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To Pursue or not Pursue an Abused Female Friend?

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  • Need Advice: To Pursue or not Pursue an Abused Female Friend?

    Hi!

    Iím (yes! another!) a young man with a girl issue.

    I have a really good female friend. Weíve known each other since elementary school days and grew up in the same hometown, but weíve been especially good friends for the past 12 years or so (weíre both almost thirty now). She had a crush on me in high school but I didnít reciprocate since the chemistry wasnít there for me. Still we were very good friends. I was continually impressed by her caring heart and the depth of her relationship with God (not that she always had a smooth relationship with God, but then to me thatís also a mark authenticity). Long story short I cared about her but thought I could find a young lady with whom I had better chemistry. We moved to different areas of the country, but still emailed, called, or sent letter a few times a year, or occasionally even sent a care package. Time went on- I wound up being the guy that she would call or email for advice and support, and likewise I found myself wanting her to know about my successes and failures because I knew she genuinely cared. We understood each other unusually well- Iím not sure how to describe it except to say that for example a letter from me at a critical time has made her cry (in a good way), and likewise when I was going through some very dark days/months, God kept me alive using her because I knew she understood my situation in a way no one else would. I also found out that ďgood chemistryĒ with other women could be very short-lived and just because someone said they cared didnít make it true.

    In brief, in mid/late 2017 my friend and I started talking about looking seriously at marriage. It was a fun but also challenging time. We agreed more or less that we would make a good couple. Complications arose nonetheless.
    #1. She was completely ready for a ďfriendshipĒ marriage (meaning without ďfalling in loveĒ) with a wedding only a few weeks out. Being a long-time bachelor and somewhat wounded romantic that idea scared me a bit on a couple of levels, since I like the single life in some ways and I wanted us to ďfall in loveĒ before we got married. The chemistry still wasnít really there for me at that time.
    #2 we still lived 14 hours (by driving) apart, and neither of us had the type of jobs that provided the finances or vacation time for frequent visits. Our jobs and families kept us in our respective areas, and she was only willing to move if we were going to get married.
    #3 The greatest difficulty in my opinion: she had been assaulted sometime in the previous 1-3 years. This came to light gradually as we talked about our relationship. Itís not my story and I didnít press for details about the event. From puzzle-pieces she let fall I suspect the assailant was an older ďChristianĒ male in a position of trust. She was going to counseling for it, but Iím not sure that was helping. Whatever happened, it wrought a lot of havoc on our new romance from time to time. She struggled with attachment and trust. She might call me in the middle of the night because she needed somebody to talk to and knew Iíd understand, only to cancel a phone ďdateĒ a few days later because a random guy she saw in town that triggered traumatic memories and she was in no mood for a date. Iím not condemning either of those reactions- my heart was totally with her in both occasions. Still, that went on for months and was nerve wracking. I felt like the relationship wasnít gaining any ground, like I was unappreciated, like I was being punished for something I didnít do.

    Although I would say our relationship was otherwise very good, she tried to break up with me twice because she knew the complications were wearing me down. The third time I gave in and we broke up- we had a long-anticipated in-person date that just didnít click for a lot of reasons, and I felt like we were at a standstill. There was still a lot of affection on both sides and the next day we met in a church and just held each other for a long time, not saying anything. I made her promise to tell me if she felt like she was ready for a relationship later on, if I was still single. She told me she HAD fallen in love with me (and I had fallen in love with her by that time, more or less), but that she thought Iíd be happier with someone else.

    Itís been about a year since the breakup. Iíve been on a few dates with other young ladies, and although I've met some good kids I donít feel Iíve met a great match. My old friend and I donít talk much anymore. Still, she let me know when she was passing through my area a few days ago, and had an extremely thoughtful gift basket. We laughed a LOT. She told me twice that she was ďgetting betterĒ in regard to the trauma. She also told me, more or less, that she was worried about me not moving on.

    Iím still looking and praying for a spouse. This young lady loves God and is wise, kind, intelligent, patient, self-aware and honest with herself. Sheís one of my best friends, and the physical attraction increased for me when we started a romantic relationship. Itís very, very hard to find all those qualities in a person. I wonder if I should pursue her again. She said she was getting better. So talking about marriage again would be a good idea right? She has baggage, but we all have baggage, right?... On the other hand, even if in some ways she would want a relationship, we both know it would be a struggle for her some days. And a struggle for me, because it was a struggle for her. And we sort of dated once and that was hard. And sheís not really wanting a relationship with ANYONE, so thereís that. So dating or considering marriage would be a really BAD idea, right?

