After dating on and off for several months, I (Jeff) wanted a more committed relationship than Cathy felt ready for so she decided to discontinue dating me. Not surprisingly, I was hurt and disappointed and did not handle the situation as well as I could have. However, after a few months without contact, I began to slowly re-build our friendship. We attended several events together to support each other. When Cathy purchased a new bed, she offered me the old one for my son who was returning from a mission. We went out for Pho during the Summer because Cathy had never tried it. We also communicated frequently by text and Facebook Messenger. I brought Cathy hot soup when she was sick for an extended period of time and gave her priesthood blessings.
One day, unbeknownst to me, a woman I had started dating contacted Cathy through a mutual friend to ask her if I was a good guy. Cathy gave me a glowing recommendation. While I was spending a weekend with this dating partner, she eventually told me that she had contacted Cathy and that Cathy had spoken well of me. Later on, this dating partner told me it seemed like I was still in love with Cathy and recommended that I try again with her. Based, in part, on this advice, I ultimately wrote Cathy a letter and asked her to date me for marriage. She accepted and five months later we were married.
During the interval between my two dating relationships with Cathy, can you picture what might have happened if I had spent it ignoring her, speaking badly about her to friends, and otherwise being bitter about her decision? That understandable response would have created resistance in me, and in people close to me. Most important, that response would probably have created resistance in Cathy. What would have been wrong with that? Only EVERYTHING! I would have missed out on my eternal companion based on my inability to give grace and forgiveness to someone who hurt me.
It's never fun being sent packing by a dating partner you had invested hope in. It can be difficult to display class and dignity when you are disappointed or in pain. But treating others with respect, even when you think you have nothing to gain, will help you to create a good reputation in the singles community. It may even result in a second chance with a partner if you want one. Most important, you will sleep better at night knowing that you gave a loving response even when you were hurting inside.
What if a friend (or a friend of a friend) asked for your opinion of a former dating partner? Would you be gracious, as Cathy was, and generous with genuine praise—even if you were still hurting a little bit from the relationship ending? Would you be gracious enough to allow your friend to date your former partner if one of them asked you about it? If you can show class in these difficult situations, what does it say about you?
Enjoy this week’s featured podcast about “Real Love in Dating” and video that explores the questions “Should My Friends Not Date My Formers?” along with a short about “The Meaning of a Kiss.”
FEATURED THIS WEEK
LILY Pod Episode 79: Real Love in Dating (49min)
LILY Tube Video: Should My Friends Not Date My Formers? (6min)
LILY Tube Short: The Meaning of a Kiss (1min)
To get a copy of "Intentional Courtship" on Amazon and create more love in your life in 2022, visit Intentional Courtship.
If you enjoy this letter, forward to a friend. Our goal is to support as many mid-singles and later-married couples as possible!