Lynn's Story: A Dangerous Engagement
(Why Did I Stay So Long in a Dysfunctional “Christian” Relationship?)
The week I graduated from high school, I said goodbye to my parents and moved across the country to attend college. My motive in choosing the school was that it was close to a boy I had met on a mission trip. We had already been in a long distance relationship for about a year with long letters, big phone bills, and one visit, so we naturally wanted to take our budding romance to the next level.
Several things spurred me on to reasonable thinking. One was a friend of his who confronted him in front of me, saying, “You can’t talk to her like that!” A couple in our church raised serious concerns about our relationship and tried to intervene. I also began to learn about some of his more outrageous behavior, like visiting a strip club when I was out of town at a Christian conference. He claimed he was evangelizing the topless dancers and showing them the love of Jesus. (Uh huh...) The light bulb moment came when I realized that no matter how hard I tried to patch up our rough spots and change his worst behaviors, it just wasn't going to fly. The relationship was fundamentally flawed, and I would never be happy or even safe trying to cope with our problems.
So one afternoon, empowered by this emerging insight, I drove over to his house and broke the engagement. He became really agitated, but I held my ground that day.
However, several weeks after I broke up with him, he pressured me into trying again. We limped along for a couple of months after that. He started coming on strong about leading me spiritually. He claimed that everything would be just fine if I would just submit to him. It was clearly manipulation, and I wanted nothing of it. One day, I called and told him we were totally done. Three weeks later, he was engaged to someone else, and they married two months after that. He has been divorced twice since then.
I bear absolutely no hard feelings toward him. He’s had a tough life and I wish him the very best for the future.
I will follow up later with a broader article on what dysfunctional or dangerous dating relationships look like, and how they can be safely exited, or better yet, prevented. If you have any advice or favorite resources, please send them along!
Here are the links to the other interviews in this series.
- Abigail's Story: Responses to Domestic Violence
- Elizabeth's Story: Domestic Violence in a Ministry Home
In addition, I have created a Domestic Violence Resources page which not only has my article links from above, but also links to other sites, books, Central Florida centers, etc. You can find this page here: Domestic Violence Resources