How often have you let a relationship persist in spite of the signs indicating that it's time to move on? I have a friend that has been going through this recently. I think her head and heart are at odds with each other. In her conscious, rational mind, she probably knows that she and her boyfriend are in an unhealthy pattern of give and take that really only seems to be benefiting him, but in spite of whatever awareness she has of that fact, she can't force herself to move on.
The culprit seems to be fear. It's guiding her decision-making, forcing her to choose a sad relationship where she gets brief glimpses of what she keeps hoping is just waiting in abundance, ready to burst forth, only to be continually disappointed that what's really there is already all out on the table. She's afraid of being alone. She's afraid that this guy is the best of what's left. She's afraid of having to start over. What's worse is that she's been neglecting her friendships outside of her dating relationship, so the aftermath of a breakup is compounded by the fact that she has little support outside of her boyfriend.
I have been there. I think the height of my desperation came through when things didn't work out with Becca when she came from her mission. I experienced the peak of it when I decided to attend an institute activity, arriving at a darkened room where a movie was playing. Taking a seat, I watched until the lights came on when the luminescence revealed the others who were in attendance. I was only 26 at the time (which seems so young to me now), and looked at all of the recent high school graduates attending OCC and IVC, and then a group of other older guys in their early 30s. I felt like I was looking at a window into a very possible dismal future, like a ghost of Christmas future happened upon me that night and had me convinced that if things didn't work out with Becca that this evening was what I was doomed to experience in five or ten years - young girls I couldn't relate with and older guys holding out to pick off a stray from the flock.
Now I'm about three years removed from that time, and somehow I've learned better. I've had different relationship experiences, some good, others not so good, but all giving me experience in helping me to learn what I bring to the table, and what it is that I need, and not just want, in a relationship. The confidence I feel in this regard still has some occasional ebbing, but more often than not, I think it's been flowing. I'm content, and I would rather let my faith inspire me to hope on, than let my fear discourage me into a path of familiarity, but of lowered expectations.
I just wish there was anyway that I could impress that lesson on my friend. Right now she's the age I was when I started learning these lessons, and I think this is the next in store for her.