him to help you break free and enjoy all of the plans He has in store for you.

Do you have a question about dating and relationships you’d like to ask Brian and Courtney Kissinger? Email them at Itscomplicated@lifeteen.com and your question could be the next blog post!

Photo by Mitchell Joyce, CC 2.0, Logo added

About the Author

Courtney Kissinger

I graduated from law school and then decided to become an elementary school teacher. I’m married to an arguably attractive youth minister, Brian, and we have the cutest daughter and son. I hate cheese. That includes cheese on pizza, Nacho Cheese Doritos, cottage cheese, and cream cheese. I will eat cheesecake if it’s covered with chocolate.

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