Lifestyle Reflection

No More

This is one of those posts that’s for me, not you. If you don’t want to read about my love life or God, come back another day.

I fell for someone last fall when I was trying to focus on other things. He came into my life and complemented it. He’s a family man, and he provided a lot of stability in my life…until he didn’t anymore.

If you asked him, he would tell you that I didn’t do anything wrong. In fact, I was amazing in my not-quite-relationship with him. His kids adore me. They started blooming when I came into their lives. Their grades went up, they started getting closer to God, and they all had someone with whom they could trust to share their feelings.

Life was good for all of us. He was happier at the mention of my name than his family had ever seen him. Even his ex-wife was happy for him, and that was an odd, yet lovely feeling.

At one point several weeks ago (immediately following one of the happiest evenings I’ve ever had with him) he said, “Kenlie, when are we going to stop pretending that we’re not a couple?”

I giggled and said, “when you stop pretending. That’s your issue, not mine.”

He didn’t laugh though. Instead I spent the evening talking with him on his sofa. We held hands, giggled, flirted and talked for hours about his “need for clarity.” He has issues/fears about getting remarried, and I reminded him that I was in no rush for that. I explained that I would need time to develop an exclusive relationship with him (even though I had been un-dating him for months.)

He said that he knew me well enough to know that he wanted to marry me. He spent nearly everyday with me for months. He knows my family and friends (many of whom are mutual.) He knows every lie I’ve ever told (the little ones and big ones.) He knows all of the mistakes that I’ve made and my imperfections, and still, he said that he knew enough to want to marry me. Sadly, he said that he believed that God wouldn’t like it.

He’s a black and white kind of guy, and while that can be great at times, it can also screw things up when he becomes closed-minded. He believes certain things that I won’t share in detail here, except to say that those beliefs are based on pride, fear of moving on and religion. And that’s a deadly combination.

Religion is the arch enemy of Jesus. The rules that religion have dictated on this man’s life leave me oscillating between anger and uncertainty. If Jesus walked into the fundamentalist church that this man left, He wouldn’t be welcome, yet those rules (which are based on ungodly, self-righteous, religious garbage) have given him reason to hang on to the past and to walk away from a woman who makes him happier and more balanced than he’s been in a long time, maybe ever.

There are few things that I hate in the world, but religion is one of them. I love God, and I’m so thankful for the aggressive grace that Jesus pours out on me. I just wish that this man could truly experience and understand that grace too.

He knows and loves God, but he is so wrapped up in religion that I don’t know what to think. Did he lie to me about his feelings? Was he just humoring me because he didn’t want to hurt me?

It has been weeks since he ended our quasi-relationship. He still calls, and I still see him at my church (a place that I hope he continues to go so that he can truly collide with the love of Jesus someday.)

His kids miss me like crazy, but not as much as I miss them. He seems to be fine without me though – just not as happy or at ease or loving. It makes me wonder if he ever had feelings for me.

I’ve asked a few times since that night if I’m crazy…if I misread his feelings, and he says that I absolutely did not misunderstand. He says he felt everything that I felt and that he can’t be with me for the ridiculous, religious reasons that I can’t mention here.

I know him, and I believe that he’s clinging to religion instead of God because it’s easier than taking responsibility.  It’s also possible that he just doesn’t understand the difference. I do believe that he’s a good man though…who’s just dealing with unresolved issues.

He called me last night, and the things that he said (though not directed at me in any way) made me wonder what happened to the man I met and fell for.  He’s different without me. I ask myself when he reverted back to being religious and judgmental and self-righteous, but the truth is, I know exactly when that happened.

I’m pretty positive that I did not misunderstand his feelings. The man I met was humble, and I believed that he valued me. Now I’m not so sure.

Maybe talking to me was better than talking to than no one. Maybe we spent evening after evening together because he had nothing else to do. Maybe the hours we spent on the phone talking about everything from religion to politics to his work environment was more fun for him than sleeping. Maybe he never cared about me at all.

