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Integrating Compassion with the Wisdom of God’s Word

askauntdara@gmail.com


The purpose of Aunt Dara’s Christian Advice Column is to glorify God by addressing human needs with compassion and the wisdom of God’s word.


Monday, April 27, 2015

Red Flags in a Relationship

Part One
 
Dear Aunt Dara,

I knew a guy indirectly from a friend and I had been drawn to him for a couple of years.  It was unexplainable of why I was so attracted and drawn to this guy whom I never met.  Not knowing that he was interested in me as well, he asked for my number.  He explained how he appreciated the encouraging posts and songs, and I seemed like a cool person.  So we begin talking and in only a week, we were talking on the phone every day and texting non-stop.  After three weeks, he told me that he loved me and he believed that I was the wife that was destined for him.  Within a month, I found out that he had just moved into his own house that his step mom left him (his dad is in jail and his mom only talks to him when she wants something).  He had no car.  He dropped out of college because he felt it wasn't for him and wanted to start working full time.  This is the total opposite of me because I grew up with my married parents, I have a car, and I'm a full time student.  I didn't judge because I felt as though not everyone had the privilege of growing up with both parents, and people have experienced other casualties.  I also learned that he had been saved for a little less than a year, and before he got saved, he used to sleep around with a different girl every night.  A lot of baggage, but again, I didn't want to judge on someone's past.

After a month I wanted to meet him in person, but he had no car.  My parents wouldn't let me drive 20 minutes to see him because they believe in a guy should come to see the girl.  My mom construed the idea of her driving to pick him up and bringing him here, but now she regrets the decision.  She picked him up and when he got here, it was amazing.  He asked me to be his girlfriend, but I felt it was rushing because we only known each other for a month.  However, I felt so attached to him that I needed to be with him.  I was in love with him and with his relationship with God.  He moved really fast though.  He kissed me very forcibly like he was sexually frustrated.  After we became a couple, he started to ask me to check in with him.  He doesn’t want me speaking Spanish in front of him, and the only time he seems interested in what I have to say is when I am talking about God.  He asked me to only wear skirts and dresses.  Because I refused to not wear skirts and dresses all the time, he called me selfish and wanted to break up.

We stopped talking for a whole month and he finally contacted me.  We didn't get back together, yet we acted like we were in a relationship.  Here’s the problem.  He has started asking me to send him pictures when I go jogging to make sure my shorts aren't too short.  He tries to pressure me to drive to his home to see him, and I said no.  I said if he wanted to see me, he would make a way to see me.  He has been used to girls saying yes and driving to see him, so when I said no, he stopped talking to me for three weeks.  (At this point, we had only seen each other once and that was about 3 months ago.)  So, after 3 weeks of silence, he asked to meet with me in my town.  I met him and he told me during the time we weren't talking, he "almost" had sex with another girl.  I was hurt.  I knew that even though we weren't dating, I wouldn't do that, especially if he was the one I loved.  He begged me not to leave, so I didn't.  

Since then we have seen each other many times because he got a car and a new job in my town.  Still, he never drives to see me; I drive to see him.  That is never what I expected.  I always thought it should be the other way around.  Once again, he asked me to drive to his home to see him, and I said no.  He called me selfish, and by this time, I was fed up.  I told him that I'm giving him my all and he is offering me nothing.  The only time he has put any effort to see me was when he hopped into my mom's car.  After I told him that, he wanted to take another break.  I begged him to talk to me and he refused.  I told him that he can either speak to me or I want to cut all ties.  He told me that if I want to leave, then leave.  So I left.  I cannot stop thinking about his being a jerk who threw me away.  I don't know what to do.

Fed Up

Dear Fed Up,

You are to be commended for finally getting fed up with a selfish person who uses manipulation and control to try to get what he wants.  There are so many red flags in this letter, that I would have a difficult time trying to list them all.  But this I know for sure, this is NOT the man that God wants you to be with.  God doesn't want us to be in a relationship with someone who is this dysfunctional.  I know you think you love him, but please do not confuse attraction with love.  Trust me, this man does NOT love you and he does NOT put God first in his life.  When a person's actions do not match what they say, ignore their words and trust the behavior.  There is absolutely nothing in this person's behavior that shows that he loves you or that he loves God.  Don't fall for his persuasive words.  Cut the ties and don't look back!  Don't let him try to manipulate himself back into your life.  You don't need the emotional drama and he will only bring you heartache and regret if you continue to be involved with him.

