Toxic Relationships: Part 1
When I entered my first year of high school I was only 13 years old. I was very young, and to be quite honest I wasn’t very smart, especially when it came to the terrifying yet alluring opposite gender. I had only been a Christian for about a year, so I made the mistake of being in a relationship with someone who was not a believer. Being young, dumb, and vulnerable I fell into a relationship with a senior who was turning 18 years old. I learned the hard way, like I always do. He was so kind in the beginning, and though it was cliché, I genuinely believed he was different from the rest. He came from a rough home life, so he came to me often looking for comfort and support. After awhile of being his support system, I began to think that he couldn’t survive without me, as if he needed me to go on. At least that’s what he made it sound like as our relationship progressed.
He went on a downhill spiral and began doing things I could not surround myself with. By the grace of God, I finally got out of that relationship. However, it did not stop after we broke up. He continued to talk to me, profess his “love” to me at 4am when he was drinking with his friends, and come over on holidays because he said he had no where to go. This lasted about 4 years after we broke up. He started to get angry at me when I would deny him of a relationship, and began tearing me down with his words, victimizing himself to get his way. He would give me an ear full about how I was unfaithful or how I ruined his life, but the next morning he would apologize and praise me for being so kind and patient with him. Tired of this roller coaster with a man I dated when I was but a baby, I blocked him from my phone and social media. During this time, I had moved into a different home, but he found my address and started writing letters to me and to my family.
Thankfully by the Lord’s protection this man eventually stopped writing me and I haven’t heard from him since. Though this relationship was toxic and regrettable, it taught me a great deal about men. I learned that I wasn’t as smart as a thought I was. There are certain people that seem in need of love, but as time progresses you will learn that they use their brokenness to trap you in an unhealthy relationship. As women, our natural tendency is to nurture the hurting. Some men know this and use a ladies compassionate heart against them. Not all men are like this, but be aware of the ones who are. Always guard your heart like it says in Proverbs 4:23.
Although I’ve learned A LOT about toxic boyfriends, I also learned quite a bit about myself and women alike. When we feel needed and appreciated, we will stay. If we believe that we are the source of a mans joy, we will never want to recognize the damage he inflicts on us. We are willing to be tore down verbally, maybe even physically, because we think he is just misunderstood and in pain. This is in no way true. A man who truly loves you will never tear you down like this. He will respect your boundaries and he will love the Lord. You may think that you are helping by staying, but in reality you’re enabling their bad habits and hurting yourself.
A piece of advice in looking for a Godly man is to look at 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Now replace the word “love” with your significant others name. Does it fit? Is he patient, is he not easily angered? A man of God will resemble these, or constantly work on these attributes. People are not perfect, but as Christians we always strive to be more like Christ. In brief: relationships can be dangerous, do not be unequally yoked (trust me on this one), pray without ceasing if you are in a relationship, and most importantly put Christ above all.