I don’t exactly believe the last part, but it certainly was easy for him to turn off his feelings. It seems that it was easy for him to forget the peaceful, quiet moments that were captured on his daughter’s camera phone when we weren’t paying attention to anything or anyone except each other. It has also been easy for him to forget how we laughed so hard that our faces hurt  just because we were using chopsticks together or discussing the Council on Foreign Relations.

It has been easy for him to pretend that none of it ever happened, but it’s been impossible for me. I spent the first few weeks drowning in misery, sobbing everyday and hoping that he would get back to normal. After that, I started ignoring his calls. When he asked why, I explained that while I loved it when he called me, I was better off when he didn’t.

I told him that he either needed to stop calling, or we needed to talk with my (our) pastor because I needed to heal. He reluctantly agreed, and when I asked him why, he said that was he was willing to make himself uncomfortable for me if that’s what I needed to know that he cared.

We haven’t had the opportunity to chat with my pastor yet because of our schedules, but it meant a lot to me that he was willing to make himself uncomfortable for me. Talking to your pastor is a big deal when you’re hyper-religious. Thankfully, my pastor is a cool dude who wears jeans when he preaches and loves all of the people that more traditional churches reject. Jesus would be welcome at my church if he showed up in old clothes and worn out sandals.

I’ve been much happier over the last few weeks, realizing that my life would change a lot if he and I were together. I love my life, and I wouldn’t want to change it for someone who wouldn’t be willing to do the same for me.

As I go to sleep and as I wake up, I ask God to eliminate the feelings that I have for this man if I can’t be with him. It’s the only thing I know to do, and I’m counting on Him to fulfill me because He’s God. I’m also counting on Him to heal the man who broke my heart someday regardless of whether I’m around to see it or not.

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26 Comments

  • Reply
    Shelley
    April 23, 2014 at 9:16 am

    He’s just not that into you, but he’s lonely and enjoys the attention you give him. You are right, you are better off if you don’t answer his calls. Close the door on him so that another door will open for someone else. You can still talk to him at church, but stay strong!

    • Reply
      Kenlie
      April 24, 2014 at 2:47 pm

      Yeah..I think you’re mostly right. He’s not a jerk, but he’s also not into me like I thought he was.

  • Reply
    Patricia
    April 23, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    If you love someone, let them go,for if they return,they were always yours. And if they don’t, they never were.
    Kahlil Gibran

    • Reply
      Kenlie
      April 24, 2014 at 2:47 pm

      Kahlil Gibran has written some of my favorite works. In On Love, he sid things that are fitting here. Thanks for the reminder…

      • Reply
        Patricia
        April 24, 2014 at 6:08 pm

        My grandmother ( 1896-1984) gave me a small book of his writings when I was sixteen. Besides her Bible he was her favorite writer. I still have the book. Even today his work can still reply. Kaitlin is correct-this too shall pass.

  • Reply
    kaitlin
    April 23, 2014 at 10:17 pm

    I certainly haven’t had the exact same situation, but I was in one that I think was equally heartbreaking to me – to the point where I was struggling with insomnia simply because I couldn’t stop thinking to sleep.

    And the one thing that finally helped me move on was hearing God say, loud and clear, “I have something better planned for you.” And that was SUCH a relief to hear.

    Whatever happens, God’s plan is better than your’s will ever be. Maybe God’s plan involves this guy growing in his faith for a bit before coming back to you and making the relationship work. Maybe God’s plan is a different guy entirely. We just will never know until God makes it happen.

    Take heart in God’s plan for your life. Because it is, and WILL BE, beyond anything you can imagine. Continue to follow Him as you have been, and trust that He knows what He is doing – even when you don’t.

    Hugs, sister. This too shall pass. 🙂

    • Reply
      Kenlie
      April 24, 2014 at 2:46 pm

      Well, I thought that God placed this man in my life. In fact, I know He did. That said, God won’t force him to be with me, and I know that God is capable of making something awesome out of something that caused me pain.

      I don’t know what God’s plans are for me, but I’m glad He has one.