    Iím not sure what to think. Pursue a great person and special friend with serious issues that doesnít want a romantic relationship, and hope for the best? Continue slogging through the depressing dating routine and hope for the best with someone I HAVENíT known for most of my life? Yes, Iíve prayed for her and Iíve prayed for me and Iíve prayed about all of this- my prayer was/has been that we (she and I) would reach the right decision for the right reasons.
    I donít have a peace about the way things are now- but it may only be because I donít like how things turned out and am tired of being single.

    I am not among the wise. Thoughts? Advice?

  • #2
    Re: To Pursue or not Pursue an Abused Female Friend?

    Originally posted by MoveMountains View Post
    Hi!

    I’m (yes! another!) a young man with a girl issue.

    I have a really good female friend. We’ve known each other since elementary school days and grew up in the same hometown, but we’ve been especially good friends for the past 12 years or so (we’re both almost thirty now). She had a crush on me in high school but I didn’t reciprocate since the chemistry wasn’t there for me. Still we were very good friends. I was continually impressed by her caring heart and the depth of her relationship with God (not that she always had a smooth relationship with God, but then to me that’s also a mark authenticity). Long story short I cared about her but thought I could find a young lady with whom I had better chemistry. We moved to different areas of the country, but still emailed, called, or sent letter a few times a year, or occasionally even sent a care package. Time went on- I wound up being the guy that she would call or email for advice and support, and likewise I found myself wanting her to know about my successes and failures because I knew she genuinely cared. We understood each other unusually well- I’m not sure how to describe it except to say that for example a letter from me at a critical time has made her cry (in a good way), and likewise when I was going through some very dark days/months, God kept me alive using her because I knew she understood my situation in a way no one else would. I also found out that “good chemistry” with other women could be very short-lived and just because someone said they cared didn’t make it true.

    In brief, in mid/late 2017 my friend and I started talking about looking seriously at marriage. It was a fun but also challenging time. We agreed more or less that we would make a good couple. Complications arose nonetheless.
    #1. She was completely ready for a “friendship” marriage (meaning without “falling in love”) with a wedding only a few weeks out. Being a long-time bachelor and somewhat wounded romantic that idea scared me a bit on a couple of levels, since I like the single life in some ways and I wanted us to “fall in love” before we got married. The chemistry still wasn’t really there for me at that time.
    #2 we still lived 14 hours (by driving) apart, and neither of us had the type of jobs that provided the finances or vacation time for frequent visits. Our jobs and families kept us in our respective areas, and she was only willing to move if we were going to get married.
    #3 The greatest difficulty in my opinion: she had been assaulted sometime in the previous 1-3 years. This came to light gradually as we talked about our relationship. It’s not my story and I didn’t press for details about the event. From puzzle-pieces she let fall I suspect the assailant was an older “Christian” male in a position of trust. She was going to counseling for it, but I’m not sure that was helping. Whatever happened, it wrought a lot of havoc on our new romance from time to time. She struggled with attachment and trust. She might call me in the middle of the night because she needed somebody to talk to and knew I’d understand, only to cancel a phone “date” a few days later because a random guy she saw in town that triggered traumatic memories and she was in no mood for a date. I’m not condemning either of those reactions- my heart was totally with her in both occasions. Still, that went on for months and was nerve wracking. I felt like the relationship wasn’t gaining any ground, like I was unappreciated, like I was being punished for something I didn’t do.

    Although I would say our relationship was otherwise very good, she tried to break up with me twice because she knew the complications were wearing me down. The third time I gave in and we broke up- we had a long-anticipated in-person date that just didn’t click for a lot of reasons, and I felt like we were at a standstill. There was still a lot of affection on both sides and the next day we met in a church and just held each other for a long time, not saying anything. I made her promise to tell me if she felt like she was ready for a relationship later on, if I was still single. She told me she HAD fallen in love with me (and I had fallen in love with her by that time, more or less), but that she thought I’d be happier with someone else.

    It’s been about a year since the breakup. I’ve been on a few dates with other young ladies, and although I've met some good kids I don’t feel I’ve met a great match. My old friend and I don’t talk much anymore. Still, she let me know when she was passing through my area a few days ago, and had an extremely thoughtful gift basket. We laughed a LOT. She told me twice that she was “getting better” in regard to the trauma. She also told me, more or less, that she was worried about me not moving on.

