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Q&A: Desiring someone who is not right for you

Updated: Feb 2, 2023

Question 1: How to heal from longing for someone whom you know is not right for you?

Listen to RnB music. Just kidding …

This is really hard, and something that I’ve had to do many times. First of all, give yourself a break, you can’t help who you like and you aren’t the first or the only one who has been in this space.

There is no easy fix to this, but it does take some work. You actually have to apply yourself to figuring out what it is that makes you want to stay in it.

Disclaimer: This is not an exhaustive list of things you could do; these are just things that have helped me.

I’ve learned that getting over someone/something always took longer when I wasn’t able to be honest with myself about my feelings and situation, so my first tip would be:

1) Tell the Truth about the relationship.

Very often we stay because we lie to ourselves about why it’s a good thing. We exaggerate the good and ignore the bad.

It sounds like you already know this isn’t good for you. So be specific about what those things are. Put pen to paper and be honest, but also be honest about yourself and your motives in even wanting this relationship with this guy (do you actually like him or is it a validation thing), be honest about the parts of you that need some work too. That’s the only way this can actually work.

There are obviously reasons you like him, so write those reasons down too, be specific don’t use generalisations like “He’s kind and patient” …kind with whom, patient with what?, you get what I mean; if necessary put in examples.

The reason I believe this is necessary is that the way we think about things isn’t always the way things are. Like I said before, we romanticise things and people from afar, and ignore the reality of who they actually are. We all do this, at least initially. If we can be real with ourselves, we can see how the things we cling so desperately too, aren’t much at all. This is an opportunity for you to also pray through your emotions, and put them under the Lordship of Christ; instead of giving them top billing. Your heart can’t be the only thing in play here.

2) Work on getting rid of the scarcity mindset

Sometimes we struggle with letting go because we don’t believe God can actually bring someone “As Great”, if not better, into our lives. Scarcity is what will keep you from recognising when somebody great comes along again. This is my biggest struggle. Remember, we value what we invest in. We invest not just in time spent with one another, but in our thoughts and prayers about a specific person, and if you aren’t opening yourself up to the possibility of someone else, then, of course, this guy is going to be the be-all and end-all.

Be a train that’s moving, spend time with other guys whether you’re interested or not. But by all means, be Godly about it, men are not just objects of your affection, your every encounter with guys can’t be an assessment of whether he’ll make a good husband or not. Think of them as people first. I’m just suggesting you spend time with people to broaden your perspective of what’s out there.

3) Create some distance

In order to have a new result in any area of your life, you may need to do some things differently. It sounds like your goal is to move on, but that’s going to be hard if you haven’t changed the things in your friendship with him that got you to this place in the first place. Boundaries could include talking less (texting and on the phone, spending less time with him etc.)

Recognise that you’re vulnerable to him right now so be less available to him. You don’t always have to pick up his call every time or right away (especially if you’re with other people), and if necessary let him know what the new boundaries are (you don’t have to tell him why), you can just let him know that if he wants to call you he needs to check if you’re available via text. It’s never too late to communicate boundaries. Be proactive in taking care of your heart and have your own back.

“Show her that she does not need to be liked by everyone. Tell her that if someone does not like her, there will be someone else who will. Teach her that she is not merely an object to be liked or disliked, she is also a subject who can like and dislike.” – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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