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Four signs you might need to end a dating relationship

If you’re a single man or a single woman in a relationship, this post is for you.

If you’re married, this post is not for you.

A Quick Word About Dating vs. Marriage

Dating is an open-ended process, not a commitment. Just because you're dating someone doesn't mean you have to keep dating and even marry that person.

Marriage, however, is not open-ended like dating. Marriage is living out a commitment to stick with your spouse. It's a covenant relationship God established for husband and wife to serve and love one another. There will be hard times and you may even notice some of the signs below in your relationship. Don’t quit! God created marriage for happiness as well as holiness. Whatever your relationship is facing, God can work it out for your good.

When it comes to dating, there are plenty of perspectives. The Bible doesn't offer an instruction manual for dating; instead, it paints pictures of healthy relationships in which people respect and care for each other (or fail to), whether before or in marriage. 

Ask God what He thinks about your relationship and what needs to change — regardless of if it's to end the relationship or to continue into marriage. Here are a few things to consider with the person you're dating (or the person you hope to date).

Four Signs You Might Need to End a Dating Relationship Now

1. You're following Jesus, and the man or woman you’re dating is not.

Dating is a process that allows you to see if another person would be a potentially suitable spouse. It’s also a way to grow in understanding of relationships with other people. (Missionary dating is probably a bad idea.) If you’re a Christian, having a good time is an important part of dating, but the best goal is to lay a healthy, respectful foundation that could grow into a marriage. When outsiders see a husband and wife serving each other like Jesus serves the Church, they’ll get a better picture of who God is (Ephesians 5:22-33).

A good, loving relationship of any type will be beneficial and respectful for each person.

2. Your life revolves entirely around the other person.

Is it impossible for either one of you to do something independent of the other? You’re not married yet, so don’t act like you can’t live your own lives. Codependent relationships limit the freedom of both people because they’re controlled by the needs and time of each other.

Singleness is a unique opportunity for people to be involved in a church community and serve Jesus in ways that married people cannot (1 Corinthians 7:32-35).

3. You care more about the other person than he or she does about you.

It's not healthy romantic love if both people don’t actually care about each other. Relationships are a two-way street, but if it’s only one way, it’s called infatuation. When only one party is committed in the relationship, it’s unreasonable and unhealthy. This often leads to confusion and emotional pain. A good, loving relationship of any type will be beneficial and respectful for each person (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

4. Your boyfriend or girlfriend is an addict to anything — and is unwilling to change.

If your significant other pays more attention to a smartphone than to you, it may be an indicator that he or she is addicted to technology. Perhaps there’s another sort of addiction one of you struggles with, like porn or alcohol or excessive shopping. Addictions add strain to any relationship. Our selfish desires are fueled by what we pay most attention to (Matthew 6:19-24; Proverbs 23:1-7). Unless one develops ways to combat the addiction and works to get healthy, those addictions often take higher priority than the significant other.

What your boyfriend or girlfriend needs more than a relationship with you is a growing relationship with Jesus.

If you’re dating someone who exhibits one or all of the signs above, what your boyfriend or girlfriend needs more than a relationship with you is a growing relationship with Jesus.

Pray for that person like you would a brother or sister. Invite them to church. But at the very least, hit pause and get wise counsel from someone experienced in following Jesus and building healthy relationships. These signs may be hints that your significant other is not ready for marriage, and right now, he or she is not God’s best for you. A godly spouse is worth waiting for. A true friend will put the other’s needs before his or her own.

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