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My Relationship with "It's-Going-Nowhere" Dave


His name was Dave. He was 23; I was 24. He was handsome, fun, and a good guy, but we were just friends. There didn’t seem to be any other men around I would be interested in, even though I lived in a mid-sized city.

So, Dave and I hung out—a lot. Like every day. And some evenings, too.

I went to church with Dave, and to the store with Dave, and we talked on the phone all the time. Not to mention that we lived in the same apartment building and he sometimes borrowed my garage.

Anyone who didn’t know us would have thought we were a couple. But we weren’t. We were just hanging out.

But there was a big problem with this arrangement.

I wanted to get married—but if I was honest, not to Dave. We clearly weren’t right for each other. But following a bad breakup, I went through years of not trusting myself to make a good relational choice, so I just kind of floated along without intention in my dating life.

I said I wanted to marry, but my words and actions didn’t line up.

Deep down I knew Dave wasn’t right for me, but what girl likes to spend all her time alone? Like many women, I enjoyed the company of a charming, funny, attractive guy.

So, what was happening when I was spending time with “it’s-going-nowhere Dave”for over TWO YEARS?

I wasn’t noticing any other men in public places and striking up conversations with them.

I wasn’t noticing other men and smiling at them so they would say hi.

And, my guess is that men wouldn’t have approached me anyway since I was with Dave—ALL. THE.TIME.


I wasn’t seeking out opportunities to meet other singles in my city because I was always busy with Dave.

I wasn’t getting invited to friend’s houses for get togethers where I could have possibly met someone.

I imagine people at church thought we were dating so why would they recommend me to any men they knew?

And, why would any man who visited my church think I was available since I was always with Dave?

Here’s the sad truth:

I wasn’t making any space in my life for a relationship to develop.

While I was soothing my boredom and loneliness with a “going-nowhere” friendlationship, valuable time was passing.

And, I was prevented from taking intentional action that could have helped me move forward and meet a man who could have been a great match.

(Let me clarify by saying that I love my husband dearly and I can’t imagine life without him. But there is no doubt that my actions did affect my relationships.)

Granted, I don’t believe in the “Power of Me” that is so often preached in our culture. I don’t believe that I can control all aspects of my life. I am not God. But I do believe that there are some things you and I can control.

We all have a responsibility to steward our lives well and manage what we can manage. We can prepare ourselves for love.

It was clear that when it came to my relationship with Dave, I was flopping in the “managing my relationships” category.

I wasn’t being intentional.

I wasn’t making room in my life for a relationship.

If I said I wanted to marry, why wasn’t I acting like I wanted to marry?

I hate to admit it, but I wasn’t intentional a lot.

Not only did I hang out with Dave for a couple years, but I hung out with other men who hadn’t made their intentions known who I wasn’t interested in. I did it because I was bored or lonely, because I didn’t have the courage to face what the relationship really wasn’t, because it was nice to have male company, because I doubted my ability to make a good relational decision, or because I didn’t really believe it was possible to meet a trustworthy, marriage-minded man.

If I truly believed it was possible, and if I believed I was worthy of love, I would have acted differently.

There were other times I believed Mr. Right was going to fall out of the sky and that I didn’t have to do anything to steward my relational life.

I didn’t realize I had a responsibility to develop the right beliefs and attitudes so that my relationships were healthy, so I was ready for love, and could recognize a really great man who shared my Christian values.

Clearly, hanging out with Dave was not helping me get any closer to the wedding altar. (Not only that, but it was unfair to him for me to monopolize his time if he wanted to meet someone, too.)

Finally, when I was in my early forties, I decided to get serious about marrying. When my biological clock started ticking, my grief started growing and I decided that I wasn’t going to just float along hoping that I would meet someone. I was going to do what I could.

A man asked me out. He was a good guy, but it was clear that he wasn’t ready for a relationship after his recent divorce and I just couldn’t see it going anywhere. A couple weeks after we first met for lunch, he called and asked me out again.

I responded, “I appreciate the offer, but really can’t see the relationship developing and I don’t want to lead you on.”

“Well, we can be friends,” he said.

That’s when I knew I was finally being purposeful about my dating life.

“Thanks,” I said. “But, I don’t want to just hang out and be friends with guys. I’d like to get married.”

That’s when my actions and my intentions were finally aligned. Whooohooo! I was owning what I wanted and taking action.

What would have happened if I had gotten involved in another friendlationship with a guy like I had done other times? I may not have been ready for my husband.

So, what about you?

Do you believe that it’s possible to marry?

Do you believe that you really can meet someone, that you are loveable and that even though it seems like it’s not, that there are trustworthy, marriage-minded men out there?

Are you making room in your life for love?

If you spend time hanging out in going-nowhere relationships, you may not be internally ready when a man who could be right for you comes along.

Don’t waste time. Be purposeful. If you want to marry, admit it. Then, make sure your actions and intentions line up.

The desire you have to love and be loved is possible.

Your Dating and Relationship Coach

P.S. The above story was one way that I sabotaged my love life without realizing it. In the next couple weeks, I am going to be releasing a new quiz for you to help you identify if you are sabotaging your love life and getting in your own way. Again, you can’t control everything in your life, but you can do everything that is within your power to prepare yourself for love.


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