When it comes to dating and singleness, perhaps some of the most needed Christian advice is “How to get over someone.”
You have to get semi-connected to someone to see if the relationship can progress. The problem is once you figure out the two of you are not going to be moving forward in the relationship, that connection needs to break.
If you never move on from your ex-boyfriend, ex-girlfriend, or just someone you really liked but doesn’t like you back to the same degree, it will be very difficult to have a healthy future relationship with someone else. More importantly, if you don’t move on it can also begin to affect your relationship with God.
So here are 4 pieces of Christian advice that might help you get over someone.
1.Grieving Is the First Step in Healing and Getting Over Someone
One piece of Christian advice that applies to healing in general is that grieving is always the first step. Whether you lost a loved one, you lost a job, or you lost your dating relationship, to move on and heal in healthy ways, grieving must take place.
I think a biblical example of grieving and healing is when Jesus spoke with Peter in John 21. When I read that passage it feels like Jesus had to make Peter feel the weight of his sin so he could grieve it properly and be healed completely.
The level of your grief should correspond to the level of your loss. So if you dated someone for a year it is healthy to grieve longer than if you broke up after a two week relationship. Likewise, it is unhealthy to grieve a two week relationship like it had been a yearlong dating experience.
If you don’t grieve the loss, though, it will be more difficult to get over this person in an appropriate time. It takes longer to heal from something when you refuse to believe you need healing. I think healing can still take place if you defensively try to minimize your hurt; but by trying to move on too quickly and acting like you are not hurt, I believe you are just slowing down the process of getting over someone.
(For more on this topic, read the article, “Grieving and Healing.”
2. To Get Over Someone You Must Repent of Any Idolatry in the Relationship
I’m not saying every Christian dating relationship is full of idolatry. And not every relationship that does have idolatry has it to the same level. However, if the grieving seems more severe than it should be or you just can’t seem to get over your ex after the breakup, it might be because you have idolized this person.
When you worship you give yourself to the object of your worship. Obviously when we worship God this is good. However, when we worship false gods we do ourselves damage by giving ourselves to them. So applying that Christian advice to the topic of “How to get over someone,” perhaps you can’t let that person go because “they still have a piece of you” (so to speak) when you worshiped them or looked to them to fill you in ways only God can.
This does not need to be permanent. When you repent, you take your heart back and give it to God. So if you are having trouble moving on, examine yourself to make sure you were not looking to this person to fill you in ways only God can (1 John 5:21).
(For more on this topic, read the article, “Identifying Idols of the Heart.”)
3. To Heal After a Breakup, You Need New Healthy Boundaries
If you want to get over someone, you will definitely want to do some research on Christian advice about boundaries. Healing and moving on emotionally and spiritually has many similarities to physical healing.
If you have an injury, you need to give it time before you go do that activity which led to the injury. If you hurt your knee playing basketball, you need to take some time off from playing basketball. Likewise, if you just broke up, you will need to take some time off from dating so you can heal up.
Even more so, I believe most times it’s not wise to continue a close friendship with your ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend. The more seriously you dated, the more distance should occur once you breakup. By putting in healthy boundaries you will be able to get over someone much quicker than if you just keep reopening that scab by seeing that person and interacting with that person all the time.
(For more on this, read the article I wrote for RELEVANT Magazine: Can You Really Be Friends After the Breakup?)
4. Stop Hoping the Old Relationship Rekindles and Be Hopeful for New Relationships
“Hope” is a joyful expectation for something good. But as Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” To always be hoping that old relationship rekindles will keep your heart sick because your hope will keep getting deferred.
In other words, you won’t be able to enjoy new hopes until you let go of the old ones. I don’t think there is anything wrong to hope for a rekindled relationship for a season of time with your ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend. But if it doesn’t seem to be happening in the near future, you can’t arrange your life around something that seems so unlikely. Eventually you just need to accept that it really is over if you want to get over that person and enjoy new hopes in new relationships.
(For more on this, read the article, “Christian Dating, Breakups, and 4 Tips to Help You Get Through It With God.”)
Christian Advice: How to Get Over Someone
In summary, to get over someone, it will take time, but time alone does not heal wounds. If you rely on time for healing, you will feel the pain less, but most likely it will just be because the pain is being buried deeper and deeper.
True healing only happens through Jesus Christ. So if you want to get over someone, pursue Jesus and rely on Jesus more than anything or anyone else. There’s no better Christian advice than that.