I'm no stranger to relationships, although I've been in very few. This isn't going be a novel about my lackluster love life. This is simply going to be what the guys I have dated or been best friends with have taught me. I'll do my best not to bash on any specific guys in particular, but I can't promise that all of this isn't personal to me.
Disclaimer aside, I'd like to say thank you to those who have inspired (or instigated) me to write this post.
1. Don't base a guy's character primarily on how he treats you but rather on how he treats others. Watch how he interacts with other people.
I never dated in high school. I went school and church with the same group of guys all my life. When I got to college I started to notice that guys who were actually interested in me, probably because they hadn't seen my awkward phases. College was like a clean slate for me socially.
I had a friend who was so sweet to me (this guy bought me my favorite Doritos and a Batman beanie for my birthday!), and I thought he was cute too. Shallow, right? My attraction kind of ended there. He rarely said anything good about other people and frankly couldn't make up his mind, but I thought I could overlook that. I wasn't the nicest person either. In the end I realized God was moving me in a different direction, and I broke things off. (Side note: After that he started spreading rumors in his dorm about my friends and I, but I had a few good friends who chewed him out for it.)
2. If you have a conviction about something, don't comprise on it for anyone. Don't put your standards on hold even if you think your life will suck without a guy. Also if a guy can't accept you for who you are (i.e. things you can't change like height or skin color), then don't continue making excuses for him. It's very exhausting.
I'm not referring to things like your purity or something like that. Allow me to explain. Before I left for college, I decided I needed to put safeguards in my life to keep me safe as well as sane. If a guy wanted to go on a date with me, he'd have to call my dad and talk to him. Honestly this didn't happen much, only when a guy I was really in to asked me out.
I took a gap year after sophomore year. In that time, I was talking frequently to a mutual friend. I don't know if it was his Southern accent or his persistence that won me over. When I was preparing to go back to school, I told him I was willing to finally give him a chance. I also told him he would need to talk to my dad briefly. At first he was okay with it, but a couple days later he backed out saying that he didn't feel ready for a relationship because he wasn't where God wanted him to be. I came back to school. We talked and texted some.
His parents had some misgivings about my ethnicity, but he said that didn't bother him (hold onto that thought). I justified it to my friends because I thought I couldn't do any better. While on one hand he wanted to make things work with me, on the other hand, he wanted "to get to know other girls and [I] was in the mix." I cut it off right then. Later on he apologized because he "knew his parents would be disappointed if he didn't." Moral of the story: If a guy is trying to go after all the girls he wants, he'll lose every one of them.
3. Don't force something just because you are both lonely. If you text him alot, be careful with your words and pictures. Even if you're not together in person, things can still move fast while you're both far apart.
I was working in the PNW one summer (Another side note: I really miss that place!). A few months prior, I had reconnected with a close friend over Christmas break, and things picked up after my spring semester. He is from my home state so time difference was the worst. We talked on the phone almost every night, even if it was just a few minutes. He was really involved in his church. He was generous and kind. I thought it was sweet that he had it all planned out to come visit me once I was home in December. He loved his family.
When I asked him to talk to my dad, he was enthusiastic about it. He even took time to pray about it and talk it over with his parents, his pastor, and his best friend. His phone call with my dad had gone so well that when we talked later that night, he couldn't stop smiling. That night, as I sat on a porch swing in a backyard on Oregon and he sat in his truck a driveway in Pennsylvania, he said he loved me and asked me to be his girlfriend. I melted but I told him I had to get back to him about that (I accepted a couple days later). Before he asked that question, he had another one. I can't tell if it's a general ignorance on the part of Caucasians because I'd heard this question verbatim before (Remember what I said about another guy's parents having issues with my ethnicity?). Here's the question he asked: If he and I were to get married, would it be possible that our kids could end up looking black? My reaction was that of disappointment, embarrassment, and anger. How was it possible that this would happen twice in a matter of two years? After we had that conversation, things weren't entirely the same. I forgave him, knowing that he only asked that question to satisfy his parents.
When we ended things, I was about to go back to school again. We both felt it best to move on. Since we still had several months before it was even possible that we'd see each other, we were worried one or both of us would meet other people. So we broke up. At the end, thanks to some good counsel from a close friend, I realized I had bought into the lie that because I was both excited and afraid of what was going on between us that it might be love. I was so wrong because “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18
4. If a guy expects your undivided attention yet you can't seem to hold his, don't give him all your time. Never treat a guy like a priority when he only sees you as an option. If you are close friends, be there for him but don't try to be everything for him. He can hold a small place in your heart but don't give your whole heart to him. He won't realize he has it, he won't know how to handle it, or even if he intends to be careful, he'll drop it. A heartbreak cannot be mended with a relationship. Only your Heavenly Father can hold your heart as well as heal it.
I can't say much about this last point. This is all too fresh in my mind, and I'd hate for anyone I know to read this and think it's about them.
I spent the better part of the last few months getting my hopes up and then getting over a guy. We were close and he was my best guy friend, but we don't talk anymore. He is my biggest regret. Maybe it is that I cared the most about him or that there was so much left unsaid. Either way, I put myself through too much trying to satisfy his need for attention. I was desperate enough for a friend that I rationalized everything I did for him with "We're just friends. This is what friends do." My heart is still broken, but God is healing it.
I suppose I could have given bullet points and left it at that, but writing out something so personal can be cathartic. Take some time alone and write out your own story. Maybe in doing so, you'll be able to look back and see how far God has brought you.