Hey ladies! I receive a lot of emails asking for relationship advice. In all those emails, I’ve noticed some trends—scenarios that a lot of girls are facing in their relationships. And these particular scenarios might actually warrant a breakup.
Now, before you decide whether or not to end the relationship, I would recommend talking with some friends and adults that you trust. It’s so important to get some outside feedback from people who know you and your boyfriend. If your relationship falls into one of the three scenarios below, talk with the people who know you and ask for their advice.
Are you ready? Let’s take a deep breath and dive in!
Scenario #1: You’ve been with him for several months, and you still can’t decide if you like him.
When I was 24, I dated this awesome guy. He was wonderful and treated me like gold, and we had a great relationship. There was just one catch: I felt like I’d never fallen in love with him.
We had dated for about a year when I started wondering, Is this normal? I just don’t know if I really like him enough to marry him. But he’s so great! Shouldn’t I marry him anyway just because he’s such a great guy and we have a healthy relationship?
I couldn’t figure it out. One day I wanted to marry him, the next day I wanted to dump him and the following day I was indifferent. Was this love?
One day I was talking with my friend Joel when he asked me, “Tiffany, if you knew for sure that God had someone else out there for you, the kind of guy you’d prayed for all your life, would you stay with this boyfriend?”
“Not for another second,” I replied.
“Then maybe you’re dating this guy out of fear—fear of ending up alone—instead of dating him by faith—faith that God is good and has good things for you.”
I sat there, totally stunned, as Joel finished, “God calls us to walk by faith, not by fear.”
I’ve never forgotten those words. He was right. In my situation, I was only dating that boyfriend because I was afraid I’d never find anyone better. I’m so glad God gave me the faith and courage to end the relationship, because four years later I found exactly the guy I’d spent my whole life praying for.
Addendum: If you’ve only been dating your boyfriend for a couple months, I think it’s normal to feel confused about whether or not you like him. I mean, two weeks into dating my future husband, I almost dumped him because I didn’t know if I liked him. True story! But after you’ve been together several months or a year, you really know him. By that point, if you really like him, you will know you do (in my opinion).
Scenario #2: Your boyfriend has a deep addiction to pornography.
Girls often ask me, “My boyfriend struggles with porn. Is that okay or should I leave him?”
I think the answer to that question depends on his attitude toward the struggle and the extent of the struggle. Here’s what I mean.
His attitude matters: A lot of guys today have the attitude that porn is no big deal. “I’m a man; of course I look at porn!” But the attitude that porn is no big deal—that is a big deal.
Jesus clearly says that if you look at someone lustfully, you are committing adultery with that person in your heart (Matthew 5:27-28). The Bible calls us to a higher standard.
On top of this, research shows that porn destroys relationships. It’s like a drug and can ruin a relationship, just like any other addiction (alcohol, gambling and so on). (Check out fightthenewdrug.org to learn more!)
Porn is a big deal.
Here’s the kind of attitude you want to see in your boyfriend: “I want to honor God in every part of my life; therefore, porn is a big deal. I will do whatever it takes to walk free from this temptation. I have a support system in my life, and I need accountability and will do whatever else I need to in order to work through this.”
Now, let’s talk about the second consideration: the extent of his struggle with porn.
Porn is a real temptation for both girls and guys, and there are a lot of awesome, godly men who occasionally slip into it (maybe once every few months or so), realize what they’ve done and get back on track. Personally, I don’t think that’s a reason to break up with someone.
But when porn becomes an addiction, then even if the guy is getting help, I would still end the relationship.
If your boyfriend looks at porn on a daily basis, if it interferes with the rest of his life or if he can’t seem to shake it, then I would encourage him to get help while you consider stepping out of your role as his girlfriend. Just like with any addiction, he needs to get help for himself, not for you.
And you need to see a lasting change over time. Anyone can change for a few weeks, but you need to see that he has made a change that continues over time.
Scenario #3: Your boyfriend is irresponsible with his money.
Remember that first boyfriend I told you about earlier? The one big issue in our relationship was how he handled money—and it totally stressed me out.
I remember he gave me a fancy pink camera for my birthday one year. I loved it! He explained, “I first bought it in another color before I found it in pink.” I laughed and asked if he was able to return the first camera. “Oh, no, I haven’t returned it. Just haven’t gotten around to it,” he said.
And guess what? He never did return it, as far as I know. For months and months, it sat on the floor in his room as the bill sat on his credit card.
As my husband would say, it is a terrible, terrible idea to marry someone who is not a good steward of his money. Money is actually one of the main reasons for divorce in our society. It affects the way you live, how free you are to pursue the dreams in your heart, how you can give to others and more—and financial pressure from unwise decisions can be debilitating to a relationship.
On top of this, the way a guy handles money actually tells you a lot about his character!
- For example, does he practice self-control when he sees something he wants but can’t afford?
- Does he have to have all the latest and most expensive gadgets because they give him a false sense of identity?
The answers to those questions can tell you a lot about who your boyfriend really is. And the way he handles money shows how he’ll be responsible in other areas of life as well.
The problem is many people never learn how to handle money. Wise money management isn’t always modeled at home. So your boyfriend may need to learn how to be a good steward of his money.
If you or your boyfriend struggles with money:
- Talk about it. Start having conversations to learn how the other person spends and saves money. Encourage each other.
- Try taking Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace Seminar together (often offered at local churches), which has helped thousands of people learn how to handle money wisely.
- Look for positive changes in his money management—changes that last over time.
We can always learn how to become better and better stewards of what God has given us, and it’s important to do that at every stage of life.
But if your boyfriend continues to be irresponsible with his money, then my advice would be: Don’t marry him.
Girls, I hope this article will help you!
As always, please comment below and share any scenarios YOU would add to this list. What are some other situations when it would be important to end a relationship?