    I’m still looking and praying for a spouse. This young lady loves God and is wise, kind, intelligent, patient, self-aware and honest with herself. She’s one of my best friends, and the physical attraction increased for me when we started a romantic relationship. It’s very, very hard to find all those qualities in a person. I wonder if I should pursue her again. She said she was getting better. So talking about marriage again would be a good idea right? She has baggage, but we all have baggage, right?... On the other hand, even if in some ways she would want a relationship, we both know it would be a struggle for her some days. And a struggle for me, because it was a struggle for her. And we sort of dated once and that was hard. And she’s not really wanting a relationship with ANYONE, so there’s that. So dating or considering marriage would be a really BAD idea, right?

    I’m not sure what to think. Pursue a great person and special friend with serious issues that doesn’t want a romantic relationship, and hope for the best? Continue slogging through the depressing dating routine and hope for the best with someone I HAVEN’T known for most of my life? Yes, I’ve prayed for her and I’ve prayed for me and I’ve prayed about all of this- my prayer was/has been that we (she and I) would reach the right decision for the right reasons.
    I don’t have a peace about the way things are now- but it may only be because I don’t like how things turned out and am tired of being single.

    I am not among the wise. Thoughts? Advice?
    I am by no means an expert in relationships, but I believe love between two people should come easy. You should not have to fight for love. If you have to fight for her love now, things most likely will not improve as time passes by, especially after marriage.

    Keep your trust in God and he will guide your paths.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: To Pursue or not Pursue an Abused Female Friend?

      Hi TMarcum, thanks for the input. It sounds like you're saying that if love has to be forced or strained, a continued relationship isn't wise because the issues will only get worse. I think you're probably right. For clarification though, my situation is a bit different. We DO love each other already, but in my friend's case we could almost say the love is "dysfunctional" for lack of better term. It would be somewhat like a marine biologist who had an irrational fear of boating due a near-drowning accident. The trauma is real but the danger from that incident is gone.... The person loves marine life which is why they became a biologist, but the fear is still paralyzing and makes this person non-functioning in certain circumstances; potentially at their job.

      A hard look at teachings of sacrificial love, servanthood, friendship and Providence might suggest that a guy in a situation like mine should marry the girl and take care of her.
      A hard look at teachings of Christian freedom, prudence, and perhaps even common sense might say, forget about her and find somebody else.
      I'm not sure what to think.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: To Pursue or not Pursue an Abused Female Friend?

        Originally posted by MoveMountains View Post
        Hi TMarcum, thanks for the input. It sounds like you're saying that if love has to be forced or strained, a continued relationship isn't wise because the issues will only get worse. I think you're probably right. For clarification though, my situation is a bit different. We DO love each other already, but in my friend's case we could almost say the love is "dysfunctional" for lack of better term. It would be somewhat like a marine biologist who had an irrational fear of boating due a near-drowning accident. The trauma is real but the danger from that incident is gone.... The person loves marine life which is why they became a biologist, but the fear is still paralyzing and makes this person non-functioning in certain circumstances; potentially at their job.

        A hard look at teachings of sacrificial love, servanthood, friendship and Providence might suggest that a guy in a situation like mine should marry the girl and take care of her.
        A hard look at teachings of Christian freedom, prudence, and perhaps even common sense might say, forget about her and find somebody else.
        I'm not sure what to think.
        I can see the perplexity of your situation. I think a good mindset would be, not to commit to any relationship that would be a distraction from serving God. The Lord has called us to peace. Things that takes away our peace are distractions. Examples of such as when we constantly fight and argue with people in our circle of life. Its hard to be spiritual connected in prayer and meditation when we have anger in our hearts over a fight or argument we are in. Another example is financial stress. Its hard to stay spiritual minded, in Godly focus when we are worried about income and debt related issues. Then we have sickness that can cause us to seep into a dark place in our minds and distract us from serving God.

        I guess what I am trying to express is; whatever we do should be to the glory of God, abiding in love, peace, and joy. If a relationship with this woman will not impede this, then perhaps you should entertain moving closer. But you do not need to rush anything. Long courtships are often good in relationships.

        God bless you in all your decisions.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: To Pursue or not Pursue an Abused Female Friend?

          Thank you TMarcum!

          Comment

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