It’s cliche, but we’ve all had some version of this ominous thought pass through our minds, “Oh, but I can change him.”
Darling, don’t fall for this trap. It will never end well. It will fail in the same way it would if a guy thought he could change you.
It’s funny how everyone naturally changes with time. That’s one of the reasons people file for divorce: because people change.
But odds are you’re not going to see the change you want to see. If there’s a trait you need that you’re not seeing in a guy, walk away. That trait will not magically appear just because you care for him—even if he cares for you back.
This is a very personal story for me. It may seem silly, but it defined my faith. I was better for walking away. I share it with you now because I hope you’ll be able to do the same if the situation arises.
After dating two people who were clearly not right for me, I desperately searched for a new crush. I was that 15-year-old girl. I had to be crushing on someone.
I found someone I thought was a better fit for me to like. Christian. Nice. Straight-A student. The issue was that I decided he was the type of guy I needed to like. I didn’t actually fall for him; I barely knew him.
While I, in vain, was trying to make that work, actual real feelings began to creep up for a friend—the way they do. Always unexpected, it seems, and at the oddest of times.
I was torn. The friend wasn’t Christian. He had a slightly inappropriate sense of humor (I was miss goody-two-shoes. I was the girl whom people came up to and said things like, “Taylor Swift said ‘douchebag’ on SNL last night! Are you heartbroken?”). He wasn’t anything like the type of guy I thought I’d like. But he was funny, and we had slowly become great friends over that school year.
A chance arose with the guy I thought I should be with, but I turned it down. I finally had learned that you can’t force yourself to like someone. Plus, it was a little too much like dating myself. I think we both knew that it wasn’t quite right. I made the right decision to walk away.
But that’s where my good decisions stopped. I’m all for romance and falling in love (hello, I got married at 21 years old, after all), but you have to be careful about whom you fall for.
I spent about a year and a half crushing on this guy friend who, though he was wonderful, at the very core of it, did not share the one belief that defined me: my faith.
I tried to get him to go to church with me. He went once or twice. It wasn’t for him. I ignored it. I was in too deep. I couldn’t just turn my feelings off. The thought passed through my head: he’ll change.
Beyond the main issue of having completely different belief systems was the issue that he kind of led me on for that year. He confessed he liked me to friends but did nothing. I spent night after night tossing and turning, completely sick wondering what I was doing wrong.
I tried so hard to impress him. Why didn’t he think I was funny? He would say it in a teasing way, but I can so clearly still hear him saying or see him giving me looks that said, “that wasn’t really clever.”
I was constantly not measuring up.
Ladies, when you’re with the right person, you never feel like you don’t measure up. Once again, Taylor Swift said it best, “I think it’s strange that you think I’m funny ’cause he never did.”
The right guy will think you’re funny. Unless, you know, that’s not your thing. But the right guy will think you’re perfect just as you are.
Anyway, back to the story. After a year of heartache, the guy finally asked me out. I was over the moon. He apologized for taking so long. He said everything I needed to hear. It was a big gesture to make up for everything. It was an episode of The O.C. come to life.
That night, I felt kind of empty. I had texted him, and he had taken his usual extremely long time to respond, and something inside me fractured a little bit: nothing was going to change.
I couldn’t outright even think the thought, but I instinctively knew that dating him wasn’t going to be any different than being friends with him. Nothing would change. I would still constantly just be chasing him, wondering why I’m not enough.
We went on one date. A date I’d been waiting for forever. I should have been so blissfully happy, but I felt kind of sick the whole time. Something was off. Something was wrong. I felt awkward. For the first time ever since I’d known him, I didn’t want to be there with him. I was so torn apart over what I was feeling.
I came home and cried in my room—the way teens do. I knew what was wrong. Besides all of the little things, it had finally hit me that, if this was real, I was now dating someone who could possibly never share my beliefs. There was no future there—not the one I wanted.
I prayed the hardest thing I ever had in my life at that point. I asked God that, if this boy wasn’t the one for me, He would just take care of it. I told Him that I couldn’t really handle another heartbreak, another breakup. I asked, if this boy wasn’t the one for me, that nothing would happen. We just wouldn’t continue on. We wouldn’t hurt each other, and nothing more would come of it.
I’m still in shock about this because it really doesn’t make sense, but nothing ever happened after that. And I mean nothing. We never discussed a second date. We never have actually acknowledged that we ever went on one at all.
The really bizarre thing is that we were in the same friend group. We still hung out regularly. It seems impossible that we never had any sort of discussion about it, but clearly God had heard my prayer.
I was heartbroken for a long time. I was angry. But, with time, I realized that God had answered my prayer. How could I be mad about that?
I know this is kind of silly and overdramatic. It wasn’t like the guy was on drugs or a heavy drinker or something. But, for me, I had fallen for someone I shouldn’t have. I got in over my head, and I suffered for it.
Beyond just needing a guy that was Christian, we clearly were not meant for each other. With the right person, it’s easy. There isn’t a year of pain or wondering why you aren’t enough.
If you find yourself in this type of situation, pray about it. Get out of it. You deserve so much more, and really, so does he.
I’m still friends with the guy, and I have so much respect for him and truly wish him the best. I was clearly not the right girl for him, either. The girl that’s right for him will be funny to him. He’ll want to text her back. And I hope he finds her.
Shortly after all of this, I had those unexpected feelings pop up again—well, they’d actually been there for a while, just under the surface—for a different friend. With him, things were easy. There was no year of suffering or questioning if I was witty enough for him. And that’s how I knew he would be my husband, but that’s a story for another time.
Don’t try to force things. The right match will all fall together oh so easily and perfectly.
It won’t be someone you’ve decided you should like. It won’t be someone who leaves you hanging.
It’ll be perfect (in a perfectly imperfect way—John Legend knows).