Dear Michele: How Long Should I Wait?

Dear Michele,I was with my boyfriend for 2 years and all through that time he told me he would never remarry because he had two failed marriages. I always thought he would come around and waited and prayed he would… well he didn’t.

His brother passed away and he used that to push me away. After 8 months, he called me and I met with him. We talked for hours trying to resolve the “marriage” issue which was huge for me as I really loved him (still). During the conversation he told me that he marry me for two reasons: he loved me like no one else he ever loved before and because it was very important to me and the reason I was taking him back.

Two years later he now is telling me that he lied to me about marriage, he sees us as boyfriend and girlfriend and there is no reason to change our status. Well, I guess I am answering my own question but I want to know if there could be any hope of turning him around (again). I can’t beat my head against the wall anymore and it’s breaking my heart. I pray to God daily to give me the strength to make the right decision and to get through it all.
How Long Do I Wait?

Dear How Long Do I Wait,
My dear, my heart breaks when I hear your story. Not because I believe the man you are meant to be with has turned away, but rather that you have remained in a relationship that does not honor your time or dignity. I can hear how much you love this man, but you must ask yourself, why are you so much in love with a person who will not commit to you? You are basically in love with someone who is unavailable, which is a great way to remain single. I know that you don’t want to remain single, so there is something inside of you that is working against one of your greatest desires.

It is horrible that this man lied to you to be with you. It is inexcusable. It is even more sad that you gave yourself away to simply be with him. What is the attraction? Does he have qualities that you wish you had yourself? Sometimes we are actually drawn to the “bad” qualities of someone when we do not address that quality within ourselves. Do you have some hidden fears of commitment? Maybe ones you are denying? There is a very good reason that you are in love with a man who wants you only for his own companionship. Finding that reason would be key to your own growth. I understand you are in love, the question is why you allowed yourself to hold on with false hope for so long. The idea of “winning” him over must have been very powerful for you – too much so. You lost yourself to it. Find out why.

So no, I don’t think you can turn him around again. I don’t think you turned him around the first time. I think the only way to be with him is to give up on yourself. To give yourself over to him with the understanding that you will never marry, and he may leave you again anyhow. You may still grow old alone. How does that sound? Hopefully your inner strength is telling you that is not what you want.

It will be painful to walk away. You must give up a dream you had – a dream to take control of a situation that was never going to change. Look deeply inside yourself, and in your life, to see if this situation is a repeat pattern for you. I would encourage you to work with a trusted mentor, clergy, or therapist to discover the answers hidden in your heart. A good book I can suggest is “Safe People” by Drs. Cloud and Townsend.

I hear that your heart is breaking, but I believe it is breaking towards growth. Continue to ask God for his strength. He wants to be there for you. Ask him to give you wisdom and discernment, to help you discover why you have allowed yourself to hold on for so long. Ask Him to help you seek out people who will genuinely care for you.

And continue to the voice that answered your own question, knowing that it’s time to step away.

God Bless,
Michele Fleming, M.A.