God Bless,
Aunt Dara

Part Two

Dear Aunt Dara,

It's me again.  It's been a little over a month since all this stuff has happened.  He has tried contacting me which I've ignored, and because I deleted him from all social media pages, he has been doing little things to try and catch my attention.  I've just been ignoring him until finally I was agitated.  I let those little menial things get to me and I responded back to him and asked him to stop.  That's just words because in my heart, I don't want him to actually stop trying to contact me. However, after I told him to stop, he blew up my phone with phone calls begging to just talk.  After denying his phone calls for a while, I finally just let him say what he had to say.  He begged for my friendship and said nothing more.  He just wanted my friendship, my prayers, and my love.  I talked to him for a couple hours but Aunt Dara, I feel really stupid.  I don't think I can accept his friendship. Not that he is a bad person, but I don't want to see him move on with someone else and I have to be okay with it.  I feel really empty.  I've been talking to God but I feel like I've been agitating God with the same old thing.


Fed Up

Dear Fed Up,

It is your choice whatever you decide to do in regard to him.  However, I suggest that you stop asking God what He wants you to do and begin listening for God's answer.  When you get God's answer, don't keep playing around with your indecision.  If God is saying that this person is unstable, unhealthy, and will be a source of pain for you, then cut all ties.  (All means all.  Any contact at all will only make matters worse and prolong the issue, which you found out.)  If God is telling you that He wants you to continue having contact with him, then by all means, obey God.  However, there are so many red flags in this relationship, I foresee that you may have a very difficult future if you choose to remain with him.  Do you believe that is what God really wants for you?

God bless,
Aunt Dara

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Afraid of People’s Reaction to Their Age Difference

Dear Aunt Dara,

I am currently dating a man who is 25 years older than I am.  He is 54 and I am 29.  We have been together nearly a year.  He is a Christian man and a minister.  He shows me that he genuinely cares for me and my 2 children.  I have prayed and prayed and asked God to take him out of my life if he isn't the right one for me, but he's still holding on strong.  I love him.  He is everything that I ever wanted in a man and he loves God.  We are considering marriage soon, but I am afraid of what others will say about our age difference.  I feel very strongly that God has confirmed our union in more ways than one, but I'm just so scared of what others would say.

The Younger Woman
 
Dear Young Woman, 

You should do what you believe God wants you to do, regardless of what other people might say.  If the two of you have been together for a year, have been praying for God to show you what He wants you to do, and the answer you keep getting is that God is confirming your union, then nobody else has any right to contradict God's will for you.  You have been blessed with a man who loves you and your children, so accept God's gift.

God bless,
Aunt Dara

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Should she Ignore her Family, Friends, and her Gut Feeling to Marry the Man She Loves?

Dear Aunt Dara,  

I am 25 years old and my boyfriend is 45 years old.  He has a sad past and now he has health issues.  I love him and I want to give him a happy life, but I'm worried that I will be left alone with my children one day due to our age differences, and I am afraid that my children will suffer without a father.  I am not sure if I can be strong enough to face the world as a single mother.  Also, I truly don't want to hurt him deeply because when I see him hurt, I hurt too.  I don’t want to leave him suffering.  I feel like a bad person if I don’t marry him and I do love him, but I’m afraid things will go wrong with the passing of time.  He is a very kind man and he would be a great husband.  I made a lot of mistakes when he was in the hospital, but he is faithful and forgiving.  Additionally, my parents and friends don't approve of our relationship, and they warn me that our marriage will not work out.  I would have married him already if I didn't have this strong gut feeling inside me and warnings from parents and close friends.  I’ve prayed about it, but I still have a gut feeling.  I tried to deny it because he is so kind, loving, and caring, and I love him deeply.  I am so confused.  If this gut feeling is from God, why would God try to prevent me from marrying him?  I don’t want to be alone again, and it will be harder if I have raise my children alone.  I’m confused and unable to decide whether to marry him or not.  If I decide not to marry him, does that make me a selfish person or bad or evil?  I feel so guilty if I don’t marry him.  I do love him but I can’t ignore my gut feeling.  What should I do?

