Christian dating breakups are common. Most 20-to-30-somethings have been in multiple dating relationships. Not all breakups are because of sin. Maybe after time, the two of you just realized it wasn’t meant to be. Or perhaps some of those relationships were sinful and ended because God wasn’t in it.
Regardless of the reason for the breakup, the weeks and months that follow can feel like you just got shoved down a river without a rafting guide and now you need to figure out how to survive class V whitewater rapids on the fly.
Jesus doesn’t want that for you. While the Bible doesn’t talk about Christian dating breakups, it does talk a lot about forgiveness, healing, and living a healthy life for God’s glory.
So here are four quick biblical tips that will help prepare you for the future by helping you deal with any past breakups that were unhealthy.
#1: Don’t Form Unbiblical Beliefs in Response to Your Breakup
As A.W. Tozer said, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” Satan knows this is true, therefore he uses every opportunity to try and twist our understanding of God’s truth.
“Does God really love me?” “Does God have a good plan for my life?” “Maybe I’ll never find a spouse if I only date Christians.” “I’ve tried to follow God’s laws and where has that got me? I’m done with this!”
None of us would accept statements like these in a right state of mind. But after a breakup, you are vulnerable. Just as Satan waited until Jesus was hungry, temptations to believe the worst about God come at Christians when we are at our weakest (Luke 4:2).
Be on guard after a breakup. Trust your Bible more than your emotions. If you realize you’ve started to believe lies about God’s love for you because of a bad Christian dating breakup, renounce those lies, repent, and actively believe God’s word.
#2: Don’t Skip the Grieving Process After a Dating Breakup, But Don’t Cling to It Either
To heal properly, you have to embrace the reality of your loss. If you never allow yourself to accept that you were hurt after the dating breakup, you will slow the healing process, or even miss it altogether.
For a Christian to recover after a dating relationship ends, you need to allow yourself a healthy emotional grieving time. A good rule of thumb is that the longer the relationship was, the longer the time of grieving should be. I won’t put an actual time frame on it. Pray about it. God will make it clear. Think in terms of weeks or months, not years.
It’s possible to grieve too long after a dating breakup. Depending on your personality and coping mechanisms, you might be tempted to shrug it off like it didn’t matter or hold onto the pain like a flotation device as you flounder in the sea of your tears. It’s good to be emotional, but allow your emotions to be governed by wisdom and (most importantly) by the Holy Spirit.
#3: Don’t Try to Be Best Friends with Your Ex Boyfriend or Girlfriend
I say “best friends” because I don’t believe it is impossible to maintain a healthy friendship after a dating breakup for Christians. But I do think in most cases it should not be attempted. I think you have to consider how serious the relationship was. If you went on a date in high school with a girl and now you are in the same marriage Bible study with both your spouses, relax. It doesn’t need to be a big deal.
But if you had a long-term dating relationship with someone that was serious, it’s not healthy to try and remain friends. The heart just doesn’t work like that. You will ruin each other’s future dating chances, you’ll slow the healing process, and you’ll probably have to fight unnecessary temptation as a result.
Social media can be a killer when it comes to moving on. I recommend resisting the temptation to remain social media buddies. You don’t have to be enemies, but if you want to move on in a healthy way with God after your dating breakup, you’ll need to be intentional about boundaries. The risk-reward just isn’t worth it. Not to mention how uncomfortable this continued relationship could make your future spouse.
#4: Confess Your Part, Forgive His/Her Wrongs, Repent, and Keep Moving Forward With God
If you get the chance during the actual breakup process, ask your ex for forgiveness in relation to any sins you committed against him or her. Small or big, own your part and repent first to God and then to the person you hurt.
Also take intentional time to forgive your ex of any sins against you. It’s ideal if he or she asks for that forgiveness, but their participation is not necessary for you to forgive.
The important thing is to do it. Nothing ruins your future relationships more than an offense you haven’t forgiven against someone in your past. You’ll project that hurt onto the wrong source of your pain, you will mistrust people who should be trusted, and you’ll never be able to be vulnerable again unless you forgive the people in your past who have hurt you. It may sound cliché, but it’s true: forgiving someone is setting yourself free.
As a Christian, if you never take the time to analyze what you did wrong in the dating relationship, you will never change. If you never take the time to forgive their wrongs, you will never truly move forward with God. Not every relationship ended because of sin. But we all sin during relationships. God wants to use your breakup to grow and sanctify you. After you repent, embrace God’s forgiveness and restoration by moving on without shame (2 Corinthians 7:10, 1 John 1:9).
Be Intentional With God About Getting Through A Dating Breakup
In closing, don’t underestimate the importance of navigating the rough waters that will follow after a Christian dating breakup. If you’re in a water current, you will be swept downriver but you can still navigate your boat. You’ll just have to be intentional. Otherwise you will be at the mercy of the waters. The same is true during the weeks and months after a breakup.
After a Christian dating breakup, God wants to graciously heal you and prepare you for the future. God wants to help you get through this with him. Believe the best of God, grieve well, set healthy boundaries, and use that past dating relationship as a learning experience.