Walking Away from Mr. Wrong to Love the One Who Is Right

Walking Away from Mr. Wrong to Love the One Who Is Right

(Listen to the audio version of this article here.)

He sat in his black chair with a headset on, and periodically, I’d hear him shout obscenities at the screen. He was playing the latest version of his favorite video game on his PlayStation 3 or 4 (I’d lost count), and it was a Friday night. I was sitting on the sofa in the adjacent room, watching some romantic movie that made me feel lonely and worn out as I ate a pint of chocolate ice cream and wondered why, at 30 years old, I was still dating Mr. Wrong, a version of the same boy since high school.

This was a typical date night: together but alone. Or it was going to the action flick I had to cover most of my eyes through, or to the type of restaurant that didn’t serve salads, or being with his friends and never getting the joke, or ordering a meat lovers pizza on a quiet night in when I preferred veggie. There was so much settling on the small things over such a long period of time that they became the big things. Very big things.

And then, of course, there were also the big things, the colossal things, the Empire-State-Building-size things like moving in together (the cart way before the horse as my grandpa used to say), not sharing the same values, and not sharing the same faith. There was so much distance between our important things that most days it felt like there was an ocean between us. The longer I stayed with him, the distance also grew between where I was and where I wanted to be, and the things I valued started to drift out to sea.

I Was Trying to Find Mr. Right, But I Was Doing It All Wrong

bible verses on self worth board

This may sound crazy, but at the time, I also didn’t know that I could say “no” and mean it. I didn’t know that it was okay to walk away from something—from someone—who made me feel less than. Underappreciated. Someone who I knew from the minute he asked me for my number was Mr. Wrong. Again. For too long, I was just going along with my life and being okay with what I knew in my heart was not okay—and more than that, going along with what was hurting me.

My childhood was your classic textbook case of dysfunction, and in those rocky, early years, I didn’t learn much about healthy relationships or what they were supposed to look like. I didn’t grow up going to church and had never heard things like how love is patient and kind and all of those sorts of things. It was as if I was living life by a worn guidebook that someone had ripped the most important parts out of.

In my early 20s, I was also so obsessed with finding the perfect guy, the one who checked off all the boxes, that I failed to check the boxes that really mattered: figuring out who I was and who I was meant to be. I focused too much on finding the elusive “him” and not enough on how I could show up for someone else, learning how to be the kind of partner I dreamed of.

I Finally Shifted My Focus, and Things Changed

I didn’t realize it then, but it wasn’t going to be until I started working on myself that I would meet a partner worthy of me. It wasn’t until I learned to love myself that I was ready to accept the good man God had planned for me all along.

Now, all of this didn’t happen on my timeline, and my wedding day to my dream man didn’t happen until I was well into my 30s (and this is being generous). It took a lot of bumpy, broken roads to get there (and too many Mr. Wrongs), but here I am today: happy, happily married, and happily me.

How did it happen?

Unfortunately, I never found the roadmap or guidebook to help me get out of the unhealthy patterns and off the broken road. What I did find were a few simple things that started to help me see things differently, and over time, this made all the difference.

1. If You’re Doubting Your Relationship, Start Talking About Your Concerns

break up with your guy board

The first thing that helped was talking about it with people I trusted. Instead of sitting in the dark and crying myself to sleep, I would pick up the phone and reach out. I called my best friend so much that I actually memorized her phone number. I reached out to my other girlfriends, even the ones that usually do all the talking.

Importantly, I also started to process my relationship issues with older women who had been there and back again. Women who were married and who were walking on the road that I was looking for, women who could show me what healthy looked like.

2. Instead of Asking Myself: “What Do I Want?” I Started to Ask: “Who Do I Want to Be?”

I picked up my dusty Bible and started learning about love, how it is patient and kind—and what it really is. A good friend also suggested that I write a list of the “non-negotiables” I had for a partner and commit to sticking with them. She also suggested that I write about the kind of wife and partner I wanted to be so I could make sure, some day, to be the best version of myself for my future spouse.

3. I Let Love In

For so long, I kept love—real love—at a distance because I never felt like I deserved it. Because of my past and a whole bunch of other reasons, there was something in the way of me feeling truly loved and valuable. In the Bible, there is a beautiful concept called “agape.” This refers to the unconditional, overwhelming love of God. Not friendship or lust, but the purest form: the kind of love only God can give.

It was the kind of love I was expecting to get from all the wrong places, all the wrong misters. For the first time, I prayed and asked God to help me let His perfect love in. Slowly, somehow, I started to feel my heart softening and opening.

When I Started Doing Those 3 Things, Something Miraculous Happened.

The person I was becoming no longer fit with who I had been, and I decided then and there that I would not settle one minute more. I told God that I was done searching and trying to make something work that was never supposed to be. I decided to say goodbye to Mr. Wrong for the last time.

Finally, when I felt my true worth and had the confidence to walk away, God brought what I had been searching and praying for this whole time, though I didn’t know it: a relationship with Him and a newfound, beautiful love for myself.

And then, on the other side of Mr. Wrong, was Mr. Right.

Finally, when I felt my true worth and had the confidence to walk away, God brought what I had been searching and praying for this whole time, though I didn’t know it: a relationship with Him and a newfound, beautiful love for myself.

Cultivating healthy relationships requires knowing yourself and who you want to be. Learn more about that process on this podcast episode from This Grit and Grace Life: Answering the Question “Who Am I?” With Meaghan Dawson – 116

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