“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life” (Proverbs 4:23).
While trying to find the one you will marry, giving our heart to the wrong person is a heartbreaking experience. It is not unusual for people to find themselves in a relationship with someone who initially presented himself one way, but in time revealed a hidden side. If we have fallen for a person who has turned out to have a false persona, feelings of shock are quite natural. How does one begin to mend from this kind of broken heart? Believe it or not, the mind has a lot to do with it. The first thing we need to ask is whether or not we are ready take serious steps to move on? If the answer is yes, then let’s move forward.
Secondly, we need to realize that the mind has a tendency to focus on the good rather than the bad in the person we may need to break up with. Often we find ourselves thinking continuously on the way things were and how good it was in the beginning. We may even have found ourselves saying that we miss the “real” person we fell in love with. If this sounds familiar, then we might even admit that we have played sentimental scenes over and over again in our mind and felt a severe sense of loss each time. All this causes us to wonder why the person we love has changed, or question why we are making the necessary decision to move on.
A hard look at the truth
The truth of the matter is that people are who they have always been. They have not changed, but only settled back into their original state of who they really are. In fact, the person you met and shared idealistic scenarios with was simply in the infatuation season of the relationship where he put his best foot forward. We all have this in common in the beginning of a romance. Some individuals are naturally more sincere and their character is not far removed from who they really are. But for others there is a great disparity. If the person you are dating shows great disparity, then the first order of business is to accept that the personality in which your romantic interest seems to have defaulted is indeed who they are.
What makes some people relationship actors? There are a number of reasons such as upbringing, performance, insecurity, need for acceptance, or numerous traumas that can cause a person to portray themselves falsely. Besides this we need to consider that there may be reasons that we enable relationship actors, such as being in love with love, over romanticizing or feeling the need to rescue. Any of these factors can emotionally blind us to our own detriment. For this reason psychologists say that it is important to listen to red flags that your family or friends might pick up on, especially if there are multiple people sharing the same concerns. If you find yourself covering for inconsistencies in the character of the person you are dating, this may be a sign that you are overlooking red flags and need objective feedback.
Acceptance brings about healing
If God has allowed you to see this person’s true colors, then this is a blessing in disguise. Your romantic interest is who he has now revealed himself to be (not what you first encountered). Accepting this truth will help your heart have the ability to mend and move on. Denying this fact will cause prolonged heartache and steal from you time. Remember, our heart and emotions have great influence over our mind and decisions. In addition, Satan works hard to try and keep you in the denial phase. He whispers things to you like you will never feel this way or find someone one like this again. But if you think about it, he is saying this about a personality you fell in love with that was a mirage. Satan is holding you captive with a dream and an idea — not the real thing.
There is great strength in turning these falsehoods around and embracing the hope that the real thing is ahead of you. Leaning into the Lord at this time to guide you in the area of relationship will give the confidence you need to let go of the wrong person. A good friend asked me once, “How will I know the difference between a poser and the someone who really does share my spiritual convictions?” I shared with her a metaphor of a spiritual well; a poser will only visit the well; whereas, the real thing dwells there (whether you are there or not).
As hard as it may be to do, stopping yourself from being gripped by thoughts of how it used to be and replacing them with sober thinking as to how it really is (and praying from this mindset) will start to turn the course of broken heartedness.
“But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead…” (Philippians 3:13).
Paula Masters is the author of “Exceptional Bloom: Coming Alive After Fifty” and the founder of True Source Ministries, an online ministry to hurting women, found at tsmwomen.org. She stays connected with her readers on her “Over Fifty And Fabulous” facebook page and online at OverFiftyandFab.com.