  • Reply
    Steelers6
    April 23, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    It might APPEAR easy for him to turn off his feelings. But I wonder if he might seem like a different fellow to you right now bc it was actually very *difficult* to turn off his feelings. He might be in huge turmoil bc he (for some reason) feels like this is what he should be doing–this pulling away business. [The apparent indifference is a coping mechanism…?]
    And I highly doubt that he forgets all the special times you shared!

    I believe you when you say you absolutely know you did not misunderstand his feelings for you.

    “As I go to sleep and as I wake up, I ask God to eliminate the feelings that I have for this man if I can’t be with him. It’s the only thing I know to do, and I’m counting on Him to fulfill me because He’s God. I’m also counting on Him to heal the man who broke my heart someday regardless of whether I’m around to see it or not.”

    I really like that Kenlie. We girls have feelings. Truth. And I like how you are relying on God to see you through the hurt. And that last line dear..wow. I’m sure reading Mature Kenlie’s blog. 🙂
    I think this situation–without knowing much obviously–sounds like a wait, chill, pray, relax as much as possible deal. With your chin up, & your head held high! See what God wants to do here. But I do think while doing that chill thing it is best not to continue on as buddies. Difficult, painful, and not so healthy or wise a position to put yourself in. Plus, I think it may be beneficial for him to take a small Kenlie break. *No phone convos.* I don’t mean snubbing at church; not suggesting that. I have a feeling he will hate taking a break since you shared something so special. You’re good at putting your thoughts into words I think; not sure I’m doing the best here. Ha. But he needs some time to think right now.

    ps-I hope he doesn’t know about this blog……………….

    HUG
    Chrisssy

    • Reply
      Kenlie
      April 24, 2014 at 2:43 pm

      Oh Chrissy,

      Your comment just made me smile as I think about the changes that have happened in my heart and mind since we first connected. I don’t know if you’re reading “Mature Kenlie’s Blog,” but you’re definitely reading “Honest, Growing, Changing Kenlie’s Blog.”

      I went out last night and had another moment in which I realized that I was so thankful for the life that I have right now.

      I’m not too sad anymore. I miss the way he was before, but I want to move forward toward something real with someone who has feelings for me and owns them.

      Hugs back, my dear friend….

      • Reply
        Kenlie
        April 24, 2014 at 2:48 pm

        PS
        Chrissy,

        He knows about the blog, but he doesn’t read it. Even if he did, nothing that I wrote would surprise him one bit. He knows me…very well.

  • Reply
    heather
    April 24, 2014 at 6:03 am

    Kenlie,
    Without knowing the whole story in depth, it is hard to really know what exactly happened.
    But from the way you tell it, it seems like he toyed with you and then used “religion” as an excuse for an easy out.

    The one thing I can say as a Mother, who has been through divorce and dating as a single Mom, is that to involve you deeply with his children and then pull the plug is irresponsible and uncaring at best. It for me, speaks to the man he really is.

    Have you ever read the book “Act like Lady and Think like a Man” by Steve Harvey? He is a man of great faith, but he calls it like he sees it in the dating department.

    I think the best thing you could do is to walk away completely. Have love for him as church family (from afar), wish him the best, and go on to love the life that is right in front of you now.. an amazing one. And the man who God has for you will show up in good time, when Kenlie knows what she deserves and will accept nothing less 🙂

    • Reply
      Kenlie
      April 24, 2014 at 2:39 pm

      He is a good man…a really good man, but he’s drowning in religion with his eyes too covered to recognize it. It’s easier than healing. I get it, and I forgive him. I just have to move beyond it, and I’m doing it.

  • Reply
    dad
    April 24, 2014 at 8:50 am

    Well said Heather.

    • Reply
      Kenlie
      April 24, 2014 at 2:36 pm

      Seriously, Dad? That’s it? 🙂 Just kidding…I know how you and Mom feel about it, and I’m glad you’re my dad…Love you.

  • Reply
    mary
    April 24, 2014 at 9:11 am

    love you kenlie.
    know you have so much support and so many are rooting for you!