Confused

Dear Confused,

Thank you so much for writing to me and trusting me with your situation.  I believe that God can speak to us in many ways, including through His written word (the Bible), through godly advice from other Christians, and through the leadings of the Holy Spirit—what you refer to as your gut feeling.  For you to be able to make the right decision, you must listen to what God is trying to tell you through the scriptures, through godly counsel, and through your own inner voice.  If you feel anxiety and confusion when you think about marrying this person, then marrying him is NOT the right thing to do.  When you have made the right choice, you will feel peace.  If you believe that your gut feeling is from God, then perhaps the reason God is trying to prevent you from marrying this man is because God is trying to tell you not to do it.  You are not selfish, bad or evil for not marrying someone.  If you have made mistakes, then repent and pray for forgiveness.  Do not complicate the situation by making another mistake.  Marriage will not ease a guilty conscience.

Also, I believe that you are confusing compassion with love.  Having compassion for someone and wanting to do something to ease their pain is not the type of love that can be the foundation of a marriage.  A marriage based on compassion or pity cannot last.  In the long run, this marriage could end up hurting both of you.

God bless,
Aunt Dara

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Family Excluded from Invitation to Christmas Dinner

Dear Aunt Dara,

My wife is upset because my sister invited my son and myself to Christmas dinner but did not invite my wife and her two daughters.  How should I handle this?

Thank you for your help,
Caught in the Middle

Dear Caught in the Middle,

Explain to your sister that you would love to attend her Christmas dinner, but would like to bring your wife and her daughters, too.  If she says that your wife and her daughters are not welcome to attend, you should respectfully decline the invitation.

God bless,
Aunt Dara

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Student in Love with His Teacher

Dear Aunt Dara,

I have had several crushes but never a girlfriend.  I'm in love with my instructor and it's just making me miserable!  I know ethically it is wrong so I'm polite to her and pretty much leave her alone, but confess that it hurts that she's either not into me or simply might not like me.  If history taught me anything it's that I end up feeling resentful, hurt, and disappointed when a special lady rejects me.  I guess either I'm unlovable or nothing good happens to me.  It's nice when there's a happy ending but it would be so sweet if it happened to me for once.  For now I intend to give a thank you card for the semester.  I put some time in decorating and writing it so I hope she likes it and it makes her happy. 

Hoping for Love in Return

Dear Hoping for Love,

Hopefully, I can shed some light on this for you.  The reason that your instructor is not showing you any sign that she likes you is this:  She is a paid professional who is doing her job—teaching students—and you are a student.  For her to become personally involved with a student would not only be unethical, it would place her job in jeopardy.  In other words, she could be disciplined by her employer up to and including being fired.  So, you must understand that a sweet card from you will get you nowhere because she is unavailable.

True love means that you put the other's interests ahead of your own desires. That is why the Bible tells us to consider the needs of others (Philippians 2:3-4).  If you really care for your instructor, you will let her do her job and find someone else who is available to you.  
 
God bless,
Aunt Dara 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

She’s Afraid to Tell Her Parents About Her Boyfriend

Dear Aunt Dara,

I am 24 and have been dating a 39-year-old man.  He has an 8-year-old son and has never been married.  We appear to be very compatible and have many common interests.  I enjoy the time I spent with him and his son.  However, my closest friends do not support our relationship.  We've been seeing each other for 6 months now and I have not told my parents.  Part of the reason I have not told them is because I can already predict what they will say and think.  He is a great guy, really easy-going, considerate, intuitive, and kind.  We became good friends at first, and then it lead to dating.  Now I need to figure out where this is going.  Do you have any advice?


Wondering about the Future 

Dear Wondering, 

Thanks for writing to me.  Unfortunately, I can identify two huge red flags in your situation.  First, your closest friends don't support your relationship.  Secondly, you have kept this relationship secret from your parents due to your concern that they will react negatively.  If he really is as wonderful as you describe, then why would your friends disapprove, and why are you afraid of your parents' reaction?  If the only concern is the age difference, then your parents should be glad that you have found someone who is a great guy, considerate, easy-going, intuitive, and kind, even if he is 15 years older than you are.  So, where do you see this going?  If you are too afraid to let your parents know about him, then I don't see this relationship going anywhere that would be good or healthy.

God bless,
Aunt Dara

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Response to a Personal Invitation

To Nancy H. in Seattle:  Thank you for the gracious invitation, but I must respectfully decline.

God bless,
Aunt Dara