    • Reply
      Kenlie
      April 24, 2014 at 2:36 pm

      Love you back, Mary..So much! 🙂

  • Reply
    toni
    April 24, 2014 at 11:21 am

    precious one! you are growing in grace. my heart is with you and my prayers continue as you journey; He and He alone is your refuge and strength-an ever present source of help in times of trouble.

    • Reply
      Kenlie
      April 24, 2014 at 2:37 pm

      He’s all I need. I don’t know why I struggle to remember that sometimes and not at all at other times. <3

  • Reply
    Tiffany
    April 24, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    I read your blog but rarley comment – and I do enjoy your blog completely. The one sentence you wrote in this post that I love is “Religion is the arch enemy of Jesus. ”

    That is so very true. Good luck with what ever happens.

  • Reply
    Brooke
    April 28, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    You are probably way done reading these comments, but I feel your pain. I’ve been looking for so long for someone and I’m about tired of hearing, “The right one will come along, just be patient.” I’ve been patient since I was 28 and pretty sure I was ready to start something real. I’ll be 31 in October. I want to be a wife and I want to be a mother and time is just ticking away.

    I thought I found one too. Honestly, everything you said above is spot on for me (excpet for the religious thing). I thought, for once, everything had fallen into place and it was perfect. God had finally placed someone for me. Then the “talk” and he wasn’t ready to date because of things he was still dealing with. I was crushed. I REALLY liked him. He wanted to still be friends and I told him I didn’t know if I could ever see him as just a friend. I cried all the next day, all day. I couldn’t keep it together. My SIL tried to ask me what made him so different from anyone else that I never cried over when this happened. I honestly have no clue. Just like you I don’t know why God would bring him into my life, I don’t know if knowing would make it easier or if God will ever tell me. Everyone is right, we have to trust as hard and painful as it can be for our human emotions. I still hurt. Its only been a few days and I’ve tried putting on the brave face and doing things to distract myself, but I still think about him. I just keep praying to move on. I hope maybe at some point I can be his friend b/c just as your guy is good, so is he.

  • Reply
    suzie
    April 28, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    i think I”m really confused. i dont understand the comment “religion is the arch enemy of jesus” how can you pepper a post about god and love for god and then talk about how you cant believe this guy doesnt want to date you because of religious beliefs? i dont get it- isnt that the same thing? the same way you are super religious- why cant you respect his religious beliefs?

    so sorry, im just confused. Im also an atheist so maybe im not getting it..

    • Reply
      Emily
      April 28, 2014 at 11:02 pm

      I can’t speak directly for Kenlie, obviously, but from my experience (my father’s side being fundamental Christians, as Kenlie alluded that her friend had been involved with) there is a VERY big difference in Jesus and “RELIGION.” in all caps.

      Many fundamentalist churches use the bible as a weapon to shame and look down on other people for a multitude of reasons. This is definitely not what Jesus was all about, and by the insane RELIGIOUS standards, Jesus (poor, middle eastern [aka not white], dirty, Jewish) would not be welcome in those spaces.

      I don’t attend church now for the same reasons. Jesus was about love, not about hate and ego-driven men. Most organized religion is a far far cry from what Jesus preached – which, at the core was just to love each other. I was lucky enough to grow up in a church environment that accepted all people (religions, races, sexual preferences, etc) but the vast majority do not. :-/

      ((Sorry to butt in, Kenlie. This topic rings so close to home!))

    • Reply
      Kenlie
      May 1, 2014 at 5:10 pm

      Emily nailed it…religion is different than having a relationship with God…

      • Reply
        Kenlie
        May 1, 2014 at 5:10 pm

        Thanks for explaining it, Emily…I didn’t see Suzi’s comment until today.

  • Reply
    It doesn't matter
    April 30, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    I’m sorry. I hope God heals your heart.

    • Reply
      Kenlie
      May 1, 2014 at 5:11 pm

      Thanks. I wrote this post a few weeks before I actually shared it, and I’m feeling exponentially better than I did when I wrote it.

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